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Winter in Europe - Accommodation book in advance?

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Jul 12th, 2014, 08:39 PM
  #1
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Winter in Europe - Accommodation book in advance?

Hi,

My partner and I are travelling around Europe from December to February 2015. We'll be heading everywhere (i.e. Bruges, Berlin, Prague, Austria, Budapest just to name a few).

We've never been before and we're not sure whether accommodation should be booked months in advance or if it's cheaper (and more convenient) to book a couple of days before we head to the destinations. We've been told that we shouldn't book in advance but I'm a planner so I need to know everything before we get there!

All suggestions/ideas are welcome, we don't really have any idea what we're doing!

Thanks
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Jul 12th, 2014, 10:49 PM
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If you use www.booking.com you can cancel your accommodation pretty readily at no cost until 48 hours beforehand, I believe. I see no harm in booking early. I have travelled with people who like to wing it and we had one night in Luxembourg where the self-appointed leader rejected the first option we found (on the basis we might find something better or cheaper elsewhere (not my opinion)), and then we subsequently could not find anything else in Luxembourg City at all because there was a conference. We had to drive out of Luxembourg City quite a long way (and getting later and later at night) before we found something else, which was a lower standard, but thankfully with an open restaurant and good food. This was all a long time ago now but it made me unhappy with winging it and so now I tend to pre-book. Of course if you are going for self-catering apartments at all you need to book that well in advance.

Others may disagree on the basis that Dec - Feb is low season, and therefore more is available - I would at least lock in Christmas and New Year accommodation, preferably somewhere with access to a restaurant that is open.

Lavandula
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Jul 13th, 2014, 05:50 AM
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The answer is the usual one: depends. On the one hand winter is low season - on the other hand, big cities and their cultural life always attract visitors. Winter is a season for either skiing or city trips. Then there are the business people. A big trade fair can let hotel prices skyrocket and the availability of rooms become a problem. Ditto for large sports or cultural events or festivals. Hence it is worth checking what's on in the cities you intend to visit.
For Christmas and New Year's, choose carefully where you want to spend the holidays, and book early.
Ditto for the carnival if you want to experience it in one of its centres. The High Days of carnival are mid-February next year, a good chance to be in the middle of things if you like festivals. But in, say, Cologne, Mainz, or Venice, or in Basel one week later (which I highly recommend), you should book your accommodation now, and I mean it.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 05:59 AM
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If you are happy booking in advance I don't see any potential downside to doing so.

Esp if you are going someplace with winter sports, a convention or festival or a local holiday - booking in advance can be absolutely necessary.

Ir you insist on "winging" your trip - but it doesn;t sound like you really want to - at least have a list of places you would like to stay in the towns you will be staying - that you know are open (many small B&B or family run hotels do close part of the year to give the family a vacation).
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Jul 13th, 2014, 06:12 PM
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Thanks for the reply guys!

We land on Christmas day so we've booked Spain and I've got relatives in Paris for New Years but the rest are blank pages!

I want to at least have an idea about what places to stay at and maybe book a couple of days before arriving.

We definitely need to do more research on where and when the festivals are in each country so we can get a rough idea of how much everything is going to cost.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 08:51 PM
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Winter in Europe - Accommodation book in advance?
Posted by: kpham on Jul 12, 14 at 11:39pm
My partner and I are travelling around Europe from December to February 2015. We'll be heading everywhere (i.e. Bruges, Berlin, Prague, Austria, Budapest just to name a few).
All suggestions/ideas are welcome, we don't really have any idea what we're doing!


See http://tinyurl.com/q6r774t to get started. I've traveled all over Europe at that time of year without advance reservations. With your open ended itinerary, reservations will just tie you down. Find the local tourist office, normally in or near the main train station, and get a room when you arrive in any town. Also, you can save money and time using night trains.
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Jul 15th, 2014, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for the advice Spaarne!

We'll do our research and have a list of accommodation in the area so that when we get there, we know where we're going
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