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How Should I Deal with Bed Bugs in a Hotel?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 23, 2024
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When you discover bed bugs in a hotel, your best option is to ask for a refund and move to a different hotel. Often, this will not be a reasonable solution to the problem, however, because the hotel may refuse to give a refund or because other lodgings may not be available. Another possible solution is to change rooms, as not every room in the hotel may be infested. If you absolutely must stay in a room that is infested, the best solution is to take precautions to minimize biting and protect your luggage and clothing from the insects. After dealing with bed bugs in a hotel, you should report the incident or file a complaint with the hotel after the stay.

In reputable establishments, finding bed bugs will almost always result in a full refund or a move to a different room. To secure this action in a nicer hotel, you can often simply call an employee to the room and point out evidence of the bed bugs. The hotel may even have a policy permitting both a room change and a refund in order to ensure customer loyalty. These establishments are not immune to bed bugs, but they are usually professional when coping with complaints about them.

In some cases, you may have to complain loudly and firmly about bed bugs in the room. It is essential to demand a new room and to document all evidence of the bed bugs with photographs if possible. Even if you cannot get a refund or a room change, it is a good idea to give employees a chance to deal with the problem directly.

In extremely unlucky situations, it may be necessary to put up with bed bugs for a night until better lodgings can be found. While this is not ideal, you can often minimize the damage done by these bugs. To keep them from biting, wear thick, tall socks and long pajamas, covering as much skin as possible. Keeping your hair covered is a good idea as well. Your luggage should be kept closed and stored off the floor or, if it is safe, left in the car so that clothes will not become infested.

Reporting bed bugs in a hotel can help other travelers avoid the problem, and there are many websites devoted to listing hotels with infestations or reported incidences. In many cases, however, calling the hotel's owner or contacting the company directly can yield a refund even if hotel employees have refused one. When bed bugs have been properly documented with photographs, you may have an easier time making a case for a refund. Documenting and reporting incidences may encourage hotels to be proactive in keeping their rooms cleaner as well.

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Discussion Comments

By anon928626 — On Jan 28, 2014

I am pretty sure that once you find bed bugs, you can get a refund. But make sure house keeping and the staff know about the bedbugs so they can prevent it for the next person.

By anon335935 — On May 24, 2013

I just had a very serious altercation with bed bugs at America's Best. The manager refused to accommodate us with a refund and was very rude about the whole situation. That motel is infested and they moved us to another room and the same problem was there. So don't go to the Americas Best if you don't want to be bitten.

By turquoise — On Mar 23, 2011

The first thing I do when I go into a hotel room is to check under the mattress for bed bug infestation. You can't see bed bugs but you can often see thin lines of blood on the mattress or sheets. Bed bugs are really small creatures so the streaks of blood might look like red pencil drawings.

I know this sounds horrible but it's the best way to check. If you see any stains you can try and find a new hotel right away or shift rooms. It's better than taking the chance and having a restless and painful night.

Oh, it's always a good idea to read customer reviews of hotels too. You may be able to determine bug-free hotels beforehand and won't have to take any risks.

By ysmina — On Mar 22, 2011

I would not recommend staying in a hotel with bed bugs, do your best to shift to a different place.

I stayed at such a hotel one time when I was traveling for work. My clothing or luggage must have become infested because bed bugs appeared in my home when I came back from the trip. It is so difficult to get rid of bed bugs. I ended up subleasing my apartment and shifting to a new place altogether.

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