BlogTravel Tips

The Art of Sleeping at Airports

A great way to save money while travelling is by sleeping at the occasional airport. Here are some tips on how to make it a little more bearable.

Location Location Location

Just like buying a house, successfully sleeping at airports is all about location. You’ll want to try and find some shade from the bright lights and also try and be in a corner (You don’t want to be stepped on mid sleep). When searching for that perfect location, it pays to size up the neighbours. You’re biggest concern should be the safety of your things -I know it’s not cool to be tied to your possessions these days, but losing a $500 Iphone would be really annoying. Try to sleep close to wholesome looking people, maybe a family, a group of monks or really old people (A family of old monks would be perfect). They’ll help deter thieves and they might even share their food with you.

Make yourself at home

It might not be the Hilton, but there’s no reason why you can’t create your own little sleeping space fit for a prince (not a king though, I assume a king sized bed is non-negotiable for them). Set up some sheets or sleeping bags if you have them, make a pillow out of your clothes and try to follow the same routine you would at home or in a hotel. Brush your teeth, put on your pajamas and you could even follow the lead of someone I saw at Kuala Lumpur airport and do some yoga.

Set an alarm and keep it safe

You’ll need to set an alarm to avoid missing your flight, but unless you give it some space to breathe you’re in danger of not hearing it.  You also need to be careful not to leave it open to thieves, and make sure you don’t roll on top of it while sleeping and crack the screen. Try and find a little space where it’s safe from being squashed and stolen, but where you’ll also be able to hear it from.

Bring a partner

Sleeping at airports is far easier if you’re travelling with someone. You can sleep in shifts if your neighbours are dodgy, you can go to the bathroom or to get food without having to pack up all your things and it decreases the chance of missing your flight by 50%. Choosing the right partner is important as well – expecting your high maintenance girlfriend to sleep in an airport would be another straw on what I’m guessing is an already exhausted camel. I recently slept at Rome Campiano airport with my girlfriend Gia, and she was happy enough – she even got close to a full 6 hours of sleep!.

Bring your own snacks

Airport food is expensive, and if you’re sleeping at smaller airports there might be not even be anything open during the long hours of the night. Here’s a list of snacks we brought with us on our last airport sleeping adventure

  • 2 packets of Maltesers
  • 1 packet of M and Ms
  • 1 Kit Kat
  • 2 packets of budget chocolate biscuits
  • 1 packet of Mentos
  • 2 oranges, 1 apple

Not the healthiest food, but since you won’t be getting any physical comfort, eating this kind of “comfort food” is the next best thing.

Don’t plan anything strenuous the next day

When sleeping at an airport, chances are you’ll get very little actual sleep. It pays to plan a rest day once you finally arrive at your destination as you’ll probably have a flight straight after your airport sleep, which adds up to a pretty horrible few hours of travel in anyone’s book. Try not to plan any mountaineering expeditions or stand up paddle boarding tours – you will have earned a good rest.

Have I convinced you that sleeping at airports is a legitimate option yet? We recently saved over €50 by not finding a hotel in Rome – so if you’re on a budget and aren’t too high maintenance, give it a go!

Have you slept at an airport before? Where was it, and how did it go?

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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8 Comments

  1. December 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm — Reply

    Yes, always easier to sleep when you’ve got a partner there with you! Also easier to use the restrooms because you can give your bag to someone to hold and save your seat! 😀

    • December 17, 2014 at 6:13 am — Reply

      Definitely! I’ve done it on my own before and it’s a lot more stressful thinking that you might not wake up or your stuff might get stolen.

  2. December 18, 2014 at 5:07 am — Reply

    This post made us chuckle because it’s something that every traveller has experienced at least once! The worst is travelling alone and having to haul your stuff with you everywhere! These are some cool tips though. Kudos =)

    • December 22, 2014 at 1:12 am — Reply

      Thanks! Yip I’ve done it alone before, never got much sleep though.

  3. December 19, 2014 at 11:31 am — Reply

    Tried to sleep in Melbourne Tullamarine Airport because I have a 5am flight to catch, it was drilling and renovation going on full swing and there’s no floor space to lie down. I managed to catch a couple hours of light sleep with hoodies covering my head, personal belongings covered under the jacket, legs up on my bags on the trolley and found a spot at the far end of the terminal AT the counter (yes I slept at the check-in counter – forgot which airline was it though. Not exactly a good night rest, but good enough as the bag weighing belt was comfy……

    And the airport security didn’t blink an eye over it and let me rest..

    • December 22, 2014 at 1:14 am — Reply

      Haha, sounds like you stumbled on the best place to sleep in an airport!

  4. jha
    January 17, 2015 at 9:54 am — Reply

    obviously not the only one who tried that kind of art. lol i needed to sleep at KLIA2 last year,july. needed yes bec i missed my flight. still blaming that resto i hunted down somewhere in little india kl. slept beside the elevator.first time doing it so i slept in front where others like me were dreaming heavily.i agree with the location.elevators and near an airasia office wont work.thank god it was a new airport and carpeted. had fun i should say.and now that its a valid reason not to miss a flight and save $,might do it again this yr when i visit cambodia and SG.and speaking of ,ill continue reading hehe

    • January 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm — Reply

      Sounds like a good night! I’ve slept there before as well, it’s pretty comfortable and plenty of people seem to do it.

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