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Secured Place to Rest vs. Freedom to Roam

Travel Forums Europe Secured Place to Rest vs. Freedom to Roam

1. Posted by Reemus (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

My best mate and I are planning a two-month excursion across Europe in the summer of 2007. We have heard that for the summer we need to book our hostels long before we leave, but we are worried that that will provide too rigged of an itinerary. We know where we want to visit, but we never know when we might meet up with some new people and decide to stay a few nights longer. The great thing about this trip is that we can do what we want when we want; we don’t want to lose the ability to completely change our minds about what to do once we get there.

If any one can provide any advice on how to have some security in a place to sleep without losing our freedom to change the whole damned trip at any given notice, it would be greatly appreciated.

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

If there are specific hostels you want to stay in, or will be at a major event (ie Running of the bulls or oktoberfest), book in advance. If not, you can almost always find somewhere if you arrive early in the morning in most places (although by mid morning you could be in trouble) although that can fail. However, the best way, and keeping flexibnility is just go onto the TP accom site a day or 2 beforehand, and reserve online (needs credit card). That way you have enough flexibility and dont loose out on security

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Quoting Gelli

However, the best way, and keeping flexibnility is just go onto the TP accom site a day or 2 beforehand, and reserve online (needs credit card). That way you have enough flexibility and dont loose out on security

I've always wondered if a good chunk of your trip turns into a search for accmmodation that way. I really have no idea - I've almost always booked somewhere in advance (and certianly felt stuck a few times when I wanted to go out and explore further). Does every other morning feel like a hunt for a place to stay, or is it pretty simple and quick to find?

4. Posted by AlexT (Respected Member 245 posts) 11y

I very rarely book in advance and I have had few problems, occaisionally I have encountered a lack of suitable accomodation but usually it is fine. Getting to a place early is definately helpful but also this often doesnt fit in with train/bus/plane schedules. If you are getting to a place late in the day, it could be of some use to book in advance. I personally am incapable of making set plans and rpefer to travel that way... kind of adds to the adventure

5. Posted by farleyUL (Full Member 125 posts) 11y

How much do you take when you're traveling Europe if say, you're going to be gone for two months? I'm wondering if you're looking at taking just like a school backpack full of clothes, etc. or if there's a need to take an actual backpack, like a hiking pack. It would seem like that would be a hinderance carrying everywhere you go for two months.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

Tway - admittedly it can a bit, but its normally relatively easy and quick anyway. And if your staying in hostels, many have short periods of free internet you can use for it anyway. I don`t like planning and except when i know i have to be somewhere on a specific date, never book more than a couple of days in advance and normally not even that. I prefer to just try and turn up, and if for example, your coming off an overnight train its normally easy enough if your not fussy.

However, a few occassions arriving in the afternoon or occassionally even that morning (Rome a couple of years ago, for example, we got there at one and must have phoned 25 hostels before we found one with any beds, and we got the last 2. And they could only do us for one night. I`ve also seen occassions when Paris has been solid even a couple of days in advance) there has been nothing. Ljubljana at the start of this trip i got there around 3, and discovered my choices were paying 400usd, or 80usd and staying an hour away - luckily a friend had space for me to crash when i did think they did have.

Any up and coming place, or those which are still not entirely sure about backpackers etc (i.e. Moscow and St. Pete`s, which have few hostels and no budget accom) or theres a major event on - known festival like oktoberfest, or one offs like concert or spporting event in summer you can have quite allot of trouble, so a few days ahead is advised. But these days, more and more people are backpacking, and Europe in June-Aug can be full nearly to capacity and it is getting harder to just turn up. In the first 8 or 9 years of going around Europe i never had a single problem anywhere, whereas in the past year or two i have started to have a few and started to book a couple of days ahead where i can, especially if i`m not travelling alone (i`ve slept rough and in so many odd places that it doesn`t bother me at all, but it really freaks some others)

Farley - A bag of that sort of size is fine. Maybe a specialist rather than actually school bag (comfort factor), but upto about 35l is all you need. Unless you are going to be camping Alot, dont bother with any camping stuff, whilst if your staying in hostels, 99% of all hostels dont allow sleeping bags, so dont bother with one (although a sheet sleeping bag can save a fortune in sheet rentals over the course of a trip). The only possible time you may need a larger bag if your only staying in hostels is if you intend to be in northern scandinavia etc in winter or going skiing, when obviously you will need a chunk of more bulky winter clothing etc.