Your average hotel room may be harbouring more dirty secrets than you might think

From dirt in hotel rooms to dirty billing practices, here's what you need to know before laying down to rest in your supposedly clean and fresh accommodations:

"Eco-friendly" May Actually Mean "Dirty Sheets"

Most people know that bedspreads are cleaned infrequently. But sheets can dodge detergent, too. Some hotels take a unique approach to the water-conservation trend and unless the sheets actually look soiled, they may not get changed. So if the sheets in your room look a bit suspicious, ask for a fresh set to be brought to your room.

Bed Bugs Abound

Pest-control companies say hotels account for more than 37 per cent of their bed-bug business, according to Pest Control Technology magazine. Here’s what to do to protect yourself: Before you book, search for the hotel on bedbugregistry.com. Once you get to the hotel, scan the mattress and couch creases for the tiny reddish-brown bloodsuckers and their black droppings. If you inadvertently bring bugs home, dry your clothes on high for 45 minutes to kill any stowaways.

Hot Beds for Germs

The worst germ incubators in hotels are the frequently touched surfaces, such as the thermostat, light switches, phone and TV remote. A professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona actually found more traces of fecal matter on these surfaces than in the bathroom! Give these surfaces a quick wipe-down with hand sanitizer or a disposable cleaning wipe. The next time you travel, you’ll definitely want to add sanitizer and cleaning wipes to your packing list.

The Dirt on Hotel Charges

Did you know that the average traveller is overcharged $11.35 a night? That’s according to an audit of hotel bills done by a firm called Corporate Lodging Consultants. So review your bill carefully before you leave the hotel and question every charge.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.