Sleeping in an Airport

Sleeping in an Airport

How to sleep well in an airport

Sleeping in an airport might not sound ideal, but let’s face it, at some point in your life it’s probably going to happen.

For most people, airports are a place to stock up on duty free booze and debate whether you should have a McDonald’s or not. However, for some (like us!) airports are a place to crash for the night, and sleeping in an airport can offer a real alternative experience while on the road.

Backpackers and travellers are often on such a tight budget that they’re always looking for ways to save a few bucks. Well, why not consider sleeping in an airport? After all, you’re saving money on accommodation, and more importantly, you’re exactly where you need to be in the morning; you don’t have to worry about checking-in on time as you’re already there! That’s a win-win situation if you ask us.

As we all know, one of the major problems with cheap flights is the awful departure times and stop-overs. More often than not you have to rise at the crack of dawn or spend eight hours in a nameless airport waiting for a connecting flight. However, getting the cheapest flights and saving money on accommodation by sleeping in an airport can be the difference between travelling for an extra week or going home early. We know what we’d prefer to do.

A journey of 20+ hours can often mean a stop-over in an airport, but all is not lost; many airports will be open 24/7 so you can crash at any time, and more often than not you’ll enjoy the experience too!

Whether you’re sleeping in an airport by choice or by a (un)happy accident then let our handy hints and tips to sleeping in an airport show you how to make the most of your time there.

Sleeping on a bench in an airport

Tips for sleeping in an airport:

  • Prepare – Some airports aren’t going to allow you to sleep in them. Research first whether the airport is open 24 hours a day. If they’re not, then make sure you prepare for the worst and have the name of a hostel in mind where you can stay for the night.
  • Find the best spot – Take a walk around the airport and find the best spot to sleep. You don’t want to be too near the toilets, check-in desks or other busy areas. If you’re travelling on your own then sleep near other travellers; you’ll look out for each other and you may even make a friend or two!Sometimes it’s better to check out the arrivals lounge as it might be a better place to sleep than the departures lounge. Also, ask security where the best spot is. You’re not the first person to sleep in an airport, nor will you be the last. Airport employees are used to it and if you ask them outright where the best place to sleep in the airport is then they’ll tell you.
  • Take an eye mask – One of the hardest things about falling asleep in an airport is shutting out the bright fluorescent lights. They’re on 24 hours a day and they’re not going to turn them off just for you, so take an eye mask to block out that light. An eye mask may just be the difference between a little sleep and a lot of sleep.
  • Use ear plugs / earphones – Ear plugs / earphones are a great way of blocking out that noisy background sound. Just choose your soundtrack and drift off. (Make sure you keep your iPod / MP3 player hidden. You don’t want to wake up with your earphones connected to nothing).
  • Use a blanket / sarong – A blanket / sarong will make it feel like you’re wrapped up in bed and it will keep you warm. Some airports don’t turn their air conditioning off and it can get a little cold at night. Trust us on that one.
  • Take food and water – Most facilities close down at night and you may find it a long time before you can buy food and water, so make sure you take some with you. Sweets such as  Haribo and Mentos are great for a little energy boost and staving off hunger.
  • Sleeping tablets – We don’t want to say Valium, but it sounds a lot like Malium but with a V at the beginning. Perfect for sleeping in an airport.
  • Sleep on your bag – Not only does it prevent people from stealing it but it makes a pretty good make-shift pillow.
  • Entertain yourself – Sleeping in an airport can get a little boring, so if you’re travelling on your own and you can’t sleep then make sure you’ve got enough entertainment in the form of books and music to keep you going. There’s nothing worse than being bored at 3am with nothing to do.
  • Play dumb – Sometimes you’re going to be woken-up by airport staff asking you to leave. If this happens then play dumb. Act like you don’t want to be there and that you don’t have a choice. More often than not they’ll leave you alone. Remember, you’re a ninja. Sneaky sneak.
  • Dress up – Wear comfortable clothes and wear lots of layers if you think you’re going to be cold. Also, there’s an added benefit of wearing lots of clothes; it’ll take the edge off that cold hard floor.
  • Shower – Some airports have showers for passengers and they’re great for a wake-me-up / pick-me-up.
  • Have fun! – Sleeping in an airport is fun! Remember, it’s an alternative travelling experience, so enjoy it!

Some airports are perfect for spending the night; some aren’t. Sometimes you’ll be asked for ID and proof that you’re flying on; sometimes you won’t. However, whatever situation you find yourself in you be able to talk your way out of it. Sleeping in airports isn’t exactly expected but it is widely accepted. Whenever you find yourself sleeping in an airport, follow our tips and enjoy the ride!

So there you have it, everything you need to know about sleeping in an airport. As ever, if you think we’ve missed anything hints and tips, let us know by adding your own in the comment box below!

  • Stefan

    Thank you, great tips at all! 🙂