Wednesday, 10 June 2015

How to sleep in an airport

Can you really sleep in an airport and how do you do it? Well, here are a few tips that have been gathered over the years to get you started on your airport sleeping adventures.

1. Always have a backup plan
This is the most important tip for anyone who voluntarily sleeps in airports. Some airport officials won’t like the fact that you are sleeping there, although you won’t necessarily be kicked out. So, you need to be prepared to answer questions and present your outbound airline ticket. It seems like the airport officials don’t appreciate people using the airport as their own personal hotel rooms!

2. Be prepared
When reports of an upcoming storm or erupting volcano are in the news a few days before your trip, you really have no excuse but to go to the airport prepared for a longer than normal airport stay. Here are some items for your airport survival kit:

- Cheap inflatable raft
- Eye shades (sunglasses will do)
- Ear plugs
- Bottle water
- Snacks
- Entertainment (iPod, laptop, books, magazines)
- Headphones
- Alarm clock
- Disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer
- Blanket or pillow (sleeping bag)

Quick Tip: If you are flying by yourself write a note saying “Wake me up at 7:00pm” and stick it on yourself. It works, people will wake you up!

3. Be safe
Whether you are sleeping in the airport by yourself or with friends or family. It’s always good to know where security is. Know where the office is and look out for cameras in the spot you decide to sleep. If you are alone it is recommended that you sleep near other travelers, you don’t want your laptop or cellphone to go missing.

4. Get  there early
If you are staying at a busy airport overnight, you should try and get there early to get a good spot, especially during peak season. Some airports are so popular that they look like refugee camps on an average night.

5. Scope it out
Finding a good spot may be your biggest challenge. If the situation looks bad, explore the airport and different terminals. Consider seating, temperature, announcements and people traffic when you are looking for the best place to spend the night. You may need to get creative such as sleeping on luggage conveyor belts and in wheelchairs. 

6. Just park it!
Whether you are stuck in the airport for the night or you choose to be there, there may be a chance that you will be uncomfortable and unhappy. If you are travelling on a budget consider renting a car and sleeping in it for the night instead of wasting money on a hotel.

7. Protect your bags
A major concern when sleeping in an airport is obviously getting robbed while you sleep. So, you’ll need to come up with a way to make sure no one can access or take your bags. Its best to sleep with your bag zippers facing the floor or yourself, because gaining access will make a noise and wake you up.  Or try sleeping with your arms or legs over your bags, so that you will be woken up if they move. Your last resort may be to chain your bag to your leg or arm.

8. Act innocent and behave
Even if you sleep at airports on a regular basis, don’t act like a professional! Act like you really don’t want to be there and there is absolutely nowhere else to go. Crying helps a lot. However, remember the airport is not a hotel and the system should not be abused.

9. Late night snacks
Because many of the food concessions and restaurants close at night, you’ll want to stock up on water and late night snacks before they close. There are been times when generous vendors will give away their unsold food to desperate looking people wandering aimlessly around the airport

10. Dress for the occasion
Dress in layers. Have clothes that you will be comfortable if it is unbearably hot or extremely cold. Pack a hat and fleece blanket in your carry-on, you think that sounds silly, but the airport can be a cold place day or night.

11. Keep quiet
Always be considerate of your fellow airport sleepers. Just because you can’t sleep doesn’t mean others should be awake too. Take a hint when sleepers look at you with death stares – you’re too loud!


Sleeping in the airport can not only be extreme budget travel, but it can also be an adventure! So, enjoy it and have fun. 

For a reliable and affordable shuttle service to and from Cape Town International Airport, book a taxi with Airport Shuttle today!

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