#1 2-9-2018 12:57 PM

DrewJ
Euless, Texas
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Booking Accomodations?

I know that for most of you, you have your trips planned out, but what about for those of you that kind of wing it (with a little bit of planning obviously). My trip could have been a lot better but I kind of ruined it by not booking my accommodations properly.

I've always used booking.com because they have the cheapest places such as hostels (besides AirBnB). The problem I have is that since I'm winging my trip, Most of them are usually booked, especially the ones close to the downtown areas. I know the answer is to plan my trip better but just wanted to get some of you guys input.

Do you just simply stay in the same place for the duration of your trip? or do you go to a different place every night or every other night? Do you book hostels with shared rooms or hotels with private rooms? Do you go to places with more flexible check in times? What about if you're visiting two or three neighboring cities, say about an hour or so apart by train or car? Do you still keep the same place or get a place in each different city?

Also, why are most check in times only after 3pm or around that time? I assumed it was for cleaning or something.

I came to Hokkaido Japan for the snow festivals that they have here, but I think that the main problem I had was that I came too early before most of them even began.

 

#2 2-9-2018 2:34 PM

davejo
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Puerto Princesa City, Philippines
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

On longer trips of a month or more i don't usually book ahead of time, but these days our trips are normally only for two weeks  so i spend hours looking at reviews then decide on the places we want to visit and then search for accommodation, usually make our bookings with booking.com.

 

#3 2-9-2018 4:32 PM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

If we’re going on longer trip we usually staying in different places/hotels. I mostly book all accommodation in advance, I don’t like dragging around with luggage searching for hotel room.

My coming trip to Australia I only book a hotel for the first night as we rent a car. We’ll drive around and see where we end up at the end of the day

I’d like to stay near the city center where I can walk around. If having a car it doesn’t matter if I staying outskirts. I use Booking.com in Europe and South america and Agoda.com in Asia. Sometimes booking a room straight to hotel website as they are cheaper sometimes

 

#4 2-10-2018 3:16 AM

fransglobal
Francis
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

Are you travelling in summer or other peak periods such as Easter or Christmas? Or weekends in major tourist spots? Hokkaido during Snow Festival is going to be fully booked out.  Not a great time to be winging it...St.Patrick's Day in Dublin another example of not just winging it.

I do book for short trips but not necessarily long in advance. On longer trips, I tend to wing it.  But I tend not to travel in summer.

I sometimes book a place just the evening before or even the day or arrival. Or sometimes just turn up and look for somewhere. Usually in smaller towns.

City centre is not always best place to stay. If a city has a good public transport system, your options can be greater. Often you discover very nice areas which are not tourist ghettos.

On check-in, even though officially check-in may be after 1400-1500, often I have got a room earlier. I've even checked in at 0700 after an overnight trip.

One country where this does not seem to be possible is Japan, in my experience.

 

#5 2-10-2018 5:58 AM

ulis
Uli
Vienna, Austria
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

It depends which area you are traveling, for instance in many Asian places the cheap accommodations you can’t book online, and you can have also problems whe you have booked, for instance I just arrived in Douala in 2 am, my cab didn’t find the place, and nobody in that (bad) area had heard of the place....
In Europe most of the times it’s cheaper to book ahead. With booking.com you can book also for the same day (but the cheapies might be gone).

 

#6 2-10-2018 5:58 AM

ulis
Uli
Vienna, Austria
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Wanderer
Posts: 487

Re: Booking Accomodations?

It depends which area you are traveling, for instance in many Asian places the cheap accommodations you can’t book online, and you can have also problems whe you have booked, for instance I just arrived in Douala in 2 am, my cab didn’t find the place, and nobody in that (bad) area had heard of the place....
In Europe most of the times it’s cheaper to book ahead. With booking.com you can book also for the same day (but the cheapies might be gone).

 

#7 2-10-2018 6:43 AM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

I have done it both ways.  In the old days (before the internet) I would book the first and last night, and then do the rest on the fly.  I was moving around, but staying several nights in one place and then moving to the next one.  I not only didn't book the hotel in advance but I didn't book the transportation very far in advance either.  This was sometimes a problem - I once had a lot of trouble getting from Madrid to Marseilles because it was July 31st. 

When we traveled on our boat we didn't make reservations at a marina in the next location until we got closer to them in the afternoon or sometimes I phoned the next place on the day before.  That's because so much can happen that would delay you  If you have an adverse wind, it will slow you down.  You might have to wait for a bridge opening, etc.  Of course on a boat, if you don't make it to the next marina you can just anchor, or decide to keep sailing.

Now of course, I book as far in advance as I know that I am traveling and do it either direct to the hotel by phone or on the internet.  So for my next trip to Tanzania I've had it booked for a year.  For the trip to my brother-in-law's funeral, I couldn't book the hotel until after he died. 

I use Booking.com sometimes.  I always book a private room as I need to have my own bathroom close by.

The 3 pm check-in is because the check out time is usually about 11 am and they want to have enough time to clean the room before you check in.  Also if I am driving from one place to another, I plan so that I will get to the hotel after 3.   Usually they will let me check in a bit in advance if my room is ready.  I did once get to a hotel with a 3 pm check in time well after 3 pm and was told I would have to wait half an hour before the room was ready and I made a fuss about it (I said that was NOT satisfactory) because I was not ready to sit around in the lobby after a long drive until 4 pm.  And they quickly found a room that was ready for me.

I have quite often booked to stay a week intending to visit neighboring areas.  In Kentucky I was staying in a little place called Taylorville for a week and we visited Louisville a couple of times, Frankfurt and Lexington.

I do sometimes have a problem - even booking in advance - that the things I want to do are not open when I want to do them.  Sometimes this is because I haven't done my research, but sometimes it is because I was given bad information.  Insufficient information happened before the internet and even sometimes now when websites are not updated.  I wrote my mother during the 1964 trip

"As I wrote, Sat was fiesta day. The travel agency in Madrid was WRONG WRONG WRONG about being able to get a hotel easily here. I walked my feet off and finally found a vacancy in a 2nd class hotel."

On a more recent trip, I wanted to visit the Serpentarium, the Jade Museum and the Gold Museum.  The internet said the Gold Museum opened at 9 and it didn't open until 9:15.  Not a big problem.  The Jade Museum webpage said the times were 8:30 to 3, and they were really 10-5.  Which I dealt with.  But the Serpentarium was only open on weekends in the off season, so I did not get there.

 

#8 2-10-2018 9:06 AM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

It depends on where, what time of year, and the purpose of the trip. Some trips are very much about relaxation and for those I’ll pre-book, well in advance, and keep it so we’re not moving too often (so a two week trip might be three destinations). If i’m taking my mum or someone else nervous I would always pre book too, and certainly book a lot more carefully if i’m taking my son. Short trips (say a weekend) I would also pre book because if you only have two days, I didn’t want to waste any time shopping around. And if there are major festivals or holidays on you have to precook- I try to check that in advance.

Before I was a mum, on longer trips, road trips and in Asia and Uganda I didn’t always book anything in advance. The quality of the room mattered less to me than location, and you could always find somewhere affordable by asking around, even in Europe and the uk. I think the longest it ever took me was a couple of hours once on Skye in August.

And answering some of your other questions, I think the 3pm check in is for cleaning. But i’ve often found the room is available earlier if you’re nice, and if not they’ll nearly always take your bag and look after it. So no, i don’t pay more for flexible check in. I might pay a bit for late check out if it lets me have a place to change after the beach, or something like that, but rarely. I won’t stay in dorms anymore- I’ve hated it whenever i’ve done it and I am happy to pay for a private room. Although I rarely stay in hostels- often B&Bs and guest houses are cheaper and I don’t necessarily want to meet other people every trip. And how long I stay depends on the trip. But for the most part, I want at least two, preferably three nights per city because traveling, unless places are very very close, takes up a bigger chunk of your day than people allow. A one hour flight plus two hour security/check in, half hour transfer each end and half an hour finding the hotel and checking in is a half day gone, so one night means two half days max to see the city. If they’re really only an hour or two by train apart I would usually do that as day trips- moving is hassle- and i’d maybe add on time to a stay to do that. One of the advantages of not pre booking is it means you can decide to stay longer and do a day trip somewhere. If the point of a trip is to unwind i’ll travel even more slowly.

 

#9 2-10-2018 5:39 PM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

sarahelaine Many of my trips in the USA are traveling to get to someplace and since my husband does not like to fly, we drive.  So most of the trip is travel and the hotel is just to have a place to sleep at the end of the drive.  I'm currently trying to decide whether to do a 1000 mile trip in three days or to add a day and make it four days.  We've done the same trip in 3 days (5 hours driving a day).  My husband does not like to be away from home very long, so he would prefer to do it quickly, but I think we will feel better if we take it a little easier.  And we also have to get back - same distance.  He tends to get impatient to get home. 

I never do a trip for the purpose of relaxation.  Being retired, we can relax better at home.

 

#10 2-10-2018 7:04 PM

ManjitSingh
Manjit
Punjab, India
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

It is totally depends upon your trip, If you have to go for longer trips then you should decide different hotels.

 

#11 2-11-2018 3:52 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

I agree, sometimes hotel price rises if travelling in peak season. We travel two times outside Europe, month May and December. And about 6-8 times around in Europe for a short break. December is peak season, accommodations are expensive around the world

Our last visit to Australia it was on December, peak season. I booked all the accommodations in advance back then even we have a car.

Now we're going back in May, low season I haven't book anything except the first night

For hotel check in, we often got our room available when arriving early "if" you have a room reservation. If you just come without reservation, then you have to wait till the check-in time.

Hotel give the priority to those have a room reservation, and if you are a "Genius" member of booking.com you also have the priority of early check in

Last edited by shavy (2-11-2018 4:44 AM)

 

#12 2-11-2018 5:45 AM

vulindlela
Jeremy
Indianapolis, Indiana
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Globetrotter
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

DrewJ wrote:

I know that for most of you, you have your trips planned out, but what about for those of you that kind of wing it (with a little bit of planning obviously). My trip could have been a lot better but I kind of ruined it by not booking my accommodations properly.

I've always used booking.com because they have the cheapest places such as hostels (besides AirBnB). The problem I have is that since I'm winging my trip, Most of them are usually booked, especially the ones close to the downtown areas. I know the answer is to plan my trip better but just wanted to get some of you guys input.

Do you just simply stay in the same place for the duration of your trip? or do you go to a different place every night or every other night? Do you book hostels with shared rooms or hotels with private rooms? Do you go to places with more flexible check in times? What about if you're visiting two or three neighboring cities, say about an hour or so apart by train or car? Do you still keep the same place or get a place in each different city?

Also, why are most check in times only after 3pm or around that time? I assumed it was for cleaning or something.

I came to Hokkaido Japan for the snow festivals that they have here, but I think that the main problem I had was that I came too early before most of them even began.

I travel like you do.
Since it is NRSA, and I often do not know where I will be going sometimes up to the day of travel, I will only book a refundable hotel or Airbnb.
I book whatever happens to be the lowest price.
Many times, I have not even booked until my arrival to a place, especially in the pre-internet days.
In over 25 years of NRSA travel, I have only had to sleep in the airport once, in GVA.

Like Francis said, unless you are going at a peak time, you can always find something.

 

#13 2-11-2018 6:49 AM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

I had to google NRSA.  We did that once 20 years ago, but Bob decided it was too stressful for him.  I also will not do MATs flights even though we are retired and no longer have to get back to a job.  He did one once to Okinawa and couldn't get back - he had to pay for a ticket from Japan to the US.

At one time, I would search for the cheapest accommodations.  I would compare prices and pick the Super 8 or the Motel 6 or whatever was the cheapest.  I also knew where the gas stations were that had the cheapest gas.  At one time I calculated the number of miles away that a gas station could be to make it cost effective to drive there for a one cent cheaper gas price using my car's average mpg.  (So I would not go if I used more gas to get to the station than I would save on the price) I no longer do that.  Years of frugality have given us enough of a cushion that we can afford to get a private room.  I try to get the least expensive accommodates where I will be comfortable.  If I'm on a road trip I will try to pick a place to stop which is less expensive - so a small town instead of a big city with high prices.  But sometimes the big city location is what I want/need.

 

#14 2-11-2018 7:45 AM

vulindlela
Jeremy
Indianapolis, Indiana
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

grandmar wrote:

I had to google NRSA.  We did that once 20 years ago, but Bob decided it was too stressful for him.  I also will not do MATs flights even though we are retired and no longer have to get back to a job.  He did one once to Okinawa and couldn't get back - he had to pay for a ticket from Japan to the US.

At one time, I would search for the cheapest accommodations.  I would compare prices and pick the Super 8 or the Motel 6 or whatever was the cheapest.  I also knew where the gas stations were that had the cheapest gas.  At one time I calculated the number of miles away that a gas station could be to make it cost effective to drive there for a one cent cheaper gas price using my car's average mpg.  (So I would not go if I used more gas to get to the station than I would save on the price) I no longer do that.  Years of frugality have given us enough of a cushion that we can afford to get a private room.  I try to get the least expensive accommodates where I will be comfortable.  If I'm on a road trip I will try to pick a place to stop which is less expensive - so a small town instead of a big city with high prices.  But sometimes the big city location is what I want/need.

Sorry.
So nobody else has to Google, it is Non-Revenue Stand-By.

 

#15 2-11-2018 10:07 AM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

I call it Non-Rev.  I did Non-Rev once to Spain with my 83 year old mother flying First Class and coming back they wanted us to wear high heels as appropriate dress for First Class.  Neither of us have worn heels for some years.  They did eventually let us go. (Occasionally we do SpaceA for condos which is similar but do cost something).

The tickets do cost someone a minor fee.  So when our daughter lists us as non-rev, she has to pay for the tickets.  (We reimburse her)

 

#16 2-13-2018 12:31 AM

DrewJ
Euless, Texas
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

Thanks a lot everyone, I appreciate the answers. Pretty much I don't travel during holidays or in the summer for the obvious reason of places being booked or it just being too crowded. The only exception to this is if I'm going to be somewhere for a short time, such as three days or less.

I think that after the experience of this trip I've found what I'm going to do from this point on.

These are for short term trips.

1.I will book maybe a week or two in advance. Regardless if I know where I will go exactly because at least then, I won't have my options limited from booking last minute.

2. I will also stay booked close to city centers since I don't want to waste time transporting around town to get to where I want to go. The only way I'll book further away is if I'm renting a car, however, even then trying to find parking and the cost of parking for famous or semi-famous touring spots would be too much of a hassle.

3. I will only book private rooms. I've never been too social and even if I try, staying in a hostel, most people are focused on where they're going. Also, no offense to others but often the hostel rooms smell pretty bad, people snore or are just loud.

4. If I'm visiting multiple cities in a week, if they are more than 30-45 minutes away and I don't have a car, I will simply make sure I've pre-booked in said city.

5. I will only rent a car if the public communication isn't practical enough or is more than an hour or two.

For longer trips like two weeks to a month, the only difference is that I will book at different places or rent an extended stay kind of place.

The trip I just came from taught me a lot. I need to travel smarter and try to do some form of pre-planning but also expect a few of those pre-plans to go awry.

Thanks a lot for all of your input. It was greatly appreciated.

 

#17 2-13-2018 6:28 AM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

Every trip I take, I learn something.  It is an ongoing process.  The last trip I made a reservation by phone and found that I had inadvertently booked through Booking.com and the reservation was unchangeable. (I'm still not sure how that happened)  I hadn't looked at the policy on changing the reservation because I assumed that it would be the same as most of the reservations I booked and also I thought I would get the points for the reservation.  Both assumptions were wrong  Fortunately the change I wanted to make was to add a day and not to leave early.

 

#18 2-13-2018 7:01 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

Sometimes a pre-planning trip is so much easy. My recent trip to Colombia in december went smoothly we're moving to a different places everyday, so I booked 12 different hotels....I book all the accommodation in advance, and booked hotels in the center as we're using puclic transport. There was some days that we arrive too early at 10 am and while check-in time is only at 3 pm we got our room without extra charged.

Sometimes booking.com has cheap last minute rooms, depends which cities you are in. But booking in advance is always better.

I mostly book our rooms 6 months in advance through booking.com, I always book cancelable rooms, and  three to two weeks before our trip, I check again all my bookings, I sometimes see that some of the rooms I booked is in promo. I cancel the room and re-booked, that's my tactic smile

Last edited by shavy (2-13-2018 2:48 PM)

 

#19 2-14-2018 7:29 AM

Dymphna
Lee Ann
Montana, United States
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Re: Booking Accomodations?

The one time I did not make reservations on a road trip. When we were trying to stop at 1am, there were no rooms. So it made me gun shy to do it that way.

 

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