Unfortunately South America’s airports aren’t the best selection to sleep in although it’s one of the best places to backpack. The infrastructure simply isn’t there in most South American major cities, although Argentina and Chile aren’t bad a great airport in the region is Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport. The airport itself sees about 10 million passengers per year and is often busy during the late evening and throughout the night. If you plan your trip well you’ll be able to catch an afternoon nap before an evening flight. While security is visible throughout the airport it’s best to have a good handle on your carry-ons and luggage before dozing off. The airport is known for more-than-usual pickpocket activity so it’s best to be wary. Like in John F. Kennedy International Airport it’s best to pick a spot close to and within visual range of one of the security booths.
Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport is well maintained and a clean facility and you’ll find chairs and benches without armrests plentiful. The airport itself doesn’t have free wi-fi which is a bummer since you can find coffee around the clock at the 24-hour McDonald’s in Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport. The relatively small size of the airport may also have you wandering around for a bit to find a good location to lay your head unless you’re lucky enough to have spot in a premium lounge.
Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport will test your airport sleeping skills and you’ll have to be quick to grab a good spot and clever to anticipate where the best places in the airport to sleep in are (and available). The terminals are also quite a long walk from one end to the other so make sure and grab a spot close to your next gate in case you wake up later than you had hoped. As always, be wary of last minute gate changes and don’t forget to secure your carry-on luggage using twist-ties on your zippers and using your body as a shield against any opportunistic thieves.
The airport itself will try to draw you into purchasing some less-than-expensive snacks which are spread across many booths and stands within the airport. Coffee isn’t too expensive, especially at the McDonald’s, but other treats to pass the time are comparatively expensive, even for an airport. Overall Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport is one of the better airports within South America to sleep in but the competition is lacking. Hopefully future improvements to the airport will make it a better designed and more airport-sleeper friendly place.