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Budget Hostels - Spain/Italy: Reservations how far in advance?

Budget Hostels - Spain/Italy: Reservations how far in advance?

May 24th, 2007, 06:28 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 37
Budget Hostels - Spain/Italy: Reservations how far in advance?

Hi,

Any backpackers familiar with Spain and Italy in the summer? I need your help!

I'll be travelling to Spain and Italy this summer. In July, I'm hitting up Palma, Valencia, Grenada, Tarifa, Seville, Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona. Then flying at beginning of August to Florence, Rome, Tropea, Taormina, and Palermo.

I'm a student and I'm travelling alone so I prefer to stay at budget hostels - cheap and easy to meet other travellers. My question is: how far in advance do I need to book? I know it's high season, but I'm not a big fan of planning out in advance how many days to spend in each place - it would be great to have the flexibility to stay as long as I'm enjoying the place, then leave when I want to move on. But if I do this, will all places be booked up, leaving me no place to stay in the next city?

I'm not sure if I should just sit down and make all my reservations now, just to be safe. I know there are websites like hostelworld.com that i can use.

Thanks very much in advance for any advice from backpackers who have been to these places!!

Jasmine
jasminedew19 is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,873
Let's Go Europe or even better Let's Go Spain and Let's Go Italy will be invaluable to answering these types of questions - unparalleled coverage of hostels and budget accommodations.

If traveling that much by rail in those two countries consider the brand-new Italy-Spain railpass, good in both countries of course - if under 26 the youth pass will no doubt save you big bucks - cheaper than any Eurail Youthpass but exact same benefits in the countries covered (details: www.ricksteves.com - also good info for budget travelers and from BETS www.budgeteuropetravel.com; 800-441-2387 - i always recommend for passes and where to request the excellent European Planning & Rail guide they put out - great primer on rail travel in those two countries. And you may find better hostel info at Lonely Planet web site as many Fodorites like me are rather long in the tooth.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 05:13 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 10
In summertime in places like Italy and Spain it is always better to book, although July is not as busy as August and hostels often have a bunk bed available even if you do not book.
For hostels in Sicily see http://www.investsicily.com/stay.htm#Hostels
Valeria is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 06:52 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 677
Look - I can only talk about Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona. But at least I can address the question.

I go for something a notch above backpacker - single room with or without bath (not bothered). I can tell you that I just pitched up early July in Madrid and found somewhere. I can tell you that I just pitched up in Valencia and was in serious strife because I happened to arrive the evening of the Tomatina Festival (late August) and everywhere was full. I paid a fortune that night for a place way outside my usual horizons (hey - it was nice but the cost hurt). Next day I got a glorious room for 19 euros.

Barcelona I did book ahead.

If you are set on a hostel I probably would book in advance (a week or two should be enough for a dorm) but only to save you time. I doubt you will be bedless if you just arrive but you may have to tramp the streets.

Check out the Thorn Tree for up to date info.

www.lonelyplanet.com

Happy travels.
chimani is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 12:11 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14
I went to Italy last summer-end of August/beginning of September. I booked most of my hostels and hotels around this time and had my 'pick of the litter'.
Rachopickle is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14
Sorry about the two replies-called away from my desk...

There were still a ton of places available in Florence. From what I gathered from others I met along the way, most just found accomodation once they were there.

Rome-I'm glad I booked ahead. I ended up in a terrible hostel but at least it was in a safe neighborhood. I'm a single woman who travels alone, and felt reasonably safe near the train station, although I don't think I would've late at night. It sounded like it was harder to find a cheap place in Rome at the last minute.

Palermo had fewer budget accomodations, but it seemed to me that most were along the same strip. I arrived at the train station but the tourist information booth was closed (and would be for the next few hours). I followed another backpacker I met and found a great place-there's a whole row, I wouldn't worry.

It was really easy to make reservations and then cancel them if i had to in advance. It was worth the payoff of being on a more-set schedule and knowing I had a good, safe, cheap place to stay at night.
Rachopickle is offline  

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