11 Smart Ways to Get Some Sleep at the Airport

By Nick Wharton on 22 April 2016 0 comments

When you have a ridiculously early flight and you have to be at the airport when it's still dark outside, the last thing you want to do is pay for an expensive airport hotel for a measly three-hour sleep. This is when your best option might just be to sleep in the airport. But you can't always do this, and some airports are less comfortable and accommodating than others.

Here are some handy tricks to ensure you get a good night's sleep at pretty much any airport.

1. Check the List

Not all airports are created equal for sleeping comfort. SleepinginAirports.net has put together this handy list of the best 50 airports for having a snooze in 2016. The list includes Singapore (SIN), Vienna (VIE), Tokyo (HND), and San Francisco (SFO).

Conversely, you may also want to check out their top 50 worst airports for sleeping list to make sure that your planned departure lounge isn't one of the least comfortable on Earth.

2. Know the Amenities

If you're planning to crash at the airport, you'll want to make sure that you hit the hay with a full belly, a clean face, and a comfortable place to lay your head. Some airport seats have bars near them, which make sleeping on them nearly impossible. And some airports don't even have restaurants in the departure area. But other airports have reclining chairs, pillows, and even showers and beds, in some cases!

Check online to make sure your airport has enough amenities for your stay. Sometimes you can do a simple Google image search of your departing airport to check what the lounge looks like.

3. Find a Cozy Nook

As more and more people have started sleeping in airports, security is cracking down. If you can find a good nook — behind a kiosk or next to a coffee shop — you may just get through the night without anyone bothering you. Just be sure to check the rules for the terminal beforehand, as some close down overnight.

4. Make a Hoodie Pillow

Hardly any of us actually travel with a goose down pillow, so knowing how to fold your sweater into a comfy cushion could be the difference between a good sleep and a restless night.

5. Park 'n' Sleep

If you're driving to the airport, why not park your car in the airport parking lot and have a snooze until your flight takes off. If you've rented a car, consider keeping it until the morning before your flight.

6. Lock Your Luggage

It's hard to have a solid slumber when you're worried about your bags. Bring along a luggage lock and a cable or fishing line so you can tie your valuables to your chair, or your leg. Surely nobody will be trying to lift your luggage with all of the security around, but peace of mind will help you to sleep while feeling secure.

7. Choose Your Lounge

The arrivals lounge is often more comfortable than the departures lounge. If you get to the airport and you find that there's nowhere to sleep, no good restaurants, or no comfortable seats, consider checking out the arrivals lounge instead. Just make sure you set your alarm with enough time for you to make your way to the departure area before your flight!

8. Dress Warm

Most airports around the world are uncomfortably cold, even ones in the Caribbean and other hot climates. Always pack a hoodie for a pillow for comfort, plus some other warm clothing for airports and airplanes.

9. Get a Cot

While some airports frown upon people sleeping in terminals, others are capitalizing on this growing trend. There are now a few airports in the world that will actually supply passengers with a cot and pillow for a small fee.

10. Pay or Hitchhike Your Way to First Class

All you have to do is make friends with a person who has a first class boarding pass and ask if you can accompany them to the first class lounge.

Every passenger in the first class area is allowed one "guest" for free. And said guest can enjoy all of the perks of the lounge — like drinks, food, and comfort — for free.

I wouldn't recommend blowing up your air mattress and fluffing your hoodie pillow here, but you could pass out on the more comfortable chairs after some appetizers and a glass of champagne.

If you don't feel like making friends just to get free drinks and food, some airports allow you to pay a small fee to enter nicer lounges.

11. Have a Backup Plan

You never know when your airport sleeping plans might be interrupted. I've personally been kicked out of airports for sleeping on the floor, I've been moved multiple times throughout the night, and was even told to wait outside in the cold while the airport staff sanitized the floor for three hours.

Always have a credit card ready, just in case you have to book a hotel for a few hours. Hopefully, you can snooze through the night without having any issues, but you never know.

How do you sleep when stuck in an airport? Share with us in the comments!

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