Bedbug Etiquette*note: The photo above is obviously not of a bedbug. I would never make you look at that.
Have you ever had bedbugs? I feel your pain.
Backpack long enough and you will definitely come across these little shit disturbers. They can be anywhere – upscale hostels, crappy dumps, dorms, private rooms, sex motels (not an intentional visit!). The main purpose of bedbugs is to ruin your night.
Luckily for me *sarcasm intended huge here*, I’m particularly susceptible. Bryan and I can be in the same bed, I’ll get eaten alive while he’s peacefully dreaming the night away.
These little blood suckers are out to get me.
When notifying staff of an infected bed, my experience has ranged from “Oh no, we’re going to fix this ASAP!” to “YOU brought those here, you filthy backpacker!” (um, no, I really didn’t). Unfortunately, the latter reaction leads to the perpetuation of bedbugs – no one likes to be shamed for bedbugs and therefore may stay quiet. We’ve met people who have told us their beds were infected, but they just left without mentioning it and set up the next visitor for a shitty night.
Kaili’s Recommendations for Bedbug Etiquette:
1. Speak up if your bed has creepy crawlies. Tell the staff immediately, stand your ground and don’t feel ashamed – bedbugs are just a reality of backpacking. If you don’t let them know, nothing will be done and you’re just setting up the next backpacker for a very unpleasant night. Not Cool.
2. If you get bit, make sure you wash ALL your shit. Check your bag thoroughly. Be sure you’re not carrying these little demons on to your next hostel. Also Not Cool.
3. Always keep your bag away from your bed if at all possible. This will make #2 easier. Prevention is easier than treatment.
4. Hostel Owners: Take reportings of bedbugs seriously. DON’T make the guest feel like it’s their fault. Blame us and we will respond with negative reviews online. Deal with the problem swiftly and competently (just dragging mattresses out into the sun doesn’t count) and we’ll sing your praises.
So, fellow backpackers and hostel owners, please follow the rules above so I don’t have to sleep in another bedbug-bed ever again. Cheers.