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How to Sleep in an Airport… and Survive the Next Day

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Last Thursday, I spent the night sprawled out on a row of benches in Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

Would you believe it was my first time sleeping in an airport? Considering how much travel I’ve done in my lifetime, that’s no small feat! But there’s a first time for everything, and this time, the perfect storm of circumstances aligned and left me with a great story to share.

After my fabulous time in Ottawa, I headed back to Toronto on the Via Rail train with my blogger friends in order to catch my return flight home. The train was set to arrive in downtown Toronto about 10 pm and as it was, I was going to have to be up very early to get to the airport by 4 am in order to make my early morning flight.

In order to catch at least a few hours of shut-eye (since I was going straight from the airport into work), I had a night booked at the ALT Hotel right across the street from the airport. Featuring good prices and a fun and hip vibe, I was super-excited to check out the ALT since it seemed like a really unique alternative to the traditional personality-less airport hotel.

But, life likes to throw curveballs, and as I waited for our train in Ottawa, a rumble of chatter started to ripple across the waiting area. The rumble got louder and louder until I could make out the key word: “Delay.” It ended up being 2 hours late, which would bring us into Toronto around midnight.

I had to make a game time decision. Do I spend the money on the hotel, knowing that I’ll only have around 3 hours to sleep in it after I arrive? Or, do I try something new, save the money and sleep in the airport? It wasn’t a question… the airport was calling my name!

(Side note: A special thanks to the ALT Hotel for canceling my reservation way past the cancellation deadline, with no penalty. I can’t wait to check it out on my next visit, but in the meantime check out my friend Christina’s review and pictures of the ALT on her blog, My View from the Middle Seat.)

So, naturally I took to Twitter and Facebook for tips on how to survive my first night sleeping in an airport. Here are the tips I received that really helped me out! (Having my sleep kit handy didn’t hurt, either.)

Twitter advice… 

@SylvieinMexico: Warm clothes. Dress in layers. I always freeze in airports & when u add ‘tired’ to the equation, you need warmth. Good luck!

@TravelSamsWorldhope it’s okay! Here’s some tips for defeating boredom! http://totallysamsworld.com/defeating-airport-boredom/

@flyingwithfish: Benches in YYZ T1 have no arm rests, I’m 6’3 and can comfortably lay down and sleep on them. It’s great. YYZ is a nice place to sleep , T1 has a nice lounge that is open to all travelers. It’s quiet with free wifi

 

And advice from family and friends…

Dad: Just find yourself a nice cozy corner with a plug to charge your stuff and you should be ok!  Just make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes.  Also remember to set your alarm so you won’t miss your flight.

Mom: That trying to sleep in a chair at the airport is tough!  Take some advil BEFORE you go to sleep!

Scott: I prefer sleeping on the floor since chairs have armrests.

Steve: Booze.

Kathleen: Sleep on top of your valuables… And if you have a hoodie, hide under it. You’ll look scarier that way.

Michelle: Find the row of chairs without armrests and stretch out! Sleep with your head on your purse/valuables. And don’t pick a seat directly under an intercom. 🙂

Adam: Earplugs, sleep mask, valuables in pants in the deepest darkest corner you can find. Maybe even under some terminal seats. Enjoy!

Rachel: It gets super cold (at least Atlanta-Hartsfield does) so ask the attendant for a blanket and if real bold, some ear plugs. if you can wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Airports are surprisingly loud at night because they run the industrial floor cleaners and vacuums.

Lora: Make sure there isnt construction around where you are and put on any warm clothes you’ve got! It gets cold in the airport at night. I’ve also slept in the airport in ATL!

Reed: My advice: Don’t!!
HAVE YOU EVER SLEPT IN AN AIRPORT? WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS TO SHARE?

 

Finally, here is an impromptu vlog that I filmed after I found my benches, where I put some of these tips to the test.

 

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2 Responses to How to Sleep in an Airport… and Survive the Next Day

  1. FWCanada June 13, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Some very interesting tips for frequent travelers who find themselves sleeping in airports, thank you for sharing them with us! We hope you had a safe trip home and that you enjoyed your time in Canada, come back soon!

  2. John Frisk February 17, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    Exactly 100% true, i had experienced same when i was at Toronto Airport last year. that was surprising night for me…

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