Any seasoned traveller knows the feeling. Maybe you have an early flight to catch, maybe you just landed really late, or maybe there isn’t a hotel room in town. Unfortunately, most of us have to make the experience Sleeping in airports at some point in our lives but, depending on how you approach it, doing so can either be a terrible or a memorable experience.
From staying safe to the best places to eat, our guide to sleeping in airports will equip you with the necessities to enjoying your stay in a terminal building. Whether in Cincinnati or Shanghai, you can be sure that spending the night in an airport will be more bearable once you have read this sleeping in airports 101 guide.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our guide to sleeping in airports 101 and see how you can survive a sleepover if you’re stranded.
Rule #1 of Sleeping in Airports: The Plan B
This is perhaps the most important of any tip on sleeping in airports. Remember that airport employees may not approve of you spending the night in the terminal building and you should have a plan B if possible.
Make sure you have enough money to get a cheap room close to the airport just in case you come across the wrong official. Odds are airport officials won’t ask you to leave the building in the middle of the night, especially if you can produce your airline ticket proving you will be leaving the following morning. However, you simply never know how somebody will react to you setting up base for a night in the airport so remember to keep a secondary option at the ready.
Rule #2 of Sleeping in Airports: Without a Plan, You Plan to Fail
Our second tip for sleeping in the airport is simple: come prepared! Spending the night in a cold, busy, noisy, well-lit building filled with strangers is no picnic. As a result, it pays to come with a wealth of supplies that make your stay that bit easier. Whilst you should probably stop short of a blow-up mattress – unless traveling with kids, in which case this can be a godsend – there are a number of things that become invaluable when spending the night in an airport: an eye mask, ear plugs, a sleeping bag, an inflatable neck pillow, headphones, and some form of entertainment device!
Another pro-tip, remember to set your alarm. You would be surprised how many people get so comfy in an airport that they miss their flight!
The coolest travel gadgets are on our ultimate wishlist for travelers! Here you can find them to be prepared for every (uncomfortable) situation (like sleeping in an airport).
Rule #3 of Sleeping in Airports: Keep Your Luggage Close
Naturally, when you’re spending the night in a busy space filled with strangers, an element of danger comes with the process. Where you are open to theft or unwanted attention from others, being aware of security’s location pays off.
Solo females in particular might want to remain closer to the security HQ in any given airport. Everybody should keep luggage as close as possible, especially any bags containing valuables like passports, mobile phones, and wallets. In fact, keeping these items on you at all times may be wise when spending the night in an airport.
Rule #4 of Sleeping in Airports: Enjoy a Large Meal Before Hitting the Sack
With spending the night in an airport rarely counting as the world’s most luxurious sleeping experience, you may want to delay the inevitable bedding down on uncomfortable seats/floors for as long as you can. Head to the airport food court and spend as long as possible choosing, enjoying, and digesting your meal.
Think of your airport meal as a free hit, an opportunity to pig out on lots of delicious fast food because you’ll have plenty of time to sit and digest it later. This little perk of spending the night in an airport should be taken advantage of. If you have the option, after eating walk to a cafe or airport bar to relax and enjoy a hot chocolate or nightcap, doing so can calm an otherwise stressful situation. What’s more, this kills another hour or two before you have to face your less than ideal sleeping situation.
Rule #5 of Sleeping in Airports: Explore Your Perfect Spot
So you’re at the airport, you have all the necessary supplies, you’ve enjoyed a big meal and a nightcap. You feel good, but now it’s time to find a place to make camp on this airport adventure. You scope out the area around the food court and it doesn’t have much to offer, just some uncomfortable looking metal seats. Worse, there’s a draft blowing in from the ever-revolving door.
We recommend exploring. Head into the depths of the areas that you can access, airports often have nooks and crannies that most visitors aren’t privy to. Those sleeping in the airport before catching their flight should head closer to arrivals. Believe it or not, the seats in arrivals tend to be much more plush than those in departures as airports want to cater to the families waiting for their loved ones to return. Because flights are frequently delayed, there are often comfy couches and chairs in this area of many airports.
If you can’t find anything like this level of luxury, head to the information desk or just speak to friendly looking airport employees to gain some tips on the best digs: most will be happy to help!