If you’re worried about bedbugs affecting your holiday

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

You might have seen videos and photos of bedbugs on hotel mattresses, in schools and on public transport in Paris and other parts of France.

If you're worried about bedbugs affecting your holiday, you might be able to:

  • cancel or amend a holiday you’ve booked

  • move hotel rooms or accommodation if you’re currently on holiday

  • claim compensation if your holiday was affected by bedbugs

Cancel or amend a holiday if you're worried about bedbugs

What you can do depends on the type of holiday you’ve booked.

If you've booked a package holiday

You should be able to cancel your holiday at any time before it’s due to start. You’ll probably have to pay a cancellation fee, which might get higher the closer to the start of your holiday you cancel. For example if you cancel the day before your holiday is due to start, your fee might be higher than if you’d cancelled a month earlier.

Check your contract with your package holiday company to find out if you’ll need to pay a cancellation fee. 

You might be able to rearrange your holiday for another date or transfer it to a different person. Check how to cancel a package holiday.

If you've booked your accommodation directly

You might have booked your hotel room or accommodation directly or through a 3rd party website such as Airbnb or booking.com.

If you booked accommodation which allows you to cancel your booking for free, you should be able to cancel or move your booking.

If you paid the hotel directly or paid a set price on a 3rd party website, you might not be able to get your money back if you cancel your holiday.

You should contact the company you booked with to check if you can rearrange your booking or change the destination. If you explain the situation they might agree to rearrange your booking. 

You might be able to claim any money back from cancelling your hotel or accommodation if you have travel insurance. Contact them to check if they’ll cover cancelling your hotel because of bedbugs.

If your holiday is cancelled because of bedbugs

If your hotel or accommodation is affected by bedbugs, your holiday company or 3rd party website might contact you to change your hotel or accommodation. Check your contract to see if you have to accept, or if you can ask for a full refund.  

If you’re on holiday and have bedbugs in your room

You should:

  • move all your clothes and belongings away from the area 

  • take photos and videos of the bedbugs

  • complain to your hotel reception and ask to change rooms

  • wash all your clothes on the hottest wash possible

If you have to pay to wash your clothes, keep any receipts in case you can claim compensation from the accommodation or your travel insurance. 

If your hotel or accommodation refuses to move you to a new room or doesn’t accept that your room has bedbugs, you should contact the company you booked with to complain.

You might need to pay for a new hotel room or move accommodation - keep all your receipts, you’ll need these to claim any compensation after your holiday. 

Bedbugs can bite and cause the area to itch and swell. Check how to care for bedbug bites on the NHS website.

If you’ve been bitten by bedbugs and need to see a doctor or get medical help, check how to do this through your travel insurance. If you’re travelling in Europe you can use your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) card. Check the rules on travelling in Europe.

Getting compensation if you were affected by bedbugs on holiday

If you complained and your hotel or accommodation didn’t do anything, you might be able to claim compensation from them or the company you booked through.

You’ll need to have as much evidence as possible. Try to gather:

  • photos or videos of any bedbugs in your hotel room

  • any communication with your hotel complaining about bedbugs - for example emails

  • any receipts for extra costs - for example washing your clothes or medical treatment you needed

Check how to claim compensation for a holiday.

If you didn’t complain about bedbugs at the time, it’s very hard to claim compensation afterwards. 

If you have travel insurance you might be able to make a claim through them. Check their process in your travel insurance contract or on their website.

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone or by email.

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Page last reviewed on 12 October 2023