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Bed Bugs & Backpacking

This topic is not one of my favorites to write about, but every backpacker has heard of someone getting little red bites. What are the little red bites? Well yes, I am talking about bed bugs. Yuck, I know but traveling all over the world and staying in hostels there is a slight chance that the little bugs may attack you. It happened to me.

While I was backpacking in Europe a few years ago, I came across the bug at one of the hostel’s I was staying at. It was in Barcelona, one of my favorite cities in Europe. Although, one of my worst hostel experiences. I was in Barcelona for about five days, and I couldn’t find a hostel since most of them were all full. I didn’t really think of booking a hostel only because in every country I was traveling to, I would just wing it and go from there. So I ended up jumping from one hostel to another within those five days I was there. The last hostel I was at, I happened to wake up with little red bumps all over my body. Well for the most part. I really wasn’t aware of the bumps until I got on the train to Madrid. Another backpacker came up to me and mentioned that I should look in a mirror because I have little bumps all over my face including my arms. Once I saw it I kinda freaked out. Well I guess anyone would, it looked horrible. Once I reached Madrid I went directly to see a pharmacist, whom I thought could help me clear this mess up. The pharmacist told me I had a really bad case of the bed bugs. So gross, and my next stop was the hospital. Thank goodness I am a European citizen with a valid passport, only because I could check myself in without paying a fortune. I ended up getting medication for it and within a week it started disappearing. Although, traveling with little red bumps all over was not very appealing. So for the most part I was backpacking alone.

Now, I have heard of many fellow backpackers getting into this problem too, so how do you make sure you avoid it?

There are a few ways to make sure you don’t wake up looking like a zombie.

• If you pay for a hostel that is crazy cheap, I would reconsider your options. Usually places that look or feel a little shady aren’t often the best places to crash for the evening.
• Try not to leave any of your clothes on the floor or just laying around. Often at times this can be the easiest way of getting the bugs. Putting your bag/ personal belonging on a shelf or something above the ground is a smart idea.
• Scope out your room and bed. If you feel uneasy about it, go to the front desk and ask to change rooms.
• Bring a sheet layer. It is bed sheet with a certain material that goes on the bed without any dirty things entering through. It’s easy to get and perfect for those nights where you feel a little uneasy about the hostel’s cleanness.

Overall, be sure you are staying in a hostel that scores high in the cleanness level.

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