The Risks and Rewards of Booking Hotel Rooms On the Go

When it comes to travel I’m a planner. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessive about it or anything, but I do know where I’m going, I know how long I’m going to be there, and I book hotel rooms in advance.

Turns out not everyone is like that, as evidenced by this thread in the Rick Steve’s forums.

grogman and her husband are planning a trip to Spain that will span several cities/towns. As they aren’t sure which regions will prove to be more interesting to them they are considering disregarding the usual hotel reservation process and finding accomodations as they go.

I hear that and I think, “it sounds exciting, but what about all of the things that could go wrong?”

Well, as fellow travelers point out, several things can go wrong with the spontaneous hotel booking approach … but a lot can go right as well.

We have used the hotels in the Independent Hotels catalogues and had the clerk of one phone ahead for us to the next which makes getting a good room easier since there are no language barriers. Our best hotel room ever — our huge windows looked on onto the Pont du Gard and we just lay there all night looking at it in the moonlight every time we woke up — heavenly — was obtained that way. ~janettravels44

I have done dozens of trips in many countries and often will not make reservations. I have ended up in beautiful hotels at very reasonable rates and in rather sparse hotels … Lots of my most wonderful memories from my trips were from spontaneous decisions that would have been impossible with hotel reservations. ~Terry kathryn

For years we have followed the plan of reservations for the first night or two and the last. We will have a list of hotels we are interested in and when we know that we will be moving on will make a call. Works well most of the time ~Frank

The spontaneous approach is arguably made more challenging if you are using points to pay for your accomodations, but what about you – are you more reserved when it comes to hotel booking or more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants?

And another factor to consider: how does your spontaneity level align with that of your traveling partner’s level? Are you like dvdneal who posted the following over on the Cyburbia forums (Cyburbia isn’t a travel-specific community, but they are having a pretty interesting discussion about spontaneous travel):

When I have the money I’m going somewhere to do something … Now I can still run off for a trip somewhere, but I have to clear it with the wife and kids … The most I can get is a trip out to see some roadside attraction or go to a museum in a different town, but even that requires a little notice

Read the Rick Steve’s thread in its entirety: Are Hotel Reservations Necessary?

Vacancy” by Lauren Mitchell. CC BY 2.0.

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