It was the summer of 1998 and Tom Meyers, recently graduated from college and living in New York City, was bored with his temp job at NBC. His primary responsibility, after all, was checking for burned out lightbulbs.
One afternoon, he purchased "Web Design for Dummies" over his lunch break and started throwing together his first site. Soon he had learned enough HTML to claim it as a "skill" and landed a job producing websites for a software company in New York.
But, his mind was in Europe. How could he develop a website that would force him to travel, but also provided useful, needed information? He knew a thing or two about hotels. Tom had lived in Paris for a couple years and knew the kind of hotels he had scouted for visiting family and friends. He also knew what it was like to travel on a budget throughout Europe with an eye for quality and "something special." Plus, he knew that, in order to develop the site, he had to go over... for a while.
And so the idea for EuroCheapo.com was born. Lists were made, bags were packed, and Tom grabbed his passport and moved to Berlin.
Europe and Berlin
The next couple years Tom spent traveling, learning, exploring, and talking his way into thousands of hotels.
Tom first started off in London and nearly panicked. Finding cheap hotels wasn't a problem. The problem was that everything looked the same. Over and over he saw depressing B&Bs offering small rooms and tired bathrooms, usually blessed with bored management. Was this useful information?
Nursing a cup of coffee near the British Museum, he scribbled out a checklist of EuroCheapo standards to help him narrow down the list and develop a more critical eye. Cheap wasn't enough. The hotels had to be "spic-and-span." They should have a pleasant management, or better yet, a family or interested proprietor in charge. And ultimately, he'd have to be comfortable enough with the hotel to send his own family there.
Shortly following the London experience, Tom headed off to inspect budget hotels in Rome, Florence, Amsterdam and Paris. Armed with binders of notes, hotel photos and a keen eye for a good deal, Tom headed back to Berlin and set up EuroCheapo's first office in Friedrichshain. From there, EuroCheapo.com finally went live on June 14, 2001.
The great Cheap Forward
In the years since, EuroCheapo has added hotel guides to dozens of additional cities in Europe (and even a few for our native USA), launched more features and funny business than we care to count, and developed an audience of hundreds of thousands of readers. Our team of Cheapos based in NYC has expanded along with our network of correspondents living across Europe. Heck, we even had an office dog for a while, although he's since retired.
But one thing hasn't changed: the giddiness we feel when we stumble across another small hotel that's a perfect cheapo fit. We love what we do, especially when we feel it's going to help our readers enjoy Europe while spending less.
From all of us here at EuroCheapo.com, thank you for stopping by and using our site. If you ever have questions, need a budget hotel recommendation anywhere in Europe or just want to chat, get in touch with us anytime.