Sleeping in Airports: Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF)

Sleeping in Airports: Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF)

Hotels and even hostels are very expensive in Iceland.  If you’re staying in Reykjavik, that’s a 40-minute drive to the airport. If you have an early flight, it’s even more challenging. Many people chose to sleep at KEF airport and it’s not a problem

Sleeping in KEF Airport

Lots of people do this and the airport staff do not have a problem with people sleeping in the facility. I however, tried to sleep but could not.  There was too much pressure to wake up on time for an early flight and a greater fear of being robbed.  So I stayed up all night, watch Netflix on my tablet and walked around the airport.

I know Iceland is safe, but I’m at the beginning of my trip and can’t be inconvenienced by my passport or wallet going missing this early in the game.

When I got to the airport at 10pm after returning my rental car, I attempted to go through airport security and go to the departure gates for my 6am flight.

My initial plan was to sleep in my rental car but I couldn’t sleep.  There was nowhere to really park safely.  That’s because of 2 reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to pay for parking
  2. I didn’t want to get murdered while sleeping in my car at the side of the road

I did make several attempts to sleep in the car around the city.  With barely any sleep the night before, I was so tired that I couldn’t drive more than 20 minutes without having to take a break.  There were a lot of breaks:

  • I pulled off to the side of the road to sleep as I noticed there were a few other cars pulled over to look at something. I slept for 20 minutes, then noticed a parked car missing a tire and some shady looking guys so I moved on. I know Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, but that doesn’t include the tourists.
  • I parked in the Blue Lagoon lot after a failed attempt of trying to get in. It was a loud parking lot with cars and buses constantly moving and doors being slammed. Not possible.
  • I parked outside a hotel but noticed there was a lot of foot traffic from a nearby bar. I ended up eating at the hotel ($50 for 2 soups) and then drove around.
  • I ended up parking in an apartment parking lot, but noticed residents seeing me try to sleep there so I moved on again. Insomnia made me paranoid.
  • I then ended up in a KFC parking lot but they closed at 10pm so I didn’t want to seem suspicious and moved on to the airport.

The Airport Sleeping Situation

Arriving at KEF airport at 10pm, it was pretty lively.  There were a lot of people around checking in for late-night flights and a lot of people stationed up against the walls of the airport settling in for the night to sleep.  This was all in the check-in area, before going through airport security.  It was pretty full. I was hoping I wasn’t going to end up in this situation.  I attempted to scan my ticket for my 6am flight to go through security and it was successful.  The doors opened and I proceeded through security and into the terminal.

In the terminal area, there were people settling in open seats for the night.  But there was significantly more room and seat availability.  There were plenty of wall sockets for charging your electronic devices, but many seemed out of order.

Many of the shops, restaurants and kiosks were open until about midnight.  Make sure you buy whatever you need by then. I walked around a lot but I don’t think I saw any vending machines.

TLDR; Don’t ever go to Iceland on a stopover.  It’s too expensive and a waste of time.  The 1-day layover (plus no sleep) caused me to be too tired my first day at my destination which is a 2-day loss on a vacation.



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