10 Tips for When You’re Stuck at An Airport Overnight

January 3, 2019

Categories: Travel Tips,

Your plane was delayed and now you’ve missed your connection. It’s after midnight and the next available flight doesn’t depart until dawn. A hotel room is out of the question. You’re clearly stranded at an airport. What do you do?

Our Global Rescue security operations personnel have developed some tried-and-true techniques for making an airport overnight a little more comfortable.

The ability to get some restful sleep on the go in places like airports and bus stations might make or break a trip when the unexpected happens. Before your next extended layover, here are a few tips to keep in mind to survive a night in the airport.

Lower Your Expectations

Aim for rest and relaxation instead of hoping for eight solid hours. Make your goal to just be as relaxed as you can be, and sleep will likely follow. If not, even the restful, quiet time will help you recharge.

Remember to Stretch

Fellow travelers might raise an eyebrow as you do light yoga on the concourse, but you’ll feel more comfortable after stretching.

Pamper Yourself with Comfort Items 

We all have a bedtime ritual and even in an alien environment you can stick to some of yours. Have your toothbrush and toothpaste handy, as well as a travel-size bottle of your daily moisturizer or lotion. Keeping some of your routine intact will give you a sense of control over the situation, which is important for your peace of mind as well as your ability to achieve meaningful rest.

[Related Reading: The Ultimate World Travel Safety Kit]

Carry Spare Clothes with You

Carry extra undergarments and a soft exercise shirt in case you get stuck sleeping somewhere. It’s as close to pajamas as you may get and an easy way to tell your brain that it’s bedtime.

Prepare to Keep Warm

Carry a small pair of gloves and a light stocking cap. They come in handy during cold nighttime flights and are worth their weight in gold when the air conditioning has you shivering.

Bring Your Earplugs

Standard foam ear plugs will suffice, although silicone ones can be cleaned easier. You don’t need much protection – just enough to lower the volume of that overhead speaker. 

airplane-at-night

The Jack(et) of all Trades

Keep a lightweight, insulated jacket in your luggage year-round. You can drape it over yourself like a blanket and a hood can help block out harsh airport light. Large pockets are perfect for securing valuables on your person while you snooze and you can stuff the jacket into its own sleeve for a crude pillow.

Make Your Bed and Lie in It

Some travelers need more creature comforts than a minimal puffy jacket thrown over them. For this, consider a small air mattress, travel pillow or sleeping bag. These are especially relevant internationally.

Protect Valuables

If you are traveling alone, put your valuables in your pockets or in a purse or backpack slung across your shoulder. Pull other items as close as possible and put your arm or leg through a strap. It’s not as secure as keeping a waking eye on everything, but it will make you feel better and help you relax.

If you are traveling as part of a group, establish a guard shift and create a roster – even for a well-lit major airport. It might feel like overkill, but you’ll feel more comfortable knowing your items are safe. As a bonus, the ‘guard’ can keep tabs on any developments with your travel.


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