This Is How to Spot Bed Bugs in Your Hotel Room

Updated: Apr. 22, 2021

Bed bugs won’t just ruin your stay—that bad luck could follow you home, because bed bugs can latch onto your clothes and hitch a ride back in your luggage. Here's how to avoid bringing these unintended souvenirs back from your next vacation.

You don’t have to make the bed. You can get fresh towels every day. There’s no need to set your alarm. When you check into a hotel room on vacation, you don’t have a care in the world—well, except for bed bugs. Nothing can turn a relaxing vacation into a traveler’s nightmare quite like sharing the bed with creepy crawlers. Find out what the dirtiest spots in hotel rooms are, too.

And bed bugs can run rampant in any hotel room, regardless of location or price. “Bed bugs don’t care about socioeconomic status—they just want a warm food source,” Ken Unger, the president of Suburban Pest Control, told Reader’s Digest. “Even the nicest hotels can have a case of bed bugs.”

Thankfully, pest control experts have a comprehensive guide to checking your hotel room for bed bugs. The most obvious place to find bed bugs is—you guessed it—the bed. Start by searching along the mattress seams, as well as under the mattress. The frame’s joints, crevices, and slats could provide an ideal place for bed bugs to hide, too. Similarly, bed bugs find cozy nesting places along the seams, inside the covers, and around the zips of sofas and chairs, too. Bed bugs can also hang out in rather unlikely places, including cupboards, nightstands, and luggage. Before you start checking, make sure you know what bed bugs look like!

As you search, keep an eye out for other warning signs that aren’t the bugs themselves. Anything from shed skin to blood smears to small black marks might signal a bed bug infestation. If you think your place has bed bugs, report it to the hotel staff immediately and request a change of rooms—but avoid getting swapped directly beside, above, or below the infested room, as it’s likely that the bed bugs could spread. And you should advise the hotel to seek professional bed bug treatment (these secrets from hotel managers will help you avoid run-down places.)

But there are also measures you can take to minimize your chances of encountering bed bugs in the first place. Inspecting every inch of your bed for bugs is one thing, but there’s an easy way spot major red flags even before you book. Sure, you could scan through reviews of each hotel in search of bed bug complaints, but there’s a faster way you’ll want to try instead. compiles bed bug complaints into one handy guide. Just select the state and city you’re visiting, and the site will call up a list of hotels that guests have called out for bed bug sightings. If you find a recent complaint, stay far, far away.

Even if you don’t see your hotel on the list, you should still give your room a thorough check before getting settled, of course. And if you do spot a pest, do everyone a favor and file your own report on Next, here are 16 more secrets bed bugs don’t want you to know.