Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in San Diego Airport

sleeping in san diego airportWhether your situation calls for a short nap or an overnight slumber, this sleep guide will give you the essential information needed to prepare you for sleeping in San Diego Airport.

Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at San Diego Airport. If you have a tip to share, write a review to help us keep this sleep guide up-to-date!

Covid-19 Update: This sleep guide was written before Covid-19, so the information may have changed.  In October 2021, we will be starting our first guide update since March 2020.  A lot has changed, so it’s going to be a massive update.  If you are interested in helping,  click here to add or update information or write a review to add tips or share photos to help future travellers .

This guide was last updated: 6 November 2019. Read the latest traveller reviews.

Sleeping in San Diego Airport Overnight

The San Diego Airport is open 24-hours, but all overnight campers are restricted to stay in the pre-Security, public areas once security checkpoints close for the night, around 12:00 AM. Anyone already inside the Secure areas will need to relocate to the pre-Security areas of the terminals and process through Security again in the morning.

Locations & Seating

The areas inside Security are a little more comfortable, but overall seating remains limited and equipped with armrests. Overnight sleepers are corralled in the pre-Security area, where seating is quickly grabbed by early arrivals, so plan to spread out on the floor. Bring a blanket, travel mat, or sleeping bag for necessary cushion and warmth.

Here are sleep spots that travellers have reported:

  • Pre-Security, Terminal 2’s far end, by the Sun Country check-in counters, is quiet.
  • Head to the Baggage Claim area to grab the couple armrest-free circular sofas.

Rest Zones

At the time of this update, there are no designated rest zones within the airport.

Airport Environment

At the time of this update, we have not received recent reports from travellers related to the overall terminal environment, such as temperature, lighting, and noise. In general, here are some good expectations:

  • Temperature: Expect the airport to cool down at night, with air conditioning running and fewer people inside.
  • Noise: Even as overnight flights slow down or stop entirely, the airport may still run announcements and cleaning crews may make the rounds, so anticipate some noise.
  • Lighting: The airport may stay bright thanks to around-the-clock lights, but certain corners may be dimly lit.

Arrive prepared! We recommend earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, an extra layer of warmth, and eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.


Freshen up (and loosen those stiff muscles) with a shower before your flight. Shower facilities are located in the pay-to-use Airspace Lounge. See our San Diego Airport Guide for details.

Food & Drink

When you get the midnight munchies or give up trying to sleep and need a coffee to stay awake, 24-hour food concessions are available. Check out Ryan Bro’s Coffee in Terminal 1, pre-Security or Einstein Bros. Bagels in Terminal 2, pre-Security.


san diego airport hotelsPrefer the comfort and privacy of your own hotel room? You will have to leave the airport behind, but a few hotels are located within a quick 5-minute drive, and free shuttle service is available. See the hotel section in our Airport Guide for locations or visit Tripadvisor to find hotels deals at San Diego Airport.


san diego airport loungesWhile San Diego Airport has a few lounges, none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you just want to relax in a comfortable seat, check out this list of lounges in our San Diego Airport Guide that you can pay to access.

Security & Safety

Airport staff seem to tolerate overnight sleepers, as long as you’re staying in the pre-Security areas.

At the time of this update, we have no reports from travellers commenting on safety issues at San Diego Airport. As a precaution, here are a few tips to ensure you have a safe airport sleeping experience:

  • Know Where Security is Located. Whether you are sleeping in the airport by yourself or with friends, it is good to know where security is. Know where their office is located and look for video cameras in the spot you decide to stay the night. Ask security where it is safe to spend the night. They’ve probably seen many airport sleepers before you and they will direct you to a safe spot.
  • Don’t Seclude Yourself. If you are travelling alone we recommend that you sleep near other travellers or close to security.
  • Hide Your Valuables. Don’t leave all your mobile devices out in plain view. We have received reports from people who woke up with earphones and no ipod and a laptop bag strap and no laptop bag (or laptop). Same goes with important documents and money. Keep these secure on your body, so that no one can get them without waking you up.
  • Secure Your Bags. If you are a deep sleeper, you may want to padlock your bag to something. If your bags have zippers turn the bag upside down (zippers to the floor) or sleep with your bag up against the wall, so that it would be hard for someone to access.
  • Choose to Stay Alert. If you don’t feel safe, drink coffee and stay awake and be alert. You can always sleep on the plane!

Pro-tip: If you are sleeping in the public zone, don’t be surprised if you receive an early morning wake-up call. Security is known to make the rounds waking people up as travellers begin to arrive for morning flights.

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