Sleeping In Airports To Save Money

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So while in London, I’m going to visit a friend in Southern England, and I’m going to get back into London late that night for an early flight back to the States. So basically I was looking at paying $100 for a hotel so I could sleep for 6 hours between the train ride and my flight. Although I’ll have a decent amount of luggage… I was thinking… maybe I could just go straight and sleep in the airport? Would that be impossible? stupid? Of course, I run off and google “sleeping in airports”…

…And find! Complete reviews of every major airport in the world. Marvelous. Checking out the London Gatwick Airport page, comments range from the promising “I was able to stretch out on the padded, armless seats” and “the soft backed chairs in one of the closed cafes could be placed together to make a nice bed” to the more forboding “GOT ROBBED OF MY MONEY PASSPORT PHONE CAMERA TRAIN TICKET ETC.” and the hilarious (well, not for him) “a small child wiped her Big Mac on my face”. Maybe I need to pay Priceline another visit…

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  1. I’ve slept three nights (on different occasions) in the Dublin airport and it was a great way to chip off a little money. Then again I’m a student, so “a little money” is around 20 euro.

  2. I once slept on the floor at the airport at Mexico City since we had to be at the airport at 4am for a flight at 6am. MEX is a very nice airport, but not many places to sit before checking in. I also slept in Lima waiting for a 11:30pm flight. Lima has great armless benches.

  3. It used to be kind of fun, like a small backpacker’s party in airports. I had a great time at CDG in Paris. I learned that tinned mackerel in mustard sauce is pretty good stuff.

    These days, I wouldn’t do it. You can’t carry as much stuff with you, like toothpaste for the morning when your mouth is icky. It seems more of a pain in the neck than it used to be. I’d fork out the money and actually get a good night’s rest in a hotel. To paraphrase a friend, ‘I’m over 30. I don’t sleep in airports anymore.’

  4. Actually, I remember seeing in Singapore that you can get a room inside the airport, but it would be more for convenience than saving money.

  5. With the latest fears of terrorism, I’m betting sleeping at Gatwick wouldn’t be the best thing for you. They’d probably treat you as an unattended package or something.

  6. I had an over night layover in Gatwick on a business trip – too short to justify booking a hotel, too long just to hang out. You can lay out on the chairs, however, I just remember it being too noisy to get much sleep – I did alot of reading in the airport and then slept on the plane.

  7. My wife and I slept in London Heathrow once since we arrived at ~10:30 pm, and could not find a hostel. The guy at the airport help desk suggested we find a row of seats on the upper level and fall asleep.

    That experience was so-so. For one, we found an area on the upper level where other people were sleeping, so nobody harassed us. However, the lights never turn off, and cleaning crews clean in the wee-hours of the morning, and you feel paranoid about your luggage. So, if you are determined to sleep in the airport, which makes some sense since london is so darn expensive, then make sure you pack the following items;

    1. Sleep Mask (we used the Brittish Airways supplied ones)
    2. Ear plugs (these were essential)
    3. Luggage lock
    4. Beer

    If you lock you luggage up well, put on the mask, put in the earplugs – you might be able to get 3 hrs sleep at a time. Make sure you get some beers in as well prior to the airport bar closing. I think that Heathrow bar closed at 11 pm, so I only got a single beer prior to attempting sleep. Perhaps a flask is in order.



    try this free option as others have and let us know how it goes.

  9. We spent a night this July in Birmingham airport.
    The customs officials warned us that such an idea is so absurd since, according to them,
    the airport and the entire Great Britain at nighttime is unsafe and spending a night in that fashion
    would be unwise. Besides, police will chase us away.
    However, nothing of the kind happened. We found an almost deserted cafe on the 2nd floor,
    positioned ourselves comfortably head to head on a couple of cushioned seats and slept like two happy logs.
    We arrived at 11 pm and had to leave at 8 am, and paying for a taxi ride, hotel around $90
    did not seem tempting at all. The saved backs were pretty tasty later once we got back
    to the good ole US of A. We didn’t have anything of real value in our luggage, and all of the
    passports and tickets were safely under my shirt.

  10. I do it all the time. I’ve never had a problem.

    1) don’t forget an alarm clock – and make sure it’s both loud and reliable
    2) in iffy places, arrange yourself so that you’re sleeping with your trunk draped over any valuables / your entire bag (if possible)

  11. I’ve slept at Heathrow before. Only for a few hours. Take a towel with you. Unless they removed them, they should still have showers.

    Avoid caffeine for 8 hours, try to sleep for 6 hours, take a quick shower and you’re good to go.

    Best of luck!


  12. Can’t you just sleep on the train? Then put your laggages in a rented lock box at the airport. Enjoy the night life (i’m sure it’s full of fun) in London, then sleep on the airplane again?

    Sleep at the airport is kinda absurd. Save money should never be a reason for such action.

  13. OMG! I tried that once. I slept in Honkong International Airport and yes just to save a few of my money. It was such a fun experience though.

  14. I think I even have a submission on that site for Panama City, Panama. Since then I’ve slept at O’hare in January 2006 as well. The only real recomendation is to try not to leave the security clearance area — they won’t let you back to the gate after hours.

  15. I saw some very nice “lounge” chairs in one area of the Munich airport in July where lots of people were sleeping and seemed content doing so (we didn’t need sleep as it was only around 1pm in the afternoon). They also had dimmed the lights in that corridor for your “snoozing pleasure”.

    I would personally recommend catching an overnight train whenever possible, especially when travelling through Europe. My brother and I took one from Edinburgh to London last May and while it’s not the best sleep of your life it does allow you to spend a full day in each location and save time and money by combining your transportation and lodging schedule and cost into one. Just remember to bring bottled water.

  16. Remember St Stephen’s Day!

    Flew into Stanstead in London (or rather 30 km OUTSIDE of London) on Dec 26. OF course, in Europe, that is a national holiday, St Stephen’s Day and NONE of the trains were running. Of course it was snowing and we were stuck till the 8 am trains started the next day. It was not the most comfortable setting but we caught a few hours of sleep. Stantead does not have many comfortable places to sleep so i wouldn’t recommend it. Even in my cheapest student days, I would prefer a cheap hostel. You can’t afford to miss a whole nights sleep when you are burning at that pace. But tht website you found is a trip, people will do anything to save a buck!

  17. airportsleeper says

    I had a redeye into Portland, OR some years back, and early AM puddlejumper flight out, with about 4 hours in between. Found a couch in the ticketing area of the dark, deserted airport and woke up with tons of people around. It worked out fine.

  18. Derek Clarke says

    I’ve spent nights at Gatwick and Birmingham, the latter being just a couple of days back as I write this.

    There are a couple of coffee stalls open 24 hours, and the first floor one (2nd if you’re American!) has some soft seating.

    However the best place for a kip IMO is by the foot of the escalators at the lower level in the designated Disabled waiting area.

    If you arrive before they close Boots sell sleep masks, which are strongly advised! Unfortunately I only discovered this the morning after, so I didn’t sleep much.

    Gatwick seems to be quite crowded overnight sometimes, but Birmingham was nearly empty – there were only about 5 other overnighters when I was there.

    There was no hassle from staff, except the coffee shop people do their own cleaning and kicked me out temporarily at about 1 am.

  19. Hi ,
    I will arrive in to London(Standsted) very late at night, and than fly after a day from Gatwick very early in the morning. My plane is to sleep in the airports. Does naybody knows if that’s allowed in London, or if it’s dangerous?
    I’ve slept once in London (Lutton), and It was great. Meet nice people, Just a little uncomfortable from the nioise and the seats, but pritty safe, With a sleeping bag, isolation pad, and earplugs, cud be as in a hotell.

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