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I love traveling in the developing world, but I don’t love dealing with insects – and I especially don’t want to bring them home with me. However, as more and more travelers vacation in exotic places, that’s exactly what’s happening. As suitcases move around the world, insects get a free ride. In the U. S., New York tops the list of cities with major bed bug infestations, followed by Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, and San Francisco.

Guest blog brought to you by travel  writer Elizabeth Hansen @ Staying Healthy

Hotel bed and bed bug prevention

Don't put your suitcase on the floor in your hotel room.

What’s a traveler to do? An easy precaution is to put your suitcase on a luggage rack, not on the floor in your hotel room. Bed bugs can’t climb metal – so the perfect suitcase stand will have metal legs. You might even keep your suitcase in the bathtub. Apparently the bugs can’t summit the enamel sides. Another innovative idea is to seal your suitcase in something bed bugs can’t penetrate – like a BugZip Luggage Encasement The heavy-duty vinyl bag has a zipper on three sides that allows you – but not the bugs – easy access to your clothes. It’s especially important to take precautions at night when the bugs are on the move.

Once home, deal with potential hitchhikers by emptying suitcases right away and putting clothes directly into the washing machine – not a clothes hamper. Machine dry everything possible. Studies have shown that bed bugs cannot survive temps of 120° F (about 45°C) or more in a clothes dryer.

It’s also a good idea to store empty luggage in your garage or another location away from your clothing and bedding.

“Increased worldwide travel” is the number one reason that bed bugs have made a “comeback” in the developed world, including the U. S., Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but don’t let this keep you from enjoying an exciting trip.

Just do your best to avoid the little buggers and make sure they don’t follow you home.