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My Holiday

The terror of every pilgrim: bed bugs!

Fecha: 2019-09-26

The bugs of less than 5 mm in length are the terror of every pilgrim.

It is the most discussed topic during a camino, bed bugs. Or in Spanish: chinches. The bugs, less than 5 mm long, are the terror of every pilgrim. But also those of the accommodations along the various pilgrim routes.

No accommodation wants a bad review on TripAdvisor and therefore no pilgrims for the rest of the year

Bedbugs. They cause itchy bumps on your body. They have 6 legs with which they can walk fast. They cannot fly or jump. Bed bugs are usually found in bedrooms. They mainly hide in the seams of mattresses, in the gaps in the bed frame, behind the bed surround and at the baseboards. They are not easy to detect without being trained to recognize the signals. Bed bugs hide during the day. And only appear at night. They are attracted by our body heat and the carbon dioxide in our breath.

What should you do if you have bed bugs?

You don't feel it when you are bitten by a bed bug. A small red bump appears at the site of the bite. It looks a bit like a mosquito bite. You often find a few bumps in a row or close together. They itch. How you react to it, however, differs. Some pilgrims develop an allergic reaction, which also causes bumps that itch in other parts of the body. However, it may also be the case that you do not get bumps and therefore do not notice that you have been bitten. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases.

What to do:

  • Try not to scratch. That is actually the only thing. Things from the pharmacy, such as DEET, do not help. If you scratch open a bump, an inflammation can occur, sometimes resulting in a scar.
  • After discovering the bites, wash all your clothes and other items that you can wash at 60 degrees or higher and preferably put them in a dryer afterwards.
  • If this is not possible, spray it with special spray against bed bugs. Usually available in a (larger) supermarket.
  • You can put other items, such as books, in the freezer. That also kills the bed bugs and their eggs.

How can you prevent bed bugs?

What can you do as a pilgrim yourself to prevent bedbugs during your camino?

  • Always sleep in your own bedsheet.
  • Always place your luggage on the floor (or on a rack) or, if there is one, use a safe, so that the bed bugs cannot crawl into your backpack. Don't put your luggage on the bed!
  • Rather hang clothes in cupboards than store them in drawers or shelves.
  • Check your room for bed bugs in advance. Check sheets and blankets for droppings (red or black spots) and the seams of the mattress.

Finally, I want to clear up a misunderstanding. Pilgrims often blame the accommodations for the presence of bed bugs. In some cases it is justified. However, in the majority of cases it is the pilgrims themselves who transfer the bed bugs from one accommodation to another. Do you find a bed bug in your room? Then report this directly to the reception of your accommodation. They then put a protocol into effect and ensure, among other things, that the entire room is cleaned within 24 hours. Believe me, they really do everything to prevent contamination of other pilgrims. And they can use a little help with this. As a pilgrim, therefore, listen the above tips and contribute to a 'bedbug-free' camino. Deal?

Buen camino!

Annemiek Nefkens

Happy Holiday Manager


Ps. Do you have a tick bite? You can read our advice here.


About the author

Want to know more about Annemiek? Click here.


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