Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in Washington Dulles Airport

If you’re dealing with a long layover or an early morning flight departure at Washington Dulles Airport, you might wonder if sleeping in the airport is possible. Our guide to sleeping in Dulles Airport provides essential information for seasoned airport sleepers and newbies to help travellers arrive prepared for the experience.

We keep this guide up-to-date with the help of airport sleepers who have generously shared their experiences and airport reviews. If you have any tips or photos to contribute, please take a moment to write a review. Your feedback will help us stay informed about the latest advice for future sleepy travellers.

Sleeping in Washington Dulles Airport

While Washington Dulles Airport is technically open 24 hours, the Security checkpoints close for the evening, around 10:00 PM. If you arrive after the checkpoints are closed, you’ll have to stay the night in the public, landside areas until checkpoints open around 4:00 AM.

Locations & Seating

If you’re lucky enough to sleep airside, especially overnight, you’ll want to head to Concourses C and D for the most armrest-free seating and plenty of unused gates that offer quiet. If you’re stuck in the landside area, all seats have armrests, so you may be better off spreading out on the floor, as long as you pack extra layers and a sleep mat or sleeping bag.

Here are good sleep spots that travellers have reported:

  • Gates C20 and D1 are quiet at night.
  • Try accessing the seats and benches inside cafes that are closed for the night.

Rest Zones

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

Hotels

dulles airport hotelsThe Sleepbox Lounge offers 16 sound-proof rooms on the Airside. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave the airport terminal if you want to stay in a hotel room between flights. Several hotels are located within a 12-minute drive of the airport, and an airport shuttle service is available. See the hotel section in our Airport Guide for locations, or visit Tripadvisor to find hotel deals at Dulles Airport.

Lounges

lounges airport loungesWhile Washington Dulles Airport has several lounges, none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you only want to relax in a comfortable seat for a few hours before your flight, check out this list of lounges in our Washington Dulles Airport Guide that you can pay to access.

More Airport Services & Facilities

For information about drinking water, 24-hour food & drink options, luggage storage, showers, mobile charging and WiFi, visit our Dulles Airport Guide.

Airport Conditions

If you plan to spend the night at the airport, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Temperature – Dress for cold temperatures inside the airport, particularly if you spend the night. Arrive prepared with a blanket or even a sleeping bag. A hoodie provides extra warmth if the terminal gets even colder.
  • Lighting – At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers related to terminal brightness. Come prepared with eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.
  • Noise – During the day, expect the usual airport noise – announcements, music, TV, and chatting travellers. It can be very quiet at night, especially if you’re near an unused gate or in a corner with other sleepers. Still, plan and bring earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.

Security & Safety

Airport staff have no issue with overnight campers, particularly in the airside areas.

At the time of this update, we have no reports from travellers commenting on safety issues at Washington Dulles Airport. However, sleeping in any airport can include a certain level of risk, especially when travelling alone. It’s essential to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and the security of your valuables. Here are a few tips:

  • Safety First. It’s a good idea to know where the security office is and look for video cameras where you plan to sleep. You can also ask the security personnel for advice on the safest places to spend the night.
  • Don’t Seclude Yourself. If you’re travelling alone, we recommend you stay near other travellers or close to security. This will help you feel more secure and deter potential thieves.
  • Hide Your Valuables. It’s also important to hide your valuables. Please don’t leave them out in plain view, as this could make you a target for theft. Additionally, if you are a deep sleeper, you may want to padlock your bag to something or sleep with your bag up against a wall to make it harder for someone to access zippers and pockets. We have received reports of sleepers who awoke without their phones and laptop bags. The travellers were left with just their headphones and laptop bag strap.
  • Stay Alert. It’s best to stay alert and awake if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages to help you stay sharp, and remember that you can always catch up on sleep during your flight. These simple precautions can help you enjoy a safe night at the airport.

Pro-tip: If you sleep 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 arrive for morning flights.

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