Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TFTHostels.com launches world's first hostel search engine

TFTHostels.com is the world's first hostel search engine. It combines the directories of all major hostel booking websites into a single interface, saving visitors time and money. Visitors can:

* Search the largest directory of hostels in the world
* Compare rates, reviews and recommendations
* Check availability, specs and location
* Book the hostel of your choice by visiting the hostel booking website

Annoyed by the large amount of hostel booking agencies he had to check and compare to find an affordable room on his trips all over the world, the Dutch backpacking tourist Marco van de Kamp created a search engine that renders all existing hostel search engines virtually obsolete. Van de Kamp, also the coordinator of a backpacking community called Travelers for Travelers, decided to build a website that could search all major hostel booking websites simultaneously. After months of preparation, his website, which is free to use and will not display any ads, will is live June 4th at TFTHostels.com.

On the first day, the search engine will have access to 27.338 hostels. “But that's just the beginning,” says Van de Kamp, “I will continue to search for more hostels to add to the site.” Hostels can be compared by location, rates and quality of service. The site also offers user-written reviews. Only the reservation process is handled by the respective booking agency.

Travelers For Travelers
Marco van de Kamp
+31 6 4355 8778

Monday, June 9, 2008

TFTHostels.com in the Metro

Metro is a dutch newspaper that has 2.000.000 readers. On page 2 1 minute with Marco van de Kamp, nice website plugs TFT and TFTHostels:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The buzz.. after a few days

Cool sites are writing about TFTHostels.com

New search tool makes it easy to find hostels all over the world

TFThostels.com Launches Meta Booking Engine for Hostels

New and Cool: TFT Hostel Booking Search Engine

World's First Search Engine For Hostels Launches

TFTHostels - the hostel (not hotel) search engine

TFTHostels.com launches world's first hostel search engine

Thrifty Traveler? Take A Look At This New Beta Website



Great TFTHostels.com launch party

What a day, what a night, what a great party. Thank you all for sharing this launch with me. Here are some pics from the party.

Cool shirts!

Nice girls!

Even Finn from Finnland joined in on skype

Travelers For Travelers sticker on Train 4091

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

We're live!

The moment has come: TFTHostels.com, the ultimate hostel search engine, has just launched. Go there now!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hostel Impressions

While visiting a few ;) hostels in the past years, I took lots of pictures from the rooms and hostels I stayed in. It's become quite a collection of both the cleanliest, perfectly spotless places as well as extremely filthy accommodations. Check out the slideshow below:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Seven tips for travelers staying in hostels

Planning a trip? Staying in hostels and guesthouses is generally a good idea: these are a lot less expensive than hotels, and the advantage they hold over camping sites is that the latter are usually pretty hard to come by in the center of a major city. Hostels simply rock, generally speaking – but some of 'em just don't rock as hard as other ones. As with most things in life (putting a man on the moon, fighting a grizzly bear, etc), preparation is everything. Here's a few tips to get you started.

Check the hostel beforehand

Don't rely on a raving review from 1994 (or even from 2004, for that matter) if you want to be sure the hostel you've got your eye on is any good. Hostels change management pretty often, so any place that was once widely praised could very well be pretty bad today. So, ask fellow travelers for tips, read more reviews than just one, check any available ratings and information about facilities and services. Google the name of the hostel, and use Google Blogsearch and Summize.com to find non-biased comments of actual living people giving their opinions on blogs and discussion boards. Don't forget to check the location: you want to make sure you'll be staying somewhere in the city center. Especially when the hostel is named after the city itself, i.e. 'Hostel Prague', chances are you'll need to take a 30 minutes bus drive before you get from the first half of the name to the second half.

Book your first night in advance

Even if you've read and heard everything there is to know about a hostel, there's always a chance that you don't like the place at all. If you book for only one night, it's not too hard to use the following day to find a place that better suits your needs. If you decide to stay at the same place, you could try to bargain for a better better deal. Don't use these tricks in high season though, or you'll risk not being able to find any affordable accommodation at all.

Check the times

Many hostels have strict rules regarding to times. Get a watch. Be a good boy (or girl) and try to obey them. You don't want to find a closed door after having traveled for thirty hours. Oh, and mind the curfew: there are actually still hostels out there that don't want you staying up too late. Another thing is lockout time: your room could be locked at certain hours when a cleaning lady wants some privacy while scrubbing your floor. Last but not least: mind the checkout time. If you're late, you might have to pay for another night...

Bring useful stuff

Most people pack too much useless stuff when visiting hostels. Be smart, and bring as less as possible. What you do need is a sleep-sheet (two sheets sewn together to form a sack), ear plugs against snoring and other noises, soap, a towel and a lock to keep your valuable stuff safe. Put it all in your backpack. No, a suitcase is not a backpack!

Don't like it? Just leave

If you have a sneaky suspicion, or you do not want to ho hand over your passport (don't), or anything happened you don't like, just leave. Even if you booked in advance, most hostel owners are very cooperative.

And the last one: have fun! And we shouldn't need to say it, but if you're looking for a hostel, don't forget to check out tfthostels.com ;-)