This is my airport sleeping experience and how I made sure I wouldn’t lose my belongings. Pick the tips for sleeping in an airport.
Why I slept in the airport?
Sleeping in an airport sounded like an adventure to me. My flight was leaving at 8 Am. There had been airport staff strike so I calculated I’d better be at the airport around 4 Am already. The airport bus, which would be the easiest way for me to get to the airport, would stop driving at 00:30. There was no point to pay for a hostel if I could sleep just a few hours. I decided it’s time for me to learn what is it to sleep in an airport.
Finding the spot
I had planned to do it safely behind the security check of course. However, I learned that I can only check in my luggage 4h in advance. This meant I had 4h before I could go through the security check.
There were plenty of people sleeping everywhere around the terminal. Some were clearly groups or couples of travelers but some looked just homeless.
After going around the terminal carrying all my things and looking for a place to sleep, a cleaner took his time off from cleaning the floors just to warn me in Spanish: If I’d sleep, my rugsack would be stolen. I thanked him and headed to the cafeteria at the other end of the terminal, not really knowing what to do. I definetly wanted to keep my bags.
To my surprise, the cafeteria was the best place for sleep, just like a security guy had pointed out to me earlier. I hadn’t believed him at first because it seemed an odd idea to sleep in a cafeteria while it was open over night. I noticed however, that there were plenty of space and a few people sleeping at the corner tables.
For the looks, I bought a small bag of chips and took a table close to the back corner. I had put my skateboard on a trolley and my rugsack on top of it so I parked them against the wall between me and the next table where a group of travellers around my age were siting.
I collected three chairs to a row, lay on them with my pillow under my upper back and neck and my legs curled around my laptop backpack. (I had luckily bought a pillow in Spain because I love the long pillows they have there.)
How I ensured that my things wouldn’t be stolen?
1. Safer spot
The spot was somewhat safe because the staff of the cafeteria and many clients of the cafeteria would see me and my things well. If anyone would come to take anything from me, I think someone would react. There probably were cameras to my location as well. Homeless people rarely afford going to a cafeteria anyway and I was further away from the doors or any places with more scetchy looking people.
I had two locks that I used to lock the zippers of my laptop bag.
3. Rain cover for rugsack
I had put raincover on top of my rugsack for the flight already, to protect all the straps from getting stuck anywhere. However, that solution also would make it harder for anyone to open any pockets of my bag.
3. Laundry robe
A genious thing another traveller once teached me to pack for travels: a camping laundry robe, the kind of that is made of two twisted flexible robes.
Just to be sure that my rugsack couldn’t be taken from me without me noticing, I tied the robe through the laces, then around the trolley bar, my leg and my laptop bag. If anyone would touch any of these, I’d feel it on the robe around my leg.
4. Sleeping on bags
I curled my legs around my most valuable belonging: the laptop bag. I basically held it all the time while my other hand almost touched the rugsack.
The rugsack on the other hand, was on top of my skate so taking it without taking the rugsack or the whole trolley would have been basically impossible, in case someone want to steal a skateboard.
With all these thing, I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t be the easiest victim for robbery during my sleep.
I rarely carry an eye blinder with me. Tieing my sweater hood tightly around my face did the same thing.
How was it?
The experience wasn’t the most fun but I still think it wasn’t too bad either. It makes a good story. I proved again that a blond girl travelling alone can still handle such experiences in Barcelona. Just use imagination and be extra careful when travelling alone.
I had 4 hours to go before I could check my bag in. Over an hour I spent for figuring out where to sleep. (I actually almost slept next to some a bit sketchy looking people before I realized it wasn’t necessarily safe.) I probably slept about 2h before I went through the security and slept an hour or two next to my gate. I also slept 3h of the 4 h flight. I was tired but fine on the next day.
Sleeping in my bed in Finland the next night, I got 16h of sleep.