I don't know if this has been addressed already - if it was, just point me to the thread
but I'm planning on backpacking in Europe for just 2 weeks. (the bulk of my exp will be studying in London) I'm trying to start planning my schedule. I've seen advice that it is best to reserve hostels in advance, however being a wandering traveler of sorts - isn't the feeling supposed to be that you don't have a strict schedule?
I'm concerned about staying in budget for this, so I don't want to reserve a whole bunch of hostels for Europe and then end up losing money because my plans don't go exact. But then again, I don't want to end up with no where to sleep and the alt being an expensive hotel because I didn't reserve in advance for a hostel.
What have you guys done?
Hi Loei, and welcome to Travellerspoint.
A couple of thoughts:
In most of Europe, you can normally find somewhere just by turning up or reserving just the day before. It may not neccessarily be your first choice hostel or even somewhere really cenytral, but in all the main cities etc, you will be able to find something fairly cheap. I rarely book ahead at all, and when i do it's never that far in advance. And I only do that if i know i'm going to be somewhere which will be especially popular that time or am in a group. Normally i don't know where i'm going to be anyway, so can't book ahead.
Unless you are planning on travelling somewhere during a major event (Portugal during the football, athens the olympics, Munich the oktoberfest etc), then you should be ok.
In addition, i've never actually yet come across a hostel in Europe where you pay a deposit etc in advance. You can book a place and cancel it without loosing anything, although it's best to give them a day or 2 notice that you won't be coming.
If your on a really tight budget, try places like www.globalfreeloaders.com. Although they generally require a bit more advance notice, and planning because your staying with local residents you often get a much more authentic experience.
And finally, as somebody else who is a born wanderer and hates having any sort of schedule or even more than a very rough plan or idea, I fully understand and agree with your feeling!
i totally agree with rich. i worked in a hostel and as well travelled in europe and stayed in hostels and mostly it wasn't a problem to find a bed for the night.
you can as well, if you have internet access before/during your trip, check the availability for hostels in the internet (on this site under "accomodation") on the dates you would like to stay before starting a telephone-marathon. that's what i did for my stay in amsterdam last weekend and i had to realize that in this city it is recommended to book and plan ahead!
but i can understand you when you just want to "live" without a too specific schedule - i'm like that too, at least when i don't have a fix schedule!
good luck with your "planning" and have a nice trip,