Hotels still booked solid?

Old Sep 9th, 2005, 04:11 AM
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Hotels still booked solid?

Hi all. My family and I are taking an impromptu trip from home (southern NL) to go visit relatives in Lucerne. We have lived here since last winter but don't own a car so this is our first road trip! Very excited. Anyway, we were thinking of stopping in Germany for a few days along the Mosel, see Burg Eltz, Cochem and Trier, etc. Sounds lovely, but touristy....

We travelled in Italy in August one year without ever booking a hotel ahead and always found decent lodgings, but these days we have a toddler along so maybe the carefree days are over. What d'you think? We are leaving tomorrow or Sunday (Sept 10 or 11). Should we try to book something or just wing it? I'd LIKE to wing it, I've always preferred that, but I also don't want to drive the whole valley looking for lodgings late at night with a tired, grumpy 2 year old along. What are our chances of finding something without too much trouble?

We rented a station wagon, so I guess if all else fails...

Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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I'm not sure why you say you prefer to "wing it" if you don't like spending all evening looking for a place to stay. Have you done any planning or reading up on the area? It seems with a little bit of study, you'd be able to figure out where you'll want to stay and then you can easily book it. I guess I don't get the idea of going to an area with no knowledge of what's there and no pre-conceived idea of the towns you'd probably want to stay in. If you can book places that let you cancel up till that day, all the better. If you really make a mistake and get to a town you thought you'd like, but you hate it for some reason, then you can call ahead and book another place and cancel out that one.

Personally I find the advance planning half the fun of the trip. But then I like certain types of places to stay, and am not content with just finding a bed and a roof.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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I wouldn't ever "wing it" with a toddler. There's still a lot of tourists roaming around Europe in September, and who wants to spend even an hour or two of vacation time checking out hotel rooms to find a decent place to spend the night? That's time better spent enjoying the trip.

However, if you're leaving tomorrow (you say tomorrow or Sunday - how is it that you don't know exactly when you're leaving?), you have only minimal time to plan. I would at the very least book the first night's stay. An all-night flight followed by driving in a new country followed by trying to find a decent hotel is not my idea of a vacation.

And what does the title of your post mean? Have you tried to find hotels and found them all booked solid?

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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 04:48 AM
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I've never HAD to spend a whole evening looking for a place to stay when I was winging it - I'm just wondering if that's going to be the case NOW. I do know which towns I'd like to see, but which I would like to stay in, or which hotel... I'd rather see them first, kwim? I'm not picky. Clean, comfy, with en suite, that's about it.

And heck, I suppose booking today as opposed to showing up tomorrow might not prove too different when it comes to finding a place anyway.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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Don't know when because my husband has a seminar north of here (as I said, we live in the NL, just across the border from Aachen) tomorrow afternoon. Haven't decided whether to go from there or just stop at home for the night and head out early on Sunday. No flight, won't be particularly tired and certainly not jetlagged!

My title meant, "I know hotels in touristy places are usually booked solid in summer... will they still be now?"
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 05:27 AM
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I know there are no "rules" ultimately about European travel despite what some anal retentive types here would have us believe. However, here's one that just MIGHT hold true regardless:

the places you WANT to stay when you are "winging it" will inevitably be booked up; the places that are "perfectly fine" (which also sometimes means absolutely dreadful otherwise) and where you wouldn't otherwise stay will have space.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Jenner, I think you could "wing it". Just don't wait until too late in the day. The older folks (in spirit if not actually) who inhabit this board are rather an unadventurous lot and sometimes in their rush to answer don't always read the question in its entirety.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 05:36 AM
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I may be one of jsmith's "older folks," but I'm young enough to know that I wouldn't consider winging it with a 2-year-old in tow!
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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If you are travelling in Germany, make use of tourist offices. They will normally find accommodation for you in a few minutes. September is after the main holiday season in all European countries.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 05:45 AM
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I read the question in its entirety, thank you. It made me recall vividly the late afternoon that evolved into the wee hours of the morning when we were driving in September through Belgium with a toddler who had a cold and was grumpy and could not find a single place to spend the night - until 3 am. And the night spent in the basement of a hotel in Lattes two years ago in September, with spiders and crickets and cobwebs and bicycle tire tracks on the bedspreads. Maybe I'm just unlucky when I wing it.

But Jenner seems bound and determined to wing it anyway. Sometimes I wonder why people come here and ask for advice when it seems they're already committed to doing things their way.

Good luck, Jenner!
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Jenner: "an impromptu trip from home (southern NL)"

StCirq: "(After) An all-night flight"

StCirq: "I read the question in its entirety, thank you."

Oh, really.

Jenner, good advice from GoeffHamer but I assumed you already were planning to use that resource.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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Thanks guys, the booking service thing had slipped my mind. Been such a long time since I travelled in Europe, and last time we did book in advance (Christmas in Prague, we were living in the tropics and knew winter would be a shock, we didn't have a rental car, daughter was just a baby...).

I did say, StCirq, that I prefer to not book ahead... but I'm not bound and determined, which is why I asked in the first place. And I think I may just go ahead and book something when my husband comes home and can help me decide. I've now looked around online and it isn't completely booked up in Cochem, but just may be by the time we arrive.

Don't worry. If it got as bad as all that we could just drive home. It's less than two hours away. But since you so carefully read the posts I guess you realized that.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 08:13 AM
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Jenner, sarcasm is not the best approach to use when seeking advice from others!
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 08:24 AM
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We're traveling in Germany in September and several of the hotels we checked were still booked solid. Guess it depends on what you mean by "decent." If you just want a clean room and an unleaking roof over your head, then you can probably find something last minute most places. But the nicest places (at all price levels) tend to be booked in advance.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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I think Jenner's decision was made before she posted and just hoped for confirmation of what she wanted to do.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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I'm trying to book recommended hotels in Alsace for October and so far no luck - all full.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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I am from Brazil and i am going to Germany (Seefeld in Tirol and Berchtesgaden) and Austria (Salzkammergut, Zell am See, Mayrhofen and Hall in Tirol)next October for 2 weeks. As Jenner, i will have a rental car and i am not booking ahead. Some of her doubts and her ansiety are the same to me. I think that travelling without booking give much freedom and good surprises that surpasses(?) the risks.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Yes, there's a lot to say for freedom and surprises, but are you traveling with a 2-year-old? Surprises like "no room at the inn anywhere for miles" somehow just aren't all that pleasant when you've got a 2-year-old in tow.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Luisf: Warning! We've got school holidays the first two weeks in October. Lots of people are heading in the same direction you will be. It's a great place for hiking!

Why don't you contact the tourist office in your desired destination now and see what the hotel situation will be like in October.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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We are traveling Sept 19th to Germany for 14 days. We have reservations for the first 2 nights then on the road we go in a rental van and will wing it the rest of the trip other than the night before we fly home which we reseved rooms near the airport. (3 couples) I sure hope we can find motel type rooms along the highways as we were to believed existed. A bed and a shower is all that is necessary as we will spend most of our time driving and site seeing. I love winging it. The freedom makes a trip an adventure.

By the way, thanks to all of you who have guided me to reserve the rooms we have. We were able to grab an internet special in Garmisch, the Dorint Resort and Spa for $68 euros per night including breakfast!
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