Essential Travel Tips to Avoid Pests as Companions

Traveling is about cultural experiences, relaxation, and crossing items off the bucket list. The last thing anyone would want to do is arrive home from a trip and discover unwanted stowaways in your luggage like bed bugs, roaches, or fleas. Here are six tips from travel writer Tammy Pitts to keep in mind to avoid hitchhiking pests while you’re on the go.

Do Your Homework

Pests can be found anywhere, even in 5-star hotels, so it’s best to do extensive research before you leave home.

  • If bed bugs are a major concern, you can research hotels that have had outbreaks in the Bed Bug Registry, a free database of hotels.
  • Read all of the reviews on a hotel’s website before booking, and investigate your travel location. Know how to prevent mosquito bites while traveling, which starts with checking for alerts for mosquito-borne illnesses and resources on current outbreaks. Whether you’re traveling to a part of the country known for dangerous spiders or flying off to a humid, tropical location with dense vegetation, know what’s out there before you go so you can be alert and aware.

Pack for Pests

As you’re planning your vacation, keep pest prevention in mind. Pack bug-repellent and long-sleeved clothes for sunset walks and long hikes. Don’t forget a mini first aid kit that includes anti-itch creams for bug bites and antihistamines.

Choose Your Luggage Carefully

Avoid luggage with fabric exterior. Instead, you’ll want to pack a suitcase with a hard shell which acts as a  barricade against pests. Bugs won’t be able to easily get inside hard-shell suitcases to lay their eggs or rest. If you cannot afford new luggage, covering your suitcase with plastic wrap while you’re traveling will offer an extra layer of protection.

Conduct Through Inspections

Even though the hotel room or Airbnb may appear to be spotless, bugs can still be lurking in the shadows.

  • Before you set your luggage down, scan the place for signs of pest infestations. Better yet, leave your luggage in the car if you can, while you go and inspect the room.
  • Check into all the nooks and crannies of the room, including the dark areas behind furniture and in closets. Cockroaches and ants may be hiding in humid or damp areas near plumbing in the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Check under and in kitchen cabinets to see if any insects dart out. Use the flashlight on your phone to illuminate dark areas.
  • To check for bed bugs, pull back the sheets and blankets, and lift up the mattress. If you spot small reddish-brown bugs or stains, immediately leave the room, alert management, and find new accommodations. Do not accept a change of room below, above, or next to the room you were just in as they may also be infested.

Be Careful About Bringing Food into Your Room

Experiencing the local cuisine and produce is one of the greatest joys of traveling. But be careful packing leftovers and leaving sweets unattended in your room or bag. Food is one of the strongest attractions for pests. If your hotel has a refrigerator, promptly store any leftovers or take-home snacks inside.

Also, be sure to thoroughly wash produce and check packaging. Oftentimes, spiders and other bugs will hitch a ride with you by burrowing in fruit and other opened snacks.

Returning Home

Finally, when you get home, carefully inspect your clothes and luggage for any signs of bugs.

  • Wash and dry the clothes you wore on the plane. If a bed bug manages to stow away in your clothes, putting your clothes in the dryer on high heat will kill them.
  • Don’t store luggage under the bed or in a closet, but rather in a garage, attic, or basement away from your bedrooms. This minimizes the likelihood of bedbugs or their eggs from becoming established close to a food source.
  • Wipe or clean your luggage with an antibacterial wipe if it’s a hard suitcase, if it’s a duffel bag or tote, toss it into the washing machine.

While it’s important to do research beforehand and prepare, don’t stress or ruin your trip by worrying about the possibility of pests. Bugs are usually not a problem for most vacationers, and potential problems can easily be avoided by inspecting the room, keeping all food contained, and your belongings organized.

And when you’re riding with us, don’t worry –– we meticulously clean and inspect our vehicles. For airport transportation, rides around town or discounted tours and attractions, click here to check our rates and availability.


Tammy has an extensive background in journalism, media relations, social media strategy, marketing, and brand management. She resides in Michigan with her family which includes her two sons and their Goldendoodle, Max. In her free time, she loves to read and travel.

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