10 Tips for Sleeping at Pearson International Airport

Updated: Sep 26, 2018


The more you travel, the more comfortable you get with uncomfortable things, sleeping in an airport is one of those things that you might need to do every once in a while.


Being the frugal - okay, fine, sometimes you could say we’re cheap - people that we are, we decided to sleep in the Toronto Pearson Airport instead of paying for a nearby hotel only to get 3 hours of shut-eye. We knew we could bounce back from lack of sleep in no time. Not to mention that we had a very long plane ride ahead of us and could most certainly catch up on sleep in the sky.


I think if we decided to sleep in a hotel for the night we would have been just as restless. This was my first time visiting the United States of America, and I was starting it off with a bang - an impromptu trip to Hawaii!


Sleeping at Pearson wasn't as bad as you'd think. We weren't expecting it to be the Hotel Ritz or anything. The bathrooms were clean, it was quiet enough, and we both felt safe - so to me, it was good enough!

Our bunks for the night at Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

You may ask: Can you sleep at an airport? Answer: Of course you can! Check out our 8 tips below on how to do it comfortably!


1. It’s safe. You don’t have to worry about people stealing your belongings, but keep them close just in case. We saw plenty of staff and security members walking around the entire night, and all of the travellers seemed to have one thing in common, they just wanted to rest for a few hours!


2. Head straight to the lounge. There is a lounge on Level 3 of Terminal 1. Make your way to departures booth number 14 and you'll see it! Anyone can go in there, they have benches that are suitable for laying on, not incredibly comfortable, but doable. The benches are pictured above. Most of the other seating that we saw, had armrests or dividers, to discourage nomads from sleeping. But we were glad to have found these benches, because they did make an okay bed!


3. Pack some ear plugs! The staff, and your fellow bunk-mates can get loud at times, so expect to be woken up. After all, it's not a designated sleeping area. If you put in earplugs, make sure your phone alarm is on loud enough to wake you up, so you don't oversleep and miss your flight!


4. It might be busy! You won’t be the only one there, in fact it took us a little while to find 2 benches that were available - after which we decided to snuggle up on the same one anyways. Be prepared to see people sleeping on the floor, sleeping on the benches, playing on their phones and just lounging around.


5. Pack for sleeping. Wear some comfy clothes to the airport, or have them on hand to change into when you arrive. Jeans are certainly not going to be comfortable to sleep in, and that cute mini skirt may be a bad idea...


Bring snacks, a water bottle, and something to use as a pillow for the night - my suggestions, sweater, backpack, significant other. Have all your toiletries, and a phone charger handy to make sure you're well prepared.


6. Bring a sweater or something to keep you warm. I'm not sure what it is about airports, but all year long they tend to be cold. It's not bad when you are rushing around or walking for ages, but when you're trying to sleep you might get a bit of a chill. In order to reach maximum comfort, bring a sweater!


BONUS - If you find that you don't need to wear the sweater, then definitely use it as a pillow!


7. Make sure you set an alarm! I can't express this to you enough! If you sleep at the airport and miss your flight in the morning, you'll be really upset with yourself. Give yourself plenty of time to wake up, pack your stuff together and head to the ticket counter. Double check that you didn't leave anything behind on the bench too!


8. Wi-Fi is spotty. Don't plan on watching Netflix on your phone, or FaceTiming your family, the Wi-Fi may not be reliable enough. You will probably be able to use some social media, but don't count on it being anything quick!


9. Go to the bathroom first! If you're alone, make sure you use the washroom before you find a spot and put your stuff down. You don't want to find a spot to sleep and then have to leave all your stuff there just to claim it. If you have someone with you, just take shifts! The closest bathroom is just down one level. 10. Sleeping Pods. If you are keen on finding a nice and cozy place to sleep then you should get through customs as soon as you are able to and find your way to the sleeping pods located near the departure gates! Use the attached map below to find the quickest route there!

Toronto Pearson International Airport Map


The good thing about sleeping in the airport is that you'll bypass the lineups! You'll be the first to your gate (if you don't sleep in), and you can probably even sleep a little bit more at the gate if you really need to! Not to mention the obvious point that you'll be saving money by not having to splurge on one of those nearby airport hotels.


All in all, if we ever need to sleep at the airport again, we will, without hesitation. To us, we would rather spend that hotel money on an experience rather than a chain hotel for the night.

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