Booking hotels before flight? bad idea?

Old Oct 4th, 2003, 06:25 PM
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Booking hotels before flight? bad idea?

I am planning my and hubby's first trip to Italy and Paris for May 2004. Planning 4 nights Rome, 5 nights Florence w/ daytrip to Siena, 4 nights Venice, and then 6 nights Paris. I had looked into some of the popular budget options and kind of freaked out to see that some of them (Paris) are already booked up!!! So now, I've already sent inquiries and plan on booking ASAP. I am already pretty fixed on my dates unfortunately - need to go in May, want to avoid May 1 (holiday in Italy) but need to be back for a wedding on May 22...so our dates are basically set.

So, (finally!) here's my question - would it be foolish to book my hotels now, but continue to wait for prices to drop on my flight? From LAX to Rome, then Paris back to LAX - I'm getting $750 for the dates I want...but I'm hoping this will drop even more...Or should I just book it so I don't have to worry? I appreciate any advice/tips...thanks so much!
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 06:35 PM
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Well. I would book the hotels and ask what the cancellation policy is at each hotel...Once you know that, you can continue to search for a cheaper flight..You can always cancel your hotels as long as they are within the cancellation policy and therefore you can wait for a cheaper airfare. That is what I always do..It is a little early to book a flight. But it is up to you..Depends on how comfortable you feel with the $750.00 flight..Good luck.
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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Book the hotels now -- you can always cancel later. But the $750 from LAX sounds pretty darned good. I can't imagine it going much lower than that for the time period you're going and the multi-city stops. We're planning on a similar trip in late June. What airline did you price?
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 06:42 PM
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I don't think it stupid at all. as a matter of fact I'm doing the same thing for a trip to Rome I'm planning for March. I already have the hotel but I'm waiting for fares to go down. Most hotels cancellation periods are 1-3 days prior.
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 09:13 PM
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Agree. If you have a particular hotel in mind go ahead and book it now. Many people are already doing the same thing for next summer's vacation plans. Do check the cancellation policy but it's usually pretty fair. However, some hotels ask for a deposit upfront to hold a reservation that's made far in advance. A c/c # isn't enough, they want to charge the first night as a deposit.

If you find a lower airfare for different dates than the dates you booked your hotel for, I'm sure the hotel will give you priority and change the dates of your visit.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 01:48 AM
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Thanks everyone! I will just go ahead and try to book my hotels now.

Surfergirl - the airline is AA and the sales associate on the phone confirmed that on international travel, if the fare goes down and it applies to your ticket, you get a refund that goes onto your credit card - I decided to save myself the worry and just booked it! YAY!
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 03:37 AM
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surfergirl, it sounds like WendyWhy is simply flying an open jaw round trip. To visit both Paris and then Rome on the same ticket, then I would look for a fare between home and Rome that goes via Paris (might be only Air France) and see if the fare rules allow a stopover. I doubt that Alitalia would take us to Paris via Rome, but it might be worth checking. I'd start by using the multiple destinations feature at travelocity.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 04:10 AM
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The air fare for May sounds pretty good to me also. And the hotels may not truly be booked--they may not be taking reservations this far in advance.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 07:13 AM
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I think that air fare is very good and wouldn't think it could be much lower. But I don't see anything wrong with booking a hotel you particularly want now, anyway, if your dates are pretty set, anyway.

I agree with Gretchen that I find it hard to believe that many Parisian hotels are completely booked 9 months ahead of time, popular or not. It sounds like the hotel didn't tell you that, but some online booking site -- frequently those sites show no vacancies this far ahead or won't let you book, I think, especially if they aren't the hotel's own web site.
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