8 Incredible Places To Sleep When You Travel Abroad During A Gap Year

5 min read

Last Modified 31 August 2023 First Added 9 May 2019

By Jessica Kadel

So you’ve decided to travel abroad and go on a gap year. The tricky part isn’t just deciding things to do in a gap year and where you’ll be going travelling, but choosing where you’ll spend your nights sleeping. Granted, the prospect of sleeping abroad outside of your comfort zone can be quite daunting especially when you may need to be up in the earliest hours of the morning during your trip.

Alternative accommodation during your gap year travelling may be the solution to your woes, by mixing up your bedtime routine and quite literally getting you out of your comfort zone. Gap year travel is best suited to an adventurer so bog-standard beds aren’t going to make the cut during your trip. Here are 8 incredible places to sleep when you travel abroad during a gap year.

Brave Sleeping On a Cliff Face

Melatonin meets adrenaline in this vertical cliff face bed. If the possibility of plummeting great heights helps you get to sleep at night, this is your perfect place to slumber during your gap year travelling. Based in North Wales, Gaia Adventures offers explorers perpetual bragging rights after sleeping on a ‘Portaledge’ attached to the side of a cliff. With no climbing experience required, this isn’t a gap year activity for the faint hearted.

Witness Gaia Adventures here

An image of Gaia Adventures' Cliff Camping

Image courtesy of kickbacktimes.co.uk

Sleep In a Dockside Crane When You Travel Abroad

This eccentric accommodation in the Netherlands is a genuine, and working, dockside crane which has been renovated into an overnight retreat. If you fancy a waterfront weekend during your gap year expedition and aren’t an acrophobe, the old machine room in the body of the crane comfortably sleeps two voyagers. Breakfast is even included and delivered to you via the internal lift in the bedroom (student travel meets the savoy hotel experience).

See the crane hotel for yourself

Images of the dockside crane hotel

Images courtesy of flickr.com and dailymail.co.uk

Related: Sleep Your Way to a relaxing Summer Holiday

Extend Your Gap Year Time In Sweden At a Floating Hotel

If you’re still in Sweden, there is a lake somewhere near Stockholm that has a floating, small, red Swedish house otherwise known as the Utter Inn. This accommodation provides a single aquarium room which is 3 metres below the surface of Lake Mälaren. As the second nautical expedition on this list to visit during your travelling gap year, guests of Utter Inn arrive at the port of Västerås and are carried 1km out to their nautical lodgings and left with nothing but an inflatable boat, which they can use to visit the closest uninhabited island. This submerged bed is definitely not one for the seasick student travellers.

Explore the Utter Inn Here

Take Time Out To Chill In an Ice Hotel

Our third reason to spend a good portion of your travelling gap year in Sweden, is an answer keeping cool at night. As the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow, founded in 1989, the ICEHOTEL in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi, is definitely one for the bold, and warm-blooded. The rooms in this Arctic accommodation hold a temperature of around -5 to -8 degrees Celsius.  They do however, loan guests snow suits, boots, mittens and balaclavas for warmth. Unsurprisingly, these rooms are non-smoking only.

Experience the ICEHOTEL here

An image of the ICEHOTEL

Image courtesy of icehotel.com

Sleep Underground In a Silver Mine

If you’re going travelling in Sweden, be sure to get your head down in the world’s deepest bedroom. The Sala Silvermine allows guests to sleep 155 meters underground in a suite for two. This mine was in continuous production from the 15th century until 1908. As one of the world’s best preserved mine settings, guests can explore extensive industrial history, if they can tolerate the cold and damp conditions (one of the more extreme gap year locations).

See the Sala Silvermine

An image of the Sala Silvermine Underground Suite

Image courtesy of earthporm.com

Give Your Gap Year More Bite By Sleeping In a Shark Aquarium

If you’ve been getting to sleep too easily recently and want a challenge during your travel abroad,  a unique accommodation in Paris has the solution to give you nautical nightmares for years. The Shark Aquarium submerges guests in a pod surrounded by 360-degree transparent glass, and of course, sharks. The shark aquarium’s rules include no selfies after dark, avoiding the film Jaws before your sleepover and no sleepwalking or night swimming.

If you want to take the plunge, click here

An image of the Shark Aquarium

Image courtesy of digitaltrends.com

Related: How Do Astronauts Sleep?

Sleep In an Asian Capsule

Originating in Osaka, the Capsule Hotel is a popular concept in Japan. Individual rooms are stacked in compact rows, with the top row accessed by a ladder. Although possibly not one for the claustrophobic gap year traveller, the rooms are surprisingly spacious and include a TV, radio, alarm and dimmer in a high-tech control panel.

See the Capsule Hotel here

An image of the Capsule Hotel

Image courtesy of hostelworld.com

Live The High Life In a Hammock Suspended 300 feet In The Air

If you’d like the terror of falling a great height to no longer be just a nightmare but a great possibility during your gap year travelling, the Highline Meeting might be of interest to you. Every year the Highline Meeting at Monte Piana brings together bold ‘slackliners’, for a few days of quite literally hanging around. The highlines range from 18 feet high to more than 300 feet off the ground. Although one of the most dangerous napping places in the world, the location is chosen not only for its beautiful views but also its historical importance, due to the many soldiers that died there during the First World War.

See the Highline Meeting here

An image of the Highline Meeting

Image courtesy of demilked.com

We hope this list of incredible places to sleep when you travel abroad during a gap year, can make your trip that extra bit exciting!

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