Sleeping in airports – better than what you could think



Enjoying the armless seats in Helsinki Vantaa airport

During a past trip, I realised that I had to spend a night in one of the most expensive European capitals, Helsinki, during a layover. After thinking about a few solutions to save some money, I remembered about a website I saw some days ago – Sleeping in Airports.

Everything is in the name, this website got quite a big community behind it, full of cheap (or not) guys who were stuck at some point in airports around the whole world. This leaded to a huge database full of tips, reviews, comments and informations related to all the airports in the world. They even have a small section regarding funky places to sleep such as police boxes, train stations, or even ATM rooms.

Back to Helsinki then. After a few minutes checking this amazing website, my friend and me saw that the Finnish capital airport was one of the best European ones. And when I mean one of the best ones, I mean that there was free WiFi, drinking water, showers, not-too-cold air-con, armless seats to lay down on and even arcade games turned on all night long.
Following the reviews, we found out that the best spot to sleep was between the two main terminals, and so we did. 8 hours of baby sleep on an airport – that was something to add on my checklist. They even turned off the lights during the night, and we both felt safe (most airports got CCTV, so that helps a lot).
Landing late in the evening in Helsinki, we even had the time to leave the airside to buy some stuff in the small convenience shop and for a cig, then came back in the other side of the check-in counters to sleep peacefully.

A few months ago, I had to go to Bangkok. I booked a train in the morning and didn’t want to spend 10 or 15 bucks for a hostel night there. So instead, I did the same as before – I checked Sleeping in Airports. And guess what? Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport is one of the best Asian ones. Let’s go!

Even if it was not as comfortable as its Finnish brother, mostly because of the let’s-put-the-aircon-full-level-please-all-get-sick-and-cold-people temperature, I have to say that I slept surprisingly well. And it was in the landside area, so I didn’t even need any boarding pass or so. Now I know what some people could think – is it socially acceptable to sleep on a public area like this? Well, first of all – screw the socially acceptable principle. Secondly, compared to sleeping in the streets, you’re in a safe place, who got showers, relatively clean toilets, with less noise and less dirt than a Asian capital street. For the tips part:

  • Bring a blanket or towel
    I always do this kind of small travels with a microfiber towel, who is light and can act as a cushion or blanket.
  • Buy your water before
    Obviously, the prices in the airports are always a little more lovely for your wallet. Be sure to buy your water for the night before coming.
  • Take a jacket and put your valuables between your jacket and shirt
    Everybody got a certain way to protect valuables, but this is mine. Even if it’s an airport with security guards and cameras, it’s always better to stay safe at all times.
  • Get your informations on how to leave the airport before going to sleep
    …because there’ll be probably more people to ask for informations on the evening than in the early morning. Plus, it’s easier to ask for those when you’re still full of energy rather than when you just woke up and want to get the hell out of this place.
  • If you don’t know where exactly to sleep, do a little walk around the airport and watch for the locals
    In most airports, you will anyway see some of them sleeping in the evening or during the night. In some places where you’ll only find armrest-equipped seats, try to watch for the other people sleeping positions to get some ideas on how to fall asleep better. There’s always a way.

    Of course, it’s not as comfortable as your bed at home. But you’ll probably have way more stories to tell!