Did you have pimples when you were a teen? Have you ever crawled out of bed on the day of an important social event–like a dance or graduation–with a constellation of zits on your face? Have you had to put a Band-Aid on to cover a really bad one because it was better for people to think you were maimed than have them see the big red monstrosity on your face or neck? I think what we can take from this is that no one likes to have big red blotches all over their body.

You’re in college now, so those pimples aren’t as much of a problem as they use to be. But there is something worse than pimples–something that can wreck your entire spring break experience. That’s right. Bed bug bites. If you don’t know what signs to look for, these silent blood feeders could make your face, neck, and back look like an acne breakout, while you’re trying to show off your beach body.

Bed bugs feed multiple times a night. After your first night staying in a place that has bed bugs, you won’t be wondering if they do. You’ll have the evidence to prove it. But by then it will be too late.

If you’re skeptical, I understand. Hop over to bedbugregistry.com and read some of the reviews. It won’t take long for you to realize how much of an impact these bugs can make on your vacation. Fortunately, I’ve compiled this quick list of helpful hints to keep you safe.

  1. Find out if you’ll be staying at a place that has a bed bug plan. Don’t be afraid to call them up and ask them if they have their rooms checked quarterly for bed bugs. Bed bug inspections help find bugs before they can grow their populations to vacation wrecking sizes. Also, find out if they offer compensation when bugs are found. If they have a compensation plan, you know you’ll have options.
  2. Type the name of your accommodations into bedbugregistry.com and find out if the place you’re staying at has had a bed bug report done. Be aware that these reviews are not verified, and people are able to say what they want. The more reports you find, the more you’ll be able to see what is really going on.
  3. Know what to look for in your room. Pull the blankets off the bed and look for tiny brown bugs or the blood spots they leave behind on pillowcases and sheets. Pull the edges of the sheet up and look to see if there is any black, sticky residue on the corners or seams o f the mattress. Use a flashlight to check the backboard and any upholstered furniture for bugs. And, be on the lookout for these bugs during your stay.

Recognizing what these bugs look like and the signs they leave could save your spring break from humiliation and ruin. Knowledge is power! Don’t you feel more powerful? Now, go have a blast. But play responsibly.