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Hotel reservations ahead of time in June?

Hotel reservations ahead of time in June?

Old Mar 5th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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Hotel reservations ahead of time in June?

I'm traveling to Europe in June and I've heard mixed opinions about whether or not to book our hotel rooms in advance. Some people like the flexibility of being able to stay longer or shorter in certain towns, but I'm a bit worried about being somewhere without a place to stay. We're traveling to London, Amsterdam, Munich, and Berlin. We're thinking of booking rooms for the first couple days and last couple days of the trip. Is it insane to go over there without hotel reservations at the start of the high season? Should we at least book Amsterdam?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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You will always be able to find a place to stay. The reasons to book ahead are so as not to waste valuable vacation time looking for a room, getting some control over the cost you will be paying as well as over the quality and location. If you have lots of time and money and/or are little concerned about type of accommodation, by all means wait til you get there. When I was young, I would always do that; now, more often than not, I book in advance. But, on occasion, I am still willing to go into the local tourist information office and let them find a room for me. And it has always turned out ok.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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I do understand this is not for everybody, but believe it or not, with the exception of business travel, I don't make reservations for any hotels. I stopped doing it few years ago, after exchanging stories with travelers in Europe, Asia, and in the Americas. I travel extensively to the places mentioned above. My method is to research the hotels that I prefer, even get their best prices either directly or through some internet site for comparison reasons, and with that information hit the road. In most cases I stay at 4* hotels. I will have a back up of few 3* just in case, as well as some 5*. In the last three years I only had to go to my second choice 2 times out of about 15 tries. And just so you know, I'm talking London, Paris, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, etc..etc...in the high season. The kicker is that I'm ALWAYS able to negotiate a walk-in rate, which ranges anywhere from 10 to 50% lower then what I was able to find anywhere on the internet.
The one time I was 'literally' screwed, believe it or not was Vegas. None of the Strip hotels had any rooms, so for the first 2 nights I was forced to take a room at one of the motels down the road. That time it did take few hours to finally understand my situation and deal with it. To be honest that sucked, but that was the only time I was actually mad at myself for not having a reservation.
Whatever you decide, have a great trip!!
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 09:51 AM
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Well, the high season in Europe is really July, and August. I don't think you will have any problems finding rooms in any of those cities, but booking the first and last two days seems a good idea anyway. You don't say how you plan to travel between the cities, but if you are flexible on transportation, it makes sense to be flexible on accommodation as well.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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Well - I always make advance reservations for 1) self catering cottages or flats because you just usually have to; and 2) hotels in major cities (London, Paris, Rome, etc.) because I usually know excatly what neighborhood I want.

I usually do not make advance bookings in smaller towns and villages because I like the flexibility to go where/when I want.

But June is not really high season in Europe. Most European kids do not get out of school until mid July. high season is more like mid July til mid September. So you can easily get by not booking ahead - but be prepared for "pot luck".
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 10:49 AM
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Ron said it well. Booking in advance does give you control over location, quality and price, plus saving time. The first time we went to Europe (Sept 1984) doing independent travel we did not make reservations. As a result, we wasted time finding places, shared rooms with the other couple, had to relocate within a city after 2 nights, ended up in locations we did not want with certain conveniences missing. We ran into conventions, festivals, etc. As a result, for our 1997, 1999 and upcoming 2003 trip we make reservations. We usually drive so we find out about parking in advance, how to get there, utilize them for making dinner reservations, etc.
We generally stay at 3*, and small pub hotels etc. By the way, the first place I tried to book in January for this Sept, was already full.
We have been in our choice locations when they had many walk ins they turned away.
So to make life easier, we reserve.
have a great trip, Mary Ann
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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In the spontaneity vs planning debate, I think it just depends on how you would feel about the worst case scenario. If you could handle possibly spending some time in a line at the tourist office looking for a hotel when you arrive,if you can handle possibly ending up at a hotel that is in a bad location, or that is too expensive, or that doesn't have the type of facilties you want,then go for it. Some people are flexible with difficulties, others want to assure themselves of where they want to stay and be flexible on what they're having for dinner.

I'm not saying those bad things are bound to happen, just that they could. Many travelers can provide their own horror story (even with pre-booking) or relate a scenario in which they were very lucky and ended up in a 4 star hotel for 100 euro at the last minute.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 12:02 PM
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I always book rooms but I have zero (even negative) interest in spending a minute of my time looking for hotel rooms during my vacation time, and having to take hotels I don't know much about. I didn't always, and truly never enjoyed the experience and never had very good hotels when getting them at the last minute from tourist offices. I have also wasted hours loooking for the place.

I just don't see the point to not booking, if you can research and find hotels in advance and book them, why not? I don't really have any interest in staying longer or shorter in certain places, though, I usually have an itinerary I have decided on for good reason and like to stick to it.

I think it really is true that you will probably find someplace to stay, so you have to decide on this a bit. I don't think July is high season in some cities, although it is in more resort areas.

So who knows, it's certainly not insane, and I don't know those cities that well for availability (Germany not at all). I think Amsterdam often gets booked up.

One thing I've always wondered about when I read of people who want to go without reservations -- they often talk about having one first night and last night but no other time. I don't get that at all. First night I can see, you have a place to go (although immediately looking for another hotel and moving within one day sounds awful to me), but why a reservation for the last night? That doesn't make much sense to me as you should have plenty of time to find one at that point and aren't going to want to move hotels for one night at the end of the trip, are you? YOu are going to have to have hotels for your trip somehow, so what's the deal with the last night reservation?
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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I'm a big believer in totally booking everything. I can't stand the idea of spending valuable time looking for a place to stay, and I'm a little too particular to just be content with any roof over my head.
I guess I feel if you've planned properly you should have a pretty good idea of how long you want to be in each place. And mostly I book hotels where I can cancel at the last minute, meaning if I really want to move on, I can cancel my last night and call ahead to the place I've booked in the next town and see if I can come a day early. So the idea of "lacking spontaniety" really doesn't apply. But in all my travels, I've only done that one time. Otherwise my planning has been successful enough that I felt the planned days was just right and I was ready to move on anyway.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 09:16 PM
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Booking now for June is not early. I am a believer in advance reservations to be sure you have the hotel you want. A couple of people have posted recently that their choice of hotels are booked already and I believe it's in June also.
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 03:19 AM
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I would ESPECIALLY suggest advance reservations in Amsterdam, where your choices could become sub-standard, expensive or inconvenient if you don't have your hotel lined up ahead of time.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for the replies. My first choices in Amsterdam and Berlin were booked, so I went ahead and booked the Hotel Washington in Amsterdam and I'm still looking in Berlin. I don't want to get to either of these cities and have to worry about finding a room.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 08:07 AM
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We usually book all of our hotels in advance, to save on time trying to track down a hotel with availability. I recently spent about 2 weeks trying to find a hotel for Rome. All hotels I checked (2 months in advance) were booked full for the days we are planning to be there in early May.

I would recommend booking a hotel in Amsterdam. It seems that the hotels in AMS seem to fill up quickly. On our last trip to AMS, we did not have reservations and every hotel in the city and surrounding area was booked. There was a Christian Conference in Amsterdam at the time. We finally got a room through the TI, but in Denn Hagg. It was a Holiday Inn Crown Plaza, although it was a 5* hotel (and very comfortable), I was disappointed to be in a 'Holiday Inn' and wanted to stay at a quaint 'Dutch' Inn. Also, we had to take a tram from the hotel to the train station and take a commuter train to AMS.

I vote for planning ahead, especially when visiting major cities. When in the countryside, I think you can wing it and just go on to the next town if you can't find anything.
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