How to Avoid Bed Bugs in Hostels

Written by: Chris Richardson

Hostels are great places to stay while travelling, but nothing turns you off a hostel faster than finding out the bed has bed bugs. The sad thing is that unless you see it mentioned in a review online or someone tells you beforehand, you won’t know your bed has an infestation until you start feeling itchy or you see small blood stains on the sheets the next day.

You also can’t future-proof yourself from a case of bed bugs while travelling, but it does pay to educate yourself in advance so you have tips on how to deal with bed bugs if you should ever cross their path.

What To Do When Your Hostel Bed Has Bed Bugs?

If you stay in a hostel and find out that bed bugs have infested your room or bed, you should inform the hostel staff immediately and ask to be moved to a different room. Check for signs of bed bugs in the new room before settling in by inspecting the bedding, bed sheet, mattress and other surfaces. Just in case the whole hostel has been infected.

It’s important to put all your belongings into sealed plastic bags and not move them until they can be inspected and washed properly after finding bed bugs. In addition, make sure that you wash all of your clothing on a hot cycle (possibly multiple times) as soon as possible to kill any bugs that may have hitched a ride on your belongings.

Are Bed Bugs Common In Hostels?

Bed bugs are unfortunately common in accommodations like hostels. They can easily spread from one person to the next, and hostels are a prime source of, shall we say, individuals that might not clean their clothes or wash as often as they should.

Hostels provide a perfect environment for bed bug infestations to thrive, as people frequently stay for short periods and move from bed to bed. People often lay their bags and belongings on the beds, which can easily transfer the bugs from place to place.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

What does a bed bug look like

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped pests. They typically range in colour from white to reddish-brown and measure about 1/4 of an inch or 4 to 7 mm long. Bed bugs crawl around the bed at night, making them difficult to spot during the day. If you look closely, you may notice some telltale signs of a bed bug infestation, such as red spots on your bed sheets or dark spots along the seams of your mattress. Using a torch can help you spot them too.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and animals. Bed bugs typically crawl from one place to another in search of a new host. They are often spread through contact with luggage or furniture infested by bed bugs. Hence, keeping your bags and belongings away from the bed until you are sure the room is safe can help you avoid spreading them around.

For example, if someone stays at a hostel and their suitcase or backpack is infested with the little critters, those same bed bugs could crawl into other bags left on the bed next and so hitch a ride to the next hostel and so on. This can cause an entire hostel to be infested quite easily, given how often people move about rooms. Think from your bed to the couch in the common room and then someone else into their room.

What Happens When You Get Bitten By a Bed Bug?

When you get bitten by a bed bug, it can be a very unpleasant experience. Bed bugs feed on exposed skin while people are sleeping. The bite will appear as a red, itchy bump on the skin and can be very irritating. Although they do not spread disease, the itching associated with bed bug bites can last several days or weeks.

You might also not notice bed bugs have bitten you until a day or two later, which can compound the issue. Just know that if you get bed bugs, it’s not the end of the world. There are easy ways to treat their bite and get rid of them.

How Do You Treat Bed Bug Bites?

If you think a bed bug has bitten you, it’s important to treat the bite right away. Their bites can cause intense itching and irritation, so you should take an antihistamine or topical corticosteroid to reduce the itchiness.

You can also apply cold compresses or ice packs to the bite to help reduce swelling. Over-the-counter creams like calamine lotion can also help alleviate the discomfort caused by bed bug bites.

Additionally, practising good hygiene and washing your sheets and belongings, such as clothing, is important. By following these steps, you can effectively treat bed bug bites and help prevent future problems.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Fast

If you are staying in a hostel and have a bed bug problem, it is important to get rid of bed bugs quickly. Firstly, the hostel owners should inspect all beds and mattresses for signs of infestation. If there is an infestation, they should buy an anti-pest product to treat the area, which can destroy any bugs that come in direct contact with it.

Additionally, all bedding should be washed on a hot cycle, as this will kill off any bed bugs that may have been living in the fabric.

You kill the bugs and their eggs by washing everything in hot water. Hence why it’s best if you wash all your belongings on a hot cycle, clothes and backpack if possible. Just in case they found a way into your luggage. You don’t want to bring them to your next hostel or hotel.