Sleeping in Airports

WHY? I’ve slept in a number of airports including Phoenix, Boston, Basel, Houston, and Frankfurt to name a few. Sleeping in an airport wouldn’t be my first choice but I’m usually traveling on a budget and once in a while it just makes sense to get a free night’s stay and save some money instead of paying to sleep in a bed for a few hours. It’s the same idea as taking an overnight train or bus and sleeping on it and killing two birds with one stone.  Airports are a nice option because they’re relatively safe, they have bathrooms, drinking fountains for water, and most importantly, they are free!


  • When you find yourself in a developed country, which is more expensive for us budget backpackers
  • When you won’t get a full night’s sleep in your hotel or hostel anyways due to an early or late flight
  • When you are have a short layover or connecting flight the next day
  • When the city center is far away from the airport
  • Four seats, no armrests = good night sleep

WHERE? Find a nice corner tucked away where there isn’t a lot of pedestriantraffic. The best place to crash out is a row of at least 3 chairs that don’t have armrests dividing them. Second best is a carpeted corner somewhere. The least favorable spot but sometimes necessary is a hard floor.

HOW? Depends on your personal comfort needs and what you’re traveling with. If you brought a sleeping bag, perfect. Otherwise when sleeping on chairs wearing a comfortable sweater and using a shirt or something as a pillow is just fine. When you’re sleeping on the floor, a bit more preparation is necessary, especially the non carpeted floors. In those situations I’ve emptied my backpack of clothes, and used them to make a sleeping pad using my jacket as a blanket.

Safety: Keep your backpack or suitcase within arm’s reach at all times. When sleeping on the floor keep your bag in between you and the wall or by your head. Don’t leave and valuables in plain sight and keep your money  on you.

Ever seen one of these in an airport? I feel safer knowing I can be defibrilated if need be. Right next to the beer no less.

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