A Traveler's Guide to Avoiding Bedbugs, Germs in Hotels

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If you discover the above signs of bedbug life, call the front desk immediately and do not put your suitcase, coat or any of your belongings on the bed or near the site of the infestation. In most cases, the hotel staff will already be aware of the situation (bedbugs can, and often do, spread from room to room) and will move you to another room. If you have an inauspicious encounter with a stubborn front desk person, request to speak to a manager or even the hotel owner if necessary.

While there are no international standards for hotel cleanliness, under no circumstances should a traveler be expected to pay for a bug-infested room. If the hotel staff refuses a room change or a refund and you are 100 percent certain that your room is infested, find alternative lodging and write a review on your favorite hotel review site. Do your fellow travelers a favor and let them know that their money is better spent somewhere else.

Fortunately, getting stuck with a bed-bug-infested hotel room and a surly hotel staff to boot is unlikely. Yes, bedbug cases are on the rise all over the world -- but the majority of hotel rooms are free from these irksome insects. Avoiding bedbugs, the most democratic of all pests, is a crap shoot. Because bedbugs don't feed on filth, a hotel's cleanliness does not make a difference to a family of hitchhiking bedbugs arriving in the bag of a European tourist. Your best bet is to check your bed for bedbug signs (before you sleep in it or put your luggage nearby), keep your suitcase in a trash bag during your stay and vacuum your suitcase when you get home.

Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Hotels.com.

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