Yep, bed bugs are definitely something you don't want to be bringing back - talk about a lousy souvenir. The nasty little insects are on the rise in the US and can show up everywhere from hotels to department stores. As far as spotting them, they're about one to seven milimetres in size, reddish brown, with a flat, oval shape. You're more likely to spot their fecal matter (little brown or black stains that resemble pepper flakes) or shed skins.
It's recommended to use a hard-shelled suitcase, as there's less opportunity for bed bugs to make their way in and hide. Belongings could be packed in ziplock bags - open them only as you need them. Though you'd generally chuck your suitcase on the bedroom floor, consider keeping it in the bathroom - again, it's harder for them to get in there.
Be sure to have a really good look around every room you stay in. Throw back the bedding and inspect the linen and pillows carefully for any evidence - go right into the seams, frame and behind the headboard. They can also hide in the folds of curtains and upholstered furniture.
You could also check online reviews of your accommodation - if there's been a bed bug infestation there before, chances are someone will have complained about it.
Once you've returned home, inspect your luggage and belongings really well - preferably outside or in the garage or bathroom. Washing your clothes in hot water and then drying them for 30 minutes should also kill anything you haven't found.
It's certainly an important thing to be aware of - whether you're travelling, or even renting your home as an Airbnb to overseas tourists. The nasty little bloodsuckers bite and they're tricky to get rid of.
Regarding last week's Buenos Aires question, Lynda Stallworthy emailed with some absolutely fantastic tips for the city. Here are some of them:
• The Puerto Madero area has the fabulous Puente de la Mujer and a private art collection that is better than most I've seen. It's owned by the richest woman in Argentina.
• The Japanese gardens are wonderful, and the Jardin Botanico Carlos Thays is very interesting as well.
• We stayed in Recoleta. The cemetery there is a tourist attraction. It has the grave of Eva Peron. The buildings are amazing.
• We wanted to cycle through the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur (the old waterfront) but it was closed all three times we went - but we did discover the food caravans there. They cook the meat and you assemble your sandwich (in long bread) yourself from a buffet. Delicious.
• We stayed at the estancia El Ombu de San Antonio de Areco for a couple of nights but we saw busloads of day trippers come out for lunch - a huge Argentinian style barbecue - and a horse-whispering demonstration. Some may also have gone horse riding.
Thanks for the tips Lynda!
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