Subject: Re: Too much planning?
Hi Frances and other Ziners

We have travelled wihtout booking accommodation in advance and most recently when booking accommodation in advance. I prefer the latter for the time it saves that you can spend on seeing the places you have travelled to see.

Before children we would stay loose. In hindsight I believe this meant that we spent too much time trying to settle on accommodation while travelling rather than actually seeing the places. When driving around England there were parts where it was very easy to find a Bed and Breakfast - in the north though it was much harder and could take at least an hour each day of looking and asking. In Europe we had trouble at some times, for example over Mayday in Vienna, there was no accommodation to be had, we had to move on and found also our prebooked accommodation in Salzburg had been given away. Since we had used AMEX to book the hotel (from Vienna), that hotel had to compensate us for the difference in cost for the unwanted luxury of staying 5* that night. We didn't enjoy the experience but worst was the time we wasted on these transactions.

When we travelled in 2003 with children, I booked all accommodation over the net beforehand. We tried to spend at least 3 nights in any given place. We had Eurail so we could travel around from our stay, for example spend the day in Salzburg although we were staying in Munich. We didn't feel constrained and the time saved not looking for accommodation was a lot. Nor of course were we worrying about our budget for that quite hefty component as we knew what we were up for before hand. Not traipsing around reviewing hotels was a blessing - it was quite enough wearing the childrens' opinions about where we would eat and whether they would tolerate the childrens' menu or wanted a grown-up meal (enormous cost and leave 1/2 of it).

At the very least I would recommend booking accommodation if you are going to land in a country in the middle of the night. On an earlier trip we landed in New Delhi in the early hours of the morning and thought she will be right. It was very difficult, we were tired, it was dark, the standard of accommodation we did manage to find did not meet our expectations, ...

These days the internet has made it much easier to book in advance, know the cost, and predict with some confidence what the standard is going to be. We book in hotels that are not part of chains - they are as local as any we would have stayed in if we had walked off the street.

Only once did the standard not quite meet our expectations but then the cost had been below our normal budget and the location was good. Having prebooked meant it was not particularly a debating point.

Regards Anne Canberra, Australia