Sleeping in Airports

Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok International Airport – better to see than sleep

Would you sleep in an airport? I did, and I recommend it!

The first time I considered overnighting in an airport was on my way from Thailand back to the USA for Christmas.. a ridiculous journey that took me from Bangkok to Bahrain  to Istanbul to Amsterdam to the Detroit (over 48 hours in transit but that’s another story).

I had two possible overnights, in Bahrain and Amsterdam. In Bahrain, I landed at 10pm and had to be back at 10am – after doing some research, I decided it wouldn’t be scrupulous to be a solo blonde girl in the airport in the middle of the night. I booked an overpriced (but the cheapest possible) hotel. But in Amsterdam, I landed in the middle of the night and had to board my plane at 8am. Was it worth another pricey hotel stay (at least 10% of my monthly salary for a night in a room that I would only spend a few hours), if I was safe and comfortable?

I decided – NO!

After doing some research on the amazing site Sleeping In Airports, which listed Amsterdam (AMS) as #9 Best Airport to Sleep In,  I solidified my decision. I didn’t book a room. My thoughts were:
1. Saving money
2. Time – By the time I got a taxi (also costing money) and checked into my room, I would spend less than 5 hours there.
3. Saving money

When I landed in Amsterdam exhausted, feeling dirty and smelly, I instantly regretted my decision. What was I thinking?! I wanted to see my family for the first time in a year FRESH and awake, not steeped in 30+ hours of airport stink. I frantically tried to check into an airport capsule hotel (what a great concept!).. and they were all sold out. My decision was made for me.

I slept in the airport.

And it was awesome, safe (I saw security guards patrolling, but none hassled me), and had free wifi! I actually got a lot of sleep stretched out on a bench (but was FREEZING and learned to always pack a blanket)

After that great money and time saving experience, I opted to do it again.

My sister came to visit me, and we decided to do a one day trip to the Singapore Zoo from Thailand, and also serving as a visa run for me.

Again, I did my Sleeping In Airports research, which listed Singapore (SIN) as the best airport in the world for sleeping. Easy choice and I (almost) painlessly introduced my sister to the world of being shamelessly cheap. We did (unintentially) fall asleep at the Phuket airport and almost missed our flight, while I simultaneously lost my exit card and was almost denied boarding until the stewardess rushed me back to immigration to get a new one. Literally running in her heels.

Singapore airport had comfy single bed-like seats, and security guards touring frequently. They DID ask to see our boarding pass around 5am, which was for 7pm that same day (we planned to leave the airport around 8 and head to the zoo for our day trip).

Successful day trip resulted with no need to shell out $100+ for a hotel

Successful day trip resulted with no need to shell out $100+ for a hotel

My most recent experiences in airport overnights have been in Kuala Lumpur (KUL), the #8 Best Airport to Sleep in, according to Sleeping In Airports.

On my way from Thailand to Indonesia, most recently, and Australia before that, I had about 8 hours overnight each time at KUL. Both times I opted to spend it in the airport. There are great benches and chairs with foot and headrests, and awesome food options. My only caution would be to bring an extra battery – I couldn’t find any outlets!


If you’re considering sleeping in airports, check out your next layover, and if it is ranked a Best Airport to Sleep Inlook up the airport guide for more information… and just do it! Save the money and the time.. and you just might like it!


Tips for Sleeping in (any and all) Airports:

1. DRESS – don’t wear short skirts, low tops, crop tops, or other clothing that could creep and show a bit more than desired while passed out
2. WARMTH – a blanket/shawl/canga/Turkish blanket towel/pashmina for draping over yourself as some airports can get quite chilly overnight
3. COMFORT – if you have the room/budget, an inflatable pillow is extra comfortable, otherwise, you can use a rolled up sweater or other clothing to rest your head on
4. SAFETY – while you want to be a bit out of the way, don’t tuck yourself into a totally deserted corner and make yourself vulnerable to wandering eyes/hands
5. VALUABLES – put your valuables right underneath you, out of reach, where someone would have to disturb you in order to access them (better yet, store them in an airport locker overnight or lock them to wherever you are sleeping with Pacsafe style net lock)
6. MUNCHIES – not all airports function 24 hours, stock up on food and water before hitting the hay
7. FRESHEN – make sure your deodorant, tooth brush and paste, and any other personal necessities are in your carry-on.. you don’t want to be the stinky guy! (wet wipes are especially awesome for getting rid of that “slept in an airport overnight” stink)
8. CLOCK – your new nap space may be so comfortable that you snooze straight through your flight – be sure to set an alarm!


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

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