Your Guide to Spending the Night in the Airport

Businessman sleeping on seat in airport lounge, dunheger travel blog


There are many ways to get stuck spending the night at the airport. Maybe you have an overnight layover or your flight has been delayed or cancelled and you need to rough it for the evening. Perhaps you flew in on a red-eye and aren’t too keen on venturing out into a strange city before sun-up. Whatever the reason, you’ll find you can overnight in the airport on any budget.

Tight Budget

Scoping out a safe and comfortable place to sleep is priority one when you need to stay in the airport for free. Your best clue will be other folks sleeping in the same area. If you’re lucky you may be able to find benches or rows of chairs without armrests to stretch out on. You could also find yourself obliged to sleep sitting up, or lay out on the ground. Travel with a light blanket and pillow, or with clothing that can be adapted into makeshift bedding. Keep a lock or even a mesh cage around your luggage so it’s safe while you sleep. Some airports are more sleep-friendly than others – you may be woken up by airport security and asked to move or to show your boarding pass.


If it’s not time for bed yet, you can seek out a restaurant or café to while away some of that long layover. Many airports have at least a couple storefronts that are open 24 hours. This is a good opportunity to read up on your destination and download directions to your hotel. Just stay away from the alcohol and caffeine as both of these will dehydrate you and make your jet lag worse. When you’re ready to go to sleep, look around at your options. Some airports have sleep pods, which you can rent by the hour or for the full night. They come with a safe place to store your bag and an outlet for charging electronics. You could also pay for lounge access, which will grant you a similar level and safety and comfort. Some lounges even have showers available for guests.

Flush with cash

If money is no object, you can head straight from your plane to the confines of an airport hotel. Airports in large cities may even have more than one hotel for you to choose from. An airport hotel could be simply in the area with a shuttle service available, or it could be directly connected to the terminal. Airport hotels typically have the same amenities of regular hotels, like room service. It combines the best of both worlds – the convenience of staying at the airport and the comfort of staying in a traditional hotel.

Any budget

Whatever your budget, advance research is your friend. If you know ahead of time you’ll need to spend the night in the airport, look up your destination in advance on You’ll find comprehensive guides to terminals around the world with tips on specific places to sleep and 24-hour shops and restaurants. The Gate Guru app also offers travelers maps of airport terminals to help you get around.