Sunday, November 16, 2014

Airport camping 101

Ever spent a night in an airport? I have.
Ever wished there was a site full of tips and reviews on the subject? If so, you're in luck! I've recently stumbled upon a site that's actually called The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

Is it actually any good? Well... yes and no. It will have some useful information, but there's no guarantee that the airport you're going to will have a decent recent review. There's also no guarantee that the person reviewing it will share your concerns and preferences. For example, my take on the Copenhagen airport was somewhat different from the one posted there. But if you're a frequent flyer like myself, I'm sure you'll have fun looking around that site anyway.

I briefly wished someone would start an airport map project. The map would have to show the best benches and all electric sockets available. A few minutes later I changed my mind - I spent quite some time wandering the halls at night before I found a super comfy spot in the Copenhagen airport, for example. It felt like a reward for my effort.

However, I'm happy to share a couple of tips:
* If you've got a very early flight and are forced to get to the airport the night before, see if you can take hand luggage only and arrive before the security desks close. Providing you've got your boarding pass ready, you can just make your way to the gate. The passenger-only zone is much more comfortable to sleep in than the arrival hall.

* If the tip above is tempting, but you don't know the security working hours, just go to the airport's website (which they usually have) and check when the last flight goes on that day. They'll be open at least an hour before the plane leaves. It's usually safe to say that they won't wrap up until 10pm, but check just in case.

* Take food. Liquids will be taken off you at security, but food is fine. My favorite snack to take is beef jerky.

* You will get thirsty. If you'd rather not fork out a fortune for airport water, you could just take an empty bottle and fill it up in the bathroom sink. If that sounds gross to you, try to find a good deal on water.

* If you don't like sleeping in public places, put some good films on your laptop.

* If movies aren't an option, download something to your mp3 player instead. You're likely to get bored of your playlist after a while, so I'd suggest audio books (reading may get challenging when you're drowsy). Other than that, you could download a few episodes of a good podcast (Bronyville's my particular favourite). If all that somehow fails, you probably get radio on your mp3 player or phone.

* Can your bag double as a pillow? And you could put a long coat on, which could serve as a blanket (providing weather allows and all).

Sleeping in airports isn't fantastic. But if you treat it as an adventure, it can actually be fun.

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