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3 replies
To reserve or not to reserve.
kevinseo
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Hey guys,

In 2005, I booked all my hostels through hostelworld.com, and we had some not-so-pleasant experiences with some of the hostels. We ended up going somewhere else and booking right there. Never had a problem finding places.

Our travel group of 3 are going to Europe in a week, and we are planning on NOT reserving any hotels/hostels before we get there: Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, Barcelona, Cinque Terre, Munich.

Has anything changed in 7 years that we should not do this?

mim
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I think now there are more hostels (the better ones) that will completely fill up with pre-booked rooms than 7 years ago. Nowadays I feel like less backpackers fly by the seat of their pants, so to speak, and book most stuff ahead of time — especially in the summer. You may have a bit of difficulty finding really great hostels.

I think if you know where you’re going, I would book now for the larger cities. The reviews are also much better over the last seven years so it will be less likely that you’ll be unpleasantly surprised.

I am leaving from New York, NY and traveling for 64 days
Reykjavik, London, Lille, Berlin, Kraków, Lviv, Istanbul, Selçuk, Pamukkale, Kızkalesi, Göreme, Kars, Bat'umi, Akhalts'ikhe, Tbilisi, Telavi, Istanbul

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oldlady
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It’s still somewhat a matter of travel style, but as mim says it’s more difficult now and the availability of on-line reviews and booking services mean lots of folks have pre-booked the “best” places. If you arrive by mid-afternoon on a weekday (meaning you’re usually traveling during prime sight-seeing hours), and stop at the tourist information booth (and pay their small fee) you’ll probably always find an acceptable place to stay, but it may not be your top choice and you might spend 2 or 3 hours finding and getting to a place that’s not in the most convenient location. If you consider that part of the fun, and are traveling at a slow enough pace that you’ll still get to see the things you want to see, then go for it. Otherwise, reservations are really, really helpful in getting a good hostel in the major tourist attractions you’ve picked to visit.

augustin25
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Not saying you should book everything in advance, but I spent hours trying to find a place in summer in Barcelona 10 years ago when people weren’t booking ahead as much.