Question re July travel - France/Germany

Old May 15th, 2002, 06:07 AM
Susan Austin
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Question re July travel - France/Germany

My husband and I will be taking our first trip to Europe in July. We have a place to stay in Amsterdam, but will be renting a car and driving around northern France - Brittany, etc. My question is whether we would need reservations in order to find hotels/motels in the smaller towns in that region. We would prefer to just be spontaneous and stay where the mood strikes us, but hate to be shut out and know the summer is a busy travel time! Any thoughts appreciated. We actually have the same question about Black Forest and Munich area of Germany.
Thanks in advance,
Old May 15th, 2002, 06:19 AM
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If you aren't fussy and just want a bed to rest your weary bones, you can take your chances and stay at places encountered on the road. Could be a "zimmer frei" room in smoeone's house, could be a motel on the highway. Go for it!
Old May 15th, 2002, 07:07 AM
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The problem with wanting to be spontaneous is that it so often backfires and you end up spending 4 hours in a hot car with grouchy, hungry passengers knocking on hotel and B&B doors and being told to try "down the road." I understand the urge to freewheel it, and have done it a number of times, but be aware of the pitfalls. Two suggestions: don't start looking for a place to stay much later than 4 pm; carry a comprehensive hotel/B&B book with you (in France I usually have a couple in the car, the Guide du Routard and a Michelin Red or Alistair Sawday or the Fodor's B&B book), and call ahead around mid-day to a place that looks/sounds good in the guidebooks. You can always cancel if you secure something better later (this presumes you're not calling ahead to major hotels). Also, be very aware of the big events that may be happening where you're traveling. Heading for a town where the entire Tour de France is spending the night, for example, is going to seriously challenge your spontaneity.
Old May 15th, 2002, 07:15 AM
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I would have to agree with St Cirq; it is always a risk to travel with no reservations, especially when some cities are busy with celebrations. But if you have decided this is something to try (and I think you should try it at least once to see if you like it) then be sure to start looking for a place that is perhaps not precisely in your desired destination city or area, but is close enough for an easy drive. Especially for the larger cities, you can avoid problems even during busy times if you look outside the city.
Old May 15th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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I would also agree with StCirq. The days of "happy go lucky" travel in Europe's country side are long gone. The good quality/price values are booked months in advance. You'll be wasting several hours a day looking for places to stay.
Old May 15th, 2002, 07:47 AM
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Agree also! You can be spontaneous within a framework of reservations if you stay in one place for a few days and do "spontaneous" daytrips from there. It's always a relief to know in advance where your bones will be spending the night, and it'll save you lots of aggravation.

If you decide against this advice anyway, a guidebook might be helpful, but remember that lots of others will have that guidebook and will be using it to find their spontaneous overnights as well. I suggest you compile a list of places in your price range in advance from the official town websites for places you know you'll be visiting. This will give you a far greater range of options for the places you'll actually be than the one or two listings you'll find in a given guidebook for the same towns.

Old May 15th, 2002, 07:56 AM
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I highly suggest making still can be spontaneous during your day time travels.
We were there last summer and most decent places were full.
And, unless you speak the language well I wouldn't want to be hot, tired and hungry and not able to communicate w/ the inn keeper. Especailly in the country many do not speak English as they do in the larger cities.
Have Fun.....
We stayed in Tititsee and Triberg,very beautiful area of germany
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