If you stay in hotels, you run the risk of bringing uninvited guests home with you. Bed bugs are notorious for hanging out in hotel rooms. In fact, there are have been recent epidemics of bed bug infestations in US hotels. One study claims that about $250 million is spent each year fighting bed bugs. Here are four steps you can take to prevent bedbugs from hitching a ride home with you.

Inspect the Beds

Before you unpack your luggage, inspect the bed. That way, you'll be able to check for bugs before you spend a night in the room. The first thing you should do is remove the blanket and top sheet. Take a look at the fitted sheet. Look for small spots of reddish or brown stains on the sheets. Those spots may be dry blood stains, indicating that a previous guest was bitten during their stay. Next, remove the sheet and inspect along the edges and crevices of the mattress. You'll want to look for small bugs, egg casings, or brown droppings. Finally, lift up the mattress and look underneath. That's where bedbugs tend to hide during the day. If you find any of the signs described above, check out of the hotel immediately.

Keep Luggage and Purses off the Beds

Even if you don't find bedbugs on the bed, you should still take precautions to protect your clothing. Bedbugs can hide inside mattresses. To keep bedbugs from climbing into your luggage or purse, you should keep those items off the bed. Place them on the luggage rack inside the closet for maximum protection.

Quarantine Your Luggage and Wash Your Clothing

Once you get home, you'll want to quarantine your luggage for a few days. You should also wash your clothing. This will ensure that any stowaways stay out of your home. Take your clothing out of the luggage in the laundry room and immediately wash your clothing. Place a black trash bag over your luggage and seal it. Set the bag out in the sun for a few days. During the summer, you can also place the bag in the trunk of your car to speed up the heating process. The heat inside the bag will kill the bugs.

If you're going to be traveling, you might come in contact with bedbugs. The last thing you want to do is bring them into your home. You can help reduce the chances of a bedbug infestation by following the simple steps provided above. If bedbugs do happen to sneak into your home, be sure to contact an exterminator from a company like Arab Termite and Pest Control as soon as possible.