It might seem like a nightmare, but spending the night in an airport doesn’t have to be terrible.
Sometimes flights are delayed, we miss a connection, or scheduled layovers can just be long. Making the best of these situations doesn’t have to be painful, and it is possible to get some rest while you wait.
Here are eight (8) basic tips to help you stay comfortable when sleeping at an airport:
- Research airport amenities
- Prepare your supplies
- Stay away from isolated areas
- Find a comfortable place
- Create a restful space
- Keep Your Belongings Secure
- Set your alarm
- Expect security to wake you up
The following explains some tricks and tips for getting some sleep at an airport.
8 Tips For Sleeping in an Airport
1. Research Airport Amenities
If you have wifi access (or already know you’re in for an overnight), check the airport’s website and look at their services.
Some airports have amenities for long layovers, such as sleep pods, quiet lounges, shower facilities, etc.
That said, it might be good to check reviews and see what other travelers think of these services.
Also, remember that amenities can change without notice, so things posted online might not be up-to-date – if you see something you’re interested in, confirm its availability at a customer care desk.
Additionally, many airports have hotels nearby, so if your layover is more than 10 hours or so, you may consider booking a room if it’s within your budget.
2. Prepare Your Supplies
If you decide to stay in the airport, it’s time to prepare for your sleepover.
If you already know you’ll have to spend the night, pack a refillable water bottle, warm clothes, and other bedtime essentials in your carry-on (like a toothbrush, eye mask, face wash, or even a travel blanket and pillow).
When your airport sleepover is unexpected, ask the airline if they have hygiene kits available for stranded passengers. If not, see if you can purchase travel essentials at an airport shop.
Some larger international airports have 24/7 retail services, but many do not, so make this your first pitstop, especially if you want to brush your teeth.
Retail shops aren’t the only services with limited hours – food courts and restaurants also close for the night, and you might want to buy some snacks and drinks for later before curling up and taking a snooze.
Don’t worry if things are closed when you arrive; most airports have vending machines that are well-stocked and easy to find.
Additionally, if your flight is delayed for mechanical, logistical, or weather-related reasons, you may get food vouchers from the airline, which can help save you money.
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3. Stay Away From Isolated Areas
You may be tempted to find an isolated, quiet area to bunk in for the night, but it may not be the safest move, especially if you’re traveling solo.
Airports are typically secure – there are a lot of safety protocols and security personnel around – but not all terminals are created equal.
The smartest move is to find an area with at least a few other people or try to snag a quiet corner close to your departure gate.
If you don’t feel safe in the airport, you can always rent a car (if available) and sleep in that while you wait.
4. Find a Comfortable Place
Not all spots in an airport are comfortable for sleeping.
Before settling on a place to snooze, take a walk and scope out the best locations – look for benches without armrests and zones with good security camera coverage.
Some areas may close at night, but you can usually count on the international terminal to stay open 24 hours.
Also, stay away from high-traffic areas so you can rest without too many interruptions.
If you’re flying business class, have a Priority Pass, or are a member of an airline loyalty program, you may be able to sleep in a lounge.
Some may close, but it might be a comfortable choice for at least a few hours.
5. Create a Restful Space
When you’re sleeping in an airport terminal, getting a good rest is difficult.
You can, however, create a restful space by blocking out as much light and noise as you need to be comfortable.
Eye masks and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones are extremely useful in this situation, and you should pack them in your carry-on if you know you’re spending the night.
You can use a travel pillow or make one out of your extra clothes by folding and placing them inside another shirt.
If you’re sleeping on the floor, try to put something between you and the cold ground, like a travel blanket or jacket.
Lastly, check nearby gates for incoming or outgoing flights to avoid getting woken up by other passengers.
6. Keep Your Belongings Secure
When napping at an airport, protecting your stuff will be a priority.
Most people travel with at least one device, a wallet, and their travel documents, so if you’re not using your bag as a pillow, you’ll want to keep these things on your person.
You can wear a travel pouch around your neck or waist or put your valuables in an inside pocket.
Luggage locks are another effective way to deter thieves and secure your belongings, especially if you’re traveling alone – but never leave your bag unattended, even if it’s locked.
You can also ask airport staff if there are storage lockers for luggage or if you can keep your belongings behind the ticket counter.
7. Set an Alarm
It’s easy to oversleep when spending the night in an airport, especially if you’re warm, comfortable, and wearing earplugs or headphones.
Make sure you set an alarm before falling asleep. If you’re snoozing near other passengers, you can ask them to wake you up if they’ll also be there for a while.
You might also want to wake up periodically to update yourself on any changes to your flight.
If you’ve been delayed, your flight can depart without much notice, and you’ll want plenty of time to get to your gate, especially if you need to clear security.
8. Expect Security To Wake You Up
Speaking of security – if you’re not at the airport because your flight’s been grounded, they may wonder why you’ve been napping for hours.
Don’t be shocked if a security guard wakes you several times during the night.
If you’re waiting out a layover, just show them your boarding pass, and they’ll likely leave you alone.
Keep your boarding pass with your other valuables to have it on hand whenever you need it.
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Having a sleepover at an airport isn’t as much fun as it sounds, but there are a few things you can do to make it safer and more comfortable, including:
- Researching airport amenities
- Preparing your supplies
- Staying away from isolated areas
- Finding a comfortable place
- Creating a restful space
- Securing your belongings
- Setting your alarm
- Expecting security to wake you up.
If you have an extra long layover and don’t want to sleep at the airport, you can rent a car or grab a room at a nearby hotel.