When you’re planning your trip you need to decide… Will you reserve a hotel or not? Whether you make reservations ahead of time or not depends on your temperament and your style of travel.
You need to decide if you want the freedom of spirit and sense of adventure and spontaneity that going without reservations will give you, or do you want the peace of mind of knowing there is a room waiting for you.
You may be the type of traveler who doesn’t like to commit to a firm itinerary. You want maximum spontaneity. Some travelers like to reserve a room for the first night or two at least. That way when you arrive, groggy with jet lag, you don’t have to worry about finding a hotel. Once you’ve recovered and gotten into the swing of things, you can hop on a train or rent a car and find rooms as you go.
If you haven’t traveled too much, or your time is short, or if you just don’t want the stress of looking for a room in an unfamiliar language in an unfamiliar country, then maybe you will be better off to reserve a hotel ahead of time in each of your destinations.
If you’re going to make the reservations yourself, check out recommendations in a good guidebook, and check several sites on the internet. The star rating systems in different countries can vary, and they can vary between internet services, so it pays to do your research.
We’ve traveled most often with no reservations. We like checking out the rooms we’re going to stay in before we commit. We like being able to decide to stay an extra day in one town because there is so much to see. We have the flexibility to get out of another town a day earlier than we planned if something more exciting beckons us down the road.
We have traveled with friends who just can’t stand not knowing where they are going to sleep. They think looking for a room for the night is a total waste of time.
We’ve come up with a compromise when we travel with them… we call ahead the day before and reserve a hotel to head for. We can’t check out the room ahead of time, but it does give us the spontaneity of deciding where we want to be as we go along.
If you decide to use this method, you should find a good guide book or hotel guide that matches your needs as far as the level of comfort you want in a hotel and how much you can spend. We’ve also relied on hosts in some of the small places we’ve stayed to recommend accommodations in the next town we’re heading to. Sometimes they can help and sometimes they can’t, but you might just find a cute little place that is “off the grid”.
The less developed the country is that we are visiting, the more apt we are to reserve a hotel at least for the first few days. That allows us to see how easy or difficult it is going to be to get around the country and find rooms.
So to reserve a hotel or not to reserve… that is a question only you can answer, and it’s all part of planning your trip.
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