To book or not to book?

Old Jan 26th, 2023, 02:31 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To book or not to book?

We plan to drive from the UK to Italy at the end of August (which we have done before) via Switzerland and the Gottardo Pass stopping two or three nights on the way. My husband wants to travel without pre booking our accommodation as he feels this will give us more flexibility. He says we would book each morning that eveningís hotel based on weather and traffic reports.
I am dubious as I think that at that time of year most reasonable accommodation will already be taken and our choice will be very limited. He feels that as it is just the two of us we would be able to find somewhere without too much trouble. So I am hoping that someone with recent experience of travelling like this or of the area can offer some advice as to how difficult this may be.

spiral is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2023, 05:11 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 216
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spent 13 nights in Italy in July 2017. I traveled solo and stayed in 3 hostels. But I booked my spaces in the hostels in advance. I have taken 5 solo trips to Europe. I always booked my hotels or hostels in advance. I wouldn't be able to put up the uncertainty of not knowing where i was going to stay if I didn't have advance reservations. But in Athens, Greece, I actually had to frantically find a place to sleep at the last minute. I thought I had a reservation at a hostel, but the guy at the desk said he canceled my reservation because he couldn't get my credit card to work. I remember that before my trip I got a phone call from somebody asking whether I had charged almost $400 worth of stuff from Nike to my credit card. The answer was definitely no. I got a new credit card in the mail but I forgot to update my credit card information on booking.com, the site i had made my hostel reservation on.
michaelpianko is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2023, 04:11 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,053
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
We live in Lancashire and have driven down to Positano on a couple of occasions. We did not book any accommodation in advance other than the first night, on either trip and had little problem with finding decent hotels along the way. Our preferred route was via Dover and stayed in the Holiday Inn, then ferry to Calais and drove to Reims, overnight again in a Holiday Inn.

From Reims we drove a long day down to Geneva and stayed in a nice hotel overlooking the Lake, then Milan. From there a couple of nights in Florence and a drive down to Mondragone overnight and on to Ercolano. Then the comparatively short drive to Positano for a week.

We returned via a couple of nights in Rome, Pisa, Lyon and the Beaujolais region of France, Reims again and Calais. Back via Hampton Court, Ludlow and then home. The whole thing took just under 4 weeks and we loved every minute.

On other trips we stopped at some of the places we missed previously. We did find that we could could haggle for room prices and saved quite a bit of cash.
Rubicund is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2023, 05:14 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks both for your replies.
Rubicund, have you done this in the last couple of years? And at what time of the year? I would love to take 4 weeks but we will only have 2 to 2.5 weeks for the entire trip including the 4 nights with family just south of Rome.
We used to go on spec back about 15 to 20 years ago when the kids were little and we were heading down to the Landes region of France and had no problems even though it was high season. I am mostly concerned that the last week of August will be very busy and that things may have become more difficult post pandemic.
spiral is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2023, 09:14 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 18,108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't think you'll have much of a problem provided you are not too fussy. Look off the motorways a few miles and you'll find places with rooms. They may not be fancy places with grand views but you will find hotels with rooms and often with a restaurant. There are always the chain hotels/motels as well as ones like Logis independents.
It's not as easy as it used to be when you could wing it and just find somewhere when you were ready, but you should be able to find places by searching and booking on the day.
Google Maps can show hotels along your route, and you can maybe look already to get a feel of what there is out there.
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2023, 11:59 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Hetismij2. That is reassuring.
However I think we might compromise. We will probably book in advance on our way to Italy but then “wing it” on our way home. That way my fears about the season will be allayed and my husband gets the flexibility he would like. I will also have a look each morning as we drive out to see what situation is so as to get a feel for future journeys.
spiral is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 02:07 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,053
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
spiral, we last did the trip a year before the pandemic without problems. I'm not sure how much difference the pandemic has made, but we've made several trips into France and Spain and never booked other than the first night. It's part of the adventure!
Rubicund is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 03:02 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 1,754
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Remember with a car you need a place with parking outside of any ZTLs. Can you find something? Sure. Will you pay more for something worse? Likely.

If it was me I'd start by making a list of possible locations. At least check out if they really have parking. Some places claim parking when they really mean there is a pay lot in the neighborhood. That the hotel isn't going to cause ZTL problems.

Weather? August I'll give you a fairly accurate weather report right now. 30+C. Sunny. Might be humid depending on the location. I can promise you that will be pretty close to what you see.

Even traffic isn't that hard to guess. End of the weekend? Heavy traffic back towards the cities from the beach towns. End of the work week heavy traffic towards the beach towns.


The 15th long weekend will have its's own traffic pattern but looking at the calendar it should be obvious what many people will be doing. Leaving home either the Friday or Saturday before. Returning the next week.
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 04:24 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 18,108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
spiral I think that is a good compromise.

Make sure you have a UK sticker on the car, instead of a GB, and get a crit'air sticker for France. They can close off vast areas of roads if the air quality is poor and without the sticker you can't drive. Not expensive and easy to do from the official site.
https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/
Don't forget your GHIC and green card too!
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 04:50 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 682
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Why put that sort of restriction on a trip where you have to reach a certain place because you've booked a hotel? All you need is traffic, roadworks or a diversion to send you off schedule or the planned route. I'm with your husband on this one. I've done loads of trips in France where I've winged it during summer.
balthy is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2023, 02:18 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Heti for the reminders. We have the crit’air for the car from pre pandemic adventures plus we replaced our old GB/EU number plates last year when our daughter and son-in-law borrowed it to drive to Italy (she planned every hotel and lunch stop both ways!). I don’t believe we need a green card now but will double check.
Balthy - those are almost my husband’s exact words! I understand and agree but I am an old worry guts and like to know I have a place to sleep
Hence the compromise
Nick. I know what you mean about some so called parking. I do research the parking with great care and the access to the hotels too. Another reason why I want to book in advance on the way out!
Thanks all
Spiral
spiral is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -