Would You Sleep In An Airport?

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We are finally settling back into life on the road. I plan to post some of the fun things we have done in London soon, but I wanted to start with a little observation I have made. Tonight as I type this we are sleeping in London’s Stansted airport while waiting for our 6:15am flight tomorrow. My question to you is, “Would you do this?”

Over the past few weeks I have gladly shared our general trip plans with friends and family. Since I believe in leaving as much as possible up to chance, the first few days in London and our upcoming cruise are really the only things planned out at this point. (I have a rough itinerary in mind, but nothing is yet set in stone.) It was interesting to see people’s reactions as I passionately spoke of our plans. Their faces often lit up when hearing about our two days in London and the cruise. When I mentioned the plan to sleep in Stansted Airport, the smile usually disappeared only to be replaced with a confused look.

For me opting out of the hotel experience and saving well over $100 is a no brainer. With a 6:15am flight and a long day in London - January 2013 (170)the city, we would have had only a few hours to sleep in a fancy bed anyway. To be honest most of the time it makes sense to sleep in hotels before flights, and this is usually how we go. However, this is not the first time we have slept in a terminal and I suspect it won’t be our last. I should mention though that all three of us are pretty seasoned travelers so perhaps that has something to do with it.

This blog is titled Family ‘Round the World so I am sure everyone is asking if this is safe or right to do with a child. To answer the first question, we are safe. I did plenty of research ahead of time and it turns out that sleeping in Stansted Airport is the strategy of many travelers. In fact, there are no less than two-hundred other people here doing the exact same thing as us including several other families with children. We are inside a secured terminal with heat and electricity. Shawn Reece is sleeping right now on the same bench as in the picture. He has plenty of space and a new story to tell his friends when he returns home. In my opinion and based observations, even smaller children would not find it a hard place to adjust to.

Tell me, would you ever consider sleeping in an airport or did reading about this “strategy” erase that smile off of your face?


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18 COMMENTS

  1. In my younger days I always did. I tended to be too excited to sleep though and was always sad to note most of the shops and food areas actually closed for the night. How dare they ! Nowadays I an happy to shell out for a real bed and get some sleep, I;m sure it would add to Sean Reece’s adventure experience in a good way, I would have loved to do that as a kid but probably still would not have slept. Have fun all 🙂

  2. Yeah, I’d definitely sleep in the airport. Wouldn’t even blink at the thought. I’ve slept in my car, at rest areas on the turnpike, many times, driving back and forth, between MA and MN.

  3. Yes, Yes, and Yes, Makes perfect sense both financially and emotionally. No stress having to get up at 4am, find transportation to the airport and hope you make it through security and in time. As long as you are safe, warm and fed, brush up in the bathroom and you are set to go. My family and I are planning a world trip soon and love your blog and website. Keep the info coming

  4. I admire your strategy and understand your conservation of time and money. However-I know I would have done the hotel stay but that would have been because of a lack of research and truth of “standardization” or norm. Your strategy and/or concepts of money wasting is giving me a new outlook.Looking forward to many more post and updates.God Bless you and family on this wonderful journey!

  5. I always try to save money when I can. When traveling there are always unaccountable expenses. At least I know when these things occur that I did my best to save money elsewhere. Thanks for your opinion everyone!

  6. I would consider it, but my husband has a bad back & I’m pretty sure there’s no way he could sleep in an airport terminal without paying dearly in the morning! However, I definitely think it’s a great money saving strategy, as well as a time saver.

  7. I’ve always thought sleeping at an airport was a great idea especially when considering some of the points you made. (only a few hours sleep in a hotel anyway, figuring out airport x-fers and all).
    Never had the guts or was travelling with other people who wouldn’t even consider it an option.
    I also think it very brave that you did it with Shawn Reece, but I trust you must have thought it safe.

  8. Awesome post! I am contemplating sleeping at the Nice airport. My flight is for 610am the day after I disembark my cruise. The airport is fairly close to the cruise port and the Hyatt Nice is also about 15 minutes away from the airport so everything is really close to each other. I am just not sure if I want to spend the points or the money on just a few hours and have to wake up so early to get to the airport. We are flying business so I figure I can knock out on the plane back to the states.

    I’ve slept at a few airports while I was in school to save some money so it’s no problem for me or my bf. So with the hotel/cruise port being so close to the airport, would you still sleep at the airport if you were me?

  9. I’ve slept in airports, train stations, parking lots (in my car), truck stops (not with a trucker!). I once fell asleep waiting for a flight from Las Vegas to Reno. Can’t believe no one woke me. Fortunately there’s a flight every hour from LV to Reno! Also slept through my stop on the way to Venice. Had to get off and wait a while to get a train back to Venice. I love your site, Shawn. Terri

  10. For me, the money on a nearby hotel is worth every penny — I might not get a lot of sleep by the time you factor in transportation, but I know I’d get zero sleep at the airport (instead probably be up worrying about my belongings or listening to the sounds of other people moving around the airport). I cut costs on a lot of things while traveling, but I’ve learned that a bed in a quiet place is worth it to me in every scenario.

    • I definitely see your point and there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. With that said, sleeping in an airport can be a very interesting experience. Thanks for sharing your opinion Becky! I appreciate it.

  11. […] Back when our son was smaller, it was easy to travel. I had no issue taking him out of school for a week here or there since I always felt the experience of traveling was beneficial to him. As many of you know he even skipped second grade as we traveled around the world in 2007-2008 and as recently as 2013 he missed the second half of 7th grade for a backpacking trip through Europe. […]

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