From Milan to Malaysia, we have slept in multiple airports for a multitude of reasons. We want to save money, save time and save messing around. Within the right airports you can find both comfort, Wi-Fi and electrical points while staying warm. With some airports you can expect to be moved on, find chairs with only hard steel arms and take the occasional boot from security when you create a bed in a corner (this happened to Senna when i was not there). From the almost hotel-like Singapore Airport, a personal favorite, to kicking Kuala Lumpur, that looks good but needs to work on their people skills. Sleeping in airports can be a trying time, but also a pleasure. Airports do allow bookings with long stay overs, airline websites book flights with check-out and check back in situations leaving you stranded in the waiting area until three hours before check-in. As frugal travelers, the hotel accommodation near airports is rather expensive, including taxi rides. We decide to spend that money in our destinations and save ourselves the hassle. Here are our tips for sleeping in airports. First and foremost, go prepared.
Keep your jacket and a towel, hat or blanket to use as pillows and covers. Don’t forget that no matter which country you travel to that they will use the air-con and it will not be warm. A toothbrush is always handy and make use of the free perfume and aftershave samples as often as possible. You will be on a flight at some point and your next stranger seated next to you does not deserve your whiff. I have even washed myself in a sink at 3 am before. You see, from the morning check-out at your hostel to the taxi to the airport to the sleep to the wake up to the flight to the airport to the sleep to the flight to the airport to the taxi to the destination (phew that was a long one) will not make you the most desirable if you choose to not wash, brush and ‘steal’ a little perfume. The longest we have done from Europe to Asia was Milan to Singapore To Kuala lumpur to Penang. That was 3 days. Don’t be too polite to brush your teeth in the sink, take the free samples and cover yourself and wash those pits when there is no one around.
Secondly, check the airport when you arrive for good spots, quiet areas and electrical points. The perfect spot, away from people, means you are more likely to be left alone. Chairs may seem like the best option but come 4 am and the early flight arrivals will pour in and your much needed sleep will last a few hours. The picture to the right was in Milan airport, on a windowsill behind some chairs. This was a great spot for some well needed shut-eye. Don’t forget to protect your bags and perhaps tie a string to your arm and use those locks. Out of sight, out of mind, a phrase my mother used to use to get rid of me but it works in this scenario. Carpeted areas are always nice but be aware that they are usually cleaned at night and you will be moved. Certain airports do have sleeping areas but most do not so the positioning is well worth a walk around to find your area. Thirdly watch out for the workforce. All people are not created equal and the further away and least hassle you can be from the workers is beneficial to you both. They don’t want you in the way so don’t be.
Look for the areas that are clean and away from toilets and certain plug sockets. The workers will have well placed sockets on walls, floors and pillars. They will use these for the various cleaning machines used in the twilight hours. They may look like a good place to settle down with power and a wall to lean on, but they will often be required regardless of your sleepiness. A smile goes a long way with anyone and will often keep you and your nighttime compatriots on a level field.
The most important thing is to respect your position, you are a guest in other peoples workplace and if you keep them happy, 9 times out of 10 you will be left alone.
Sleep well and save money.