bed bug dog inspecting a hotel for bed bugs.

5 Tips to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Back from a Hotel

Bed bugs and hotels

Are you nervous to visit NYC hotels because of bed bugs? More importantly, have you ever stayed at a hotel and wondered whether or not there were bed bugs lurking under the box spring?

The number one question that people ask me when I am performing a bed bug inspection is “how can I prevent bed bugs from coming home?”. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent bed bugs, moreover, preventative treatment just doesn’t work, because the residual effect is not long-lasting. Given that you would have to be treating your home every 2-4 weeks which is not feasible health-wise or money-wise. The bed bugs also develop a resistance to chemical treatments. 

The best thing you can do is to avoid bringing bed bugs home. This article aims to help you with actionable steps you can take to learn how to avoid bringing bed bugs home.

bed bug inspection in a hotel

How do hotels prevent bed bugs?

Our bed bug sniffing dogs do monthly bed bug inspections at various NYC hotels. This is one way a hotel prevents and monitors for bed bugs. Some of the hotels that we service pick 30 random rooms per month for us to search. Doing monthly K9 inspections will help reduce the chances of bringing bed bugs home.

How to Not Bring Bed Bugs Home from a Hotel

If you are staying at a hotel and have encountered bed bugs, first and foremost stop what you are doing and order a ZappBug bed bug oven. Furthermore, please get the size that would fit your suitcase. This collapsable bed bug heater will get rid of bed bugs in your luggage through heat treatment.

ZappBug Heater Bed Bug Killer | Bed Bug Heater Kills Bed Bugs and Their Eggs Without Spray or Chemicals
  • Kills 100% of bed bugs in all life stages, including eggs, nymphs and adults.
  • Non-toxic bed bug heat treatment equipment, family and pet safe: No pesticides or chemicals.
  • Easy to use: One person set-up, load with items and press on. Tent folds flat for storage.
  • Large-size chamber. Measures 23" x 37.5" x 23" treats luggage, toys, and more
  • 1500-watt programable heater & wireless thermometer ensure necessary treatment time inside chamber

Please heat treat all of the items that you brought into the hotel with the bed bugs. Additionally anytime I stay in a hotel or Air BNB I use the ZappBug to treat my suitcase and belongings. There is no way to know for sure if you are bringing bed bugs home with you after a hotel stay. Heat treat everything from the trip in the bed bug oven, believe me, it will give you peace of mind and reassurance. 

Since 30% of humans do not react to bed bug bites, it is wise to heat treat your luggage after staying at a hotel. If you are among the 30% of people that do not react to the bed bug bites then you will never know that the hotel had bed bugs. If you want peace of mind invest in a Zappbug and use it every time you return from a trip.

Investing in the Zappbug will allow to you safely go to movies, hotels, Doctor’s offices, or anywhere else that might have bed bugs.

More importantly, I do have some tips that if followed will ensure your home stays bedbug-free after a trip. 

Tips To Prevent Bed Bugs From Coming Home With You!

Below you will find a few ways that you can make your trip to NYC or any city for that matter a little bit easier.  Did you know that NYC is NOT number one on the list for the most bedbug-infested city this year, 2021?

Each year a few national pest control companies put out their list of “most infested bed bug cities” based on the number of calls they get. New York has not been number one in years. With that being said, if you are still worried about traveling and want to know what to do to prevent bringing any bed bugs home from a hotel, follow these guidelines.

*This post may contain an affiliate link, any money made from the link will go directly into our Doctor Sniffs Science Major Scholarship Fund*

This article teaches you how to prevent bed bugs from coming home with you.


Hire a bed bug inspection company like Doctor Sniffs Bed Bug Dogs to sniff out your hotel room before you bring the luggage in. We have teams that work all hours of the day and night to inspect for bed bugs. Most of the time, we can schedule you at any time.

To see what we do check out Doctor Sniffs Instagram Page (@DoctorSniffs). here you will be able to read all about our bed bug dogs inspection success stories!

A bed bug-sniffing dog will search every nook and cranny of the hotel room. Having peace of mind is more important than anything. Should the dog alert somewhere, simply request that the room be switched. You can find bed bug dogs everywhere you go, no matter what city you are visiting.


Do not put your suitcase on the bed. If you never put your luggage on the bed you will greatly reduce your chances of bed bugs getting into your luggage.  This simple thing will greatly reduce your chances of getting bed bugs from a hotel.

Don’t create an opportunity for a bed bug to hitchhike a ride home with you. More importantly, bring a big black plastic bag and put your suitcase inside of the bag, while at the hotel. Secondly, tie a knot in the bag anytime you are not using it. 

Keeping your luggage sealed in a bag will prevent any bed bugs from getting in and out of your luggage.

Are You Worried About Bed Bugs in Your Luggage?

Just to emphasize not putting your suitcase on the bed is just not good enough. If bed bugs are in the hotel bed likewise they can also be elsewhere in the room. To emphasize, when I am doing my inspections I also find bed bugs in areas near and far from the bed. 

To repeat, you need to go the extra step and bag the entire suitcase while it’s in the room. Some pest control professionals like to advise putting the suitcase into the shower.  I have seen too many bed bugs showing up in bathrooms throughout the years. Due to this experience and knowledge, I do not feel safe just keeping it in a bathroom. You prevent insects from crawling into your suitcase by bagging the entire suitcase.

fecal stains from bed bugs on a bed frame

Yes, You Can You Bring Bed Bugs Home From a Hotel.


Before bringing your luggage in, check the seams of the mattress and all sides of the box spring. Use a bright flashlight and slowly look along every inch of the mattress and box spring. 

Don’t worry if you didn’t bring a flashlight, use your phone’s flashlight. If you see any black ink-like marks, take a photo and show the hotel manager right away. 

For many people, this would be difficult but if you are able to it would be best to flip over the mattress and box spring to really get a complete look on all 6 sides of each one. This is where the bed bug dog can come in handy because the dog can smell what we can’t see. I recently stayed at a hotel in North Carolina and found black ink marks on the seams. The hotel I was staying at obviously had a bed bug issue since I saw fecal stains from bed bugs.

mattress showing fecal matter.

Luckily I did not bring my belongings in and they switched my room right away. As a result, when I got home I treated all of my belongings as if they had bed bugs. In fact, this was the only way I could be sure that I wasn’t bringing a hitchhiker back home with me. 

Even though they switched my room I was still paranoid that I might bring a bug home. Having the bed bug heater already set up at home really helped to ease my mind on the chances of bringing a bed bug home from that hotel.

If you still feel like you are bringing bed bugs home ordering a bed bug mattress cover can help you monitor the situation.

Don’t bring your belongings into a hotel room before doing a visual search of the mattress and box spring!


Have a Zapp Bug or Pack Tite bed bug heater ready for when you come home.  Always heat all of your belongings in the heater.  First and foremost strip off all of your clothing and put it directly in the heater. Furthermore, the bed bug-killing heat machine will also kill bed bug eggs. 

Keep the items in the heater for 90-120 minutes.  The Zapp Bug Oven is also able to treat most electronics, laptops, and other clothing that you normally wouldn’t put in a dryer. The Zapp Bug will not destroy these items. Their website says that it can safely treat a laptop. This bed bug-killing machine is the best way to get rid of bed bugs in your luggage.

ZappBug Heater Bed Bug Killer | Bed Bug Heater Kills Bed Bugs and Their Eggs Without Spray or Chemicals
  • Kills 100% of bed bugs in all life stages, including eggs, nymphs and adults.
  • Non-toxic bed bug heat treatment equipment, family and pet safe: No pesticides or chemicals.
  • Easy to use: One person set-up, load with items and press on. Tent folds flat for storage.
  • Large-size chamber. Measures 23" x 37.5" x 23" treats luggage, toys, and more
  • 1500-watt programable heater & wireless thermometer ensure necessary treatment time inside chamber

In my professional opinion, the Zapp Bug Oven is the only way to almost guarantee that you do not bring bed bugs home.

Treat Your Belongings with a Portable Bed Bug Heater!

In the event that you don’t want to buy a bed bug heater just make sure all of the clothing from the hotel is bagged. Providing that as soon as you get home you put it through a high heat dryer. Even if you did not see any fecal matter or get any bites it still does not mean the hotel room was bedbug-free. 20%-30% of people don’t react to bed bugs so they would have no idea that they are sleeping in a bed with bed bugs.  

With that being said it is the main reason why I treat my luggage after every hotel stay.

bed bug dog inspecting a hotel for bed bugs.


Monitor your skin once you get home, there can be up to a 14 day delayed reaction from bed bugs. Checking your skin will help for knowing if you got bed bug bites from a hotel. A 14-day delayed reaction from bed bugs means that the bed bug feeds on you but your skin does not show any bites or marks right away.

Granted this is only true if you are the type that reacts to bed bug bites in the first place. Notably, if you get any skin reactions up to 2 weeks after returning from a trip you may have gotten bed bug bites from a hotel. The next step is to keep monitoring, set out bed bug traps, or hire a K9 team to search your residence.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling!

In conclusion, these tips should help you safely return from a hotel trip anywhere in the world without bringing bed bugs back home with you. You can also feel free to check one of the many bed bug registry sites but these are providing anecdotal evidence.

It is likely that many people reporting and listing on these sites did not find a live bed bug. As a result, they base their claim on getting bites while staying there. Therefore, read these bed bug registry sites with caution.

Due to the fact that nothing is 100% and bed bugs are small creatures that squeeze into cracks and crevices, hiding from the light, the bed bug heater is your best bet.  Know that even if you follow all of the steps above, unfortunately, you still might pick up a hitchhiking bed bug.

These tips will definitely help ensure that you are doing everything within your power to not bring any unwanted bed bugs home from a hotel. In addition, if you suspect your hotel room has an issue, ask to switch rooms. Hotels are usually accommodating and want to please the customer. Above all, don’t let bed bugs and hotels stop you from having a great vacation.