Bedbugs, Head Lice, and Mold: 7 Reasons Travelers Skip the Hotel

I have a pretty high tolerance for grossness so I can’t say that staying at a hotel has ever really bothered me. Ignorance is bliss I guess. Still, I thought this was a pretty interesting article so I’m anxious to know, do you worry about these things, and does it influence where you stay?


That’s about all you can say in regards to some hotel rooms that are just unfit for inhabitants. That’s also one of the main reasons why many travelers choose to skip their hotel stay altogether. Some hotels do try to alleviate the problems. Other hotels don’t try at all. Based on the following seven frequently found reasons, travelers choose to simply not deal with the grungy accommodations found at many hotels and decide to go the vacation home route instead.

Adolescent bed bug
photo credit: StarMaster

1) Bed Bugs

Although bed bugs are common, they are not something you want to have greet you at your hotel room. Not only will a case of bed bugs itch and annoy you, but they can also travel with you, attaching themselves to your clothes and eventually finding their way into your suitcase. The best way to spot any evidence of bed bugs? Check the crease of the mattress and the bed’s baseboard for signs of any bed bugs skin, shells, and waste. There is more where that came from.

2) Stained Sheets

Housekeeping may forget to change the bed linen, and still may not do it unless you say something about it. Stained sheets are unacceptable and are a sure sign that no attention has been given to the room. If you find dirty sheets in your room, complain to the hotel manager, and maybe even watch the staff while they change the linen. Also, check the top bedspread to make sure it has been laundered. In questionable hotels, it often isn’t.

texture110 ttv stains
photo credit: Nasos3

3) Dirty Rooms

You can tell that the room is dirty when you first walk into it especially if there is an odor or a stale smell. But the dead giveaway is full trash cans, dirty counters, and dirty bathrooms.

4) Hair

Not your hair, but the hair from the previous occupant: you may find it on the bathroom counter or in the shower drain. Not good. When a room is serviced, things like hair in the drain stops are usually removed, but if hair remains in the bathroom, there are germs waiting to happen.

#537 Handprint
photo credit: Mikael Miettinen

5) Hand Prints

Sticky hand prints from small children and adults alike can be found in common area places like banisters, door knobs, and guard rails, and they can be very disgusting. These are a sure sign that the area hasn’t been cleaned.

6) Head Lice

Once you get a case of head lice, it can be a real nuisance to try and get rid of it. Picking up a case of head lice from hotel rooms usually means that the linen was not washed in soapy hot water.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks

7) Germy Areas

What people do in their hotel rooms is their business, and that’s the way it should stay! You shouldn’t have to walk into your hotel room and be able to tell what things the previous occupants did there.

These seven reasons are enough to discourage most travelers from even considering a hotel stay. But what is the alternative? Vacation rentals may be one, where the amenities are more like home and much nicer than those questionable hotels.

Jennifer Williams is a writer, turned traveler, turned blogger, who has traded in her nomadic ways for a laptop and comfy couch. You can find her on Twitter, @JtotheWilliams.

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21 thoughts on “Bedbugs, Head Lice, and Mold: 7 Reasons Travelers Skip the Hotel”

  1. Yeah you definately do NOT want to use Holiday Inns at the beach in Delaware, particularly the Bethany beach Holiday Inn as they are reported to do nothing about head lice customer complaints. In fact, on the Conde Nest Hotel Chatter site, the manager blamed the people for bringing it themselves.

    I have had similar issues with the arrogant idiots running the bethany Beach Holiday Inn. They are unethical @sses who laugh at you behind your back if you complain about anything at all. DON”T waster your money.

  2. I saw a commercial about a hotel that washed their comforters for every new guest. Awesome I thought, til I thought about how much water they waste. In general I just try not to think about it, and wear way more clothes than normal when sleeping in those beds.

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