How to Sleep on the Street

by Free Traveler on August 15, 2012

bicycle rickshaw driver sleepingIf you’re going to travel around the world for free, sooner than later you are going to have to hit the streets for a night outdoors. Understandably, it is not such an appealing prospect. You will be exposed to the elements, and you are more likely to run into crazy homeless people, devious drug dealers and pestering prostitutes. In order to be as comfortable as possible and avoid the aforementioned hazards, the following guide will teach you everything you need to know about sleeping on the streets.


In order to prepare for sleeping out in the open, you are going to have to practice it. Start by sleeping in your backyard. As you get more comfortable, try moving into the woods, and eventually hit the streets of your town or city. Through this preparation, it won’t have as much anxiety when you need to sleep on the street for real. For general information about preparing, check out this article, Mental and Physical Preparation.

Staying Warm:

No matter what climate you find yourself in, the night is always colder than the day. Therefore it is necessary that you have enough warm clothing and equipment. You are going to want to bring clothing that can easily layer. Also, a lightweight sleeping bad isn’t a bad idea either. One trick to staying warm on those really cold nights is to stuff your pants with plastic bags. Although it takes some time to get used to the constant crackle of the plastic, the plastic acts as a very effective insulator that will definitely keep you warm. It’s best to put them between your long johns and your outer pants. Check out this article for more info on Essential Backpacking Gear.

Where to Sleep:

Finding a safe and secluded spot to sleep is important for avoiding the police, and all those crazy creatures of the night. In the country side, it is best to sleep somewhere out of sight. The woods are a good choice as long as the foliage is dense enough to obscure you from view. Behind buildings or under over passes are also a good locations. Just make sure you can’t be seen. In cities, the best places to sleep are at train and bus stations. Although it can be noisy, you have the added safety of having people around. And since many people who are waiting for an early train or bus are often sleeping there also, you shouldn’t have any problem from the security. It is by far the best location. Another popular place to rest up is at 24 hour McDonalds. Fortunately, many McDonalds around the world are open 24/7. If you can afford something off the dollar menu then you can usually sleep for quite a while before they kick you out.


Although sleeping on the street can be uncomfortable and often restless, you can get used to it. If you’re in the countryside, make sure to keep yourself concealed. Also, be sure to keep yourself warm. If you’re in the city, definitely head to a McDonalds or a train or bus station. One of the great things of the human condition is that we can adapt to almost anything. So, after a month of sleeping on the street, you might even find it almost as comfortable as being in your bed.