Berlin - Long-distance air travel often results in stopovers lasting several hours, with most travellers wanting nothing more than the chance to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
An affordable and comfortable place for a quick nap is often hard to find, but there are options available for the weary tourist who knows where to look.
l Airport hotels: The most expensive but most comfortable option is simply to check into an airport hotel, although this is recommended only when a traveller has a significant stopover period. Costs range from e50 to e100 (about R763 to R1 526) a stay.
l Airport lounges: Passengers not in possession of a priority pass or business class ticket can use pay-in lounges. For a one-off payment, travellers can escape the airport hustle and bustle, and many closed lounges also offer sleeping facilities.
A priority pass, offering access to more than 700 airport lounges for an annual fee of e249, is recommended for regular fliers.
l Sleep pods: Already well established in Asia, sleep pods are becoming more popular across the globe, with Helsinki Airport claiming to be the first in Europe to offer the service, providing 19 pods at a cost of e9 an hour.
l Benches: If money is tight, then a free bench at the airport terminal may be the only option available, but as every traveller knows, it is impossible to lie down as most benches are divided into sections by armrests.
Trying to nap while sitting is uncomfortable as one’s head falls to one side. This is why many travellers invest in inflatable neck supports.
l The floor: A cold airport floor is often the last resort for an exhausted traveller, although it does offer the opportunity to stretch out and get at least some sleep.
Using earplugs and a blindfold helps to block out sound and light.
However, the most important factor is whether you find it easy to fall asleep in any situation – or whether you can do so only in a quiet, dark room.
As the possibilities for sleep are limited at airports, experts recommend that travellers ensure they get enough sleep before embarking on a journey.dpa