off season, should I reserve hotel?

Apr 19th, 2002, 12:09 PM
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off season, should I reserve hotel?

I'm goin to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini during the first 2 weeks of May. Do you think I should reserve? I'm travelling alone.
Apr 19th, 2002, 01:22 PM
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No, I wouldn't reserve. Was in all the same places first week in june and didn't make any reservations, and bargained to get some really good deals on the islands. The touts will all be at the port on the islands, just make sure you see the room before you agree on anything. Have fun!
Apr 19th, 2002, 03:25 PM
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I'm Greek and if I were in your shoes I would reserve. Kelly is correct in her assesment but she misses two points a)there is a huge difference between May and June. In May not all the hotels are open for business since its the very beginning of the tourist season, so choices are somehow narrowed and b) this year Greek easter period falls within the first two weeks of May. (April 27 -May 12). Traditionally it's a chance for getaways for Greeks. Popular places such as Mykonos and Santorini will be relatively crowded. the wise thing to do therefore would be to book in advance.
Apr 19th, 2002, 03:51 PM
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I tend to be pretty picky about the places I stay, so I wouldn't normally consider anything but prebooking. But I do have a couple of questions of how it works if you don't prebook. To Kelly or anyone else who does this:
Let's say I arrive at the port or airport in Mykonos. I bargain with one of the people there and come up with a price for a hotel that sounds pretty good. What happens now? Do I take a taxi there or does this guy take me there? In either case once I get there with my luggage and in the event I find out the place is a dump, now what do I do? Do I have to pay this guy who took me there if he did -- certainly I've paid the taxi driver and he has left if that is the case. Now I still need to find a place. Do I get another taxi to go back to the port and start talking with other touts and repeat this process? Or do I wander the streets with my luggage assuming the first place is in an area of suitable hotels? If I go to three or four places before I find one I like, how much time has that likely taken? And how much money might I have spent on taxis or "tipping" these guys who have taken me to their hotel and then had to do the embarrassing deal of telling them I really don't like their place while they insist that it is wonderful. In fact how amiable are these people if you have told them that you just don't like their place or that it isn't what you were looking for? Are they likely to be nasty because you've taken their time or possibly taken them away from their position at the port?

I guess I always have the underlying feeling that any really great place that might also be a bargain is likely to be fully booked when I get there, so I am only offered the places that don't get prebooked -- and it seems there must be a reason for that.

This just isn't a situation that I would enjoy, but to those who do, how do you cope with all this? Or are really not very picky about the place you end up staying? I realize that some travelers really don't care much about their hotel so long as it is clean and I understand that. But do more "picky" travlers do this non-booking thing successfully as well?
Apr 19th, 2002, 03:59 PM
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Another plus in reserving ahead is that you won't waste time on arrival scouting accommodations. Much more relaxing to simply check in and explore your surroundings than pound the pavement in search of a 'room at the inn'!
Apr 19th, 2002, 04:20 PM
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My husband and I one year felt adventurous and traveled for three weeks in Europe with no reservations. We seemed to arrive in every city during some unknown festival or conference and everything was booked. Or we'd arrive in a town in the middle of the afternoon and spend the rest of the day either in the tourist office trying to book a room, or wandering around looking for a place to stay. Never again will I travel without reservations! And I don't really consider myself that picky about where I stay, Patrick, so I can't imagine how difficult it would be for someone who is.
Apr 20th, 2002, 02:17 AM
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You bring up some good points, I can try and address some of them.

First of all, I am not at all very picky about a hotel. What I do require is that it is safe, clean, and in a good location. I have traveled all over Europe (and North Africa), almost always without reservations (even in Venice), and have only cursed myself a couple times for not doing so, but always ended up with something suitable. For me, when I am traveling to several different places on the same trip, I really value the flexibility I have this way. With that said, I do quite a bit of research ahead of time to get an idea of the area I want to stay in, and probably a list of possible hotels and prices.

As for your specific questions about arriving in a greek port, what usually happens is that you take a look at photos, location of hotel, discuss the price etc with the touts. One pension I took in Mykonos was even better than the photos, and we were told we would be given transportation to and back to the port if we didn't want to stay. Fortunately we really liked the place and didn't have to find out if what she said was true (about bringing us back) but I believe in this case she meant it. In other places I have been there were usually enough hotels to choose from in a close area to walk to and check out, and I don't carry much luggage. I have never had things get ugly when I politely tell a hotel I am going to look around a bit more, usually either giving no reason, or that it is a little over my budget.

I think everyone makes good points about booking ahead, I guess it really depends on the person. Another reason I did not book ahead in Greece is that it was almost impossible to find out the ferry schedules ahead of time. Even if we were on one island, say Samos, we could only find out the schedules from there, not between Mykonos and Santorini for example. In the offseason, some routes are not on a daily schedule either, and there are also cancelations at times due to weather etc (but I guess that can happen anytime).

So anyways, I guess this system works really well for me, but I can see that it wouldn't work for everyone. Have a great trip!


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