Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why I built, the best hostel search engine out there

I love to travel. I've spent a couple of years living out of a backpack, and I must say: it's become a lot easier and more fun in the last decade. The single most important reason for this is, of course, the emergence of this pretty brilliant thing called the World Wide Web. The internet is great for travelers: you can find things to do, places to go, friends to meet, flights to book - and, obviously, hostels to sleep in as well. And that's where I come in.

I think there are a few things every backpack traveler truly hates. Staying in overpriced, boring hotels without interesting people to meet is definitely one of them. But spending the whole day in an freezing cold or baking hot internet cafe, trying to find a good hostel on an ancient PC with a terribly slow internet connection isn't a lot of fun, either.

But still, in the past 5 years quite a few hostel booking websites popped up on the internet: there's hostelbookers, hostelsclub, hostelmania, hostelz and what have you. All of 'em are reasonably OK: they're offering quite a few hostels from all over the world. But if you really want a good deal, you've got to visit all of these websites and compare reviews, prices and availability. This is incredibly tedious and time consuming.

Long story short: I simply thought, I could do this thing better. I dreamt of creating a service that does exactly what I want: to search, compare and check availability of the largest possible number of hostels, by combining all major hostel booking sites. And I did exactly that. Travelers and people working in the hostel business I talked to loved the idea, so I started working. Fast forward 1 year, and here we are: TFTHostels is ready to launch, June 4th. Almost ready. Yee-haw!

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