I recently had a 10-hour layover at Narita Airport in Tokyo en route back to the U.S. During the first hour of the layover, I was optimistic about my prospects of making it through the day without too much difficulty. After all, I had my laptop, plenty of email, a Boingo Wi-Fi connection, my iPod, a handful of airport shops, and some tasty-looking restaurants.
But by the end of that first hour, things started unraveling quickly. My laptop’s power cable was in a checked bag. I only had about 2 hours of battery life. Then, as I was racing through my inbox, I saw an email invite to deliver a presentation within hours of landing at LAX after the 8-hour flight. I burned through the remainder of my laptop’s power finishing the slides and then found comfort in a bowl of soba noodles. That comfort was short-lived when I realized the yens for the meal converted into more dollars than I expected. By the time I finished eating, I had 7 hours remaining until my flight. I was exhausted. I needed to sleep ASAP. But where????
I do not exaggerate: I turned around and there in front of me was a sign for “Day Rooms and Showers.” I marched right over. A friendly lady greeted me at the front desk, took down my passport, and processed my payment before handing me a key. The small sleeping room contained a single bed (twin beds were also available), a bedside table with a lamp, and a bathroom with a shower. I slept for 5 precious hours until the scheduled wake-up call. The second I stepped out, a cleaning lady entered the room and immediately stripped the bed sheets. The cost for this very clean, very efficient room? Only $12 USD for the first hour, and $6 USD for every ensuing hour. So reasonable and so worth it!
Those 5 hours of horizontal shut-eye were my saving grace. I hit the ground running when I arrived in LA, made it through my presentation as well as an 8-hour work day, and arrived home for a full night of sleep on my own bed. Thank you, Narita Airport.
For more information about Narita’s Day and Shower rooms, including locations, click here. I’m told I was lucky to get a room without a reservation, so be sure to reserve a room online. Several other airports around the world offer on-site sleeping facilities for those of you who face the same long layover predicaments. The Guide to Sleeping in Airports is a great site that identifies airports where you can catch some zzz’s and includes user reviews. If you’ve been saved by an airport sleeping facility, let us know about your experience and whether you’d recommend it!