Wipe the remote, and 9 other tips for a clean, safe and relaxing hotel stay

Be wary of drinking glasses, and don’t put your luggage on the bed if you want to avoid bed bugs

IrishTimes

Don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. Image: iStock

Irish Times |by Geoffrey Morrison | August 14, 2019

I’ve lost count how many hotels I’ve stayed in. Hundreds, for sure, and on every continent except Antarctica. From beach-side resorts in St Kitts in the Caribbean, to a grand, soaring high-rise in Tokyo, to a castle-adjacent treehouse on the north coast of Scotland, I’ve stayed in some truly lovely places. I’ve also stayed at dilapidated dives in Vegas with rusty taps and rugs so thin you could see the concrete underneath. The memory of the latter still makes me itch.

Over the years I’ve come up with a set of tips and tricks I use in every hotel, from 5-star to wear-your-shoes-in-the-bathroom-star. They range from a little peace of mind and a reduction of annoyance to maintaining a bit of safety and health while travelling. Starting with …

1. The remote is gross
What is touched by everyone but rarely cleaned? A quick swipe with some baby wipes or a damp (not wet) hand towel should help a bit.

2. 20°C is 68°F
Need to set the thermostat in your room? Twenty degrees Celsius is equal to 68°F – a good place to start.

3. Be skeptical of drinking glasses, especially if the hotel lacks a restaurant
Generally, drinking glasses are cleaned after every guest. Generally. If there’s no on-site restaurant, though, how are they cleaned? By hand presumably, but how well? Give them a rinse and a sniff, at least.

4. Don’t put your luggage on the bed
Bed bugs are gross little vampires. Like mosquitoes, but worse. Putting your luggage on the bed can give them a free ride to your next location … like your house. The luggage rack might not be a good option either, since it’s usually close to the bed. Your best bet is to put your luggage in the bathroom and then give the bed, rack, and chair/sofa a close look. Also, don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. They might have more means to get rid of the problem, but it can happen anywhere.

5. Bring long cables for your phone
As the number of devices needing to charge increases, the number of outlets available in hotel rooms … stays the same. I’ve stayed in new hotels with zero easily-accessible plugs. Mind blowing. In most airports you can pick up long USB cables so you can plug in and still, hopefully, use your phone from the bed. Travel power strips are handy for plugging multiple devices into that one outlet you found behind the bed.

6. Yes, you can take the little shampoo bottles. No, you can’t take the robe
Some hotels give the remaining soaps to charities like Clean the World. It’s worth checking if they do, as perhaps that’s a better use of the remaining soap than getting lost in your luggage or forgotten in your home medicine cabinet. Many hotels are moving toward large-bottle dispensers, both as a cost- and Earth-saving measure.

7. Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign
Housekeeping comes early. Exactly 100 per cent of the time I’ve wanted to sleep in and forgot to put out the sign, housekeeping wakes me up. In how many languages do you know how to say “come back later, please?” For me, when woken from a deep slumber, a croaky none.

Enabling the safety latch also lets you open the door to see if it really is management knocking while preventing said knocker from unexpectedly opening the door fully. Exceptionally unlikely, sure, but why take the chance?

8. Take a picture of the safe code
Even if you just use your birthday or something memorable in the moment, take a picture of the number you program into the safe.

9. Laundry is expensive
I travel for months at a time. I do laundry about once a week. At an expensive laundromat in Paris I paid €7 for a load of all my clothes. While trapped at a hotel in Fiji during a typhoon I paid $10 for each pair of underwear.

You should definitely pack light enough that you’ll need to do laundry on any trip longer than a week. Some hotels, and nearly all hostels, have inexpensive laundry facilities on-site or nearby. The staff will usually help you find a place. There’s always washing in the sink too, which is free if you have the time.

10. And lastly … Stay in a hostel instead
I’ve spent the majority of nights during my extended travels of the last five years in hostels. Hotels can be great, but they’re invariably expensive. Hostels probably aren’t what you think, and can be a great way to save money and meet new people.

– New York Times

wKBN

How to avoid bedbugs while traveling

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Are you scared of bedbugs? Do they make you afraid to travel and spend the night in a hotel?

The latest infestations involve the Columbus area, which pest-control company Terminix lists as the seventh-most infested city in the nation. And in the Cleveland suburbs, bedbugs have been found in four Parma schools this year.

The bedbug problem is not just seen at hotels, but rather anywhere that people infested may travel or live.

“Hotels are not the big problems anymore,” said Brad Grace of Grace Exterminating. “It’s more in housing — multi-family housing and low-income housing.”

Hotels cleaned up their act, not wanting the stigma of having bed bugs, he said.

People who have been around the critters find out quickly how bad they bite.

“At first, it doesn’t even bother you. Then, you start itching, and then it can really drive people crazy, because it’s very irritating,” Youngstown Health Commissioner Erin Bishop said.

Brad Grace said, for a one bedroom apartment, it can cost approximately $900 to $2,000 to get rid of bedbugs. Grace has special equipment which burns the bugs by heating them up to more than 135 degrees.

“Heat is 100 percent effective in killing bedbugs, baby bedbugs, even eggs,” said Grace.

If bedbugs still make you afraid to stay in a hotel, here are some things you can do:

  • Put your luggage in the bathroom or on a hard surface, such as a desk or dresser.
  • Don’t leave your clothes out where bugs can crawl into them.
  • Check the bed by pulling off the linens and looking under the mattress and behind bedposts.

Travelers – Don’t Bring Them (BED BUGS) Home

July 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) — A local Cedar Rapids apartment complex has reportedly run into a bed bug problem, but they aren’t the only one. The tiny bugs are making their way around Linn County and other areas in the world.

Bed bugs are an insect, Ruby Perin from the Linn County Public Health Department, said. They’re flat and oval, they kind of look like an apple seed and they feed on the blood of humans.  Perin said the hitchhikers can sometimes be found in hotels, but can catch a ride into your home by way of clothes or luggage.

During heavy travel seasons, its best to inspect your hotel bed and couches before settling into your room.  Once you get home from an overnight stay, Perin said one of the first things you should do is wash all your things.  As far as inspection, there are no special tools needed; just use your eyes. Look for black spots on your floor boards, which is their fecal matter, and also check the seams of your mattress for the actual bugs or their exoskeletons and the back of your headboard.