Recently the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a joint statement that advises: "Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. Bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide."
What's more, the CDC-EPA report notes "anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has an increased risk for being bitten and for spreading a bed bug infestation." So, yes, you need to be concerned about the bedbug problem not only while you're away from home, but even more so once you return.
The travel industry is aware of the problem, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) provides a rather practical "Bed Bugs Fact Sheet" that can help you deal with traveling bedbugs. Among the key pieces of advice:• When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing.
• Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
• Check your bedsheets for tell-tale blood spots.
• If bedbug activity is discovered or suspected in your guestroom, contact the front desk immediately.The AHLA says the room will be put out of service until a pest elimination expert certifies it to be pest free.If you're seeking more information, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides a comprehensive guide titled Managing Bed Bugs. In addition, USBedBugs.com markets a variety of travel-related protection products. (Consumers Union has not evaluated these offerings.)—William J. McGee