Even though thousands of travelers encounter bed bugs every year, popular booking sites such as Airbnb treat these pesky pests as if they were a rare occurrence. Bed bugs are no masters of disguise, but you’ll hardly be able to find them in Airbnb’s FAQs.
And you wouldn’t want to sleep in an infected bed for one more night, would you?
Since official Terms of Service won’t be of much help to you, we’ve compiled a list of tips on what to do if you get bitten by bed bugs as an Airbnb guest.
Here are your options:
Check for Tell-tale Signs
The first thing you should do as an Airbnb guest is to check for the tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation. And before doing that, you need to be aware of the most common signs of bed bugs in an Airbnb.
So how do you tell if you’re dealing with bed bugs?
- Red and itchy bites, often in zigzag lines, small clusters, and straight rows
- Blood stains on sheets, mattress, and bed frame, resembling rust spots
- Brown exoskeletons on the bed, shed by bed bug critters as they mature
- Bed bugs themselves, which can be seen with the naked eye
If you’ve been waking up with red and itchy bites on your arms, shoulders, and other parts of your skin that are exposed while you’re sleeping, then check for these signs immediately. Bed bugs, their blood stains, and exoskeletons can also be seen on other furniture, carpets, and curtains in the room.
Be sure to inspect everything thoroughly using a flashlight.
Take a Lot of Photographs
If you’ve found any evidence of a bed bug infestation, you need to immediately take photographs.
According to multiple bed bug victims that have complained to the Airbnb community in the past, the booking site’s customer service reps will need you to deliver two pieces of evidence – photographs of infestation and a doctor’s confirmation. Until you send them both, they won’t be able to open a case.
Consider Getting a Doctor’s Confirmation
You may want to consider paying a visit to the nearest doctor to get in writing that you’ve been bitten by bed bugs.
This step can be slightly problematic too, depending on the country you’re staying in. Keep in mind that, if you don’t have good travel insurance with medical coverage, obtaining a doctor’s note in a foreign country can get rather expensive.
If you’re short on money, you can always take photographs of bed bug infestation on site and then pay a visit to your doctor after your return home.
Contact Your Airbnb Host
Upon discovering the infestation, report the incident to the owner immediately.
Perhaps you’ll get to reach some kind of mutually beneficial resolution without having to involve Airbnb’s customer service as a mediator. Maybe your host can find you another place to stay as soon as tonight. Maybe they’ll offer to give you a refund. With either outcome, be sure to save all correspondence with the host. Airbnb is all about trust so try this approach first.
Open a Case with Airbnb
If the host is unresponsive or refuses to cooperate, call Airbnb’s customer service. Armed with evidence, you’ll be able to open a case against the host and seek a refund.
Unfortunately, not everyone receives fair treatment from Airbnb even when they do everything right. The booking site’s Terms of Service clearly state that “Any bookings will be made at the guest’s own risk”, meaning that hosts may not be legally required to refund your money in this and any other case.
The best you can do is try and hope that your host will do the decent thing.
What to Do if Your Luggage is Infested
Itchy bites are not the worst thing about encountering bed bugs. The fact that they’ll probably make a temporary settlement in your clothes and luggage and travel back home with you is far more unsettling. Unfortunately, this means that itchy bites won’t stop for quite some time in the future.
Here’s what you can do to stop bed bugs from entering your home:
- Pack all your bags and suitcases in large plastic bags before you leave the Airbnb.
- When you return home, dry wash your clothes on the highest temperature possible.
- Vacuum suitcases and seal them shut in plastic bags. Remaining bugs will suffocate.
- Regularly inspect your home for signs of bed bug infestation for a couple of months.
Consult a Bed Bug Lawyer
If you’ve returned from your dream vacation itchy and disappointed, there is one remaining option you should consider. By contacting a dedicated bed bug lawyer such as Bed Bug Injury Law, we will consult your case and asses if you have a case against your Airbnb host today!