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Topic: Where to stay, while touring the Alps?  (Read 2174 times)

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« on: April 24, 2017, 10:04:59 am »

I'm a Alps noob and was wondering...

How do you who never bother booking in advance go about finding inexpensive places to stay? What is the secret handshake that stops the people in the reception from stating that they are full or charge you double for "late booking"? Smile What do you look out for?
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 10:08:40 am »

I usually will look around my proposed destination one day ahead of time on TripAdvisor.

I've found Tripadvisor reviews to be fairly accurate and it gives you a good idea of what types of accommodations are out there.
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 12:09:29 pm »

I had to completely change my travel style when I moved here. In the States, I would just ride until I was done riding, find a likely motel and get a room. Rarely was there an issue. Here, it isn't so easy, for a few reasons:

- the hotels are not always obvious
- you have no idea of the room rate based on the outside appearance
- vacancies are unknown until you stop, get off the bike, go in and ask

Since moving to Switzerland I haven't taken many multi-day trips  Sad but the trips I have taken I have planned ahead with AirBnB. My next planned / unplanned long trip will be mostly camping and rural areas, so in-city searches for lodging should not be an issue.
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 01:07:22 pm »

Calling Daniel Kalal  -  from reading his ride reports it looks like he wings it every day everywhere in the world by looking for the "Zimmer Frei" signs.
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 03:30:17 pm »

+1 on Orson's advice. I had no problem finding very nice places at reasonable prices (around 60 euro with breakfast) in the Dolomites last summer. The smaller hotels appreciate a direct call as it saves them the commission.
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 07:34:16 am »

I traveled for years without booking ahead of time and, only had trouble a few times but, that also depends on what time of year it is. Around 5 PM I would start looking for a suitable hotel. Don't wait until 7 PM to start searching  Bigsmile

I usually try to travel around May-June and September-October when kids are in school.
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2017, 07:56:39 am »

finding inexpensive places to stay?


Do you camp? Lots of camping web sites for Europe. This is one of the ones we use: http://www.acsi.eu/en/home/l2-n144/
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 03:40:16 pm »

I follow Orson's model: travel off-peak and stop for the day at 5 o'clock.

Problems come in cities that host conventions or villages with one hotel. It helps to speak a smattering of the local language, even just phrase book stuff.

Over the years, we've only had real problems on two occasions, and then still found accommodation by 7:30.

Lately, I book everything in advance, because a) I'm old(er) and b) I've got a few beans to rub together.

You will find that, for the most part, people are very helpful if you ask nicely.
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2017, 01:45:18 pm »


You will find that, for the most part, people are very helpful if you ask nicely.


Very true! On my first motorcycle trip to France I ran very low on fuel late at night in the middle of the French countryside en route to a friend's place in Paris. I saw a petrol station ahead but they were in the process of shutting up shop for the night. I pulled in anyway and with my few words of French and a lot of gesturing at the tank explained my predicament, and rather than shrug his shoulders and head home the man went back inside, switched the pumps back on and my problem was solved. Another time, I had had such a nice time riding through the French countryside that I left it far too late to find a hotel, so by the time I had, the restaurants were all closing up. I went into one which still had lights on and the manager said that the chef had shut up the kitchen, so I said that even a sandwich would be welcome. He returned and asked me if I would prefer an omelette, I said yes and he returned a few minutes later with a very nice omelette with a side salad, which was perfect!
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 05:47:16 pm »


I traveled for years without booking ahead of time and, only had trouble a few times but, that also depends on what time of year it is. Around 5 PM I would start looking for a suitable hotel. Don't wait until 7 PM to start searching  Bigsmile

I usually try to travel around May-June and September-October when kids are in school.
July and August are the months Europe goes on vacation. Some people book a full year in advance. If you have to go in July and August, sobeit.

FWIW I have a weeks trip starting the first week of this coming July. Earlier simply wasn't an option, and later was obviously undesirable. In my case, I'll be traveling semi-alone, while my wife and her sister and brother will be on their (car) trip, but we'll cross paths (hence "semi-alone"). Not wanting to gamble on accommodations, Chris spent a lot of time with TripAdvisor, Trivago, Expedia, and brief excursions to other sites. The overall trend was "no vacancy". Bear in mind that this was a three room booking some nights and two rooms other nights. Single person, short stay also presented some problems. We got things sorted out; the point here is "the further you get into Prime Time, the harder it may be to find a place easily".
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 09:06:24 pm »

When in doubt just plan to stay with Dantes Dame in Switzerland

 Lol
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2017, 04:20:39 am »

I always just wing it, both with campsites (in July/August) and hotels (September).

In July/August I'm travelling solo, so even when a campsite is full their reaction has always been: oh....one small tent for one night? No problem.
If you've got a satnav: http://www.archiescampings.eu
If you've got a smartphone: ACSI (the app from the website Gene linked to), or google maps

With the hotels: google maps, to see if a village has a hotel. And in France the 'office de tourisme' can be of great help, they should even call around for you.
I've only booked beforehand/checked prices once, and that was when we went to the Cote d'Azur (I think it was Menton). We thought that was the smart thing to do, knowing how expensive hotels tend to be there.
And  I can say we should've done that when we wanted to stay in Pratio (foot of the Stelvio). We were there in September (first week), yet everything was fully booked. Took a while and help from a hotel to find rooms 1.5km away.

What I don't know is if it gets harder when you don't speak the local language (especially if everything does turn out to be fully booked).
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