One of the less glamorous sides of traveling is transit days. You never know what’s going to happen, whether you’ll be sleeping on the floor of the airport or on an overnight bus. I’ve spent nights on the bus from Agnes Water to Airlie Beach, Australia, on the floor of the Istanbul airport, in a thirty bed dorm in Dublin and dozens of other unreasonable places. In my years of traveling, I’ve found that packing a few items can get you ready to sleep under practically any conditions while traveling.
BYOB: Bring Your Own Bed
While it’s not possible to actually bring your own bed, you can bring the comforts of home with you while traveling. If you’re also going to be camping on your trip, you will be glad to have a camping pad or yoga mat to cushion yourself. A sleeping bag is another helpful item, which you can substitute with a travel blanket or a sarong. A travel pillow is also a good addition, particularly one that is inflatable or can fold smaller.
Once you have everything you need to be comfortable, it’s the actual falling asleep you have to accomplish, which can be difficult when there are loud noises like flight announcements or car horns or even your fellow travelers. I typically bring earplugs and eye masks to block out the noise and light. Do you have noise-cancelling headphones or a playlist of soothing tracks? That’s just as good. I also bring some sort of sleep aid in the form of a pill, like melatonin or Tylenol PM, or an aromatherapy pillow spray.
I always pack a few outfits that are comfortable enough that I can sleep in them, but I try to avoid wearing actual pajamas while traveling. I usually wear my ideal plane outfit, which typically has some sort of leggings combination, as well as a hoodie. My ExOfficio Chica Cool hoodie is my favorite, as it is thin enough to be comfortable and has a pocket in the front to store my phone. I also bring thick socks and shoes that are easy to slip on and off like Toms.
Securing Your Belongings
The last thing you want is for someone to steal your belongings while you’re trying to get a few hours’ sleep. Use your backpack as a pillow or place it between your legs to ensure that you’ll feel it if someone tries to take it. Also try a bag from PacSafe, which has a locking mechanism that you can attach to a bench or pole for safety. If you don’t want a new bag, you can lock up your bag with a standard lock and place the key somewhere on your person. Wear a money belt and store your credit cards and passport on your person.
And don’t forget about an alarm, whether on your phone or separate, to ensure that you wake up in time for your flight!
What do you use to sleep anywhere on the road?