Long overnight stopovers, delays, and – even worse – flight cancellations are part and parcel of travel. Airport overnight stopovers, however, have to be the most challenging of all. If you’re a student travelling on a limited budget, a ‘cheap’ room at the airport hotel might still be a pretty expensive accommodation option for the night.
So, once you’ve come to terms with the fact that this is going to happen, check out these tips to make the time pass a bit quicker.
1. Get to the international terminal
The international terminal at any airport is always the best place to hang out. It has the best restaurant selection, duty-free stores (a perfume spritz can make you feel human again) and comfier seats. Find a good hangout area with access to chargers for your devices and cushioned seats.
2. Be prepared with food
It’s extremely important to know if you plan to pull an airport all-nighter: stock up on the essentials—water, coffee and snacks as lots of the stores, cafes and restaurants might close for the night.
3. Survival of the friendliest
Taking advantage of free Wi-Fi at the airport is a great time killer, but scrolling Insta also kills your phone battery. If you weren’t expecting to spend the night in the airport and your phone charger is in your check-in luggage (rookie error!), don’t panic. The best part about travelling mishaps is that everybody is in the same boat, so seek out camaraderie among your fellow scorned travellers.
Politely ask around your gate or the next gate over if anyone has a charger you can borrow for a short while. It’s survival of the friendliest out there—small talk is all that stands between you and your next battery charge.
4. Pack toiletries in your carry-on bag
Get in the habit of putting your essential toiletries in your carry-on bag, because you never know when you might have to camp out in the airport or run the risk of the airline losing your bag. Just make sure that those liquids are 100ml and under for international travel.
5. Ask for blankets and pillows
Airport staff typically will hand out blankets and pillows for passengers spending the night in the terminal, but it varies from airport to airport, so it’s always smart to ask. It’s possible to get some sleep at the airport! Grab onto the cushiest bag you’ve got and rest for a little! Have a friend keep an eye on your other bags while you have some shut-eye, and take turns.
6. Get a workout in
Don’t have access to a treadmill but still want to exercise? You can clock up steps just lapping around the airport if you feel like burning some calories. While it might not exactly be a F45 workout, walking from terminal to terminal all around the airport for as long as your heart desires is enough to qualify as your aerobic workout for the day, especially if you’re carrying your overstuffed backpack. If you want to burn even more calories, look for stairs and do a couple of sets.
7. Ask for vouchers
If your flight has been delayed, most airlines will offer you some credit to spend within the terminal to get something to eat and drink.
Sure, an overnight stopover at an airport may not be your favorite way to spend the night, but it’s doable. Keep in mind, you CAN usually leave the airport during your layover (and in some cases you will have to) but you will have to go through security again when you return! And on the bright side, you’ll likely be flying to reach a dream holiday destination, or to the comfort of your own home afterwards. It all works out in the end!
Plus, if you’re a student, you can save on discounted flights with StudentUniverse.