1 in 7 U.S. Travelers Have Encountered Mattresses Infested With Bed Bugs in the Past Year


SEATTLE – Sleep Doctor, the leading online source for sleep health, improvement, and education, has published a report that investigates how prevalent bed bugs are in paid accommodations. The report also shares insight into how bed bugs impact travelers. Researchers gathered and analyzed responses from 1,565 travelers in the United States who have stayed overnight in paid accommodations this past year.

According to the survey, 14% of U.S. travelers say they have come across bed bugs this past year. The most common types of accommodations where respondents experienced this include 3-star hotels, 4-star hotels, 5-star hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Less common responses include 2-star hotels, bed and breakfasts, 1-star hotels, and hostels.

“The vast majority of bed bug cases have come from the budget properties,” says Attorney Christopher Johnston, who regularly represents clients in bed bug cases. “Although I haven’t had a bed bug case from a high-end property in the last year, I know they are out there because bed bugs are challenging to eliminate.”

The survey also reveals how respondents became aware that there were bed bugs during their stay. The most highly reported ways include visual identification, bites or skin reactions, and evidence of fecal stains or shed skin. Thirty-two percent of travelers did not realize there were bed bugs until after they had slept in the bed, while 68% realized beforehand. Of respondents who noticed beforehand, the majority slept in new accommodations. Others stayed in the same accommodations on a different bed, some slept on the floor, and some proceeded to sleep in the bed bug-infested bed.

“It’s important to note that the impact of encountering bed bugs extends beyond the initial exposure,” says Dr. Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and sleep medicine expert at Sleep Doctor. “The aftermath of being bitten can linger, with skin irritation and persistent itching prolonging the discomfort. Furthermore, this experience may serve as a lingering reminder, triggering elevated anxiety not only during travel but also in future circumstances.”

Among respondents who have encountered bed bugs, 80% say it impacted their sleep for days. Furthermore, 99% say the experience has impacted the way they travel. Seventy-three percent now say they will always check for bed bugs, 63% will spend more money to stay at better accommodations, and 55% will avoid certain accommodation companies or chains.

The survey was completed on SurveyMonkey in February 2024. In total, 1,565 Americans who stayed overnight in paid accommodations within the past year were surveyed. The sample was census-balanced for age, region, and gender. To view the complete report, please visit: https://sleepdoctor.com/best-mattress/1-in-7-travelers-finds-bed-bugs/


Founded in 2008, Sleep Doctor is a leading sleep wellness company committed to enhancing community well-being through extensive sleep education, meticulous product testing, and curated product selections. Guided by Dr. Michael J. Breus, Sleep Doctor has gained recognition as a reliable source in sleep health, empowering individuals to prioritize sleep and make informed lifestyle adjustments. The website provides product recommendations derived from hands-on testing, offering general information designed to supplement, rather than replace, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To learn more, please visit https://sleepdoctor.com/.

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