How to sleep in an airport between two flights

Stef Zisovska

Sleeping in an airport may be a problem when you have to wait 10 or more hours for the next flight. First of all, you are never sure if it’s safe to do it, where’s the best place to lie down, and if you’ll wake up on time for the next boarding. When spending a lot of time at airports, you get used to waiting and relaxing while waiting for your flight. But, if you don’t fly that frequently you are probably not familiar with sleeping in a chair or even on the floor in your sleeping bag. Here are some useful tips on how to sleep safely in an airport.

Have a backup plan

If flights are disrupted, you can end up with a long wait at the airport
If flights are disrupted, you can end up with a long wait at the airport

Not all airport officials would be glad to see you sleeping on a chair, or even worse, on the floor. The may approach you and ask for your outbound ticket or ask why you don’t go to a hotel. Always be ready to respond all the questions and show all the papers the airport security wants to see. Some of them may even kick you out in the middle of the night, which normally doesn’t happen, but you’d better be ready and think of a backup plan.

Useful items for an extended airport stay

Sleeping in the airport is not anybody’s favorite thing, but if for some reason your stay is extended, and you need to wait for the storm to pass, you need to be prepared. There are some useful items every traveler should carry just in case. Especially if you see a hurricane storm or an erupting volcano in the news, be prepared for delays.

Handy items include a cheap inflatable raft that you can throw away afterward, eyeshades, earplugs, drinkable water and snacks, music device, books, magazines, travel diary, headphones, alarm clock, toilet paper, a hand sanitizer, a blanket and/or a sleeping bag. Also, you can make a few sticker notes with a message “Please wake me up at 4 a.m.”. Stick on your sleeping bag and all around you so people see them and wake you up.

Find the best sleeping spot

Find free seats
Find free seats

Finding a decent sleeping spot can be your biggest challenge in the airport. Watch where other people settle down and take a cue from them. Some terminals have better chair than others, so if you have plenty of time, hop from one terminal to the other to find the best spot. Ask the airport security or the airline staff where’s the best place to spend the night, be friendly to them, and they will help you for sure.

Single travelers advice! 

If you don’t want the bomb squad to surround your luggage while you’re in the toilet, take all your belongings with you wherever you go. You can’t leave your things alone when there’s no one around to look for them. Be careful and bring all you have with you.

Stay safe

No matter if you are traveling alone or with other people, always look for the security cameras or choose a spot close to the security office. You will be under constant surveillance while you’re taking a few hour nap. If you’re alone, get closer to other sleepers, and make sure they are travelers and not homeless people that are waiting for you to fall asleep. Nobody is likely to attack a sleeping person in an airport, but there are cases of phones and laptops going missing. Keep all expensive items hidden in your sleeping bag or under your head. Be smart and stay safe!

Stay safe – keep your valuables secure and chose a spot near other travelers to get some rest
Stay safe – keep your valuables secure and chose a spot near other travelers to get some rest

Be quiet!

If you can’t fall asleep and the others around have fallen into a deep sleep, don’t make noise and stay calm. Just because you can’t sleep doesn’t mean you have to wake up everybody around you. If you notice threatening looks in your direction, turn off the music and chill out. Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival