"I'm never leaving my house again."
—Everybody who has ever seen a bed bug in their hotel ever.
Back when I was traveling poor and sleeping in hostels (on good days) or train stations (on not-so-good days), I fully expected that I'd eventually wake up to find a spider on my face... or cockroaches in my shoes... or rats in my luggage... or some other infestation nightmare. I took every precaution I could but, when you're lodging on the cheap, there are inevitabilities that you learn to accept.
But I was ridiculously lucky.
With the exception of a minor ant problem once, I don't have any such horror stories to tell.
And once I was making a bit more money and started staying in nice hotels, I never thought I would. Even once a resurgence of bed bugs was being reported. "Surely that won't apply to me and my four-star hotel!" I'd say to myself.
Except I was living in a dream world and it was only a matter of time before everything came crashing down.
So when, at long last, I finally awoke to find two bed bugs crawling on my comforter, I was anything but shocked. My astounding run of luck had come to an end and nothing more. It was a horrifying wake-up call, and I tried to be grateful I wasn't bitten, but it's not like freaking out about it will do any good.
And that's when you start combing the internet to find out what to do.
Only to find out that any hotel can get infested with bed bugs regardless of how much money you pay. Even worse, no hotel is really immune from being infested because there's simply no way to avoid the problem when you've got a steady stream of people passing through your doors... any one of which could be bringing unwanted guests with them.
So this is my new reality...
The good news is that I found no evidence of bedbugs after baking all my stuff. But I regret nothing. Not the $350 I spent in bed bug defense. Not the extra time and effort it took to be cautious. Not the paranoia in going above and beyond in making sure I'm not unleashing an infestation in my home.
Because the alternative... having to get rid of bed bugs when they're so notoriously difficult to get rid of... is so much worse.
Better safe than sorry and all that.
And if you do any traveling? Better protect yourself. It's only a matter of time.