Hostels offer inexpensive accommodation to travelers who want to experience the world, but sometimes the hostel is an experience in itself.
Imagine telling friends back home about the time you slept in a 747, and not by paying for a first-class ticket. These hostels offer unique experiences along with a place to sleep.
Lucky Lake Hostel: Retro little travel trailers have been given new lives as hostel rooms in Amsterdam. Travelers can also rent cabins or a dorm, but the trailers offer more private arrangements. Visit the Breakfast Bus in the morning, or fix lunch in the outdoor kitchen.
Casa Elemento: The best thing about this hostel in the mountains in Colombia—aside from the fact that it's extremely secluded—is the option to rent a hammock instead of a bed. There are also dorms and private cabanas for rent. Plus, it's in the heart of a Colombian coffee farm; a cup of morning joe doesn't get any fresher than that.
Jumbo Stay: A decommissioned 747 in Stockholm, Sweden, is now a giant hostel with 27 rooms and 81 beds. It sits on a concrete base near the entrance to the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, where guests can sleep in first-class comfort.
Casa Gracia Barcelona: This hostel in the center of Barcelona is gorgeous, with upscale finishes, amazing views of the city from the terrace and even daily cleaning service. What makes this hostel so unique, though, isn't the sleeping quarters but the bathroom. It features a very unique sink in the belly of a giant brass donkey.
Container Hotel: Capsule by Container Hotel in Malaysia blurs the line between hostel and hotel. Made up of shipping containers, rooms are mere pods that are equipped with beds and foldable desks. The pods are just large enough for sleeping, but when it's time to wake, there are communal areas and—at the Ipoh location—a tunneled slide makes getting downstairs a whole lot more fun.
The Red Boat: Two riverboats make up this floating hostel on Lake Mälaren in Stockholm, Sweden. It has a definite shipboard feel, with dark shipboard decor and exposed wood beams in the dining room. The rooms, however, are bright and airy, with portholes for viewing Stockholm on the other side of the lake.
Caveland Santorini: Santorini is an experience by itself, with its white pumice buildings gleaming against the deep blue of the bay. The chalk-white caves of this hostel were once home to an 18th-century winery. Now there are bunk beds, single beds and private rooms furnished with antique and local furniture.
Clink 78: You don't have to feel guilty staying at this hostel set in an old courthouse in London. It's historic; punk band The Clash once stood trial here. The hostel pays homage to the anarchist band through its nighttime venue, ClashBAR, while guests sleep in authentic prison cells or hang out in the original courtrooms.
Das Park Hotel: This (literally) tubular hostel in Germany features rooms cut from huge concrete sewage pipes, leaving just enough room for a double bed and a small wood platform for luggage. They're splayed out on a grassy hill near the Danube River and reservation is by donation only.
Shantee House: This hostel in Budapest, Hungary, has the usual variety of beds to rent, but why not grab a few friends and rent the yurt? It's colorful, sleeps six and has a fish pond right outside. Or make it even simpler and rent a tent or a hammock and camp in the garden.