How to Keep Bed Bugs Off Your Luggage

Whenever you travel, you come into contact with the environment where you’re staying, as well as whatever is in your transport environment and on other travelers. You move through many different environments while traveling, especially by air.

Because of this, you can unintentionally get bed bugs on your luggage and bring them back home. Nightmare! Is there any precautions you can take?

In this article, we’re going to look at how to keep bed bugs off your luggage.

Here are three main ideas:

  • Spraying your suitcase with bed bug repellants will keep the dreaded mini-vampires away.
  • Avoid keeping your suitcase on beds or the floor where bed bugs can access it. Put it on a table or stand
  • Wrapping your luggage in plastic covers or luggage covers prevents the bugs from getting in.

Traveling is fun, but getting bed bugs in the process will make you wish you never had gone away. So it is always a good idea to take the necessary precautions against them. 

Bag your dirty clothes when traveling, as they attract bed bugs. When you get home, remove your clothes and wash them at high temperatures to kill the bed bugs. Luggage is one of the most popular ways bed bugs spread, find themselves in new locations, and bring about an infestation, so always be aware.

We’ll break it all down below.

What Happens if Bed Bugs Find Their Way Into Your Luggage?

Bed bugs are tiny, bugs about the size and shape of an apple seed. They love dark and secluded environments and are attracted to anything that smells like people, such as your clothes. However, they won’t stay in your luggage forever. They have to feed and be close to people. So as soon as you get home, they will try to find a new place to hide. 

Egg-laying females usually like moving around to search for new areas where they can lay their eggs.

Bed bugs lay their eggs on fabric, and most infestations happen on mattresses (but there are many other places infestation can occur). The eggs stick to clothes pretty well. The bugs will live in your clothes or any fabric and stay put until they can feed on your blood.  

If by the odd chance, the bed bug you came into contact with and hitchhiked your luggage is a female, it can start a new infestation all by itself. Crazy as it sounds, a female bed bug can mate with a male, and hold the sperm for weeks until a suitable area is found, and then cause her eggs to be fertilized.

As long as they have access to human blood, mated females will lay eggs for many weeks.

Then, once her children have molted and turned into adults, she will mate with her young ones, keep feeding and lay more eggs, causing an infestation.

Aah, the lifecycle of a bedbug.

Crazy as it sounds, a female bed bug can mate with a male, and hold the sperm for weeks until a suitable area is found, and then cause her eggs to be fertilized.

There’s no guarantee you can avoid bed bug infestation. But there are ways to prevent bed bugs from coming into contact with your belongings.

They can’t burrow into your luggage, so you don’t have to worry if you keep them closed and out of reach. However, remember to check the outside of your luggage. 

Bed bugs can hide in the wheels of suitcases, the piping around each edge of your case, and in the pockets. Scrutinize everything, because even just a crack or gap is enough for them to get in and hide.

Here is a guide on things to do when traveling, after your trip, and what to do once you get home.        

Precautions to Take When Traveling

When you travel, first inspect the place where you are staying. Check the pillows, mattresses, furniture, and anywhere else they can hide. Look for mattress blood stains that could be from bed bugs. 

Regarding your bag, ensure it is sealable and inaccessible to bugs. Do not place your bag in the extra bed in your room. Those little folding luggage racks? Use them!

If you have to choose a bag, find one that does not have crevices or seams where they can hide. Some companies make bags exclusively for this purpose.

Do not place your bag in the extra bed in your room. Those little folding luggage racks? Use them!

If you find bed bugs, contact the management and consider a different hotel. Do not ignore the problem. Bed bugs might be successful in hitchhiking on your bag, your clothes, shoes, coat, etc. And if they infest your home, it’s a nightmare that can carry on for up to a year.

You’ll not feel safe when you’re asleep, and you’ll be afraid you could spread your infestation just by visiting friends.

As a precaution, we don’t recommend unpacking and putting your clothes in hotel drawers as they could harbor bed bugs. Instead, if possible, keep most of your belongings in the bag.

Precautions to Take After the Trip

To prevent bed bugs from coming into your home, inspect everything before you enter your house. This includes personal items, clothing, and your luggage, even before you leave where you were staying.

Also, look out for bed bug poop; since they feed entirely on human blood, you might see some blood stains or dark red spots if they are there. 

Sealing clothes in a plastic bag and putting them in a large trunk also helps.

How to Keep Bed Bugs Off Your Luggage: What to Do Once You Get Home

When you get home, clean everything you have in as hot water as possible. We recommend setting your things down and unpacking your luggage in any room other than your bedroom. A garage or laundry room would do to avoid setting the bed bugs loose elsewhere. 

When you get home, clean everything you have in hot water.

Make sure that the room is well-lit so that you can inspect everything quickly and ensure that it is away from sleeping areas and furniture. When cleaning, you can also use detergent and dry it in low heat for around 15 minutes. This will ensure that the bed bugs die if there are any. 

As for the suitcase, you can vacuum it and kill the pests. Freezing also works, as bed bugs won’t survive in very low-temperature conditions. If your luggage is infested with bed bugs, it’s easiest to get rid of it (put a sign that says “bed bugs” on it, though!).  

Since bed bugs reproduce at an alarming rate, it is important to take action early, as you will quickly have a full-blown infestation on your hands. In the event of an infestation, contact exterminators or local pest control professionals to handle it. It’s a lot to deal with, and it’s good to have a helping hand.


By following the tips above, you can minimize your risk of getting bed bugs from your luggage while traveling. But you need to think holistically — it’s not just your luggage, you need to consider all your clothing and personal effects that were on the trip.

Good luck!