Traveling around the world on a budget takes a little skill and sacrifice. I never sacrifice on the things that are important like safety and visiting/doing things that are a must. But I do sacrifice on a few things like comfort.
I’m not your typical American traveler to start out with. Comfort is something that you have to sacrifice sometimes to save some big cash! For instance, traveling to Japan Anne and I had a 15 hour layover through the night. We could have gotten a hotel and slept comfortably and relaxed in the morning with a continental breakfast and coffee and maybe even had a pool or hot tub. but at $150+ that could pay for all of our hostels in Vietnam for two weeks! So we found a cozy little spot after some looking and it was almost as comfortable as a bed.
What’s the trick?
1-don’t just go to your gate. There is never comfortable seating at or near the gate. 2-ask someone where to sleep. The security people spend hours roaming the airport! They know the best and most quiet spots to sleep! 3- if you find comfortable chairs, put them together to make a bed. Most airport people don’t seem to care if you move the furniture around a little bit to make it more comfortable. However if it gets busy then maybe be kind and move things back. The real trick is to find a secluded area to sleep like an upper level of an airport or where there might not be much traffic. 4- bring a blanket or something warm (thanks mom for sewing me my travel sleeping bag) earphones for earplugs, and an eye mask! These will help a ton. A lot of times they make loud announcements through the night and it’s best to not hear them. And the lights never go off! 5- keep your valuables close or even better in pockets! (If you lose your iPad it’s one less thing to worry about so that’s looking at things from a positive angle) I always have a very small packable camera bag basically tied to me as I sleep so if I’m dead asleep no one can steal it from me. (I think people are inherently good and can’t imagine someone doing something like that in an airport but I also don’t want to be wrong)
Maybe have a backup plan!
Sometimes it works out to sleep in an airport and sometimes it doesn’t! One time a few years ago coming home from Europe with a layover in Charles D Gaul airport, i had a late flight in with a overnight layover of 10 hours. It was already 8:45 when I landed in Paris and I figured I would just find a good spot to hunker down for the night and sleep. At 10:00, after I had found my cozy nook, they started saying that any unauthorized personnel needed to leave the terminal. I wasn’t sure what to do, I had no travel hotel arrangement or anything. I didn’t plan on going to find a hotel and after my entire trip I was out of money. So I did what I thought was the best thing to do given the situation and I put my earphones in my eye mask on and pretended to sleep. It wasn’t until around 1am when I woke up and discovered someone peering over me in the semi dark airport terminal. It was really freaky to be the only one besides the cleaning people. When I jolted up out of a dead sleep the man In French told me to keep down and that I would be okay if no one saw me and Needed to stayed hidden. Thank goodness! What would I have done if I was kicked the the curb at 1am! Yikes!