A delayed flight, a layover, or an unsociably early landing are all valid reasons for needing some shut-eye at an airport – but it’s not as easy as it sounds to get a rest while waiting. Here’s what you need to know…
Understand that not all airports are sleeper-friendly. In fact, some airports may well march you out under armed guard if they find you kipping without a valid flight ticket. Check out how sleeper-friendly your destinations are before you travel!
Remember that security guards will expect travellers to have booked nearby accommodation if there is a wait between flights, or arranged transport even if it is 2am. Believe it or not, sleeping in the airport lounge isn’t part of the ticket price, so don’t waltz around like the cat that got the cream (or the traveller who got a free bed for the night).
Be prepared to answer questions about where you have come from, where you are going and be ready to show your (valid) ticket. Being polite and cooperative will get you a long way in this situation! Once you have had a chat with security, it’s unlikely they will bother you again.
Pack these few things to ensure that you get something near a decent sleep:
- Eye mask
- Inflatable pillow and a blanket
- A cheap lilo
Some airports have provisions for stranded passengers, such as pop-up beds, blankets and pillows. If you have been blessed with the gift of the gab, you might be able to sweet talk someone into letting you use the facilities even if there aren’t big issues with delays.
Think about your personal security. Don’t sleep in secluded spots, don’t sleep near people that you feel unsure about, and be careful with your belongings:
- Use your bags as a pillow/mattress/teddybear – this makes it harder for someone to try and move it without you noticing.
- Place bag opening to the floor/wall/ towards you – again making access more difficult.
- Wrap bag straps around your arms and legs, making them more difficult to remove.
Remember to get travel insurance – it could help you out of a sticky situation if you miss a flight or your flight is delayed!