F*ck bed bugs. I have gotten them three times during my travels. I swear I'm like a magnet for those little bastards. There was a time when I was sharing a room with literally 7 other people, and I was the only one covered in bites in the morning.
Fortunately for you, I'm a pro at taking care of them now.
In case you don't know anything about bed bugs, here are the basics:
1) Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood and are mainly active at night. They're like little forking vampires.
2) Their name is derived from their preferred habitat - your goddamn bed. (A sacred and holy place for me.)
3) They feed along the vein, so look for bites in clusters or lines. The bites are painless, but they may itch.
4) They can live for months, or even a year, without feeding.
5) I hate them.
If you're on a trip, wake up, and discover bites, DO NOT bring your luggage back into your home (or anywhere else for that matter). Although bed bugs prefer a mattress, they will climb inside your suitcase and make a nice little home there. So do yourself a favor and keep your stuff outside until you're done debugging.
It takes high heat or extreme cold to get rid of bed bugs. You can't just wash them out of your stuff. The first time I got bed bugs, people kept telling me to put all of my stuff in garbage bags and then throw the bags in the garage during the whole summer or winter to make sure that they were all dead. Ain't nobody got time for that!
So if burning all of your possessions isn't an option, here's the second best choice:
S T E A M .
Steam your clothes. Steam your luggage. Steam your shoes. Steam every-damn-thing. And if they got into your home, steam the shirt out of your mattress, box springs, bed frame, blankets, couches, curtains, rugs/carpets, etc. (Note: You may want to call pest control in severe cases.)
You don't need a big fancy steamer; just grab a cheap travel size one. Steam is steam. The only difference between the two is the capacity. However, if you have a big infestation, feel free to grab a larger steamer so you can tackle your issue more efficiently. I love having a travel steamer because I can take it with me on the road. It gets rid of wrinkles and, if necessary, bloodsuckers.
After you're done steaming, seal your bed up with a mattress protector to make sure bed bugs can inhabit your resting place. Even if you didn't bring them into your home, wrap it up. It will help ease your anxiety at night and protect your very expensive mattress in case you somehow bring them back into your home.