Prevention (in general hotel and unusual circumstances)?(17 posts)
I know there are plenty of threads on prevention here, especially where travel is concern, but my circumstances may be a tad unusual, so I thought I'd ask.
I expect to be going to Japan with my family in the near future. Though I haven't been there in decades, this trip has been terrifying me for months now. Reason: bedbugs. I've never had or seen them in person (although a coworker of mine did have them in his apartment), but the thought of the icky infestation and the thousands and thousands of dollars (that I can't afford) and hours I'd have to spend getting rid of them and buying new bedding (maybe even new books, if what I hear is true?!), maybe even more if I have to move, terrifies me.
I've thought of this issue every single day leading up to the trip (which is more than four months now). I've been half tempted to not go, to just board myself up in my apartment and cower somewhere. But of course I can't do that. (To explain, I think I have a bit of a general bug phobia. :))
Anyway. My family and I will be staying in THREE separate hotels during this trip. This being Japan, Bedbug Registry obviously has absolutely no info. Trip Advisor wasn't much help either, since for the smaller two, all the reviews (what few there were) were in Japanese! So here are the issues (besides any that may've come up above):
1) What are the best prevention tips that I can most likely get my family to go along with? I don't want to scare 'em too much, but we're a middling size group traveling with two small children, so bedbugs will NOT be the first thing on their minds, nor something they'll want to spend a lot of energy on. I can be vigilant all I want for myself, but I can't keep an eye on, or herd, my family all the time, and their problem can rapidly become mine. (I live away from my childhood home; I'll be spending about a week there after the trip.)
2) I think (though I don't know) at least one of the small hotels has Japanese style bedding instead of Western; the decor and furniture use is similarly Japanese. How the heck do I check THAT kind of room, and keep my stuff safe? All the tips I've seen so far are for Western style beds and rooms.
3) When I get home, what do I do with clothes that say to wash in cold water? How will they be hurt/shrunk? Will I be forced to only take clothes that I can wash in at least warm water?
4) Can they get into electronics, like laptops? I don't think I can decontaminate those, for obvious reasons.
I have dozens of questions, but most of those are probably covered by FAQs (such that I probably won't be told any different for my circumstances). More as I think of 'em, though. Thanks in advance.
I've asked similar precaution questions, I too am paranoid about upcoming travel. I hope you get some answers. So far I have not.
One thing I was specifically asking was about protecting dress clothes during travel. I also have too many things that can't go in hot water.
I also wonder where to put luggage in small rooms with no rack? So many questions running around in my head.
I would love to hear what sprays are good as added prevention. Some that definitely work and monitors for travel and home.
Bumping this one for you too.
Have you considered purchasing a Packtite? If you did that, when you got home you could simply take your suitcase and its contents, put them in the Packtite, and turn it on. It would heat everything to the necessary bed bug-killing temperatures, and then you wouldn't have to be concerned that you had brought them into your home. This would not work with a laptop, but if you're concerned about that, perhaps you can just bring a ziplock bag with you on vacation and store your laptop in that bag when it is not in use.
Packtite, Packtite, and Packtite!
Seriously, everything I take with me goes into the Packtite before it's brought into the house, even thngs that I bought while I was away. Most of my things are dry clean only, and you can Packtite them without any problems.
*looks up Packtite*
Interesting. Unfortunately, there are a few strikes against it in my situation:
1) Its general availability, which includes cost. Yeah, I know $300 is a small price compared to the potential costs of an infection, but it's still hard to justify with my current budget. Plus, the trip is VERY soon, so I'm not sure it's possible to get on such short notice. (Yes, I know I said "near future," but it's still pretty close, time-wise. I didn't really think about looking for a place like this until a couple of days ago. Just goes to show, I guess. :P)
2) As I mentioned, I'm stopping at my old home for six days before going to my own home, and I'm not sure getting the entire family to use this is feasible (assuming I could find it here and get it before we got home, which is sort of unlikely, given that it doesn't look like it's sold commonly in stores).
Still, it's a good idea for the future! Please keep 'em coming!
Further note: apparently, we're getting to our "main" hotel around midnight. Considering our travel with young kids, that'll make doing the proper checking before bringing the bags in difficult. Anyone have any direct info on the bug situation in Japan, BTW?
Well...you can hot dry all clothes and things that can go in the dryer on high for 60 minutes when you get home. If they are dry, then usually the clothes will do okay, and not shrink.
You can also protect clothes in suitcases with those giant ziploc bags and/or suit plastic covers.
Store suitcases in the bathroom, safest place.
Use 91% isopropyl alcohol to decontaminate suitcases if no packtite.
There is also sterifab spray, which you can get online.
New question: what to do with carry-ons that are too big to go into the dryer, especially my very black backpack? The books/papers inside? (Simpler is better, since again, multiple people with small kids.)
(This is in addition to the above; the trip's coming soon, so this is very much appreciated!
LBP/FreakinOut: Did you check the FAQ's?
BTW the bathroom would in theory be the safest place to keep things.
Greetings from Japan.
Now that we're here, I've discovered that prevention methods are pretty much futile. There are two rooms and twelve bags of varying sizes between us (thus too many to put into the bathroom and no luggage racks anyway), four other adults exhausted from a long plane ride and watching over two kids, and I was told by my mother that she thought my concern about where to put the suitcases was "paranoid" anyway.
So I've pretty much resigned myself to the whims of fate here. I'm spending six days at home after the trip before going back to my apartment, so I can at least take some precautions then. Otherwise, as I said, whims of fate.
Any last minute thoughts are appreciated, but otherwise, thanks for the help.
I think you're overlooking the value of inspection and monitoring upon return.
Watch the videos online about how to inspect hotel rooms.
Inspect all the hotel rooms--yes, even the ones with futons--to the best of your ability.
Be alert for possible bite responses and other signs including fecal matter while you're there.
When you're back home in the States, consider using passive monitors and install a few in your actual home when you arrive back from the stay with the family.
I'm not saying it's a fool proof method.
I am saying that it's been over 2.5 years since my infestation. I continue to travel 25,000 miles minimum on average every year. I haven't encountered them or brought a hitch hiker home since that first visit.
Yes, you should be wary. It is foolish to wander around completely oblivious to them. But it's also not nearly as likely as some people seem to think that people will encounter bed bugs on every trip taken.
If you can get online while you're there, you should be able to have passive monitors shipped to your place and to the family home you're staying in before going back to yours so that they are waiting for you upon arrival.
Well, we'll see if I get the chance to inspect the room I'm not in. I'm not sure I will. And unfortunately, these rooms right now have headboards... that can't be removed.
And given the reaction so far to my concerns, I seriously doubt I can get the family to shell out cold hard cash on passive monitoring. I could get for myself, but money is very tight... I know the initial expense would outweigh the expense later if something were to happen, but... I might just toss everything directly into the dryer and bag up my bags for a month. I'm not sure yet.
These passive monitors are just under $20 each. One on your couch and one on your bed at your own home really ought to be enough unless you live in a very large residence.
I understand that there is so much out there that it can be hard to sort out what is and isn't the most bang for your buck sort of purchase, but right now you have no known exposure. In that case, what you're most worried about is preventing infestation and eliminating an early infestation if you find one.
The advantage of those monitors (aside from price) is that they are basically designed to be ideal homes for any hitch hiking bugs, which would mean that you would likely contain all the bugs and get rid of them in one fell swoop.
Yeah, I felt like they were *everywhere*.
I'll think about the monitoring, though. The description says not to assume it'll catch everything... Hmm.
Isolate your luggage in garbage bags when you return to avoid bringing a bug into the house.
As others have suggested, run dry clothing through the dryer and use Steri-Fab or alcohol to wipe down objects that are not suitable for the dryer.
Visually inspect your luggage contents closely.
Hope that you were able to enjoy your trip.
Question about the rubbing alcohol -- will it bleach anything? Would it hurt a laptop to wipe down the exterior with it?
And to the OP -- ever find any evidence of bedbugs on your travels or upon your return?
No, but I didn't check as hard as I could have in some cases. Plus, the group was divided into two rooms, sometimes three, and I couldn't really check other peoples' rooms.
Getting home, I found bugs, but they seem to be the non-bed type (in that they "bend" in the middle and appear to have multiple tiny feeler-type legs). But I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.
You must log in to post.