Forget about putting your suitcase into your hotel room’s closet-and don’t even think about throwing it onto your bed to unpack it. That’s what an insect expert says and the reason may make you cringe: It’s to avoid bringing home any unwanted guests. Brittany Campbell, entomologist with the National Pest Management Association, says bedbugs that hide on hotel mattresses, couches, and other upholstered surfaces can easily crawl into luggage, and that even luggage racks that keep bags off the floor can have critters hiding out in the device’s legs if those legs are hollow.
“Bedbugs are extremely skilled hitchhikers due to their ability to survive in temporary habitats, such as personal luggage,” Campbell says. So where does she recommend hotel patrons stash their belongings? In the bathroom, preferably in the bathtub, as bedbugs are least likely to end up there; They have a hard time climbing slippery surfaces typically found in bathrooms, like glass and porcelain, and they can’t fly. Campbell’s other suggestion, if you’re afraid you’ll forget your bags are in the tub and give them a good soaking: Put your luggage in plastic trash bags and seal them up after each time accessing them.