Have you ever had an annoyingly long layover? Or got to the airport way too early? Or just felt like you could really, REALLY use a nap?
Granted, I basically always need a nap.
As cliche as that all sounded, this isn’t a sponsored post. It’s 100% my experience that I felt I had to share. Because everyone needs to know about these napcabs.
They’re Einstein level genius.
When I was in Munich on my European tour, I saw these in the airport. I wasn’t quite sure they were real.
We’ve all been tricked by convincing ads before, so for some reason I assumed that’s what this was. Like some sort of horrible taunt saying, “Hey, you! I bet you could use a nap right now. Well you could be napping if you stayed at this insanely overpriced airport hotel X metres away.”
But it wasn’t.
It was an honest to god nap-based pod. In the middle of an airport. That is some 2119 thinking!
Unfortunately, I only saw them as I was lining up to board my flight, after having spent far too long snacking on overpriced pretzels near security. There was no time to try out the marvels.
I snapped a blurry photo and sent it my sister, as some sort of validation. Then someone else would have seen them, too. That would make them more real.
We Meet Again
I didn’t think about them again until a month ago, when I got the opportunity to go back to Munich to attend the Future Book Forum.
Because the trip was last minute, the flights right after the conference were all booked. So I had a 3-hour wait after my professors got to head home. 3-hours after a 9 hour day of networking, note taking and presentations.
I was not looking forward to it.
Until I remembered the napcabs.
I was 90% sure they were in Munich and not one of the seemingly millions of other airports I visited in 2017. Luckily, I was right. (Because why would I have googled it ahead of time?)
Without knowing they were really there, I told everyone of my plan: spend 3-hours in a napcab.
It would have been very disappointing, and probably embarrassing, if they didn’t exist.
Pretzels and Napcabs
My plan had been to spend the entirety of my wait in the napcab, but I got waylaid. By what, you ask? Pretzels. What else?!
Well, pretzels and dinner.
I got a rather sad schnitzel with a slimy potato salad, and 3 pretzels to sort me for my journey back to Oxford (1 for the airport, 1 for the plane, and 1 for the bus – I still regret not getting a 4th).
The dinner almost put me off the napcab, honestly. It was so expensive and such a let down that I worried the pod would be the same.
Reviews online were questionable at best. Most complained about the noise. Others noted that the blinds weren’t opaque enough. Some used it to work and harped on about the internet connection.
But as I kept scrolling, I found myself countering everything they said.
Put on some telly to block out the noise. If you’re asleep, you won’t notice figures passing the window. Well, airport wifi is never really that great, why would it be better in a metal box?
So I decided to try it out. For the blog. Because even if it was absolutely horrible, at least it’d be a good story.
How Expensive is a Nap?
The napcabs are incredible simple to use. Each pod has a screen on the outside that offers English and German instructions.
It starts by listing the prices: €15.00 / hour (with a minimum 2 hour stay) from 6am to 10pm or €10.00 / hour from 10pm to 6am.
So I had to spend at least €30 for my experience. Which turned out to be perfect, since I had 2 hours and 10 minutes until my flight would start boarding.
I could even grab another pretzel! (…like I said, I regret not buying more.)
The screen takes you through instructions, like entering your name and email, agreeing to the price, terms and conditions and to setting up an entry code. They collect your email so they can send you a receipt and a copy of the code.
The entry code is so brilliant. It allows you to exit and re-enter the pod (since the doors lock automatically, even when vacant). All us small bladder-ed folks thank you, genius designer!
Be prepared: napcabs only accept credit cards. I was a bit disappointed as I had plenty of euros on hand, but I’ll gladly accept that single hiccup.
Inside the Napcab
The cab holds a single bed, a small desk and enough space to comfortably lay out a large suitcase. The window on the door has pull down blinds that completely block out exterior light (and, as far as I could tell, don’t show silhouettes of passing people). On the desk, there’s an ethernet connection for your computer and a lightning charger for iPhones.
The bed is made with a pillow and pillow case, fitted sheet and a thin duvet. These are changed between uses (the pod even locks itself so you can’t accidentally booked one that hasn’t been cleaned yet).
At the foot of the bed, there’s a built in screen that allows you to control the room. You can play music, control the lighting (although the pods never get completely dark, so bring an eye mask if you need darkness to sleep), put on TV or movies, check flight information and even set an alarm clock.
I spent 10 minutes playing with all the settings before finally settling in for my nap.
At first, it was hard to fall asleep.
The pod isn’t sound proof at all. You can hear every flight page and passing conversation. Even with Netflix blaring from my laptop, I could make out far too much noise from a nearby family.
For some reason, there’s no ability to turn off all the lights. Even on the dimmest setting, a thin strip of light remains and it’s directly above the bed. Luckily, I sleep on my side so it wasn’t right in my face. While it’s pretty dim, it was an unexpected and not very pleasant surprise.
But, finally, the day caught up with me and I passed out.
I’m so grateful for the alarm function, because I would have continued on sleeping without it. Even though the bed is a bit hard and the sheets are kind of scratchy, I had been blissfully sleeping for the entire 2 hours.
And oh was it blissful.
The Solution to Airports
Airports are such a disaster. They’re noisy and stressful and exhausting. There are never enough outlets and the seats are horribly stiff. You can never get comfortable, no matter what you do – especially if you need a nap.
Napcabs solve literally all of that.
You get your own space, that you have complete control over. Sure, there’s still some noise, but ear plugs or a loud show can block that out. There’s a designated outlet just for you! And you can stretch out on a clean, semi-comfortable bed.
I’d happily pay €30 for that every time.
Ok, not every time. I’m not rich. But every time I have a long wait.
I would have killed for a napcab that time I showed up to the airport in Alicante 5 hours early because apparently I don’t know how public transit works. But that’s a story for another time. (Or maybe not. It’s pretty boring.)
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
Yeah, yeah. I know I’m being dramatic. But I was seriously sad when my time was up – even though it meant it was time for my flight.
The napcab was such a great escape from the chaos of travel. I got to take a quick break from everyone and actually relax.
Unfortunately, 2 hours goes by fast.
When my time ran out, a notification came up on the screen. It told me that my time was up and told me that the door would lock behind me for the cleaning people to take care of the space.
I gathered my belongings and left, a bit sad and a lot more refreshed than when I entered.
People did look at me as I left. I think a lot of them, like me, had peeked in to see what these things were all about (empty pods have the blinds up, probably for the free advertising). But most didn’t try them.
All four pods were vacant when I arrived.
Admittedly, the pods are next to a special area with lounge chairs and comfortable sofas for people to rest in. It’s probably not the best location choice, especially when people start chatting right next to the napcabs. The free space was completely full when I entered and when I left my pod.
But I was glad I paid. My space was much more comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about my belongings. Or the weird guy snoring next to me.
Spread the Napcabs!
If you’re like me and you don’t like airports, I highly recommend visiting Munich (or Berlin, since I’ve just learnt that they exist there, too!). Try out the napcabs and become a convert like me.
They’ll change your entire perception of airports.
Instead of feeling like you have to suffer through the hours of waiting for your next flight, you can enjoy that time. Take a nap. Do some work. Or curl up and watch Netflix on something without metal bars for arm rests.
Sure, they cost money. But it’s worth it for the comfort they bring.
Like I said, they’re not paying me. But I believe you should pay them. (And if they want to pay me later, I wouldn’t say no!)
If we all use them, hopefully they’ll start popping up at other airports around the world (I’m looking at you, Heathrow!).
Check out the napcabs on your next trip to Germany and let me know what you think!