booking accommodation mid-September
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Mar 28, 2013 7:29 AM Last Post By: perebou
Mar 23, 2013 5:59 AM
booking accommodation mid-SeptemberWe will be travelling in Spain for the first time in mid-September for 3 weeks and will probably hire a car (alert to backpacker purists - stop reading now!). Have no plan, as such. Have done lots of reading and know that three weeks is a ridiculously short amount of time to see'n'do "Spain". The north looks wonderful (San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santiago), the south enticing (Grenada, Ronda, Cordoba), etc. So we've relaxed our thinking to simply hiring a car and going until it's time to give the car back (with sufficient time to fly to Barcelona to connect with homeward flight). Just wondering about the necessity of booking accommodation. Obviously, with a car, accommodation would have to include free parking. However, I would simply like advice from those who have travelled at this time with a hire vehicle - is it really necessary to book ahead? Can one simply drive, stop, enquire and book in? Or is Spain too much of a tourist destination now, that this hippie(-ish for 60 year olds) ideal of travelling is past tense?
Mar 23, 2013 7:19 AM
1I'm ignoring your very specific request to only take 'advice from those who have travelled at this time with a hire vehicle'.
The pair of us (now late 50s) do not drive in Spain and use bus and train. We do 'wing it' for several days in Septembers and Octobers, mostly in Andalucia.
We do book at least 24 hours ahead as accommodation is hugely variable and mainly because we have no wish to share a bathroom. Also, going off the well beaten track, there might only be one hotel/hostal/pension/whatever in a village/town and no way after arrival to leave that day, if booked up. This time of the year it will be rare for a premises to be full, but you will have the ability to move on quickly to somewhere else.
I suggest, whichever 'Spain', you will have little problem if you start looking around 1600 hours or check in with the tourist office (you will be surprised how many modest size towns have one). There will be parking at the accommodation or somewhere nearby.
'accommodation would have to include free parking' - highly unlikely your parking will be free in any city. Free out 'in the sticks' who knows - but one place we stayed in had run a line through a parking fee of €8 on their flyer on the front desk, as if they were waiving it, perhaps because of the present economic climate.
Does this help?
Oh and there are still many parts of Spain barely 'known'.
Edited by: annemariet
Mar 23, 2013 7:33 AM
2We did a trip like that in May and always booked on the spot, in Spain you have signs on the streets to point you towards hotels, I think they even include star rating, as suggested tourist information is always a good spot to ask.
If there isn't any festival or such going on you don't need to prebook, since you have a car just drive on a little and you'll find something.
I also like an en suit bathroom but we stayed in some smaller pensions that only had shared ones,
since we were the only guests not much sharing, these places often have only 2 or 3 rooms that they rent out.
Mar 23, 2013 8:30 AM
3I would simply like advice from those who have travelled at this time with a hire vehicle
Ok, i have done it and several times.
What i find conflicting in your post is that you seem to be mentioning only cities and major towns. If it is such places that you want to visit mainly, i see no advantage in renting a car as it would be more of a burden. Accommodation with free parking? Forget about that in places like the ones you've mentioned.
What we usually do is including one city (usually at the beginning or the end of the trip and without car naturellement), maybe a bigger town along the road as well, but we mostly travel through rural parts and prefer staying in villages and small towns, or sometimes on an isolated location in the countryside. Needless to say that you never will have parking issues there. We travel to and in a way that would be nearly impossible by public transportation.
As to booking ahead, apart from the first day(s) where we will be staying after arrival i don't use to book ahead with the following exceptions:
It can be cheaper to book ahead through e.g. booking.com for major towns and cities.
Weekends. The Spanish travel a lot within their beautiful country and also in rural areas rooms fill up much more quickly for saturday nights.
Other than that we usually just walk in somewhere and availability is rarely a problem.
With 3 weeks including Barcelona i would pick one part of Spain and i would not recommend you to try combining the far north and the south for example.
Mar 23, 2013 8:43 AM
Mar 23, 2013 10:37 AM
5No need to pre-book except for possible advantage in price but that then removes the freedom of moving/staying longer or shorter as the whim takes you.
TiS46, what i sometimes do when i intend going to places where there is enough availability and/or competition is checking the prices that are quoted on booking.com and write them down. If the hotel then asks a higher 'official' rate compared to the discounted rate ( if there is a discounted rate which isn't always the case), i just show them and that always works. But in most cases i immediately get the discounted rate or even a lower one and i keep my freedom.
Only in hotel chains which i generally avoid anyway, this might not always work.
Mar 23, 2013 11:31 AM
6artemis I don't read it as he wants to visit just those towns, much more the general area he/she wants to travel too.
Often street parking is free over night, we arrived Jerez around 6pm, so didn't have to pay for parking, next morning we got up and paied for the hour we had breakfast, in Rosas we had to park away from our accom. but it was free street parking, a car gives you a lot of freedom, you don't have to stick to schedules, you arrive some where and don't like it, go on, happened to us twice during the trip to Spain and Portugal, discovered Peniscola that way and it was a terrific stay, free street parking included ; )).
Mar 23, 2013 2:51 PM
7Thank you for this immediate advice. Have taken everything on board. We will decide now which area to concentrate on as we really love meandering by day (and having our own ensuite by night!). And, of course, everyone out there is going to have their favourite areas (which is the problem in such a vast, beautiful country). Picos de Europa and Andalucia are vying for top ranking!
Mar 24, 2013 6:41 AM
Mar 26, 2013 8:34 AM
Mar 28, 2013 7:29 AM
in september is better when you book your accommodations before, specially in the most touristic places. In that way you will also save money. In Barcelona parking is of payment almost everywhere except for local residents...And I agree with other comments in 3 weeks you should choose between north & south! ;)
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