Ask yourself these questions:
Are there crumbs on the floor? Are the toiletries new? Does it look like someone's been sitting on the bed? Don't be afraid to ask for a cleaner room. Don't be afraid to leave and go to a new hotel! And, don't carry your luggage in until you have given it a good once over for Bed Bugs!
About Bed Bugs:
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that live on blood. They are like fleas. Like most spread of invasive species, people brought them here through travel, which is why we find them mostly in hotels. Whether it's a 5 star hotel, or a no star hotel, no building is immune. They breed quickly and in large numbers and they do so before we can detect them. The worst part is a great deal of pesticides just don't work on them. You have to nuke them to be rid of them.
They love dead skin cells. They also love warm, wet places. They prefer exposed skin, preferably the face, neck, and arms of a sleeping individual. The neck and jaw line are particularly favored places to feed.
Checking for bed bugs:
Before you book, go to www.bedbugregistry.com to check the bed bug history of 1,000's of hotels.
Take off the bedding and expose the mattress. Life up the mattress and look for the rust colored excrement that bed bugs leave behind. Bed bugs are small, but visible to the human eye. They are oval, brown, wingless insects. You'll recognize them when you see them.
What to do if you find bed bugs:
Ask for another room that has no history of bed bugs and has no history of being above, below, or adjacent to a room that has been infested. Don't feel shy about leaving the hotel all together. Carpets, Linens, and Bedding:
Carpets are vacuumed, however they are not frequently steam cleaned. Bring a pair of socks specifically for the carpet.
Towels are pretty clean. Most hotels have a laundry system that can keep up with towel usage. The same can be said for bed sheets and blankets. It's the bed comforters that they tend to not clean with any kind of frequency. Any bodily fluid you can think of, no matter how nice the hotel, will probably be on there. Some nicer hotels are using comforter covers that are easy to change out and clean. My advice it to take bed spread off and use only the blankets and sheets underneath. If you get cold you can always call down for extra blankets.
Things to clean yourself:
Have disinfecting wipes and Lysol for remotes, light switches, alarm clocks, and lamp switches. Bathroom:
The bathroom toilet and shower are probably the cleanest part of your room. They get a good cleaning.
Ask yourself, "What is in the maid's cart?" If it is not in there, it's not getting changed out and perhaps not getting cleaned. Those glasses and coffee pots that live in bathrooms are probably not going through the hotel commercial dishwashers as often as you'd like. Bring a travel size bottle of dishwashing soap for glasses and the coffee pot.
The most deadly germs cannot survive outside the human body. You are generally safe from most bacteria and viruses. Use proper precaution if you have children, elderly, or persons with compromised immune systems in your traveling party. Most hotel rooms are very clean. The bottom line as a consumer – there are limitations in lower-end hotels that higher-end hotels do not have. You get what you pay for. Make sure you follow Joy Benedict on Twitter @joybenedict.