Bitten by the Travel Bug?

Life on the road has never been as accessible or appealing as it has today. Entire careers and lifestyles built around traveling to the ends of the earth and back hold a certain appeal, especially to those burnt out and overwhelmed by the typical urban rat race.

Lodging options are numerous and varied, sites like Air bnb offer entire homes, sometimes for around the same cost as a hotel. For the super adventurous and brave there is the youth hostel. Some say there is no better way to go.

So what is the downside to this adventurous life style? This vagabond way of living life as if it were one giant never-ending vacation? Is there a downside? Any life style has it's share of stress of course, there is no such thing as a worry free life. There is one thing however, that frequent travelers must learn to deal with more frequently than those who stay home. A thorn in the Achilles' Heel of travel aficionados everywhere.

Bed Bugs. A downside to staying in a new room every week is that your risk of bed bug exposure is increased exponentially. Just washing the sheets is not enough to eliminate these pests, and they have been known to hitch a ride from place to place quite frequently. So the trick is, how do you identify a bed bug infestation before moving in and contaminating yourself and all of your personal belongings. Here is what my family does when on the road, and we are pretty careful since we know how difficult and not fun they are to get rid of.

1. When you walk in your new abode, do not place your luggage, or any other belongings, not even yourself, and especially not your children, on the bed, or preferably any furniture. Don't even lean

anything against it. Just don't.

2. Here is where we take the bed apart. pull up the sheets around the corner of the mattress. Look at

the seams of the mattress as well as around and underneath any mattress label that may be

attached. Look at the corners of the bed frames along the seams. Bed bugs can be super tiny,

just because you don't see them does not mean they are not there. A pattern of blood stains from

bed bug bites on the mattress can also be a tell tale sign of infestation.

3. Check out chairs, and the other furniture in the room. Bed bugs can be there also.

4. So where are you supposed to put your luggage? If you can leave it in the car while you inspect

your room, then do that. If you don't have that option then place your luggage in the bath tub while

you are looking around. If you see something either find a different place to stay, or ask to change

rooms and repeat the process.

5. Bed bugs are not snobs. They truly do not care if they are at the Ritz Carlton or the Comfort Inn.

That being said, choosing a higher end hotel, does decrease your chances of infestation. Often

higher end hotels will have policies set up on how long they keep mattress' and pillows in

circulation. This combined with other factors does decrease your chance of having a run in with

bed bugs at nicer facilities. It's not impossible of course and you still need to have a look around,

but it does decrease your risk.

You are now free to roam the globe. Have fun and don't get bit!

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