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Feature Friday: Hostelgeeks

Happy Feature Friday!

Today we’re doing something a little different and are featuring HostelGeeks, a travel blog dedicated to letting you know about the amazing hostels you can book during your travels. We almost always stay in hostels when we travel, but oftentimes we want an upgrade from the typical dorm experience that comes to mind when you think of hostels. A lot of our favorite hostels actually contributed to how great our trip was whether it was the excellent staff, peaceful ambiance, cool decor or opportunities for social interactions with the other guests. This makes HostelGeeks an excellent resource for us and for anyone looking for hostels that are a step above the rest. Read on to learn more about what you’ll find on the HostelGeeks page!

Castle Logo: Tell us about Hostelgeeks?

Screenshot (5): Hostelgeeks is the niche travel blog of Anna & Matt. At Hostelgeeks we collect 5 Star Hostels from all over the world, based on transparent criteria. Every 5 Star Hostel fits the 5 Star Hostel criteria of

1) ecofriendly

2) superb design

3) uniqueness

4) social character, and

5) great staff

By ticking these boxes and by meeting the transparent criteria, we make sure our fellow-travelers stay only at great Hostels. Simply put: We are the shortcut to awesome Hostels! As for booking, we recommend to check out the official website of the hostel, as we do not offer any booking service on our website. Also, we just launched an eBook based around the Greatest Hostels in Europe. Within this eBook we included up to 10% discount for all these fantastic Hostels in Europe. Additionally, we share our secret tips about the destinations we visit. We have friends in Paris and New York and we have befriended fellow-bloggers in Tokyo, Sydney and Dublin. This way we have access to some really secret tips for these destinations. We share them through our so-called Geeky Guides, which you can download for free on hostelgeeks.com. Take Dublin for instance. Here we share with you 5 hidden gems of Dublin, such as where to take a dip in the sea at 7am in the morning, and where to score a great, personal recommended restaurant. Travel recommendations by friends for friends.

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Why Travel?

BY CAILIN BURKE

I have the travel bug so badly that for some reason I think everyone else wants to travel as much as I do. However, some people don’t want to spend the money or would rather spend their money on something else, while others have never even thought about it. Most people say you should travel to “expand your horizons,” “learn about yourself,” or “immerse yourself in another culture,” but there are many more reasons that you should consider traveling… some less typical than others.

1) You can try some amazing food. You may not like to travel, but you probably like to eat… right? Some foods you’d never be able to try in your own country, and in other countries your favorite foods might taste even better! When I went to Nice, France for example, I had a beignet filled with Nutella and it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever had in my life. Also, I discovered that Nutella in England tastes better than the Nutella in the US. Plus, you know you want to try the pizza in Italy… and pasta… and gelato.

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2) You can see some of your favorite things. Maybe museums, architecture, or famous landmarks aren’t particularly interesting to you, but there are other things you can see in a different country! If you’re a Harry Potter fan than you NEED to go on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in England. Or if you’re a huge Beatles fan, there’s nothing cooler than going to Abbey Road to mimick their album cover. Doing this is actually known as pop-culture tourism where you purposely go to locations found in movies, literature, or any form of entertainment.

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3) You’ll really bond with the people you’re with. Traveling with your friends or family will definitely bring you closer. You’ll have new inside jokes, something to always talk about, and times where you can say, “Remember when…?”

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4) If you have a hobby or activity you like doing, chances are in another country it’s better. A skiier? Go skiing in the Swiss Alps. An art lover? Go to Paris and visit the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay to see some of the world’s most famous pieces. Hiking? What’s a local mountain compared to hiking Machu Picchu? Love cute animals? Walk down the streets of Cinque Terre and you’ll see cats everywhere. Not a cat person? You could pet a koala in Australia, see sloths and monkeys in Costa Rica, or see a lion on an African safari. Music lover? Discover underground bands in London.

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5) You get some great pictures for Facebook or Instagram out of it. Chances are you like having a really cool profile pic or an artsy Instagram. Go to a different country and there will be endless opportunities to take incredible pictures. You’ll probably get a ton of likes too!

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6) You can step in the same footsteps as your idols. It’s always fun to live out something your favorite actress did in your favorite show or movie. Walk down the streets of Paris with macarons like Blair and Serena did in Gossip Girl! Or go to Rome and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain (in hopes that Paolo will arrive) like in the Lizzie McGuire Movie. Even better, pretend you’re Kate Middleton on her wedding day and walk through Westminster Abbey.

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7) You can see a part of history. There’s nothing like revisiting history exactly where it happened. You could see what’s left of the Berlin Wall in Germany, Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, or imagine gladiators fighting in the Colosseum.

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8) You can let your guard down. You may not want to go somewhere that’s new and uncomfortable, but think about it this way… no one there knows you! So do some things you would be too embarrassed to do in front of your acquaintances. Sing in a karaoke bar, have a silly photo shoot near a landmark, or even doze in a public area.  You may get some funny looks, but chances are you’ll never see those people again.

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9) You can buy some unique trinkets. Want a cool bag? Go to South America and get one that’s crocheted by local artisans. If you want something more fancy, go to Italy and shop at a leather market. Some things you can only buy in certain places. My favorite souvenir is my Loch Ness Monster stuffed animal. Saying you got a “Nessie” at the real Loch Ness is so much cooler than saying you got it off of eBay.

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10) You’ll have great stories (and memories!) to last a lifetime. Needless to say, traveling gives you tons of great memories to reflect back on, but it also gives you a lot of stories. Traveling is the perfect conversation starter and can help you relate to others. If you meet someone new and you’ve both been to London, there you go! You’ll have tons of things to talk about and stories to share back and forth. You’ll also have a bunch of cool things to share with your friends when you get home!

Even if you’re scared to go somewhere unfamiliar or didn’t think you were interested, there are a lot of great things about traveling that you may not have even thought about! 

Ten Things to Do While Abroad

BY TARA BURKE

1. Take 100s of photos. The memory is a strange thing. Often times you can remember where you went, but not what you saw. Photos will vividly bring back those memories, are tangible ways to share your experience with family and friends, and are great keepsakes to look back on in     future years.

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2. Put down the camera. At the same time, taking a million photos of that pretty flower you fell upon, will not make it any prettier. Take a moment to step back and enjoy your surroundings in the now.

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3. Keep a journal or blog. Write everything you do down. It is always fun to reflect on traveling. The amazing things you did, saw, learned and felt will all make for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

4. Try something new. Go zip-lining, ride a camel, surf, eat an insect, volunteer, make new friends, rent a vespa, or go dancing.

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5. Do anything and everything that is completely cliché about your destination. Take some touristy photos of yourself in those red phone booths in London and pretend you’re touching the tip of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You know you want to, so just go for it!

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6. Buy some mementos. Even if it’s just a postcard from every place you visit. When you get home, you can place them in a cute travel box. On another note, it’s inevitable that you will shop a little while abroad. Don’t overpack. Girls, I know we are always tempted to bring our entire     closet because of that nagging voice inside our heads that says, “What if I end up wanting to wear this?” Ignore that sucker, instead bring a few key outfits that you are dying to show off. The rest should be comfortable, easily washable and interchangeable classic pieces.

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7. Don’t fret over the small things. Sure you got fined 50 Euros on an Italian train ride for         unknowingly not validating your ticket, or a cockroach climbs up your skirt in a metro station in Spain (sad, but true stories)… Be livid for 5 minutes. Don’t let it ruin your whole day.

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8. Have at least a few unplanned hours in your itinerary. You’ll be surprised at what magical things you can fall upon by strolling around aimlessly.

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9. Go to local places. Local restaurants, stores, bakeries, hotels, grocery stores and parks. Absorb yourself into another culture. Some cultural differences might make you appreciate home more, while others may make you want to stay in that place forever.

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10. Use the local lingo or speak the native language. I know we are told that it can be annoying when foreigners practice their speaking skills with locals, but most are openly willing to oblige. After taking years of a foreign language in school, don’t be afraid to try it. Plus, the level of      accomplishment you feel after ordering the correct meal in another language is unparalleled.

Most of all have a blast! Being able to travel is a huge privilege and every second should be enjoyed.              

Happy Travels!