HOW TO SLEEP IN AIRPORTS
NEEDS MUST WHEN YOU FLY SO OFTEN
Sleeping in airports has become a part of travelling for me and if I am honest there are times I’ve had some incredible nights sleep.
I WOULDN’T BE WHERE I AM IF I WASN’T ABLE TO SLEEP IN ALL THOSE AIRPORTS
Although it’s always better to stay in actual accommodation whether it be a hostel or a hotel, sometimes it just isn’t feasible and can be an unnecessary cost. This can be due to a number of reasons; you could be having a layover and aren’t able to leave the airport or your flight could be early the next morning which can make transport to the airport a struggle or a extra night in a hotel rather pointless.
Whatever the reason it’s great to be prepared. Generally speaking airports are safe and airside (beyond passport control) are safer again. With the amount of security and CCTV there is little risk while you get some shut eye.
I always prefer sleeping airside, as everything is done (check in, security and passport control) and all there is left to do is arrive at the gate on time. Although sometimes it’s not always possible as not all airports are 24 hours. Just be sure to check in online as you might have to wait around for it to open – This happened to me at Doha!
If sleeping in airports is a thing that scares you then I wouldn’t worry as long as you follow these simple steps
A recent example I had of sleeping in the airport was the time I was in Vegas. I was staying in the MGM, nothing special and decided to stay an extra night. There was a country and music festival on that weekend and from one night to the next the price of a room more than doubled! So instead I thought better of it and decided I would check out, spend the day doing what I needed to do and head to the airport as soon as I was done.
My flight was at 6am and I arrived at 10pm, just long enough for a good nights sleep. So I ventured around and found what was probably the quietest place in all of Vegas. It led to a dead end so there was never anyone walking past, that was for sure the best nights sleep I’ve had in an airport. Which surprised me as they play music there 24/7. Unfortunately it would prove to be the last time I would see my backpack!
During some layovers it will be out of your hands whether you can leave the airport or not. With the likes of my layover in Ganghouz which was the coldest 7 hours I have experienced in an airport I had all the tools I needed, apart from an actual bed.
Of course you can’t carry around a pillow, sleeping bag and a mattress on your back but it’s good to be prepared as much as you can. When travelling long or short term I always have the following.
SLEEPING BAG LINER
I bought a sleeping bag liner before I left for the very reason of layovers and I am super glad I did. I would recommend a silk one as it’s breathable and folds up to the size of a pair of socks. It manages to keep you warm when it’s cold and keeps you cool when it’s warm, don’t ask me how! The silk liners are a little more expensive than the others but there are so many additional benefits; smaller, breathable and for all conditions.
Not completely necessary if you have a jumper but usually I would be wearing it. Sometimes I flatten an area of my bag instead and this also keeps it safe. Just be sure that every pocket is padlocked. You can get a normal Inflatable pillow. or but the neck pillows are much better as you can use it for those long bus trips and flights.
Other than keeping warm, earplugs are an absolute must whether you plan to sleep in an airport, hostel or a plane. I use any opportunity going to catch up on some sleep and with these earplugs it just wouldn’t be possible. Be sure to get PVC ones and not the foam ones.
I also use Shure earphones which do almost as good a job as the earplugs with the added benefit of drowning out any unwanted noise with a podcast, music or to help you wake up with an alarm.
RESEARCH THE AIRPORT
Firstly, have a look online at sleeping in airports. This website will show if sleeping is actually tolerated in the airport, where the best and worst areas are and if there are any other facilities of interest, showers, wifi etc.
THINGS YOU WANT TO BE NEAR:
- Carpet if cushioned benches aren’t possible.
- Quiet areas.
- Power outlets.
- Wifi signal.
- Live flight screens.
- Your gate if possible.
CHOOSE A SPOT
After this have a walk around and see where you like the look of. I always make sure it is the darkest quietest corner of the airport. Don’t be shy about walking somewhere where there is no one else, those areas are usually the best. Gates can sometimes be good but there is always a chance of them opening sometime. Also, have you ever wondered why there are armrests on almost every seat in the airport? Well those are just for your arms, they are to stop people lying on them and taking up more room. They are the bane of my life but fortunately not every airport decided to have them 🙌🏻
If an airport has a quiet/rest area then you are onto a winner. Some will also have reclined seats but personally I prefer something flat (even the floor) so I can move about.
THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO BE NEAR:
- Crowds, restaurants, shops and bars.
- Gates in use or gates that will be in use.
All this is important when looking for a place to lay your head. You don’t want to be surrounded by other travellers at a busy gate without a toilet in sight. At least if you are resting up near to a bathroom you’ll not need to worry about finding somewhere before your flight. And you’ll be able to wake up to a fully charged phone with live flight information right above your head.
Don’t get me wrong there are many places I have been and could barely find a free seat, let along a place to lay my head (Sharjah!!). But really take your time and don’t be embarrassed about setting up shop in front of a few folk.
You shouldn’t really have any problems airside but that’s not to say leave your bags and go wandering. I would make sure your bags are tight against you. I use a cable padlock to keep them altogether and make sure each pocket is locked. Also I put all my valuables in my small backpack and give it the small spoon treatment to be sure. Landside however might offer a little more risk but generally airports are a safe place.
With the right gear, I could sleep anywhere
So if you find yourself with an overnight layover then find a good spot and setup camp for the night. If you can relax, you’d be surprised at the sleep you could gain and the money you could save.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of my Travel Tips Series, for more tips click here.
- Do you normally sleep in airports?
- What’s your tips on how to sleep in airports?
- Do you find any of these tips useful?
Let me know in the comments below . . .