roachDuring my last trip to New Delhi, India I stayed in the luxurious Taj Palace Hotel, unlike my first trip to Bangalore where I stayed in a nameless hotel completely infested with cockroaches. I’ve also slept with the little critters in the US (New Jersey), Turkey, and with mice in Minnesota.

Traveling on a budget to various places is inevitably going to have you sharing a hotel room, hostel, or airport floor with cockroaches. The little insects are somewhat disconcerting at first and can make your skin crawl but they generally don’t mind you. That said, there are some easy steps you can take to make peace with your 6-legged friends and keep them from disrupting your sleep.

  • Wipe Down The Sinks – You’ll see fewer roaches running around if you don’t leave any drops of water around the bathroom sink and bathtub. The moisture and humidity attract the bugs especially in the middle of the night.
  • Leave The Light On In The Bathroom – This may seem a bit excessive for some of you, but having spent the night in hotels where the bathroom was crawling with the buggers I found leaving the lights on to be effective. It doesn’t keep them all from showing their faces, but certainly reduces their numbers.
  • Keep You Bags Zipped – I’ve been focusing on the bathroom for a good reason – cockroaches don’t generally leave its vicinity. That said it’s still a good idea to zip up your suitcase and backpack pockets so you don’t have any hitchhikers.
  • Think Down Not Up – Cockroaches naturally prefer high places to lower ones so hiding your clothes on top of closet shelves is not the best idea. Believe it or not, if you’re roach-paranoid, leave your belongings on the floor, away from walls. (If you’re still having a hard time, pull your bed out a little away from the wall.)
  • Stay Cool – Both in your head and in your room. Lower temperatures encourage the bugs to stay in the (warm and toasty) walls and not on your bathroom door.
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There are also several natural cockroach repellents.

  • Catnip
  • Beer soaked with bread
  • Garlic

Cockroaches may also be more attracted to the colors blue and green, although the jury is still out on that one. After your first experience sleeping with cockroaches, it gets better each time. You’ll realize that by in large they don’t care about you and you’ll see less of them than you think. In addition to the tips above, do the obvious – don’t keep food out and flush the toilet.

[photo by: sirtrentalot]