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Finding hotels day to day

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Finding hotels day to day

Old 06-01-16, 11:28 AM
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Cyclingross
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Finding hotels day to day

Going on a tour of France, Italy, Switzerland & Germany in which I plan to travel with just a saddle bag carrying a set of off the bike cloths and essentials like toothbrush, sun cream etc. I plan to stay in hotels & b&bs.
Wondering if anyone has any experience or advice on finding a place to stay day to day. I don't want to restrict the tour too much and like the idea of having the freedom to go wherever I like. Would I struggle to find a bed every night without booking in advance?
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Old 06-01-16, 11:46 AM
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be sure that you will find a bed every night in these countries, no problem at all. no booking in advance needed.

Last edited by str; 06-01-16 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 06-01-16, 12:56 PM
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What time of year will you be biking? The timing plus the specific places you'll be visiting will determine whether it will be easy to find places, or not. I have had problems finding a room on long weekends in France in late May. Once was in a little town in Normandy. The other time was in Arles in Provence. I did eventually find something both times, however. I would think that July and especially August that you might have problems in popular tourist areas, especially on weekends.
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Old 06-01-16, 01:10 PM
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If you are on a budget, hostels may be able to cut some costs.
https://www.hihostels.com/
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Old 06-01-16, 01:11 PM
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I'll be going late August into early September for 2-3 weeks. Was thinking of booking some nights, mainly the days where I will be doing long rides just to make life easier. I'll be cycling from Lyon down to Marseille, from there into Italy along the coast. Then onto Milan and Turin, though I want to take it as it comes from there on making my way to Switzerland. Never done anything like this before and realise it's a bit of a gamble to just ride around looking for a place to stay but I like the freedom
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Old 06-01-16, 01:24 PM
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France is closed for August.
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Old 06-01-16, 01:25 PM
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Booking. com is a good tool for what you want to do.
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Old 06-01-16, 01:39 PM
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Was thinking of maybe using booking.com or something similar to book a place the day before
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Old 06-01-16, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclingross View Post
Was thinking of maybe using booking.com or something similar to book a place the day before
We've done that quite a bit in all the countries you mentioned, except Italy; and it worked well.
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Old 06-01-16, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Trueblood View Post
France is closed for August.
So are some places in Italy, like Rome. And, as noted, finding places in popular spots during prime vacation season can be impossible. I remember travelling through Italy in August and hopping off the train in Ancona on the Adriatic coast. There wasn't a room to be found anywhere around.
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Old 06-01-16, 02:00 PM
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We just did that in the Netherlands and Belgium last week, and had little trouble. We tried to book a place for the following evening before leaving the hotel the morning before, so we always had two nights covered (i.e., booked Wednesday night before leaving Tuesday morning). I only had one place that wasn't at the beginning or end of the trip booked before arriving on continent. That said, the only downsides I really noted is that many of the mobile booking sites are just awful, and you may well be left with out of the way accommodations or higher last-minute rates. Never couldn't find a place, though.

I'll second the hostel idea, too. hostelworld.com is what I use (they cover many places like camping and B&Bs as well), and they even have search criteria for places that offer secured bike parking
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Old 06-01-16, 02:20 PM
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That's great I was thinking of venturing up to Belgium and getting a ferry back from Amsterdam to the uk if I have enough money left to last me till Amsterdam. Hostels might be a good idea to save on a bit of money
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Old 06-01-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclingross View Post
That's great I was thinking of venturing up to Belgium and getting a ferry back from Amsterdam to the uk if I have enough money left to last me till Amsterdam. Hostels might be a good idea to save on a bit of money
Is it just you or are there others? I've found if you're solo, hostels are a good bargain, but their cost generally becomes pretty on par with what you can often find hotels for if you have two or more people.
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Old 06-01-16, 03:13 PM
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Do you know about warmshowers?
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Old 06-01-16, 03:13 PM
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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
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Old 06-01-16, 03:16 PM
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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
There's nearly always a safe place for bikes. Sleep can sometimes be an issue at hostels, but most of the time I had no problem. I always travel with earplugs, however.
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Old 06-01-16, 06:17 PM
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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
Hostels in Europe are different from hostels in North America ... just a different atmosphere and there should be a place to keep your bicycle.

Also consider B&Bs. We found the price of B&Bs in some areas to be quite comparable to hotels.

And don't forget about the campgrounds. In North America, campgrounds are for camping ... but in Europe and Australia campgrounds often contain cabins in addition to the camping area. the cabins are often quite reasonably priced, especially toward the end of the season.

For example, we stayed in a cabin here for 2 or 3 nights ... and it was nice. If you end up there, you do have to plan ahead with regard to meals. In 2012, there wasn't much in the way of grocery stores around.
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Old 06-01-16, 07:35 PM
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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 usually tried to make reservations a couple days in advance, I have always found they had room but I have only used hostels in North America, not Europe, so I have no clue if they may be booked up full. That said, several nights when I have been in a hostel, they were sold out and I was fortunate to have made reservations a couple days in advance.

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.

For my next tour I already have reservations for four nights at hostels, two nights after I get off the airplane and two nights before I get on a plane, I probably will use my tent for the other 23 nights that are in between.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 06-01-16 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 06-01-16, 07:44 PM
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I like both Hostelling International and WarmShowers.
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Old 06-01-16, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Do you know about warmshowers?
Not as popular in Europe. Couch Surfing and there is one other European based organization the name escapes me right now, are far more popular.
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Old 06-01-16, 08:38 PM
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I never booked ahead in Italy or Austria. If on the rare occasion I could not find a room and it was either late in the day or I was just too tired to ride on, I would jump on a train to the next town.

Every little town in Italy has a tourist office somewhere. I would imagine most of the countries are the same. Most are super fantastic at finding you a room for the night. In Italy you can also consider pensiones (sort of like a B&B) and monasteries (or convents if you are a woman), but these are usually in smaller towns. Most countries have rooms at farms. In Italy they are call Agriturismo. In Switzerland, you can stay in farmer's barns.

Many hostels in Europe are fantastic. Many are castles or palaces. There is one in Bologana that was supposed to have been the palace of Mussolini's girlfriend.
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Old 06-01-16, 08:54 PM
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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 usually tried to make reservations a couple days in advance, I have always found they had room but I have only used hostels in North America, not Europe, so I have no clue if they may be booked up full. That said, several nights when I have been in a hostel, they were sold out and I was fortunate to have made reservations a couple days in advance.

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.

For my next tour I already have reservations for four nights at hostels, two nights after I get off the airplane and two nights before I get on a plane, I probably will use my tent for the other 23 nights that are in between.
I believe all Hosteling International locations prohibit alcohol. But that does not stop someone from going out and drinking. I was at a hostel in Menaaggio with my riding partner. We usually got a private room because for two, the price is not that much more expensive than a dorm for two. They did not have a private available and we had to take separate dorms because that was all that was available.

I had meet my roommates and figured I was in trouble. They were a group of British bikers (not cyclists), my friend's roommates where these nice polite Dutch kids. I figured I would not sleep a wink that the bikers would be drunk all night. I could not have been more wrong. When I got to the dorm they where already in bed. I spotted something on my pillow. I said what is this? One of them said to me "You are going to need those mate" and they all laughed. It was a package of ear plugs. That was the last I heard from them that night.

The next morning I talked to my friend about his night. Turns out the polite Dutch boys went out drinking that night. They were trying to get the girls into the room. Not sure what they thought they were going to do if they got them in there , since they had vomited on the floor and there where several guys in the room, didn't exactly make for a romantic atmosphere. My buddy did not get a wink of sleep that night and I slept like a baby. Guess you really can't judge a book by it's cover.

Other rules. Sleeping bags are prohibited. You need to strip your bed in the morning and place linens in the hamper.

Tips:

Try to get a bunk against a wall. Place all of your valuables in your handlebar bag and place it between you and the wall when you sleep. Do not lock valuables in your locker. Take them with you everywhere, even into the shower.
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Old 06-01-16, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
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.
If the hostel in Montara where a B&B or hotel, you would pay $400 easy a night. I think we paid $90. The view from the room was spectacular.
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Old 06-01-16, 09:01 PM
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Another comment about hostels ... you can get private rooms in many of them. They're not all dorms.
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Old 06-01-16, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Not as popular in Europe. Couch Surfing and there is one other European based organization the name escapes me right now, are far more popular.
Actually, it depends a lot on which country you're talking about. I believe that your European cycling has mainly been in Italy, where there are according to the warmshowers.org website, 1,728 members. France, however, has 10,528 members. Switzerland has 1,822 members in a geographically small country, and Germany has 5,401 members.
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