As with most things in life, it’s necessary to find a balance between safety/cleanliness and not going overboard or becoming paranoid. ha! Take this list for what it is…suggestions. Most of these things take less than 30 sec. to do and can save you either time (from unpacking THEN changing rooms) OR headache (from taking bedbugs home with you) OR illness (from a room not properly sanitized)….and certainly save you from danger if danger lurks. Ten minutes going through this list (or portions of it) may end up being time well-spent.
1. AT CHECK IN Confirm that your room is what you reserved: Check the rate, room type and any special requests (N/S, location, floor, etc…) and CHECK OUT DATE. Once you ‘accept’ everything at check in, you have no recourse later. ALWAYS have your confirmation e-mail – either printed or electronically.
NOTE: Women traveling alone should always request two room keys. A well trained clerk will automatically give you two, however, if the clerk is not quite up to par and asks the question, don’t alert anyone nearby that you’re traveling alone.
2. Security Checks: Before locking the door, check the bathroom, closets, under the bed and behind the curtains. It’s unlikely that there will be an intruder, but checking just takes a few seconds. Once you confirm the room is ’empty’, secure the door.
3. Place your luggage on a hard surface. It’s tempting to throw the suitcase on the bed or chair, but if there are bedbugs in the room, THAT’S where they’ll be. Instead, put your luggage on the luggage rack.
4. Quickly use an antibacterial wipe on frequently touched surfaces like door handles, bathroom fixtures (handles), TV remote, lamp switches, telephone, temperature controls and alarm clock. (whatever you plan to use) While there’s no need to go overboard with this, it really only takes about 90 seconds…. and be aware that hotel TV remotes are often the dirtiest thing in the room. Yes, housekeeping SHOULD clean these, but you never know if they really take the time to do it. 🙂
NOTE: Purchase a small package of 15 Clorox wipes at the Dollar Tree for $1. It will last through several trips (just seal in a ziploc bag between trips).
5. Quick Checks:
- Check that windows and terrace doors are locked. (Unless you have mobility issues and there’s no elevator, request an upper floor)
- Check the hot water and the toilet flush as well as the heat or a/c . (It’s easier to move to another room BEFORE you’ve settled in.)
- Make sure the alarm clock is turned OFF. 🙂 You don’t want to be awoken tomorrow morning at a time set by the previous guest.
6. Check for Signs of Bed Bugs: A telltale sign of these creatures is brown specks around the headboard, mattress seams, and bed frame. Check as briefly – or in depth— as you wish. (We encountered these on our last hotel stay…in a very nice hotel with raving reviews. From now on, I’ll check VERY carefully!!! Lesson Learned!!)
Quick Check: look around the headboard, the seams of the pillowcase or under the alarm clock or lamp
Detailed Check: (If you’ve ever taken these critters home you’ll be more apt to do an in depth check the next time you’re in a hotel….) Lift the corner of the sheet and check the seams. Check under the bed around the legs and edges and seams of the mattress.
After determining there are no bed bugs, it’s ‘safer’ to put your luggage on the bed or chairs.
Note: Bedbugs do NOT spread disease…they’re not dangerous in any way. They’re just very difficult (and expensive) to get rid of if you bring them home with you.
7. Remove the Comforter Most hotels do not wash bedspreads, blankets, etc…after each guest.
8. Wash Glassware before using: Have you seen the YouTube video of housekeeping staff in a hotel wiping used glasses out with the used hand towel, then putting them out as ‘clean’ for the next guest? There’s no hot water, no soap, no heated drying to sanitize…just a wipe…with a dirty towel…and it’s ready for you. The only way to be truly assured these are clean is to clean them yourself…. You can use hot water and the bar soap in the room…or a drop of shampoo. Honestly, ‘soap’ is ‘soap’.
Undercover news report filmed at a Hilton, Embassy Suites and Sheraton: