The team reveals the unwelcome guests said to be scuppering more holidays than ever, as bedbugs return with a vengeance. Simon Calder has advice on staying safe abroad.
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We asked you who has left you feeling ripped off when it comes to
your holidays and you came back with a catalogue of travel disasters.
When we got to the hotel, it wasn't to the standard.
We felt totally ripped off and we paid to move somewhere else.
It happens all the time,
that somebody else has paid less for the holiday that I've paid more for.
So, whether it's a deliberate rip-off, a simple mistake,
or a catch in the small print,
we'll find out why you're out-of-pocket,
and what you can do about it.
Your stories, your money, this is Rip Off Britain.
Hello and, in this case, a very warm welcome to Rip Off Britain
where, along with a little sunshine, from the lovely island of Tenerife,
we'll be bringing you plenty of tips and advice,
in particular on how to stop your holiday being totally ruined by the
arrival of some unwanted guests and in this case, we do not mean people,
-Angela, do we?
-No, we don't, Gloria. In fact, what we are talking about
are various creatures that when you're on the beach
or in your hotel room, are said to be on the increase.
So, as we find out just why that might be,
we're also going to be sure that you are armed with everything you need
to know to avoid them causing a problem and, Julia,
I am feeling that I'm itching already.
Yeah, well, all these ticklish little customers can prove more than
just an annoyance. In some cases,
they can actually make or break your holiday.
One in particular can be especially difficult to shake off
and what's more, it only really comes out at night.
So, it's just as your head is hitting the pillow that you may
suddenly realise you're sharing your sheets
-with some very unsavoury bedfellows.
Coming up: They're back with a vengeance.
So, what happens if they've infested your holiday accommodation?
It's just awful to hear the kids crying and I just felt...
We just both felt really bad, felt really guilty that it was
supposed to be fun for them and it had just turned into a nightmare.
And if it's true that there are more jellyfish than ever off UK shores,
what is the best way to avoid being stung on a day at the beach?
It looked like she'd had boiling water
poured over the tops of her legs.
They were really red and very hot.
It took us a long time to try and get her to calm down.
She went into anaphylactic shock.
Now, in our last series, we reported on a really horrible subject -
that of bedbugs in hotel accommodation abroad.
But I'm afraid now and I have to tell you,
I'm itching at the very thought of it,
the problem is rather closer to home, because those pesky,
unbearable critters are now hitching a ride back to our own shores,
in unprecedented numbers. And that means, and yes, you've guessed it,
even if you are on holiday in the UK,
you could find yourself sharing a room
with some of the most unwelcome bedfellows,
as happened to one family
who captured the whole thing late at night on camera.
Now, they're not the sort of guests anyone would want to share a hotel
bed with. They hide in your sheets and then they come out at night
to feast on your blood.
And if they get into your luggage, well,
you could end up taking them home as a souvenir.
Yes, it's the dreaded bedbug,
which, as we reported last year, seems to be making a big comeback.
We started seeing the bugs coming out from the headboard
and the sockets and behind the pictures on the walls
and everything again, and we said, we just can't stay in that room.
Tracey Lorenz told us how her holiday in Fuerteventura
was absolutely ruined by them.
I was really itchy, covered in bites,
all up my arms and legs.
I had bites up my face.
In my ears, where my face was on the pillow,
across my back and my front.
I was literally covered in bites.
I am so itchy already. Now, in the 1980s,
bedbugs had all but been eradicated in the developed world
but now, I'm afraid, they're on the rise again
and it isn't just on holidays abroad that you might come across them.
New infestations are reported in the UK every single week.
Now, Dr James Logan of the London School Of Tropical Medicine
is one of the country's leading experts on the pesky little devils
and knows all about the rise in numbers.
We found that there was around a sort of 30% increase
in bedbug infestations every year
and it's probably due to a number of things, including an increase
in people travelling, and that might be contributing a little bit
to bedbugs getting spread around the country.
And it seems they've spread to all kinds of different accommodation,
as childminder Nicky Martin found out after a much-needed night away.
Her children, Evie and Alfie,
had been so keen to go camping
but, worried about what creepy-crawlies
there might be around a tent, Nicky wasn't so sure.
The children really wanted to go camping.
We've camped before in the garden and they really loved it.
So we wanted to venture out somewhere a bit further.
We try to get out a lot, we ride bikes and we are quite outdoorsy.
I've never really liked camping that much because of bugs.
I'm a bit of a...like...
Bugs climbing in your ears and stuff when you're camping.
The family eventually agreed on what seemed a perfect compromise -
glamping, a more luxurious way of being close to nature,
which in this case meant camping in a wooden pod
and a front door to keep unwanted insects out.
Glamping, for us, was perfect.
It meant that we had the best of both worlds.
We could still have electric,
we could lock the door and still be outside.
Nicky booked one night in a camping pod
at the Billing Aquadrome Holiday Park in Northampton.
So we finally went ahead and booked it and then every day,
the kids were saying, "Is it today we're going camping?
"Is it today we're going camping?"
And then when the day finally came, they were just really excited.
And as soon as they arrived, the fun began.
Fairground and bike rides,
campfires, even toasting marshmallows.
And a great day ended with a much-needed night's sleep.
Or at least, that was the plan.
We'd been in bed about ten minutes before Alfie then started
complaining about being itchy
and we just thought he was sweaty cos he'd been playing
so much football with his friends and not had a shower.
So, we didn't really think much of it.
But when an hour later Alfie still couldn't sleep,
Nicky's husband Keith swapped beds
and soon he found that he was being kept awake as well.
Keith felt really itchy and he thought it was just in his head,
like when people talk about nits and stuff, you just think, ugh,
you feel like you've got nits as well.
He said he could feel stuff crawling on him and we put our lights on
and realised... That's when we saw them all,
and I just wanted to cry.
Awful. It became apparent that everyone's skin and bedclothes
were crawling with bedbugs,
so Nicky started filming, using her mobile phone,
to record the extent of the infestation.
I started to take photos of the bugs that we could see on the duvets.
There were bugs crawling on the children's faces.
And all on Evie's pillow, with her hair and it was horrible.
It was horrible to see.
In a panic, Nicky and Keith decided to get out of the room very quickly
and put the kids in the car but some of the bugs went with them.
I could hear the kids screaming cos they could see something,
so then I went back into the car and the duvet that I'd given them
had still had a bug on it. So I shook it off and by that point,
when they were in the car,
I was just thinking, they're just everywhere.
I just can't get away from them.
After calling the emergency number at the Holiday Park,
the staff did come to investigate
and after confirming that the pod did have a bedbug infestation,
it provided the family with alternative accommodation.
I then just started crying and Keith just hugged me
and just said, don't cry in front of the kids
cos it'll worry them more. It's just awful to hear the kids crying.
And we just both felt really bad,
felt really guilty that it was supposed to be fun for them
and it just turned into a nightmare.
The next day, the family returned home, but Nicky says the car,
bedding and clothes were still crawling with bugs,
so she followed the advice,
which is to wash garments and linen at a minimum of 60 degrees
to kill them.
One of the first things we did when we got home was just put
everything in the wash, all our clothes. For boil washes,
we left them out the front until there was space for them.
Even after we'd washed everything,
I still found a dead bug when I was folding up the clean washing.
There was also one in the suitcase that we had all our food in.
We fumigated the car.
We sprayed all our luggage, all our suitcases.
But even when we had washed stuff,
I wasn't completely confident that it had all gone anyway.
To be completely assured that they really were rid of the bugs,
Nicky decided to throw this lot away.
We threw away about £500 worth of belongings, air beds, bedding,
kids' cuddly toys...
..some things even after we've washed,
I wasn't comfortable that they were clean.
Since returning home,
Nicky has used social media to make it known that she was not happy
with her experience at Billing Aquadrome.
And after doing so, she was contacted by another family
who said the same thing had happened to them.
So I've actually had a message from a lady that stayed
in the same pod as us a few days before.
"We stayed in that pod for three nights.
"The next morning, we woke up covered in bites."
I just feel really sad for her that they got so many bites.
After complaining to the Billing Aquadrome Holiday Park,
Nicky was refunded the £42 cost of the one-night stay.
But she doesn't feel that that makes up for the terrible experience.
I can't believe the cleaners had never noticed
that there's bedbugs in there. It's left me feeling really angry.
I feel angry that they think they can keep
their pods in that condition and think that's acceptable
cos it's not. I'd never go back there.
We asked pest control expert Peter Barrow Davies
to have a look at Nicky's video footage to see what he made of it.
That's a pretty bad infestation.
Based on temperature and the availability of food,
it's looking like that's probably been there for six to nine months.
The insects that we are seeing are just the ones that
are on the surface. Bedbugs are the world's experts in hide and seek.
They've spent hundreds of years learning how to hide.
So what we're seeing on the surface is just what is coming out
and can't actually get into the places that they can hide
because there's so many insects in there.
This is something that we come across quite regularly.
A simple inspection by a pest controller
or even a housekeeper should really have spotted this early on.
Now, detection is one thing but the financial cost
for a business to tackle an infestation can soon mount up.
There is a huge cost of bedbugs to the hospitality industry.
If you look at an average hotel with an average infestation,
it will cost them between £5,000 and £10,000.
That's made up from treatment, lost rooms, negative publicity.
It really is a huge cost to the hospitality industry.
We spoke to the Billing Aquadrome Holiday Park.
It told us it sincerely regretted the inconvenience suffered
by Nicky and her family.
It says it acted immediately to upgrade and refund her
and to call in specialist help.
It added that despite entertaining hundreds of thousands of guests
that this had never happened before
and that the experts had helped to do everything it can
to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
Alfie, do you remember this?
You had bugs on your face.
-On my face? Here?
On your face. But Mummy and Daddy never told you that.
But back at their home in Bedfordshire,
Nicky and her family will take some persuading to try camping again,
even at the glamping end of the scale.
As the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy.
It was like...
..something out of a horror movie.
The worst part of it for me was seeing the bugs on the kids' faces
and feeling awful that we'd put them in this, it was
supposed to be a holiday and then we just felt guilty that we'd...
..put them in this pod full of bugs, really.
Later in the programme, we'll hear how holiday-makers may unwittingly
be bringing bedbugs into the UK.
And as we'll see,
Peter and his team use sniffer dogs to hunt them down.
We'll have everything you need to know
about keeping those dreaded bugs at bay.
This time last year, we looked into reports that seagulls
were becoming really more aggressive and quite a menace
in British seaside resorts and we had some really great tips
on how you can avoid them swooping down to steal your food.
But now there's another creature that, every summer, it's claimed
is becoming an increasing threat to anybody
who likes to dip rather more than just their toes into the sea.
And if you believe the scare stories that there are swarms of them
in the waters internationally, just waiting to pounce,
are jellyfish really on the rise along our shores?
And if so, what is the best way to avoid being stung?
Of all the mysterious creatures that live in the ocean,
the jellyfish is perhaps one of the most misunderstood
and also one of the most feared.
There's been an invasion on our beaches.
Barrel jellyfish have been spotted in huge numbers.
We've just spotted a large jellyfish off the side of the boat.
It looks quite frightening.
And as the temperature of the waters around the UK coast rise,
so, it seems, does the number of the gelatinous creatures
cropping up on our shores.
More and more jellyfish are being spotted on the UK's coastline.
So, how scared should we be?
Well, while tales of swarms of jellyfish are undoubtedly overhyped,
not least because you'd actually call a collection of jellyfish a bloom,
it does appear to be the case that jellyfish are being spotted
more frequently around UK beaches.
And if one stings you, it can really hurt,
as Michelle Anderson and her 11-year-old daughter Talisha,
discovered the hard way.
They'd been coming to this beach near Colwyn Bay in North Wales
since Talisha was a baby.
Talisha loved the water. She'd go and play with her friends,
brothers and sisters, in the water, splashing around.
You know, she kind of got used to being in
the shallower end of the waters
and then she just sort of ventured further out.
But in August 2015, Talisha's love of the sea was completely destroyed.
I first noticed something was wrong when she just let out a huge scream.
It was different than any other scream we'd heard.
It was pure agony, rather than,
"I've just fell over and hurt myself."
She was struggling to get out of the water.
She looked like she couldn't move.
We thought maybe she had her foot caught in a rock or something.
Michelle and her husband Tim rushed to see what had made their daughter
cry out, and were shocked by what they found.
When she stood up,
there was just a huge jellyfish over the top of her legs.
It didn't look like any jellyfish I'd ever seen.
You know, the little jellyfish you see on the beach.
This was completely different.
And it was wrapped around both of her legs,
so we found it very difficult to remove it at first.
We had to drag her back into the water to try and make
the jellyfish move a bit more easily so we could untangle her.
By this point, she was still screaming and it was probably
even worse, the fact that we were trying to pull them off her.
Talisha's own memories of that day are still terrifyingly vivid.
I was really scared at the time cos I didn't know what it was,
so I was like...
I tried to run out of the water but it was kind of heavy
and it was dragging me back.
I struggled to breathe because of the pain.
It was clear this was more than just a mild sting.
So Michelle quickly called an ambulance.
Her legs were very, very swollen,
to two or three times the size they were.
And it looked like she'd had boiling water poured over
the tops of her legs. They were really red and very hot.
It took us a long time to try and get her to calm down.
She went into anaphylactic shock.
Talisha was suffering a severe reaction
to the venom from the jellyfish.
There was nothing... There was nothing else that we could do,
apart from wait for the ambulance.
Paramedics arrived at the scene and Talisha was taken to hospital
for further treatment, including a shot of adrenaline.
Later, after some research,
Tim discovered that the most likely culprit
was the huge lion's mane jellyfish
which can grow two metres wide and up to 100 metres long.
When we told the doctor about it,
he was quite shocked to how big we said it was
cos he's not used to them being that big.
He was the one that said it was OK, it wasn't poisonous,
it was only venomous.
They gave her morphine to kill the pain,
they gave her, like, an ibuprofen gel
to take down the swelling of her legs and to ease the pain.
The next day, Talisha was well enough to be sent home
and though the scars on her legs eventually disappeared,
the psychological impact lives on
and Talisha is scared to go back into the water.
When I'm on the beach and I see jellyfish,
it worries me because I don't know what, like,
if the tide's going to come in and wash them on to me or something.
Cos I don't know if they've still got tentacles on or something.
Last summer, jellyfish around the Welsh coast made headlines again
when one woman's attempt to become the first person to swim
nonstop around Anglesey had to be called off
after she was stung no less than six times.
And there was the annual rash of headlines warning of
a rising threat, with reports of the deadly Portuguese man-of-war,
closely related to the jellyfish,
being spotted off the south-west coast of England.
But according to the Marine Conservation Society,
nowhere along the UK's coast can claim to be jellyfish-free.
The lion's mane jellyfish, the one that stung Talisha,
tends to crop up in northern waters around Scotland.
More common are moon jellyfish,
to be found pretty much anywhere along the coast.
Similarly, blue jellyfish are likely to turn up on beaches
all around the UK.
But while some experts believe that, rather than there being more
jellyfish, we've just got better at spotting and recording them,
others, like conservationist and marine biologist Frankie Hobro,
believe that, as well as their number is DEFINITELY increasing,
there is a clear explanation as to why.
There are a couple of factors contributing to
the larger numbers of jellyfish on our shores
and one of those is climate change
and warmer currents earlier on in the year
for longer periods during the year
and obviously those warmer currents are carrying jellyfish
in larger numbers, they are managing to breed earlier and for longer,
so you see them in much larger swarms locally
and around the shores.
These favourable conditions mean that jellyfish species
are not only thriving around UK waters,
but in the Med too,
where around 150,000 people are treated for stings each year.
Be careful, jellyfish.
In fact, so concerned are the authorities
in French hot spot Cannes, that special precautions
have been implemented on the beaches, including the use of
wide anti-jellyfish nets to protect bathers.
And whilst we haven't seen the kind of numbers
that would make that necessary here in the UK,
the Marine Conservation Society is concerned
that an increase in jellyfish could be a sign of other factors
that are negatively impacting on our oceans.
People often ask, are numbers of jellyfish going up in the UK?
And the short answer is we don't really know.
What we've found, certainly in the last few years,
the number of reports to us have gone up.
Though we can't say that the absolute number of jellyfish
has gone up but our survey does seem to indicate
that these days we might be seeing more.
Increases in jellyfish in different places around the world
have been linked to climate change, to pollution, to overfishing.
The good news, however, is that most jellyfish around British shores
are unlikely to do any more than just sting.
But the painful irritation that causes is still best avoided.
So, if you do get stung, there's simple advice on what
you should do next, which I'm delighted to say
doesn't include a remedy perpetuated by the TV show, Friends.
Jellyfish sting. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!
-Well, there's really only one thing you can do.
-What? What is it?
You're going to have to pee on it.
Well, that apparent remedy has become so established that when,
on a recent TV show,
adventurer Bear Grylls was stung by a jellyfish,
former Spice Girl Mel B did the honours in an attempt to help.
This finger is now getting really quite painful.
Mel's kindly offered two or three times to provide some urine.
But I'm afraid her valiant efforts won't have made any difference.
There is a myth about urinating on a jellyfish sting.
This doesn't work. It may actually make it worse,
if so it really isn't advisable. However, there are some things
that you can do to relieve it instantly
and in the longer term as well.
If you haven't got anything at all to hand,
the best thing is to use sea water
and to try and rinse the tentacles off.
Very, very important that you do not get in contact with the tentacles
at all, yourself, with your skin.
So anything that you can to cover your skin
to try not to get stung any further and to try and remove the tentacles.
It's also a good idea to take a photo of the jellyfish
that stung you, probably in self-defence by the way, in order
to help medical staff work out what type of treatment is necessary.
And there may be another simple way to ease the pain.
One recent alternative that's been suggested is applying shaving cream
because this can slow down the release of any further venom
once it's started to enter the skin.
And it can also relieve the symptoms from the stings
that have already entered the skin as well.
But of course, the best advice
is to avoid being stung in the first place.
So, experts like Frankie say it is worth taking heed of any warnings
that jellyfish have been spotted around a beach
that you might be visiting.
It's really important that people don't avoid going in the sea.
Instead, the simplest thing to make sure you don't get stung
is to wear a rash vest or a wet suit
and then if you do come in contact with the tentacles of any jellyfish,
you wouldn't even notice because they wouldn't be able to sting you
through those at all.
Back in Wales, that's exactly what Talisha will be doing once
she's ready to return to the water but, painful as her ordeal was, she
now has quite a positive attitude towards jellyfish themselves.
I don't think they are bad creatures because
if we're going into their home,
it's not like jellyfish would like it if they came into our home.
So it's kind of our fault if we get stung.
Our travel expert Simon Calder has all the secrets
to save you money on your travels.
He's full of tips on everything from how to avoid the crowds
to the best way to steer clear of those tourist traps.
This time, Simon has advice on staying safe abroad.
Recent terror attacks at popular destinations have given
many holiday-makers an increased fear for their safety.
But Simon thinks overall,
travel has never been safer and rather than panic
or be overcautious, we should make sure that we are up-to-date
with the official advice on our chosen destination.
For example, by checking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website
in order to make an informed choice.
You can reduce your risk exposure further
with a couple of very simple steps.
Don't hang around land side at airports.
Drop your bag and then go to and through the security check.
And I wouldn't linger for too long
in the lobbies of five-star hotels belonging to Western chains.
But the risk of being caught up in a terror attack is extremely low.
And Simon says it's two rather more familiar dangers
that, statistically, are most likely to affect us when we go away.
Accidents in water and, of course, road safety.
As soon as you cross the Channel,
and leave our relatively benign road network behind,
dangers escalate rapidly.
So, for example, I'd never dream of driving the length of France
to reach the beautiful Cote d'Azur, when I can hop aboard a train
or a plane and use the excellent and cheap public transport
when I get there.
Road safety is a problem in many popular holiday destinations
and Simon warns against renting a motor scooter
in islands in countries like Thailand and Greece.
They've long been one of the biggest causes of accidents abroad.
Instead, he'd always say cycling is a better and safer way to explore.
Oh, and always wear a bike helmet.
Well, not always, obviously.
Only when you're riding a bike.
It's not and never will be a risk-free world,
but the rewards of travel are tremendous.
Still to come on Rip Off Britain,
how man's best friend is on the front line
in the battle against bedbugs.
So, the dog has taken Adam forward into these seats here.
You can see that the dog's working all over the front of the seats.
'The Trafford Centre Manchester is the venue
'for our latest pop-up advice clinic. Over two days,
'it's a wonderful opportunity for us to meet as many of you as we can.'
You are looking so gorgeous. Look at you.
Yeah, but you should have seen me at half past six this morning.
It was a very different story.
'And of course to bring together industry experts
'to tackle your holiday nightmares.'
So, I'll get some details from you.
I'm really glad you dropped this one over, Simon.
Often, it only takes one thing to ruin your holiday
and for Lynne O'Malley from Liverpool,
it was her hotel bed, as she explained to Simon Calder.
We were told by our holiday company two weeks before we were travelling
that our original hotel was under refurb.
-And they suggested we chose another hotel.
OK. Just a reminder that if there is building work,
then the holiday company has to let you know as soon as possible
and offer you a range of choices.
Did they also offer you a refund if you wanted that?
They offered me a full refund or to choose a holiday somewhere else
or to choose another hotel on the island.
Rather than cancel their £2,500 holiday to Jamaica,
Lynn and her husband agreed to switch hotels.
So, you had a lovely time?
No, we didn't.
When we arrived, we were shown...
Well, the room was OK but we did notice the room was rather grubby.
-I pulled back the sheets on the bed and I find this nightmare.
-This is my mattress...
-This is my bed throw.
-This is my bed throw and my mattress.
-I don't like to ask.
I don't like to speculate. I certainly don't want to stay there.
Once Lynne was home, she went to her travel agents to complain.
She was told to put it all in writing
and, as no deadline was given,
she took her time gathering together her evidence
before writing a detailed letter and sending it off.
Then I got this letter,
which says because I didn't do it within so many days...
No! This says, "Regrettably,
"as it now been over 28 days since you returned home
"we are sorry we are unable to offer any form of compensation
"on this occasion."
-They are having a laugh!
-Well, they really are.
It sounds to me as though you had a pretty lousy holiday.
Yes, I did, yes.
Well, Lynn wasn't taking this lying down,
so she posted a scathing review of her experience online,
prompting the holiday company to get back in touch,
saying it had looked into her case and contacted the hotel.
But there was still no offer of compensation,
as Lynn felt there should be.
Now, there is absolutely nothing to stop you going to court,
going to Money Claims Online,
saying, "I want some compensation for this holiday."
The trouble is, I'm not sure exactly what sort of sum you have in mind,
or why you feel you deserve it because you had a lousy holiday
and I'm really sorry about that.
Lousy holidays happen for a whole range of reasons.
But I can't see from the evidence
I've got that there is a breach of the package travel regulations,
which means that you didn't get what you paid for.
Even so, Simon reckons it's worth Lynne having one final go.
I would write one more letter to them.
-Where they say 28 days, I would say well, hang on,
we went into the shop,
we were told something by your staff that contradicts that.
-So therefore, please, reopen our case.
You might not get any compensation, you might get the satisfaction
of somebody actually taking your issues seriously.
Sorry goes an awful long way.
Sorry goes an awful long way.
Now, if things go wrong on your holiday,
the travel company may well be to blame.
But some things are very much your responsibility,
like making sure your passport is valid.
So, Simon and I wanted to see if shoppers
were up to speed on this one.
Have you ever had any problem with passports?
Have you ever suddenly thought, "My passport's run out?"
Well, we've just been on holiday actually.
About three weeks ago,
and I realised three weeks before we were travelling
that I had to renew my passport.
-How did you go about doing that?
-I did it online.
-Was it OK?
-Yeah, it wasn't too bad. It came quite quickly actually.
Because although I had to check online whether Dubai was one of the
countries where you have to have six months' validity...
Exactly. You know about this. You're way ahead of the game!
I don't know about this. Tell me.
OK, well, a number of countries will stipulate anything from
that you must have a day remaining on your passport to,
in the case of Dubai, six months.
That also applies to Egypt.
Some countries, it's six months from the day you enter the country.
Others, it's six months from the day you leave.
And if you're going anywhere outside Europe,
you always have to check what the rules are.
How did you find out?
I checked online and it said that there's certain countries
that have to have the six months' validity on it.
Today and every day,
there will be people turning up at Manchester Airport, Heathrow,
or whatever, going to Dubai and other places,
who are turned away because they simply are not eligible
for entry to the country.
It's really important to understand about renewing
passports in good time.
If, for example, my passport expires in November 2023,
if I renew it in February 2023,
then you get full credit for all the unexpired bits,
so the renewed one will be valid until, my goodness me,
Simon, supposing you are one of those people who
-more-or-less the day before is doing their packing...
..gets out their passport and thinks,
"Oh, my Lord, the passport's running out."
How quickly can you go and get a passport?
You can in some circumstances get one the same day.
What you'll need to do though is find the passport office number
for appointments, you phone them up and you say, it is absolutely
essential that I get my passport renewed tomorrow before my flight.
They will possibly give you an appointment at a passport office.
You need to turn up with the form filled in, with your photos,
with every bit of information that is possibly required.
They will hopefully give you an appointment, and they'll say,
"Right, OK, come back in three hours' time,"
and then you'll get your brand-new passport.
-Go home, check your passport date.
Earlier in the programme, we heard how one viewer was sharing
her accommodation with bedbugs.
It seems the tiny little pests really are back with a vengeance.
But help is at hand.
There's a whole industry springing up to deal with
the problem and front of the queue to tackle it
are some big-name hotels and airlines.
So meet the sniffer dogs, fighting to keep the bugs at bay.
You might assume that this emergency response team has been sent
to search this plane for explosives.
In fact, they're looking for something else.
It's not bombs they're sniffing out...
Charlie the chocolate Labrador is on the front line
in the war on bedbugs.
He is one of an army of sniffer dogs deployed across the UK
to tackle the rising number of infestations.
And handler Peter Bowers-Davis says companies that use dogs like Charlie
are much in demand.
We've probably seen a 50% to 100% increase in enquiries
through us for the use of our detection dogs
and our eradication methods for bedbugs,
which does indicate it is a rising problem in the UK.
And it's aeroplanes that have played a key part
in the recent rapid spread of bedbugs.
In many cases, they'll have hitched a ride on someone's bags
or carry-on luggage and they can spread fast in close proximity
to other travellers and their belongings.
This plane is a disused one in Leicester,
so it's the perfect place for dogs like Charlie to hone their skills,
picking up the bugs' very faint but distinct scent.
One of the reasons why we are doing this training exercise
on an aircraft is because bedbugs will get anywhere
where people are spending a number of hours,
sleeping, resting, not just on the bed,
but trains, aircraft, buses.
Inside these containers are hundreds of live bedbugs,
which will be placed on board the old plane for the dogs to find.
So, what we're going to do is go up onto the aircraft,
hide the three samples,
give it a couple of minutes to vent and let the scent start to rise
and then let the dogs go and search.
On a plane, bedbugs will find a number of hiding places
within the fabric of the aircraft.
Under the headrest and even within the magazine rack.
This is a favourite place for the bedbugs,
due to their attraction to CO2,
which is what you breathe out,
especially when you're asleep.
So, all the samples are now out
and we're ready to let the dogs come on and find them.
It's time to unleash Charlie to see if he can find the little bloodsuckers.
He's been doing it for over seven years,
so this should be a walk in the park.
So, the dog has taken Adam forward into these seats here.
You can see that the dog's working all over the front of the seats.
Charlie makes a beeline straight for the back row
and seems to have sniffed something out.
There he is. He's just located the sample and he's got his reward,
which is his tennis ball.
Bedbugs may be small but thanks to his nose,
Charlie has no problem finding them.
Pest control companies like Peter's are routinely employed by airlines
to check the planes currently in service.
If they find bugs, the airlines use various kinds of
heat treatment or chemical pesticides, while trying to keep
their planes on the ground for as little time as possible.
But Dr James Logan from the London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine
says it's usually down to us that the creatures got on board in the first place.
So it seems we're all to blame for the booming bedbug population.
One of the things about bedbugs is that they're incredibly good
hitchhikers, so they're designed to be able to cling onto us,
to our clothing, and hide there or in our luggage.
So, if you've stayed in a hotel, for example,
that has a bedbug infestation
or you might even have one in your home,
you can quite easily take one of those bedbugs with you
onto the plane, they come out in the plane and, you know,
planes are full of nice little crevices and cracks
that they can hide in, so it's a perfect place for them
to sort of have a bit of a stopover.
So, time to get up close and personal with a bedbug.
Look away now if you're starting to itch.
-So, you're willing to do this?
-Yeah, I'm ready.
I've got some hungry bugs here.
They're male. Do you have a preference for which bug?
-We've got two here.
-I don't mind.
-That one looks good.
-So, if you can roll your sleeve up,
what we'll do is we'll just pop this bedbug on.
The bugs are drawn to human blood
and can consume three times their own body weight
in a single feed.
Do you feel it when they bite you?
I know it's happening because I can see it,
but I don't think I can feel anything.
-OK, so it's kind of like psychological...
Yeah. Cos the thing about bedbugs is that, when they bite you,
they produce saliva and the saliva contains a sort of anaesthetic
and an anticoagulant, so it stops the blood from clotting
but it also means that you can't feel it,
which is why when you get bitten by hundreds of bedbugs in your bed,
you don't wake up and you don't know about it until the next day.
Sneaky. Fellow scientist Lucy has no adverse reaction
to her new friend but some people will suffer painful and itchy rashes
as a result of an infestation.
A lot of people, including myself, you know,
I react really badly to bedbug bites
and my bite would come up straightaway.
I know straightaway that I've been bitten by a bedbug.
And then over the course of about a week,
that bite on me turns into a bruise
and, you know, if that's just one bite,
if you imagine being bitten hundreds and hundreds of times by bedbugs,
across your whole body, you know, that can be really quite severe.
So some people are not quite as lucky as you are.
Meanwhile, aeroplanes aren't the only part of the travel industry
where the services of sniffer dogs are increasingly being required.
Today in Wimbledon a dog named Basil
is putting his bedbug training into practice. He's visiting a hotel,
the sort of place that could be not just a perfect breeding ground
but the start of a bedbug's travels.
Basil will work his way around the room.
We allow him to lead the search
because his sense of smell is so acute.
In this sort of a room configuration, we would expect...
..if there are bedbugs in this room for it to be
surrounding the headboard and the bedside cabinets.
It's only around 10% of infestations occur on the mattress.
The rest of the infestation will be bed bases, headboard,
around skirtings, light fittings, etc.
Basil hasn't found any bedbugs here and he'll return in a month
to check nothing's changed. Because for the owner, Jay,
sniffer dogs have become a vital part of keeping a hotel clean.
He knows how much damage an infestation could cause.
It will affect the reputation of the hotel because customers
could easily put some bad reviews on, you know, review sites,
TripAdvisor or whatever, and that can have a knock-on effect
for future business but more importantly, immediately,
we would have to close out or shut down,
and then the financial cost of placing or finding accommodation
for the guests that are affected could run into £3,000 to £5,000,
as well as the closure of the hotel.
So, it's a situation that you really do not want to face.
So, when you go on holiday, how can you be sure your hotel is bug free?
One of the telltale signs is that they produce a smell.
So, once they've fed on you, they will poo.
And they quite often poo on your bedsheets.
But they will also poo back in their sort of safe refuge,
when they get back into behind the skirting board
or under the mattress.
So if you can smell a sort of musty smell in a hotel room,
there might be bedbugs there.
But also look out for little brown blood spots on your bedsheets.
The chances of seeing the bugs is very slim.
You might see a dead one.
Or if you're sitting up with a torch at night,
you might see some bugs crawling around,
but they only come out at night.
But there are simple ways you can minimise the risk of taking
any bedbugs home with you. In a hotel room,
the best advice is never put your bag on the floor,
from where they can easily climb into it.
Keep it on the luggage racks and fully zipped up.
And on a plane, one tip is to secure any carry-on luggage you might
put under your seat inside a plastic bag.
Although, of course, with any luck, those sniffer dogs
will have already made sure there aren't any bugs around.
And back in Leicester,
it's the success of ongoing training, like today's session,
that could determine if your future holiday will be free
from the menace of bedbugs.
So, we finished the training session.
It's gone very well. The dogs have been successful and Storm,
the operational dog, has had a tremendous find,
actually in the infrastructure of the aircraft.
So all in all, I'm really happy. It's gone very well.
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I don't know about you but I am literally itching all over
after seeing those bedbugs.
But I thought they were pretty much a thing of the past
or at least more common only in hot climates like this.
So I was really surprised and a bit worried to hear that
they're on the increase closer to home. I don't like it, do you?
No, that's really bad news, I think.
But at least now you know what to do to keep away from them.
Just keep your luggage off the floor when you're away.
And that should at least help to lessen the risk of you
carrying any of them back home. I have to say,
they are most definitely not the kind of souvenir
-that I want to bring back.
Anyway, that's certainly a top tip but for me,
today's standout fact was hearing that the old wives' tale
on how to treat a jellyfish sting with pee isn't true.
So there's no need to add embarrassment to agony in future.
And on that delightful note, it's time for us to leave you.
We'll be back very soon with more of your stories but, until then,
-from all of us, goodbye.
Gloria Hunniford, Angela Rippon and Julia Somerville reveal the unwelcome guests said to be scuppering more holidays than ever. As bedbugs return with a vengeance, the team is out with the sniffer dogs hunting them down in hotels and on planes. But could you unwittingly be giving the creatures a lift back to British shores?
Travel expert Simon Calder has advice on staying safe abroad. Plus with reports that jellyfish are on the rise, what is the truth about the threat they pose, and the best way to avoid being stung?