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Finding hotels day to day

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Finding hotels day to day

Old 06-01-16, 09:36 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If you have never used a hostel before, they are a bit different. Bring a padlock, as you probably will have a locker to put your gear into.
...

I have not had any theft problems, but I have always been careful.

You may need to bring your own soap and shampoo, it is not like hotels that provide that stuff.

They usually do not want you to have any food in the room where you sleep, so any food is stored elsewhere. Some hostels in North America prohibit alcohol, but some do not. I do not know about Europe.

Traveling alone, I like hostels. You can talk to as many people as you want, and if you feel anti-social you don't have to talk to any one.

I have stayed at hostels for less than $50 USD a night where a motel room would have cost at least four times as much. For this reason I especially like them when sightseeing in major city centers where conventional lodging would be quite expensive.
I have done extensive hosteling in Europe, and I can say there is absolutely no rhyme nor reason as to which ones do or do not allow food, alcohol, or anything of the sort anywhere in the property, only in common areas, only in kitchens, or with any sort of regulations you may or may not think of. Best to read their policies before booking if such things matter. The only halfway clear generalization I can make is that if they have a bar, they generally do not allow outside booze, but then again if they have a bar, they generally have pretty good prices that you'd rather just drink at anyways.

As to the rest of your comment, pretty spot on. Towels are the big thing: if you don't like drying yourself with a dirty T-shirt, bring one. Only a random few have I ever seen provide them.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Another comment about hostels ... you can get private rooms in many of them. They're not all dorms.
Also true, but at least in my personal experience if you are going for a personal room in a hostel, generally you aren't saving much over a hotel.

Originally Posted by Cyclingross View Post
I'll be going solo, was a bit sceptical of hostels at first. Might not get the best nights sleep and they may not have a safe place for my bike but it seems they are used plentifully by touring cyclists
Also in my experience, hostels generally will go further out of their way (and the person manning the counter has more authority) to accommodate things like safe bike parking than a hotel will.
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Old 06-02-16, 04:59 AM
  #27  
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I'll also add that Switzerland was very expensive in comparison with other places we visited in Europe. However, we found this place ...

Relais de la Sarvaz

... and stayed in the Dormitory. It was kind of off-season and there weren't many people there, so they gave us a pretty good deal and we ended up staying 10 nights.
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Old 06-02-16, 07:55 AM
  #28  
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Does having a list of the tourist bureaus of the towns you'r going through make any sense?
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Old 06-02-16, 09:02 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Does having a list of the tourist bureaus of the towns you'r going through make any sense?
Not really.

If you happen across a tourist information place, great. But you can spend a lot of time looking for them in Europe. They're not quite as obvious or plentiful as they are here in Australia.



Just open Google and type 'accommodation near _______' and you'll get a list of various accommodation near the place you've typed.

For something more specific, type ...

Or 'camping near _________' (you'll get European/Australian style camping ... campgrounds with room for tents, campgrounds for RVs only or with room for RVs, and campgrounds with cabins)

Or 'B&B' near __________'

Or 'hotels near _____________'


For hostels, I'd probably look up YHA ... or maybe type 'hostels near _____' or 'backpackers near________'


And you can use sites like Trip Advisor to look up accommodation as well, and check reviews. Always take the reviews with a grain of salt ... but if a place gets consistently bad reviews, you might want to avoid it. On the other hand, a few of the places we checked got negative reviews because there wasn't much in the way of party/night-life/entertainment and people were bored and unhappy. We read that and were thrilled ... meant that the place would be quiet.
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Old 06-02-16, 09:09 AM
  #30  
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Incidentally ... we travel about once a month. Sometimes it is within our State, sometimes it is further afield.

I use the methods I mentioned above to find accommodation for all those trips. Just last week I did that to find accommodation for our next trip.

I type 'accommodation near _______' a list comes up, and then I look at each option, check prices, check availability, check reviews ... narrow down the selection ... send off a few emails to the top choices ... and when I get a response back, I pick one.


When we were travelling in Europe, I'd type 'accommodation near _______' and because we had no plans to book it in advance, we'd just get a sense of where most of the accommodation in our price range was located (there's usually a collection of choices near train stations or on certain streets), and we'd cycle there and start enquiring.

Some hotels etc. in touristy areas post their prices and what's available on a sign by the door ... makes it easier to choose that way.
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Old 06-02-16, 09:15 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Does having a list of the tourist bureaus of the towns you are going through make any sense?
If you are talking about Europe, I think they help a lot. We often use them to book same-day rooms when touring, especially since we prefer small, privately owned B&B sort of places when touring in Germany, Austria, and the like. Often the B&B owners will not speak English, so it's a lot easier to let the TI book a room for us. One downside of this is that you can't preview the room before booking, but that's rarely caused a problem for us.

In Germany and Austria, many towns have good tourist websites, even with online room booking. Often you can easily find the town's website by simply typing in [villagename].de or .at (Austria). Example: zellamsee.at. On German sites, look for "Tourismus" for the tourism office, or for rooms "Unterkünfte" or hotels, etc.
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Old 06-02-16, 09:22 AM
  #32  
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Oh, and I totally forgot: I actually have a web page up with some hints about finding lodging in Germany and Austria. I haven't updated it in a while, but most of the content is still valid. I travel and tour in these countries almost yearly, so feel free to PM me with any other questions.

Lodging Hints for Germany and Austria
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Old 06-02-16, 09:58 AM
  #33  
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Pre everyone has a Mobile Phone in their pocket, I never had a hard time finding tourist info offices in Europe, they're in the town centers.

Chamber of Commerce has 1 in town , there is another one in the next place to the west , if you came off the 101 bridge and went left, away from this town's center.
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Old 06-02-16, 10:19 AM
  #34  
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For those that have used the tourist centres, what sort of benefit do you see with them over using something like Google, Kayak or Hostelworld, other than the local language booking services mentioned above? I've been to Europe a dozen times since 2007, never once used one. Just curious if they are a wealth of information I am missing out on, or just an alternative to the internet.
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Old 06-02-16, 11:20 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
For those that have used the tourist centres, what sort of benefit do you see with them over using something like Google, Kayak or Hostelworld, other than the local language booking services mentioned above? I've been to Europe a dozen times since 2007, never once used one. Just curious if they are a wealth of information I am missing out on, or just an alternative to the internet.
local knowledge
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Old 06-02-16, 12:45 PM
  #36  
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I have used tourist offices in many countries mainly to get free local maps of the towns. Not only do I find it much easier to walk around a town with a map, but the maps typically show the location of sights of interest. I can get a much better feel for the layout of a place with a paper map, as opposed to a small screen on my smartphone or tablet.

I've used tourist offices in France to get free booklets with listings of all of the lodging available in the département (which are roughly the size of an American county). This will include campgrounds, B&Bs, hotels, and a particular French type of lodging called a gîte (sort of like a hostel, but typically used by adults or familes). I used a local tourist office in France to find a room during a busy 3-day weekend, when everything seemed to be booked in the small town we ended up in. They had a computerized listing showing availability. Nearly every place was booked, but they found a place about 2 km away with availability and a reasonable price. They called and verified the availability and price. We said we would be there in 5 minutes on our bikes. It was perfect. Friendly folks, a barn where we could put our bikes, and we enjoyed a great dinner in the restaurant attached to the little country hotel.
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Old 06-02-16, 01:16 PM
  #37  
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OK, cool! Sounds a lot like what I use the hostel front desks for, but good to have the knowledge of what they do and the fact they exist!
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Old 06-02-16, 05:01 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I believe all Hosteling International locations prohibit alcohol. ....
I assumed that too until I stayed at the HI at Fishermans Wharf in San Fransisco, there are at least three bottles on the table in the photo.



The other HI Hostels I had stayed at prohibited alcohol.
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Old 06-02-16, 05:16 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I assumed that too until I stayed at the HI at Fishermans Wharf in San Fransisco, there are at least three bottles on the table in the photo.



The other HI Hostels I had stayed at prohibited alcohol.
I did not notice that when I was there. In fact I was very impressed with the young people at that location.

Santa Barbara was horrible. There where already people visibly drunk at 3:00PM. I had already paid my fee when I notice it. I got a shower and walked out. Got the last room in town as it was move in day at the college and the parents were in town. I think the hotel took pity on us and found us a room. Pity somewhat that is. We paid something like $200 for the night but well worth it. The Santa Barbara hostel is a non HI hostel.
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Old 06-02-16, 05:39 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Does having a list of the tourist bureaus of the towns you'r going through make any sense?
Italy used to have a site that listed all of the tourist offices.

I want to say it is this one
Genoa - Italy: Information, Town Profile, zip code

But I am not seeing that information now. It does list city hall so they would be able to tell you the location of the ufficio turistico, chances are it is nearby. Many train stations have one. I rarely had trouble finding one even in the smallest towns.
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Old 06-02-16, 05:44 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
local knowledge
She was sort of a unofficial tourist information agent. Not even Italian. She was French but from Montreal. We meet her on the outskirts of the city on her bicycle. She called herself "the guard of the city". Talked with her for a while. She had come to Cremona on vacation, fell in love with the town and decided to stay. She turned us on to a small hotel. Turns out we got a suite which was excellent for two guys that like to snore. Later we saw the lady showing folks around the town. Cremona is truly and lovely town. Would not mind living there myself.
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Old 06-02-16, 05:46 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
For those that have used the tourist centres, what sort of benefit do you see with them over using something like Google, Kayak or Hostelworld, other than the local language booking services mentioned above? I've been to Europe a dozen times since 2007, never once used one. Just curious if they are a wealth of information I am missing out on, or just an alternative to the internet.
I love tourist information centres!

Just about every town has one here in Australia, and it is one of the first places we go when we're travelling to pick up the free maps (city maps, shire maps, state maps, etc.), to look over the brochures for tourist attractions, to book tourist attractions, etc. They usually have accommodation information as well, and will book places for you if you want.

Not needed as much now, but they used to be one of the places you could go to get onto a computer and access the internet ... used to be the library and the tourist information place.

Some of them have touristy stuff attached to them as well ... displays of the history of the area, etc. which can be quite interesting.


We try to go to the ones in North America too, although for cyclists, they tend to be less conveniently located ... usually on borders between states or provinces or on the edge of the city on main highways. In North America, you can often find coupon booklets which offer sales and low prices on accommodations.


The ones in Europe varied in their usefulness. They are often located near train stations, but not always. Sometimes they are located somewhere in the middle of the city, and that's where they can be a little more difficult to find. Plus they do close somewhere between about 4:30 and 6 pm ("normal business hours") so if you cycle into a city at 5:45 pm your chances of finding one and that it will be open by the time you get there might be a bit slim.

That said, they can be worth the visit. The tourist info place at the train station in Edinburgh stands out in my mind as a particularly busy and helpful place. We got accommodation information there, picked up some cycling maps and info, and booked a tour.
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Old 06-03-16, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
We try to go to the ones in North America too, although for cyclists, they tend to be less conveniently located ... usually on borders between states or provinces or on the edge of the city on main highways. In North America, you can often find coupon booklets which offer sales and low prices on accommodations.
Yep. Michigan has what they call "Welcome Centers", usually the first rest area after a major highway enters the state, and near intersections of major highways. Good for free highway maps and the coupon books (fondly remembered from traveling with grandpa as a youngster, although even those generally aren't any better than you find online anymore), but otherwise not much there but endless racks of pamphlets for attractions and such, most of which are nowhere near you. Other than those, I can't think of one I've ever seen in the state. Detroit supposedly has one, maybe I'll have to check it out next time I'm wandering around downtown!
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Old 06-03-16, 11:25 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
She was sort of a unofficial tourist information agent. Not even Italian. She was French but from Montreal. We meet her on the outskirts of the city on her bicycle. She called herself "the guard of the city". Talked with her for a while. She had come to Cremona on vacation, fell in love with the town and decided to stay. She turned us on to a small hotel. Turns out we got a suite which was excellent for two guys that like to snore. Later we saw the lady showing folks around the town. Cremona is truly and lovely town. Would not mind living there myself.
yeah makes sense to ask a local or a least someone who knows there way around.
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Old 06-03-16, 01:56 PM
  #45  
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The linked travelogue indicates that many towns have tourist offices that can help book a room.

http://www.biketouringtips.com/Testi...=threadEntries
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Old 06-08-16, 03:59 PM
  #46  
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Forgive me if it's already been mentioned, but there's the Hotel Tonight app that only lists hotel rooms for the present night at deep discounts. I've gotten $350 rooms for under $200 around NYC before.

https://www.hoteltonight.com/our-cities

(not affiliated, just a fan)
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Old 06-09-16, 04:42 PM
  #47  
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I agree that local tourism centers offices can be great for info. But some of them have deals with certain hotels, tours, etc. So sometimes they try to push you to buy expensive trip stuff through them that you may not really need. So I don't always take their advice for everything, but it's a good starting point.
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Old 06-09-16, 06:08 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
For those that have used the tourist centres, what sort of benefit do you see with them over using something like Google, Kayak or Hostelworld, other than the local language booking services mentioned above? I've been to Europe a dozen times since 2007, never once used one. Just curious if they are a wealth of information I am missing out on, or just an alternative to the internet.
Often the small, private B&Bs will not be on travel or hotel sites, and may only be found through TI offices (either on their websites or through the office itself). If you are just booking hostels, hotels, pensions, and the like, then you'll probably be able to find them pretty readily via booking.com (which seems to be pretty popular for European lodgings), hotels.com, etc. Personally, we usually try to stay in B&Bs due to the lower cost and local vibe. We've found them as low as 15 euros/person, including breakfast. Often they can be cheaper, or comparable to, a hostel.
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