Guide to Sleeping in an Airport


Sleeping in an airport is never ideal, especially if you are unprepared and let’s face it, most people never plan for a cancelled flight. If you are ever in a situation where bad weather forces flight delays or even cancellations and you aren’t in the position to be able to blow money on a hotel room, sleeping in the airport might be your only option. Fortunately, larger airports are starting to provide cots, pillows, blankets and basic toiletries for stranded travelers. It may not be a bed but it’s definitely better than nothing!

With this being said, sleeping in high-traffic areas can be stressful. Here are a few tips to help you catch some shut-eye in an airport without putting yourself or your belongings at risk.

1. Request a Cot: Hopefully you are stranded in an airport that is now providing cots to stranded passengers. They are typically reserved for mass flight cancellations but you might get lucky if you ask the right person.

2. Use Your Bag as a Pillow (if one isn’t provided): Using your pillow as a bag will help keep it safe from would-be thieves waiting to pounce. For comfort and for safety, lay your bag zipper side down.

3. Put Aside Distractions: Tune out the hustle and bustle of a busy airport by using an eye mask, ear plugs or headphones. If you have none of those on you, draping a piece of clothing over you will also help remove distractions. This should really only be done if you are traveling with a partner who can keep an eye on your belongings.

4. Keep Clean: Freshen up by using antiseptic wipes or wet paper towels. Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on and slip into them for a fresh look.

5. Find a Group: If you are needing to spend the night in an airport, find a group to camp out with. These groups will most likely be found past the security checkpoints or near food courts.

6. Set an Alarm: Make sure you keep track of time by setting an alarm (to the local time). One of the few people on the planet without an electronic device? Make sure you stay right near your departure gate and alert someone around you to wake you up. Most Good-Samaritans will make sure you are up and ready to board.

7. Sleep in Shifts: If you are lucky enough to be traveling with a partner, take turns napping. This way one of you can stay on-guard while the other one gets a little shut-eye. After a set amount of time, switch places.

8. Treat Yourself: Spas are even in airports. A massage induced sleep counts as sleeping in an airport though it costs a lot more than requesting a cot and using your bag as a pillow!

9. Check Out the Airport Lounge: Membership is not required to gain access to the airport lounge. Most lounges are furnished with comfortable lie-flat seats and offer security that you won’t get sleeping out in the open. While you do get access without having to be a member, unless you are flying first class, it will cost a little extra.

Hopefully you never find yourself having to actually deal with a cancelled flight and the hectic feeling of knowing you will have to find a place to sleep but if you do may it be comfortably! Safe travels!