11 Awesome Travel Tools to Beat Bed Bugs [2019]

Bed bugs found in a hotel bed

Keep Those Bed Bugs at Bay.

In a recent blog post I discussed how the scourge of Bed Bugs has crept back into the lives of travellers with numbers in Northern America soaring over the past 20 years.

Click Here to Check out my “How to beat bed bugs in hotels Blog!

After World War 2 bed bugs were all but eradicated in the developed world with the use of powerful pesticides like DDT.

Now, with the cessation of these types of chemicals due to well founded health concerns, and the fact that more people are travelling than ever before, they are back in great numbers.

And it seems cleanliness is no barrier to bed bug infestations as they are found across all ranges of hotels and backpacker hostels alike.

So, now that we know they’re in a hotel somewhere waiting for us, what are we going to do about it?

I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of measures you can take and products you can arm yourself with on your next trip overseas.

Personal Protection Methods

1. Deet

Starting with a nice and logical one, insecticides containing DEET, are one of the most effective ways of protecting your body from bed bugs.

Originally developed for use by the United States Army to repel mosquitoes in jungle warfare, DEET has been found to be very offensive smelling to insects including bed bugs.

Many popular repellants contain DEET and it can be easily found at most discount and department stores.

Please note the there have been some people who have had adverse reactions to DEET including headaches, nausea, seizures and in only a handful of cases, death. Overall though the number of people found to suffer such reactions has been comparatively very small.

2. Long Sleeved Bed Clothes

As most bed bug bites occur on areas of exposed skin, it makes sense that one of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself is to cover up as much skin as possible.

Long sleeved and long legged bed clothes or pyjamas will therefore go a fair way towards preventing too many bites occurring. 

Wearing a hoodie or a onesie may provide even more thorough protection.

 

3. Sealable Luggage Covers

A simple way to keep them out of your luggage is to invest in some sealable luggage covers.

Obviously you need to make sure that you keep the covers on your luggage at all times when you aren’t using them. 

Another way to use them of course is to help you from bringing bed bugs from your hotel room into your house when you arrive back home. 

You can take your luggage out to the back yard or patio or straight to the washing machine to kill any remaining bed bugs with some heat – mentioned here in a previous blog.

4. Mattress Cover

Probably one of the best investments you can make to protect yourself from bed bugs when travelling.

Although the mattress is not the only place that Bed Bugs tend to lie in wait of a human, a good mattress cover is likely to reduce significantly the number of them that can attack you.

You can pick these covers up on Amazon for between $25-$65 for a Queen mattress cover. (Please Note I receive a small commission from sales through this site).

5. Bed Bug Barrier - for Bed Legs.

Quite a crafty invention, the legs of your bed sit in the bed bug barrier which then prevents the bugs from climbing up the bed legs.

Quite inexpensive, but then you will probably need from 4 to 9 of them, one for each bed leg.

You can pick up a 4 pack od the Bed Bug Blocker Pro for $15.99 US.

6. Hard Case Luggage

This one seemed a little odd to me at first. I mean, are we to believe that bed bugs are capable of chewing through the nylon of soft sided luggage pieces?

So I read up a bit more and realised that, no, that isn’t why hard sided luggage is recommended.

Apparently bed bugs love to tuck themselves into those seams and zippers that run around the edges of soft sided luggage bags.

In contrast hard sided clam luggage has much less spaces for them to hide in and stow away for the ride back to your inviting home.

Holy Cannolis! Check this one out.

7. A Travel Bag That Heats Itself Up to Kill Bed Bugs!

A company called Thermalstrike have created a bag that they claim will heat up to a temperature (requires a power outlet) that will actually kill any bed bugs in your luggage!

As you can imagine, you’re not going to get luggage like that very cheaply, and you can expect to pay at least  $199.95 for one of these bad boys.

 

Here is the website of the company that makes them, Thermal strike.

I think it has to be the most novel travel product idea that I have come across in a long time.

You can also read an independent review on this product here.

Nest Bedding®

8. Plastic Bags for Wrapping Clothes

A plastic bag with clothespin it

Got to be the cheapest (almost free) and easiest measure you can take to protect yourself from bed bugs is to wrap them up in plastic bags inside your luggage.

Obviously keep a bag or two exclusively for clean clothes and another for dirty clothes. You may also want to pack another for clothes you think may be contaminated with Bed Bugs, so that you don’t allow them to spread any further.

9. Laundry Additives

If you get a chance to do your laundry whilst you’re away, there is a range of laundry products that claim to kill bed bugs.

If you don’t get the chance on the road, then of course you could use the detergent as soon as you get home and do the whole wash.

Laundry industry website Pressure Washerify have posted a list of 7 of the laundry detergents claiming to kill bed bugs click here to check out their picks.

Another good idea is to wash at a high temperature (make sure to check the washing instructions on your clothes first), as high temperatures are known to kill bed bugs.

 

10. Bed Bug Traps

Most of the bed bug traps on the market tend to use some type of glue or adhesive which is attractive to bugs and then traps them by sticking to them.

One that I particularly liked the idea of is JT Eaton’s Bug-O. They have circular traps that can go around the feet of your bed to ensure that they don’t climb up the legs to get to you.

This is only useful of course if you have made sure that they are not already in your bed!

11. Portable UV Vacuum Cleaner

First things first– the evidence that Ultraviolet light in a vacuum cleaner can kill bed bugs is very scant.

So don’t get too excited about the claims by advertisers that their UV vacuum will kill bed bugs.

What the UV light on these vacuums is great for, is detecting where the bed bugs are and where they’ve been.

This makes it easier to help you eradicate them by vacuuming and cleaning these areas.

Many of them are small enough and light enough that you could pack them in your luggage without losing too much space.

Here is a guide to some of the best portable UV vacuum cleaners by Trends Vacuum, a company that reviews all kinds of vacuum cleaners. 

Some Gear for Your Kit Bag

I wouldn’t imagine the you’d attempt to pack all of these tools in your luggage for your next great adventure.

What I do hope is that this article has given you some ideas about what products are available to keep bed bugs from sucking on your blood for their dinner.

Many of them I had never heard of and I’m sure there were some surprises in there for most people.

Please let us know in the comments what products you’ve tried and how successful they were at keeping your holiday bed bug free, I’d love to hear your experiences.

Check Your Mattress Before You Book.

If you’d like to know what kind of mattress you’re likely to get at the hotel you’re staying in, check out our hotel bed reviews by clicking here.

Or if you’d like to share your mattress experiences on the road we’d be delighted if you left a review by clicking here.

Wherever the road takes you, be safe, and happy travels!

Find your best sleep on the road
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