On my way home from New York, I had to spend the whole night at the airport. It was the first time on my trip that I felt so incredibly alone and wished that I had a friend with me…therefore, I spent a good chunk of the night complaining and feeling sorry for myself. (Not something I recommend). If I had to do it all again – which hopefully I don’t – I would do some things differently. Here are some tips on surviving an all-nighter based on my experience:
1. If you’re already past security, don’t go back out through the gates!
I made this mistake because I ignorantly didn’t realize I could get to another airline from the airline area I was currently at. Then, because my next flight wasn’t until the next day, security said I wasn’t allowed to come back in that early. So I was stuck in the general public area – and by general public, I mean that all the homeless people came in at night.
2. Try to Get Some Sleep
I was too paranoid to sleep because I thought my things might get stolen. I also had nowhere comfy to sleep because all the good spots were taken. But if you’re lucky enough to secure a good spot in a safe area, by all means get some shut eye. Try to scope out an area close to security or where there are video cameras – this will help put your mind at ease! You may have to explore the airport a little bit and go terminal hopping for better options.
3. But first, go to the Washroom!
If you’re travelling with a group, this isn’t as important but if you’re travelling solo, listen up! If you’re by yourself, you’ll have to take your belongings with you everywhere for obvious reasons. This includes the washroom. So before you stake out the perfect spot to set up a temporary camp, go to the washroom first so that you don’t risk losing it when you have to go the washroom and take everything with you.
4. Don’t be scared to ask if you get any Perks
I didn’t ask the airline if they would make it up to me in any way for canceling my flight because I assumed they would have told me. Apparently this isn’t the case – apparently you have to ask. Maybe you’ll get a food voucher or a hotel room! (I was lucky and got a free meal on the plane even though I didn’t ask – thanks Air Canada!)
5. People Watch
Like I said, I spent a lot of time simply feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t even try to make the best of my situation – I could have entertained myself by people watching. Airports are interesting places full of interesting people. You can pass some of the hours away by watching people tearfully say good-bye and joyfully reunite. You’ll probably see a lot of interesting, heartwarming stuff.
6. Protect your Belongings
Having your things stolen would turn your situation from bad to worse in a heart beat. Understandably, you want to avoid that happening at all costs. How? Don’t bait the thief! Take extra precaution to make sure your bags are protected as best as they can. Face zippers towards you or towards the wall or ground. Use your backpack as your pillow. Sleep with your legs over your suitcase. It all depends on how you sleep and what works for you.
7. Eat Before Everything Shuts Down!
I didn’t feel like eating at normal eating hours because 1. I was comfortable where I was sitting/too lazy to get up and 2. I was wallowing in self-pity. When I eventually decided that eating would probably be a good idea, all the food places were closed down! Yeah…stock up on food and water early.
8. Try to Connect to Free Wifi
Surprisingly, not all airports have free wifi. If you plan on entertaining yourself by going on your phone, hopefully you’ll be able to find some sort of hotspot. (That’s what I did – but it took a bit of wandering around).
9. Set Your Alarm
The only things else that could go wrong would be missing your flight. You don’t want to be stuck at the airport any longer than you already have been: wake up in time!!