A Viral TikTok Shows Why You Should Check Your Hotel Room for Bedbugs

Unfortunately, this is a reality we will not be able to escape.

Listen, I lived in New York City for nine years, and Florida for 18 before that—bedbugs are an unfortunate but inevitable part of life in those places. Most places, if we're being honest. But you can prevent the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night, covered in tiny red bites and rushing, panicked, to strip the sheets from your bed while you sit in denial about having to pay $500 for an exterminator.

One of the first things you need to know is how one can end up with bedbugs in the first place. And friends, buckle up because the information I am about to share with you is upsetting and psychically fraught.

According to the New York Department of Health, bedbugs "can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces."

To recap, bedbugs can travel with you on:

  • Used furniture
  • Luggage
  • Purses
  • Backpacks
  • Items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces

And if you’re in a hotel or multi-unit structure, bedbugs can travel from room to room, unit to unit. The bugs, which have tiny heads and thick round little bodies usually filled with the blood of previous victims, are quick to replicate and hard to kill. In order to get rid of them, you will need a full-on tactical approach.

This means, if you are traveling, it is entirely possible that you will bring home these unwanted guests. Just look at Sarah Luepker, who shared her harrowing and traumatizing journey of dealing with bed bugs while traveling in a viral TikTok video late last week. The video has gotten over 4.9 million views as of this writing.

Want to hear something even more horrifying? Due to hotels underpaying and underhiring housekeepers, and the record number of travelers anticipated this summer… the bedbug situation is about to get even worse.

You will need to be vigilant about discarding and cleaning all of your luggage, clothing, bags, etc. when you get home from traveling. You should also check your lodgings for bedbugs as soon as you arrive. You do not want to sleep in a room with bedbugs. The TikTok below, posted by Halee Whiting, gets into the particulars of how to check your hotel room for bedbugs.

"Many people think that they're in sleazy motels but they can happen anywhere," Whiting told USA Today. "People forget they're brought in by people. But it's all about how you handle it."

Sweet dreams.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.