Is Ignorance Bliss When It Comes to Hotels and Bed Bugs? 

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I’ve heard people find bed bugs at Disney. I don’t want to know.

Checking for Bed Bugs

A couple of weeks ago MtM’s own Mark Ostermann came out to Vegas to help present at our meetup! (If you missed it check out our Events page for info on future meetups!) Anyway, as a great boss I picked him up at the airport and brought him to his hotel. Since we were going to do dinner I headed up to the room with him after check-in so he could drop his bags.

And then it happened.

The flashlight came out and the mattresses were up in the air. He was inspecting picture frames and parading around the room looking far too closely at far too many surfaces. Scared of what he would find, I held my breath until he reported back that the room was bed bug free. And pretty clean to boot. Score a win to Harrah’s Las Vegas. 

This process of checking for bed bugs is something Mark briefly mentioned on the podcast and will cover in a future post. It is also a process I know many of you go through when entering a hotel room for the night, but I just can’t get myself to do it. I simply don’t want to find boxes of condoms (something Mark has found more than once) or god knows what else under the mattress. It might scar me for life.

Hopefully there are no bed bugs in the sky! 🙂

I Stay in A Lot of Hotels

I get it. Bed bugs are really really hard and expensive to get rid of. My wife’s sister actually tracked bed bugs in her house and had to get rid of her living room furniture. And it sucks to get bitten by them as well. I have never personally had the pleasure, but others tell me it sucks. I believe them.

So when it comes to checking for bed bugs, I weigh the fact that I don’t want these creatures anywhere near me with the fact that when it comes to hotels, ignorance is bliss. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have stayed way over 1,000 nights in hotels including many hostels and lower-end guesthouses and I have never had bed bugs. Luck? I’m knocking on wood right now.

Is Ignorance Bliss?

So while Mark (who also stays in a lot of hotels) is inspecting every single room he gets into, I am not. Don’t get me wrong. I do look for obvious dirt, but don’t delve deep into the bowels of the bed. Am I right? Probably not. I mean it has worked well so far for me, but it is quite obviously a gamble.

With all of that said, I want to know what you think of it. I am less about finding out who is right and wrong and more about hearing from other road warriors when it comes to such important subject as this one.

So tell me in the comments. Is ignorance bliss when it comes to hotels and bed bugs? 

9 COMMENTS

  1. An informal poll of the Hyatt Travel Influencers:

    Do you check the hotel room for bed bugs before you stay?

    Yes, the entire room
    (5%)
    3
    Yes, the mattress at minimum
    (19%)
    10
    Sometimes
    (13%)
    7
    Never, or almost never
    (61%)
    32

  2. I’m in between. I don’t check everything. But I never leave my suitcase open or on the floor. I check the dressers, and, if I’m staying two nights or more, out my clothes inside.

    It has the added advantage of feeling homier, and making access to clothing easier.

    I used to travel a LOT. The only time I was really wore was at a Chooce hotel some booked for me and my coworker near DC. The whole place had seen better days, and just felt grimy.

    Nevertheless, no bites, thank goodness.

  3. I have a routine of leaving everything in the bathtub until I check the room out. I have encountered bedbugs once in Springfield MA and checked out after the manager insisted that the hotel did not have bedbugs even after being presented with samples of the crushed bloody critters.
    Why take a chance of going through weeks of inconvenience, expense and personal discomfort when all it takes is doing a 5-10 minute room check before settling in?

  4. I agree. Never check and so far so good. I’m afraid that I will be permanently scarred and never want to leave home. Ignorance is bliss.

  5. Well, you mentioned Las Vegas. I found a bag of white powder in a routine inspection of drawers on time. I told the hotel, and they handled it like it was a routine event. What else would you like to find or not find?

  6. I agree with Mark; I check every hotel room when I first check in. I’ve been lucky so far, but what happens if you do find bed bugs?

    What if the hotel is fully booked and there are no other rooms? And if there are bugs in one room, how can you be sure they’re not in other rooms? Where do you go late at night?

    Mark, this is a good topic for a podcast. I would like to hear from some of the hotel chains.

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