I love to travel. Always have. By planes, trains and automobiles, (great title for a movie huh?), doesn't matter, I just love going places, getting away, and learning something. Traveling inherently means you'll be staying in places that are unfamiliar, hotels, motels, cabins, etc.

Thanks to the re-emergence of a creepy little pest known as a bedbug and some less-than meticulous housekeeping, there are now several things you should do before you kick off your shoes and relax.

  • First and foremost--Make sure you're alone. Before you lock the door behind you, check under the bed, in the bathroom, (behind shower curtain) and the closet to make sure no one is waiting to mug you or worse. There have been many reported incidents of assault and also of guests reporting bad odors only to find they weren't the only bodies in the room. (If you know what I mean).
  • Second--take off the bedspread, quilt or comforter. A former housekeeping manager for a major hotel chain admitted that the decorative bed toppers may only be changed or washed 4 times a year! Yuck!
  • Third--Check for bedbugs--check the headboard, under the sheets, under the mattress pad and the bed frame too. You're looking for little brown stains that indicate the disgusting little vermin have been feeding on the previous tenants of your room! Double yuck!!

At this point, I know you're thinking, "Really? But we're staying in a 4-star hotel!"  So let me tell you quick true story. I'm standing in line in a hardware store here in Sioux Falls. I look over at the next line and see a young man carrying two industrial-sized jugs of bed bug killer. Then I saw the embroidery on his shirt which clearly identified him as an employee of a local hotel. I wasn't the only person in line who saw it and was cringing!

  • Fourth--Do as Ben does and always travel with sanitary wipes. Your room might look spotless, but housecleaning rarely wipes the light switches, remotes or doorknobs. A quick wipe could mean the difference between a great vacation and an extended stay worshipping the porcelain god!

Happy travels!