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Paris, London, Edinburgh and Dublin in September. Book hotels or wing it?


Jun 2nd, 2013, 10:41 PM
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Paris, London, Edinburgh and Dublin in September. Book hotels or wing it?

I am a Type A planner who would like to book my hotels now for my trip in September. My travel partner and bf of three years has spent more time there and would rather just figure it out once we're there. Should I push him to book now for my peace of mind? I know these are big cities with tons of lodging options so maybe I should just trust him and roll with it. I did read that Edinburgh is packed for festivals in August, but as far as I can tell we should be in a relatively off season (at least compared to summer) if we wait till September. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated.
celestee is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2013, 11:17 PM
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That would seem to make sense - but it doesn't. It is much easier to 'wing' it in the countryside. There are rural B&Bs in every region. To show up in London or Paris or Edinburgh w/o a place to stay means you could end up staying in a crappy place or paying way too much.

Many hotels give discounts for pre-booking/prepaying.

I generally book 2 - 3 months ahead - and often have to settle for my 3rd or 4th choice.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 12:05 AM
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Book the hotels.

I started booking the hotels for an Aug-Sept trip to Ireland and Scotland in January.

I ran into many that were already booked.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 12:43 AM
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Unless you enjoy spending time to find a hotel in every location, and possible ending up with a place you don't like, then book ahead.

September is not at all a quiet time in cities - everyone is back from holiday, and there will be more business travelers. It's easier to find a hotel in London in August.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 04:04 AM
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September is still high season for tourists plus a lot of congresses are scheduled starting then. If you wait to book you could end up with a place that is not what you want or have to really stretch your budget.

Naturally there will always be someplace to stay - and if you have a very generous budget - or are willing to give on location and amenities you have a better chance of finding something. But others are looking now for the best deals - which will be long gone by Sept.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 04:29 AM
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After too often wasting precious time looking for a room with our luggage and paying way too much for some we didn't even Ike we now always book way ahead. Sites such as booking.com often let you cancel the day before if you find something you like better.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 08:51 AM
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Ok, thank you all for the feedback! I think that you confirmed what I already suspected, but at least now I have a little backup from seasoned travelers to help convince my bf. If nothing else he should just let me book for my own excitement and peace of mind, right?!
celestee is offline  
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 09:10 AM
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The only time I choose to "wing it" is when I'm driving in the countryside and am not sure where I'll be and even then more off season than September will be. I like to like the place I stay and unless you're part of that "it's only a place to sleep" crowd (it sounds like you're not) then do book if only to avoid having to pay more because all the less expensive places are full. BF should understand that part.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 09:50 AM
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I was recently talked (Badgered) into booking a flight for my dearest to come back from France, having already been convinced to book the outward one way back in February, Total cost €300+ I kept protesting not to look until the end of May beginning of June but no.. Anyway the flights if booked now would be €123 return... Not much on your accommodation quandary just sympathy for your better half..

Anyway ,, Winging it the t2p way.

Book the 1st and last nights. Pin a Michelin map on an empty wall. Decide any must see places and pin them. work out some stepping stones(towns) on a rough route. get a list of 3 guest houses and 1 hotel for these potential places. email the hotels and ask if there are (1) any events or festivals locally on your possible dates. (2) if the hotel is doing any special offers on your possible dates. Talk to your host and ask in the local pub what's worth seeing. Phone ahead at breakfast for the evening accommodation. Only book one night at once, if the place is good or there's things to do and see within a 30mile radius book an extra night.

Tourist Information Bureau are great and will always find you a bed for the night. Provided there is one available and of course provided they are open! not much fun knocking on doors at 6pm.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 10:14 AM
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YOu are completely wrong that September is "off season", it is peak season. August would be off-season, at least for most places except Edinburgh. September isn't off season anywhere I know, certainly not major cities in Europe (or the US, for that matter). Maybe in Mexico or some beach resort it is sort of off-season. Most big cities have lots of business, they aren't just for tourists, and business is very slow in August, but September it starts up and there are tons of trade shows and other stuff, hotels are packed and hotel rates are high.

September is probably the busiest month in Paris, you could well have to spend hours finding a hotel if you don't have one booked and then who knows where you will end up, maybe the suburbs, you may even have trouble booking one now (at least the best ones).
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 10:16 AM
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The worst places I've ever booked were from tourist information offices. And the office is not allowed to advise you which are the bad (dirty) ones. These days many of the dire places are listed there because they don't have websites like the better places. If only for that reason doing your homework and booking ahead will save you from the dumps.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 10:27 AM
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Not to beat a dead horse or amything but I cannot think of a single reason to wait until you are there and "wing it". What will you do? Drag around the cities with your luggage and try to find something available that meets your needs and desires and budget? I have done that just once and won't ever do it again. We arrived in Lyons at 4:00 in the afternoon and spent the next 4 hours looking for a hotel. We ended up staying in a large room in a Hilton, neither charming nor budget-friendly.

Paris is very crowded in September. Like you, everyone would prefer to go then rather than summer.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 10:36 AM
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June and September are when people without children go on holiday so they can avoid the little darlings. So, not peak season for parents who are forced into school holidays, but peak season for the unencumbered.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 01:24 PM
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You will want to book B&Bs well in advance, especially if you want to be in a nice one. There are great UK B&B websites that you can find via basic Google search. You can do by country, county or town, each search will generally yield slightly different results.

Our schools in Bavaria are not in session until Sept 11, families will still be traveling in September.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 05:06 PM
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tony2phones 'system' works in the countryside. You are talking about London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. Booking only the first night in places like that could very well mean you are forced to move the 2nd night. Not a fun holiday.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 07:29 PM
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To add a different opinion from my own (perhaps unusual) perspective, I would rather get to know a smaller area more intensively and, more importantly the people there, than to bounce from city to city over a larger area, worrying about whether to make reservations in advance.

To this end, I like renting a home base (through a website such as airbnb.com) for the entire time (which gives you a better price) and then making day trips out from there, like on spokes of wheel. I recently returned to the U.S. from doing this in England for a month, and it worked oh so well.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 09:25 PM
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The question answers itself - ask the BF if he'd rather have to put up with you going postal about the lodging situation upon arrival in each city or if he'd prefer to have you relatively sedate because you're sure of decent lodgings aforehand.
BigRuss is offline  
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 10:25 PM
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As everyone says, book for September in Paris,, two or three months ago.. .lol ok too late. Well thing is, do you want to waste time lugging your stuff around, paying top $$ for a dump, or just finding a dump, cause I can tell you most of the good cheap hotels and even the good moderate hotels are booked up heavily already for September, possibility the busiest month for hotels in Paris.
If you post a budget ( inn euros ) people can give you some ideas of places to try.
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Jun 4th, 2013, 12:54 AM
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Try these hotel booking websites for the UK and Europe:


Prices will change as you get nearer to your dates, but they can go up as well as down.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 04:33 PM
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Thank you all for the advice! We just booked our flights for August 23 - September 8 so I'm starting the booking process now. I have my work cut out for me! Appreciative of your tips.
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