5 Tips to Avoid Hitchhiking Pests on Vacation

5 Tips to Avoid Hitchhiking Pests on Vacation

If you’ve ever unpacked the last mementos from your vacation only to discover a few extra souvenirs tucked away in your suitcase, you know to look out for pests when traveling. Bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, ants, spiders, and even small animals can bum a ride inside your luggage. Keep these tips in mind for your next trip to prevent unwanted stowaways from coming home with you.


Pests can be found even in the cleanest of hotels or a freshly detailed rental car. Try these tips for practical, effective ways to avoid pests when traveling:


That great deal on a three-night stay could be too good to be true if the price includes dealing with a pest infestation. Browsing reviews and comments left by other travelers can provide valuable insight into the place you’ll be staying. Worried about bed bugs in particular? You can research potential hotels in a free database like the Bed Bug Registry.

Look into your destination, too. Whether you’re traveling to a humid, tropical location with dense vegetation or booking a stay in a bustling urban city, every corner of the world has its own pest potential. Researching pest tips for your vacation can lay out the best practices of prevention and clue you in on what you may be up against when you arrive.


Yes, even those five-star accommodations. Even with outstanding housekeeping, any short-term rental, hotel, motel, or hostel can pick up a few bothersome bugs because of the swift rate of occupancy turnover. Before setting your luggage down on a mattress full of bed bugs, scan the place for signs of pest infestations.

Start around the perimeter of the room. Pests like rodents, roaches, and spiders can sneak in through even small holes. Since pests aren’t likely to creep or crawl out in the open when we’re around, use your phone’s flashlight to illuminate dark areas behind furniture and in closets. Cockroaches and ants may be lurking in humid or damp areas near plumbing in the bathroom or kitchen.

To check for bed bugs, pull back the sheets, inspect the headboard, and inspect mattress seams, keeping an eye out for small, reddish-brown bugs or signs of feeding stains. If you spot any signs of pests, notify the management and request to change rooms (avoiding rooms below, above, or next door, as they may also be infested) or consider finding new accommodations entirely.


Hard-shell suitcases aren’t just ideal for protecting fragile items. They also act as a practical barricade against local pests. With tightly secured luggage, pests won’t be able to find their way in to grab a bite, rest, or even lay eggs. If it isn’t in the budget to purchase new luggage, packing a few extra plastic bags and covering your bags for the span of your trip adds an extra layer of pest protection.

How you handle your luggage matters as well. Avoid bringing luggage inside your hotel room until you’ve properly inspected your accommodations. If everything looks good and you’re ready to bring your bags inside, pay attention to where you put your luggage, too. Pests are far more likely to climb aboard an unzipped bag placed on the floor than a closed bag stored elsewhere. If the luggage rack looks pest-free, it’s a much better storage place than the ground. Always keep your luggage suitcase shut or zipped tightly, especially when not in use.


While building up your packing list, keep pest prevention in mind. Take a look at your itinerary and consider what pests you may encounter. Long hikes, boat rides, sunset walks, and adventurous excursions could call for long-sleeved clothes, extra layers, or bug repellent.

Don’t forget medicinal items, either. A first aid kit that includes bandages, anti-itch solution, and antihistamines could save an otherwise lovely vacation from becoming an itch-fest for the whole family.


One of the joys of traveling is discovering and enjoying regional cuisine—perhaps even grabbing a few local treats to bring home to the family. Food is also, unfortunately, one of the strongest temptations that draw in pests to hotels, cars, and homes in the first place. Even if you haven’t left an opened box of sweets unattended in your room, the previous guests might have, and pests might be sticking around hoping for more.

If your temporary residence has a refrigerator, promptly store any leftovers or take-home snacks inside. Store dried or shelf-stable foods in closed, air-tight containers. And don’t forget about the trash, too. If possible, take out the trash frequently or consider throwing things away in trash cans outside your room to cut down on enticing crumbs and odors inside.

Long weekends are for escaping the stressors of life, not dealing with annoying pests and needless headaches. If you’ve just returned from a vacation and discovered a few tagalong pests have joined you, give us a call. Our highly-trained team of professionals can identify, treat, and prevent stowaway pests from settling in and taking over your home.