As I write the first draft of this blog post, I am preparing to sleep in an airport overnight. This is not my first time to sleep in an airport overnight, no sir, it is my third. However, this time was not planned (I am a little bitter, yes).
Perhaps you can relate to my mishap. My connecting flight was missed due to an “air traffic delay.” I have been rebooked for the next available flight to Nashville, which doesn’t happen until tomorrow morning.
Because I don’t want to pay $100 on lodging and transportation costs, I have resigned to sleep in an airport overnight on the floor.
I didn’t prepare for this at all, which means it could have been different. (Why did I not grab those earplugs from my nightstand? I could really use those makeup remover wipes!)
How to Sleep in an Airport Overnight
Now with all this experience under my belt (and a little bit of online research), I’ve got some pretty great tips to help you sleep in an airport safely and as comfortably as possible, if you must.
Pack emergency sleep-over items
Think: warm sweater or jacket, contacts gear / glasses case, ear plugs, phone charger, eye mask, face makeup wipes, and something cozy to sleep in. I have a tiny camping pillow at home that would have come in very handy tonight.
Find out if the airport has cots available
I struck out tonight because it was late by the time I tried the courtesy call phone, and the office was closed. However, many airports will provide a cot if they keep them in stock. Remember: If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
Seek out the Safest Place to Sleep
Ask a security guard where the safest place in the airport is to sleep, and/or find an area with a security camera so if anyone tries to bug you, it will be recorded.
Don’t sleep near a window
It can get really, really cold.
Um, don’t sleep on hard floor if you can help it
It will be cold and uncomfortable.
Use your packing cube as a pillow
If you use packing cubes religiously as I do, pull one out, then add or subtract clothing items to create the perfect cushion for your head.
Attach yourself to your bag while you sleep
Keep a lock on hand, or hug the strap of your bag in your sleep. You could even tie a string around your wrist and connect yourself that way. Also, I keep my phone, passport, and credit card(s) zipped in my jacket pocket. Never just have your stuff lying next to you, even if you’re a light sleeper. It’s not worth the potential loss.
Have a strategy to wakeup the next morning so you don’t miss your flight
I set an alarm on my Fitbit that vibrates when the alarm goes off. This is great because it wakes me up even if I’m wearing earplugs. Another creative idea comes from the Sleeping in Airports website…. Leave sticky notes around you that say “Wake me up at 5am!” before you go to sleep. This way anyone who’s sitting near you at 5am will likely read your note and wake you up so you don’t miss your flight.
Stock up on snacks and water before everything closes
I always carry a refillable water bottle so I can take advantage of drinking fountains, but not all airports have fountains or safe water to drink. If you’re like me, you should already have some snacks packed in your bag, but just in case… check your rations and buy more as needed.
Buy a pass at an airport lounge
If you don’t mind spending some money, you may be able to purchase a day pass at an airport lounge, or for just a few hours. You may have access to all sorts of amazing things…. Food, coffee, wifi, comfortable chairs, showers, and more. But every lounge is different. Check out Sleeping in Airports to see what your airport has available.
Have I missed any pertinent tips? What has been your experience sleeping at airports? Let me know in the comments!