When we check into a new hotel, our main concerns usually revolve around security and cleanliness. But there’s one unconventional tip that can make a big difference—putting your luggage in the hotel bathroom, specifically in the bathtub. Now, you might find this strange, but it’s actually a preventative measure against bed bugs.

No matter how high-rated a hotel is, there’s always a risk of encountering bed bugs. These pesky creatures can hitch a ride on various surfaces, including your luggage. By placing your luggage in the bathroom, you are keeping it out of their reach until you can ensure the room is bed bug-free.

Marla Cimini, a travel consultant, points out the frequency of bed bug infestations in the hospitality industry. After stowing your luggage, she suggests thoroughly checking the mattress and bed—pulling out sheets from corners and sides, looking behind the headboard, and inspecting the drawers. This routine is also supported by entomologist Katelyn Kesheimer.

Now you may be wondering, why the bathroom? Kesheimer explains that bed bugs are rarely found in bathrooms. Guests spend minimal time there, and the surfaces are hard and nonporous, such as tile and countertops. Additionally, items in the bathroom like bathmats and towels are regularly cleaned, reducing the chances of bed bugs hiding there.

Bed bugs typically prefer places where people spend long periods of time and conditions that make it easy for them to hide and access blood meals. They seek out dark and flat areas to hide when they’re not feeding. Common hiding spots include beds, headboards, behind hanging pictures, beneath mattresses, in creases and folds, couches, accent chairs, dressers, and closets.

In case you suspect a bed bug infestation, Kesheimer recommends using your phone’s flashlight to carefully inspect your luggage before packing it again. If you discover bed bugs, you can isolate the infested luggage in large garbage bags until you can properly address the issue when you get home.

Upon returning home, experts advise unpacking your luggage immediately to prevent potential infestations. Bed bugs are experts at hiding and will wait until the coast is clear. Failing to clean your luggage can lead to a potential infestation in your closet. To effectively eliminate bed bugs, give your luggage a 45-minute high heat treatment in the dryer. It’s also crucial to clean your luggage thoroughly, as bed bugs can survive for over a year without a meal, posing a continual risk of infesting your wardrobe.

By following these simple steps, you can reduce the risk of encountering bed bugs during your travels and ensure a pest-free return home. So remember, next time you check into a hotel, give some thought to your luggage placement, and consider using the bathtub as a safe spot. Happy travels!