This way to adventure!

Hi there!

I’m Emily. I’m a writer living an unexpected expat life fueled by coffee and adventure. Home is where my art is.

(Currently: Brussels)

So you’ve become a bedbug feast.

So you’ve become a bedbug feast.

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Our recent trip to Lisbon was a great weekend away despite a string of more-hilarious-after-the-fact mishaps and misfortunes. If bedbugs are the worst thing we ever encounter in our travels, we could consider ourselves very lucky indeed.

Here’s some advice should you find yourself in a close encounter with Cimex lectularius. I hope you’ll never need it!

1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

(This is actually a pre-step but that’s just a technicality.)

I used to tease Joe for meticulously checking for bedbugs before moving our luggage out of its temporary bathroom quarantine but I pinky swear I’ll never do it again. He travels with a small flashlight in his bag and does a thorough once-over before committing to staying in the room. Smart guy, he is.

Not sure how to conduct your own check? This handy guide from the University of MN lays it out nicely.

2. Freak. Out.

(This step might be optional.)

In all seriousness, there are waaaay worse bugs out there. Bedbugs do cause nasty mosquito-bite-like welts in a small percentage of the population but they don’t spread disease, they can’t fly, they can’t jump and they’re about the laziest thing with six legs. You could spend your energy getting your panties in a bunch but your time would be much better spent doing the things likely to keep the bugs from coming home with you.

Full disclosure: I spent at least 5 minutes having a serious and very vocal case of the heebie-jeebies once it was clear that we’d been sleeping mere inches from the bedbugs’ lair.

3. Follow every single step in the U of M guide.

Read their pamphlet on what to do if you’ve stayed somewhere with an infestation and then follow it to the letter. It’ll be a pain and will probably cut into your travel time, but doing everything you can right away will lessen the chance the bedbugs’ll hitchhike home or anywhere else with you. We were lucky enough in Lisbon to have access to a dryer in our hell flat so we set into frying any buggers trying to get a free ride to Brussels.

4. Get some photographic proof.

In our case, the flat management company played dumb when we let them know that they had an infestation that had clearly been there for months (as we figured out from the number of bites and by finding their home in the headboard). Luckily, Joe had taken a few snaps to forward to the booking company when we lodged a complaint and asked for our money back. We still lost an entire morning spent heat treating all our clothes but we did get a full refund on our stay.

{Pictured above: the beautiful wrought iron outside the apartment. You didn’t think I was going to post a picture of the nasty things, did you?}

5. Move on and carpe diem.

Find somewhere else to stay (but only after taking every precaution to not bring the critters with you) and then go on with your travel plans. If you’re like me, it’ll be hard to shake the icky feeling of having your space invaded by six-legged bloodsuckers but it’s not worth letting them win the day.


I didn't expect this.

I didn't expect this.

City Break: Lisbon in Rainy November

City Break: Lisbon in Rainy November