Do this on vacation to keep bed bugs from hitching a ride

First, put your luggage in the bathroom.

Bed bugs are creepy, crawly and love to travel. They can also ruin a family vacation. So, with holiday travel on a lot of calendars, Consumer Reports says there are some ways to keep the bed bugs from hitching a ride back to your house.

Bed bugs are gross but they’re not generally dangerous.

“They don’t transmit disease, but their bites can cause a variety of problems, including skin infections and allergic reactions,” said Consumer Reports’ Catherine Roberts.

To make sure you don’t bring home any unwanted “souvenirs,” Consumer Reports has some simple steps you can take when you check in to help avoid hassles before you check out.

Check the sheets, mattress, and box spring as soon as you enter a hotel room.

Bed bugs prefer anything dark and creviced that they can hide in, like bedding, fabric seams, furniture, even inside walls. So the bathroom is usually a safe zone while you search elsewhere for signs of the critters.

Check the sheets, mattress, and box spring.

Look for dark, rust-colored spots and exoskeletons, the casings the bugs leave behind.

Don’t forget to look at the head of the bed and in, around, and behind the headboard. Be sure to lift and check under the mattress, too.

It’s important to take action if you find any signs of bed bugs. Alert the manager immediately, and ask for a new room in a different part of the hotel.

Even if your room seems clear, it’s a good idea to keep your luggage and clothes off the floor and off the bed. Put your suitcase on a table or a luggage rack, or even keep it in the bathroom.

And when you get home, if you have any concerns that you’ve brought home hitchhikers, throw your travel clothes in a hot dryer for 30 minutes to kill any bugs.

If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a vacation rental and you find bed bugs or anything else you didn’t expect, immediately contact your host. In some cases, you have a limited time to log a complaint.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.