SHOULD YOU BOOK ACCOMMODATION IN ADVANCE?
A pressing question for most of us is how much of a booking do we do ahead of time? There are many differing opinion on this subject as you’ll learn in discussion with other travellers. I knew a spontaneous traveller that liked to arrive in a new city without booking accommodation in advance. No hostel or hotel was awaiting such a traveller and he liked to ask the locals or wander around town and then make a booking. The same type of traveller is also someone less likely to book a week at any specific place because their plans may change in an instant.
The spontaneous approach may work for you if that suits your personality, generally speaking. If you can be content with the reality that you may night find accommodation when you arrive (depending on the region), then by all means, go for it. The kind of people that book accommodation upon arrival are also the same people that will sleep at in an airport or bus station. You have to be able to take the good with the bad and be willing to continue on your travels whether or not you find suitable accommodation. They are content regardless of the outcome and literally have fun searching for a place to stay and doing things entirely unplanned.
Personally, I would at least like to have a few days booked at one destination and then decide whether or not to extend my stay. You can never be sure if accommodation is up to par purely based on reviews or photographs. As a matter of fact, you should probably never rely on the photos alone to make a booking decision. There are many hotels and hostels alike that can be misleading with their online profiles. I can’t name how many places did not live up to the standards presenting online. Rooms were much smaller than they appeared or the level of cleanliness was a below zero rating.
If you are going to book multiple days in advance online, then be sure to check the cancellation policy. You certainly don’t want to be trapped a nightmare of a hotel/hostel because that will definitely affect your travel mood and overall experience. Some places will allow you to cancel with in 24 hours and others won’t. There have been times, I have had to wander around an island doing room tours within the first hours of my arrival because the accommodation was very poor. I literally spent half a day roaming around and comparing my options. This is likely the downside of booking in advance. Booking a few days or even one day in advance, I feel is better than entering a new city without any place to stay. I like having the in-person chance to review the state of hotel rooms myself as opposed to being stuck in a week-long booking somewhere that makes my skin itch. Which kind of traveller are you? Spontaneous or preplanned?
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