In this week’s Travel Talk, I’m excited to feature the blogger who made an entire career out of hostels – it’s the brilliant Katie Dawes from The Hostel Girl.
Hey Katie! You run the blog The Hostel Girl, and you characterize yourself as a ‘hostel blogger’. But how did this adventure really start?
I have always written blogs – I think I probably still have a LiveJournal account somewhere from my teen years! So when I began working in hostels in Budapest it seemed natural to answer questions I was getting from friends and family by writing a blog. And then The Hostel Girl was born!
So as an hostel expert – what makes the perfect hostel for you?
Oh my goodness – there are so many qualities that come together to create the perfect hostel!
I think design is very important these days, especially when it comes to the interior design of good common areas in which guests can socialise and meet new people. Most of the luxury and boutique hostels are located in cities with good public transport, so even if their location isn’t the most central it’s usually easy enough to get around.
But above all the people who run the hostel or volunteer within it hold the responsibility for creating the perfect hostel. I have turned down the opportunity to write reviews for hostels I thought were fantastically designed, with great locations and modern facilities just because I felt the staff weren’t appropriate for their roles.
Hostels should be homes away from home for travellers – so friendly and helpful staff is the most critical aspect of a perfect hostel, in my opinion!
Katie, you traveled quite a lot in 2015. Which places totally stole your heart?
Another tricky question! My favorite hostel would have to be Die Wohngemeinschaft in Cologne! The hostel had everything – from it’s location in a hipster part of town to it’s friendly staff and fantastic bar area. And don’t even get me started on interior design…
My favorite destination would have to be Morocco. I flew straight out after quitting my job in Amsterdam in spring, and then returned again in October to finish out the winter before returning home for Christmas. Morocco completely and utterly has my heart and is a destination I hope to return to regularly.
… And which place did not make such a good impression?
Unfortunately, I was really disappointed by Barcelona. I can see why it is such a popular tourist destination – but nothing grabbed me as feeling extra special during my time there. This was more difficult after I had had such great experiences on the way there, in Madrid and Valencia.
However, it looks like I may have the opportunity to work with a few more hostels in the city this year so I’m really hoping that I can find a side of Barcelona that I love the next time around!
With that in mind, can you reveal where The Hostel Girl will be headed next?
Of course – I never keep my destinations a secret! I’m actually taking off this week to return to Amsterdam, after which I’ll be visiting some incredible hostels in Hamburg and Rome so for those looking for hostels for their upcoming 2016 Euro Trip I hope to have even more information on the blog soon!