Vacation Packing Tips: Don’t Bring Bed Bugs Home

The end of a vacation is always a little stressful. You pack up your memories and souvenirs with your clothes, start dragging your mind back to into the “real” world, and prepare yourself to jump back into the rat race. You don’t want to add to your post-vacation stress by bringing home a few bed bugs with your souvenirs.

Even if you’ve carefully inspected your room and taken every precaution, it is possible to miss the signs of an early bed bug infestation. If bed bugs have crept into or laid eggs in your luggage, the precautions noted below will help you manage laundering and proactive clean-up when you arrive home.

How to Have a Bed Bug-Free Vacation
Moving Out
Packing to Come Home

  • Fall in. Sort your belongings into piles based on wash loads: whites, colors, dry cleaning.
  • Bag and tag. Please each pile in a separate heavy-duty disposable trash bag and place in your luggage. Use trash bags that are at least 2 mils thick to prevent tears or holes. If a tear or hole develops, double bag the load. Tightly seal each bag with wire twist ties or, even better, duct tape.
  • Protection detail. To prevent gifts or personal items from becoming infested, seal them into clear air-tight bags (Ziploc or similar) before adding them to your luggage. This will allow you to inspect the contents for bug activity before unpacking and disposing of the bags.
  • Final inspection. Inspect the outside of your luggage for bed bug signs. Even if you don’t see anything, if you’re travelling by car, encase your suitcases in heavy plastic bags and seal closed with duct tape.

Next time: Protecting the Homefront: What to do when you return home.