If you’re on holiday, you think staying at a hotel at the airport when you get to your destination is for plane-mad geeks like me or boring grey businesspeople in suits. But for a weekend break, or at the beginning or end of a longer trip, they can be a surprisingly handy way to make travel easier, cheaper and more convenient. Here’s why.

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Bedroom at Atura Adelaide Airport hotel. Photo by: Atura Adelaide Airport

For a start, an airport can make for a stress-free arrival and departure when you’re tired, jetlagged and out of energy. Arriving at an airport hotel at weird hours is completely normal, and these hotels are totally used to people turning up at 3am.

Often they’ll have 24-hour rates, rather than a 5pm-10am slot, which can save you a full night of accommodation costs (at either end of your trip) but mean you still get a good night’s sleep. That’s especially true with the rise in airlines using night-owl arrival and departure timings.

Kind of obviously, they’re right there at the airport, whether via a shuttle or directly in the terminal, so you’ll have little trouble finding it even if you’re arriving at night. You also don’t need to lug all of your bags onto public transport, or pay for an expensive cab ride to get you and your luggage to where you’re going.

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Airport hotels are a handy way to make travel easier. Photo by: Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images

That’s especially helpful when travelling with kids, as is the ability to take them for a little walk or stroller ride into the terminal if they’re having trouble sleeping.

If you get the munchies in the night, there’s almost certain to be something in the terminal that you can hit up, whether that’s exploring the local McDonalds specialty (is it McChoco Potato season yet?) or hitting up the café full of airport workers having an early breakfast — and it’ll be cheaper than room service.

During peak times they can also be cheaper than accommodation in the city itself, and all you need is a travel pass to see the sights. They’re often better connected to public transport networks than many hotels in the city, and just having the public transport card zone that goes all the way out to the airport makes you more likely to explore more of the city than just having the central zones. Plus, public transport is a great way to peoplewatch.

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No matter what time you arrive, you'll still get a good night's sleep. Photo by: JGI/Tom Grill/ Getty Images

Airport hotels are always used to international guests and more likely to have people who speak multiple languages, or at least have point-and-read translation sheets available. If you run into any issues, there’ll almost certainly be someone who can help out at the airport.

On longer trips, think about “bookending” your travel at an airport hotel. It’s incredibly useful (and often really cost effective) to be able to pre-order things online to be waiting for you when you arrive, whether that’s a travel pass, SIM card, something local you know you love, toiletries, or hot/cold weather clothing if you’re changing seasons as well as time zones.

It’s equally handy to be able to mail things ahead of you while you’re on the road, to be waiting for you on your last night of the trip. If you’ve only packed formal wear to wear to the theatre with Great-Aunt Mildred in the first week of your trip, or can’t resist that souvenir bargain, you can avoid carrying it with you for the rest of your vacation.

So, they’re really convenient, with less stress, and are often cheaper: airport hotels really can make for a great trip!

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