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To book or not to book?That is the question

To book or not to book?That is the question

Old Dec 9th, 2005, 06:35 AM
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To book or not to book?That is the question

A lot of my friends who've been to SE Asia (Thailand, Bali, etc.) have said that I don't need to worry about booking all my acommodation: that I should book one night in any new place but then I'll be able to find accommodation while I'm there.

How true is that? I guess one advantage is that I'd be able to 'see' places rather than try to guess their quality by the internet, but at the same time, I'm able to find a lot of travel reviews and recommendations. that are helping to make my choices. I'd be worried about availability in some areas, like Phi Phi. Our trip is in January.
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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I always book ahead for two reasons: 1) I don't want to waste time trying to find a place and 2) I want to make sure I get in the place I want.
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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I am with Gloria, surely if you are on holiday you don't want to be worring where you next bed will be. Also i am very particular about places i stay and would be very dissapointed if i couldnt get in the place i wanted.

Why not do the leg work before and then you are free to enjoy your holiday un interupted....
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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January is high season, so booking ahead will be a good idea.
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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Spending time finding out information of what is available provides you with a great deal of knowledge in advance, arriving at some place you might think is nice could actually be terrible.
The logistics also of say arriving on a flight at an airport without accommodation, you end up either being at the mercy of cab drivers or arriving in a resort area with your baggage and then go about going up and down streets, you certainly could not check out 20 or 30 places.
Booking one night in low season is ok, that makes sense, but if you are looking at January then it's a different matter, most accommodation would already be full so you are now unfortunately only going to be able to get what is remaining, so I would not waste a second, you need to book confirmed rooms and do it as fast as you can, and be prepared for not being able to find anything, the later in January the easier but I can't stress enough the need to book this weekend if you can, try www.beachsiam.com. Remember that the later in January the easier to find accommodation, but Phi Phi is highly popular and there is not as much accommodation available as before.
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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i'm with everyone above...book ahead and spend your time on vacation, not planning your vacation....

lots depends on where you will be visiting as well....a small town with plenty of hotel rooms probably would not be a problem, and bkk would not be a problem, but you will waste so much time doing it....there are hotel counters in many airports but you might arrive when they were not open...makes not sense to me to not book in advance...
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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The only time I would say "don't book ahead" is if you are planning on staying in the least expensive type of place...backpacker places/fan/shared bath sorts of places. These places are typically not online, and therefore can't be booked ahead other than by phone, maybe.

If backpacking is NOT your style, then I'd book, absolutely. While it is true that some places might look great in pictures and turn out terrible, if you do your homework, communicate with the places directly to get a good feel for their attitude, check reviews...ask here.

One other thing, if you are uncomfortable booking and paying for an entire stay, it may be better for you to book directly with the hotels rather than use a booking site where you have to prepay in full. Direct booking generally required a credit card guarantee only rather than prepayment, so if it turns out you don't like the place, you aren't out any money. If you want to use a booking site, sawadee.com offers cancellation insurance for 500 baht per reservation that may well be worthwhile.
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Old Dec 9th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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AsiaNewbie, It IS difficult to choose a resort off the internet, even with expert advice. You just never know until you're there. I've certainly had my share of carefully researched disappointments. We have a family tradition of changing rooms, changing resorts (once we even changed islands in Hawaii) so I'm of the school that says hey it's your vacation; if it's not right move on!

Usually the cancellation policy covers just one night. So, you can reserve for your whole stay, but not be financially liable if you bail out after the first night. Of course, this policy is variable, especially at pricy resorts during the high season, so be sure to check the individual rules.

The first three weeks of January in Bali will be very quiet. My guess is that you could find a room just about anywhere, at any price. Lunar New Year is the last week of January and many people will be traveling all over Asia so that period will not be so flexible.
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