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Do we need to book B&B's before we leave?

Do we need to book B&B's before we leave?

Old Jun 8th, 2006, 10:26 PM
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Do we need to book B&B's before we leave?

Good Evening (in Australia!) to all
My husband and I are going to hire cars in France and Italy and later in the UK and are planning to stay in B&B's most of the time. We are in France and Italy next April/May and UK late May to June. We are thinking of a week or so in an apartment in or near Florence as a base (any suggestions?) but then it would be nice to go where we like, as we please, but we are worried decent accomodation may be hard to find. Any thoughts and experiences on this would be much apprediated.
Thanks
Rosie
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 11:00 PM
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Hi Rosie,

It depends upon your requirements. Nicer B&B's and agriturismi need to be booked in advance. We book out over a year in advance during certain weeks in the high season. While travelling on the fly is fun, you will be taking accomodations as you find them, which can be spotty.

One idea would be to collect info on ALOT of at least 3star places on your route and have it with you during your trip. You can then try calling from the road, and may have some luck. This requires some up-front research, but will save you the headache of having to hit the tourism offices of small towns at the witching hour when you are tired and hungry.

Good luck!!
Diana
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 12:52 AM
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Your travel months are well before the peak travel season. Just wing it. Diana has a good idea. Make up your own accommodations directory before you go.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 10:06 PM
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Thanks. I think i'd prefer to book ...I wonder what happens if you cancel a day or 2 before or want to change the booking ...I guess we'll work it out as we go but I think we will book most.
Thanks again Rosie
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 12:45 AM
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Rosi -

Generally, B&B's are pretty small, sometimes only 2 or 3 rooms. A cancellation at the last minute usually costs them real money because they usually run close to 100% occupancy during the tourist season. If and when you make a reservation at a B&B, it's very important to ask what their cancellation policy is. Most B&B's have a pretty stiff penalty for cancelling close to the arrival date. If you're not 100% sure about your plans, perhaps you may want to consider an inn or a small hotel where cancellation policies are more lenient.

As for your first question, when we travel and want a nice place to stay (particularly a B&B), we always reserve in advance. On a trip of 10 days, I usually reserve most places in advance and leave a night free in the middle to allow some flexibility.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 03:32 AM
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Hi Rosie,

We have always done our bookings in advance, but then we have traveled as a family of three. I'm happy to commit to plans for where we will base on a trip and then be spontaneous about what we do/where we eat etc. on each day. I have never wanted to spend part of my trip figuring out where to stay, stopping at places to ask about availability, making phone calls etc. Plus I have visions of the family dynamics as the three of us try to agree on where to stay, whether a place looks good etc.

Driving up the interstate in the USA deciding between two chain hotels-- I'll take a chance on that. In Europe I want to stay in interesting, unique places.

About Florence... we rented an apartment there last May and were really really pleased. Check out this website: http://www.sleepinginflorence.com/ We rented one of the San Lorenzo apartments, a great location and very nice renovations. There are several apartments for 2/3 people. (We rented the Casini Apartment; see my review here: http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/vr/review.asp?n=1726.) Gianna is very flexible and there is no minimum on the number of nights, so you are not restricted to a Sat to Sat rental. The apartments are on a pedestrian street, 5 minutes to the Duomo, 5 minutes to the San Lorenzo street market. (But you must book in advance!!!)

Enjoy your planning.

Kathy
 
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