Optimally, we’d all experience breezy, direct flights. Second to that, we’d always have the time and resources to find cushy accommodations around airports. We know from experience, that’s not typically how things go. Here are a few tips that might come in handy if you find yourself both in an airport, and in need of sleep.
Airport sleeping can be reasonably comfortable, or it can be complete hell. The difference is how prepared you are.
Know your flight details, and keep your proof of flight close. Security in some airports doesn’t take kindly to overnight visitors. They won’t often ask you to leave, but they may ask to peek at your boarding pass, to ensure that you’re not the wrong kind of transient.
Check for standby availability. If you’re all about the thrill of creating a mobile bedroom, more power to you! If you’d rather attempt an earlier flight – we feel you. Be sure to check with your airline – and their affiliates – to see if anyone has space to whisk you away early.
Keep your creature comforts within reach. Tuck some facial wipes, toothpaste and toothbrush, floss, mini deoderant and basic makeup (tinted moisturizer, concealer, and lip balm or vaseline seem to work well for JRRNY’s feminine contributors) into your carry on, where you can access them easily. If you have a little more space, facial mists and cologne are great additions, especially for that inevitably needed morning pick-me-up. Having a wireless charger for your electronics on hand can be useful too, in the event that you can’t find a spot near an outlet. And on that note, be sure you have the correct adaptors and such, if you’re traveling internationally!
Layer up. In-airport climate varies heavily from place to place, and from hour to hour. Make sure to bring comfortable clothes, and a sweatshirt. Even if you don’t end up needing to wear it, you can use it for extra cushion!
Set an alarm. Or four. Because there are few things more frustrating than missing a flight. Additionally, security may come through with a 5:00 a.m. wake up call, to make way for the new batch of morning travelers. It’s far more pleasurable to wake up on your own than by the hands of a stranger, if you ask us.
Waking up to find you’re missing a bag, an iPhone – anything, really – is going to dampen your mood.
Attach small valuables to your person, hidden from view. Passports, cash, cards, and other things you’d normally keep in a carry on or wallet, should be securely attached to your person. At the very least, make sure they are tucked into an interior jacket pocket, where they can’t fall out. We suggest using one of those really tacky travel belts. They work! As an extra precaution, snag one with a built-in RFID block, so no one can swipe your info on the fly. Here’s a good one: http://bit.ly/trvlbelt
Get a locker. A lot of airports provide lockers (for a nominal fee) where you can store your belongings. We’d suggest this for larger carry ons, but still advise that you keep truly invaluable possessions, such as passports, phones, and credit cards, on your person.
Make a bed out of your bags, and lock ‘em up. Any bag can become a pillow, if you believe enough. The best way to keep potential thieves at bay, is to keep zippers and openings facing toward your body, the wall – anywhere that is out of sight – and to lay against, or on top of, your bags. You can also purchase a super lightweight bike lock, and attach your belongings to the leg of a chair, or to your limbs, if you want to really lock things down.
There might be more options than you know. Make sure to explore them!
Do a little research before you leave home. Some airports aren’t open 24 hours. Some frown heavily on overnight guests. Just run a few quick Google searches on the airport(s) you’ll be visiting, and make sure you’re prepared to make the proper arrangements.
Lounges. Lounges are no longer just for the wealthy and travel elite. A lot of airlines and airports will open their lounges – complete with food and beverages, more comfortable seats, and even showers – to economy fliers, at a pretty affordable price. While not necessarily for sleeping, they can provide perfect spaces to freshen up during a long layover. Check out SleepinginAirports to see an impressively long list of airports and their respective lounges, buy passes, and more.
Sleeping pods. Some airports – like this one in Amsterdam – offer reservable accommodations for overnight guests, or those with especially long layovers.
In the Airport. If you need to catch your Z’s in the terminals, it’s best to find a quiet – but populated – place to alight. Highly trafficked food courts, ticket counters, etc. won’t make for peaceful sleep, but make sure that you aren’t completely isolated. Especially if you’re going to be using sleep masks, headphones, or any other sleep aid that might cut you off from the outside world, it’s important to make sure there are other travelers (or at least the potential of other travelers) to discourage potential shady folk from poaching your stuff. It’s typically pretty easy to find seats without armrests; that’s where we’ve found the most luck getting a good night’s sleep. If possible, keep close to your gate, so that you can hear announcements about your pending flight.
Know the Area. Just in case you simply need (or just really, really want) to find accommodations outside the airport, make it a point to do some research about the hotels nearby before your stay. Booking hotels blindly from the airport, when you’re already tired, can make for a pretty intolerable sleeping experience.
Whether you’re an avid traveler, a hotel owner, or a destination expert — JRRNY.com will feed your wanderlust by providing new experiences every day and connecting explorers, just like you.