By the time you’re on the sunrise side of a red-eye flight, you’ve got a night’s worth of recirculated air and polyester seat sweat on your skin. Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or business, you probably don’t want to carry around the lingering sleep/airplane smell for an entire day. So what’s a traveler to do? Find a shower so you can kick off Day One at your destination right.
At the Airport
Airline Lounges: Some airline lounges have showers. Even if you don’t have membership in the airline’s lounge program, you can still get a day pass and use the facilities. Added bonus: You can usually get a rejuvenating breakfast (or at least some coffee) before you head out.
Airport Showers: Some airports have showers available to passengers for a few dollars. San Francisco International and London Heathrow are among the airports that have non-airline-lounge showers available to passengers for a fee. Non-airline-affiliated lounges such as Plaza Premium Lounge and Airspace Lounge also often have showers.
Near the Airport
Many airports have hotels that are either attached to a terminal or just a quick shuttle ride away. And some of these airports offer day-use rooms (at discounted rates) or day passes to gym facilities that usually include showers. For instance, the Miami International Airport Hotel has day rates, and the Grand Hyatt DFW in Dallas offers non-guests day passes to its fitness center for $30. For a little airport-hotel inspiration, check out the 11 Best Airport Hotels Around the World.
At Your Hotel
If you’re coming in on a red-eye, you’ll be arriving way too early to check in to your hotel. But, if you call in advance and explain your predicament, some hotels will take pity on you and offer either early check-in or access to the showers in its spa or gym facilities. I recently had luck with this at the Fairmont Battery Wharf in Boston by calling a week before and explaining my predicament. As a general rule, the more service-oriented a hotel is, the higher the likelihood it will be willing to help with slightly unusual requests such as an early-morning post-flight shower.
Added bonus: You can usually ask them to hold your bags until check-in so you don’t have to tote them around your destination until check-in time.
Some corporate offices have showers, usually for employees who bike or run to work (or during work breaks). If you’re traveling to an office, check ahead and see if there’s a designated space where you can freshen up before jumping in to your workday.
If a proper shower isn’t going to be an option, plan ahead and pack a kit with a change of clothes, baby wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, and any other items you need to piece together a vague sense of clean. At your destination, find the cleanest airport bathroom and ready yourself for the day ahead.
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