Returning home to Scotland, I spent two years as Deputy Manager of a large Edinburgh Hostel. During this time, I built the website hibackpacker.com which brought a 40% increase in email enquiries - a clear demonstration of the important part the internet plays in the hospitality industry.
After two trips to South America, it was clear that many of the smaller, locally run hostels and tour companies were at a massive disadvantage in having no web presence. Seeing a gap in the market, I decided my next trip to Latin America would be one to make a difference - as such, the project of HostelTrail.com was born.
Working in hostels both in South America and at home has been a great experience, allowing me to understand more about people, languages and of course the hostelling industry. This project has been a great way to combine what I have learned, both travelling and working, to help others make the most of South America - as travellers or from the business point of view. It's a great way to share first-hand information and advice with like-minded travellers and an excellent way for local businesses to get their name out there!
Since meeting in a crowded Oxford pub several years back, Andrew and Anthony have set about exploring the remotest and most inaccessible corners of the world together, following brief interludes in the legal and actuarial professions. Since that time Anthony and Andrew have travelled together to Morocco, the Lake District, the South of France (twice), Hong Kong and Borneo. Currently the duo are in South America and have kindly offered to lend their assistance in adding new hostels and tour companies to the website from Ecuador southwards.
Alicia, a professional photographer, and James, a freelance writer, are traveling from Panama to Mexico. Their style of travel is decidedly slow and independent. They are never in a hurry to leave and enjoy giving a place time to unfold and reveal its hidden gems. A passion for surfing and all things eco, strongly influences their travel choices.
James and Alicia have visited over 35 countries and lived in Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Fiji. They can total up eight years on the road; one and a half of those years have been spent traveling together.
Born and raised in the midwestern United States, Travis inherited the will to travel from his parents, who spent much of the 60s and 70s wandering Latin America, cooking rice and beans over a campfire and sleeping on beaches. Trained as a biologist, Travis has given himself over to his love of Latin American culture and literature and set out to trace the footsteps of his favorite authors through Central America and Mexico, writing and reading along the way. He looks forward to sharing these experiences with HostelTrail.com.
Will, a journalist and Stacey, a drugs worker, are both originally from County Durham, England but quit their jobs, rented out their house and sold their possessions to travel Latin America for nine months.
They were attracted to the area by a love of food, culture, photography and outdoor pursuits. That said, they are on a tight budget so recognise the importance of making sure wherever you stay and whatever you do, you are comfortable, safe and having fun - all for a good price.
Before hopping across the Atlantic, the pair had spent time travelling the world both individually and together.
Pha joins the HostelTrail team in Southern Colombia where she'll update the Colombia section before moving south and tackling some of the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Chile. A people-watcher with incurable wanderlust, Pha hopes to bring fresh anecdotes and practical information to our readers.
Pha is a freelance writer from California. Her work has appeared in International Living Magazine, Salon.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee and New America Media.
Tia considers herself "an accidental globetrotter". One month turning into six, then and then morphing into years of travelling around the world solo. Although Western Australia is her home base, you will mostly find her on the road,
surfing, writing and filming her experiences. A the start of 2012 Tia stumbled into Peru on a magazine trip and forgot to leave! Tia is now taking her time
exploring and surfing through South America and contributing to HostelTrail on the way.
Originally from Durban, South Africa, Shaun is a specialist sales consultant for a safari tour operator in the UK and over the years has been lucky enough to travel to over 50 countries around the world. Cristina is from Spain but is now based in the UK working for American Express. Having travelled to 21 countries she is also no stranger to the world of tourism. The couple have undertaken a number of trips together including India, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Lesotho, Cuba, Spain and now set their sights on South America where they will update and expand the HostelTrail website in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
Stephanie is a professional photographer and journalist hailing from Toronto, Canada. In a strong dedication to travel, Stephanie quit her job, sold her possessions to hit the road backpacking independently around South America.
Stephanie has ventured across the world on personal projects to document the landscape and people of Southeast Asia, North America, Central America and now South America in search of honest and striking imagery. Her work has previously appeared internationally in publications such as Canadian Geographic, Road Magazine and SEA Backpacker Magazine. She looks forward to contributing to HostelTrail while she wanders around the continent.
Originally from Canada, Michael left home five years ago to teach English in Korea and has been travelling ever since. In that time he has picked cockroaches from his rice in India, slept on the beaches of Australia, and worked as a busker on the streets of Melbourne. After a brief (and unsuccessful) attempt to rejoin the rat race in Canada in 2012, he left for Colombia in early 2013 to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing the entire South American continent. Long fascinated by Latin American culture and literature, he is currently exploring and writing his way through this wonderful continent and hopes to use HostelTrail to share a few tips and experiences with other travellers.
A self-confessed professional nomad, Jennifer Carr has enjoyed a long and fruitful travel career that's seen her jump in volcanic sulphur pools for The Times and hurtle down Colombia's Sierra Nevada 'death road' for TNT Magazine. In between, she's been a hotel reviewer for The Daily Express, a yoga writer for the Daily Mail and devoted journalist to all things foodie related - particularly the best street food from the four corners. In her own words "there's nothing quite like chasing the thrill of the unknown". Except, perhaps, getting to inspire another explorer with stories of what's on the other side.
Tanja has always wanted to travel for longer periods of time than just a few weeks, but studying Journalism and later Law and her work following up on that made this impossible for a long time. When she finally found the opportunity to leave her hometown Amsterdam in The Netherlands for a longer time, she was hooked. Her first trip led her to Central and South America, Oceania and Thailand, and especially Central America made a huge impression on her. This trip, she will spend about six months in this part of the world and will travel through Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico.