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How far in adavnce would you book accommodation for September 2022

i normally book accommodation a day or 2 in advance, sometimes that morning. But I haven't been to Europe for a decade and not in the summer.

We have 6 weeks arriving Barcelona end Aug 22 - departing Barcelona 10 Oct 2022.

The very rough itinerary includes Barcelona - Hungry, Slovenia, Croatia, Montengro, Albania, N Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia back to Venice , Barcelona

I'm not too worried about the more remove parts of the Balkans but we we will be travelling through so busy places (Barcelona, Venice, Budapeast, Split, Dubronvick, Kotor).

At what point would you book. I did a check on Barcelona at places under E150 /night seem heavily booked. Or are they just not available yet? Most at least do seem to have free cancellation.

I would normally book the "gateway" cities and internal flights maybe 3 months out - am I being unreasonable? Were not fussy on hotel - location is more important than decor.

Posted by
6874 posts

2 to 3 months out. I am over 50 and learned on my current trip if you have a smart phone ap especially Booking.com you can book on the fly and find great places and last minute deals. I booked the hotel I am at currently in Florence for 5 nights while in transit several hours before I arrived and got a text from the manager saying that he could accommodate my desired checkin time. The ap is linked to Google maps showing exactly where all the hotels are located. The businesses that are going be around are the ones that adapt new technology that reach a wider audience via the web. One can sell empty beds with some kind of web presence easier than ever before.

Posted by
19375 posts

In 2015 I booked only 1 or 2 days ahead for most of my destinations on a 4-1/2 month trip from late May until early October. That trip was mainly to non-crowded destinations in Italy and the Balkans. Over subsequent trips I have gradually increased the lead time for my bookings because I found I was being forced too often into either staying farther than I wanted to be from the center of town or paying considerably more than I wanted to. Experiences people are having right now are not necessarily at all predictive of what will be happening next fall if COVID restrictions are pretty much a non-issue. Demand in many places is so low right now that there are hotel bargains in Venice, of all places.

If you're seeing limited availability now for next fall, it's probably because hoteliers haven't established their rates and put their booking calendars online. Actually, it's rare even in non-pandemic times for hotel reservation systems to allow bookings more than 330 to 365 days out. If you're seeing high rates, I'd guess that in many cases they're wishful thinking.

Unasked-for advice: You are planning a trip to many wonderful countries. Travel time is going to be considerable; there will usually not be super-fast trains linking your destinations. The intra-European flights may chew up a big chunk of a day. Albania and Northern Macedonia are going to be particularly challenging if you're planning to use public transportation. (If you intend to rent a car, you need to check immediately to see whether you can find a rental agency that will allow you to take its car into all those Balkan countries.) You only have about 50 nights and have already listed 11 stops, most of them entire countries. A country like Hungary has more than one interesting city. I'd urge you to dig deeply into guidebooks, starting with your landing point (Barcelona) and working your way eastward. Make lists of must-see places and must-do experiences as you go. Estimate how many days you'll need at each stop to accomplish what you want to do. I believe you'll run out of days before you get to Bosnia.

Posted by
5022 posts

I agree with Acraven that you are trying to cover far too much ground, even with 6 weeks at your disposal.

For travel in peak/busy season i.e. August until mid September, I would normally book accommodation by January. This is when I would also be booking very busy places such as Venice and Barcelona for the best choice. There should be more flexibility for late September and October in most places.

Posted by
165 posts

LOL I should point out the country list is more a wish list of where we may go rather than an actual itinerary at the moment. I can't get too invested in this trip because I still fear its a 50/50 chance that we'll be allowed to travel next year. So I'm not prepared to spend too much effort of the detailed planning. I tried planning a trip to Australia (from NZ ie next door) and even that has now been moved and is likely to be cancelled because of an ongoing outbreak is Sydney).

The other unknown is how much fitter my partner will be then - a few months ago I was sadly thinking we'd have to book a week in each location because he was so limited in walking and activity. But a change of drugs (this is heart failure not inability to go to the gym) and he's soo much better so I'm hoping we can revert to normal which is normally 2/3 days in a place.

Posted by
165 posts

One of major decision points is Jan 2022. At that point we can still cancel the first cruise SanFran-Barcelona cruise and if we don't cancel we should commit to some flights from NZ to USA. Its also possible that the cruise will cancel on us - if the cruise line doesn't relocate the ship (now in the UK) to Alaska for the summer season there will be no repositioning cruise in July 2022

If those flights exist will depend on whether there is any chance that we will open the country up to vaccinated visitors from countries where the virus is pretty much out of control. (At this point US is also closed to us as well - but I do think that will change in the next 6 months).

IF we can't do the cruise for either of those reasons - we will be looking at flying to Europe - via Asia (probably Singapore -one of the countries we are more likely to pen borders to). That is a whole different itinerary though - because I'd love to spend time in Istanbul (I"ve been but my partner hasn't) and then work our way north via Bulgaria to the Adriatic and eventually to Barcelona for the 2nd cruise.

Posted by
165 posts

What ever do get a smart phone with internet access for your travels.

LOL I've been travelling with one for at least 10 years. I have a business so I carry a laptop too. In fact I'm seriously contemplating buying a portable wifi (MIFI) unit like this https://www.glocalme.com/US/m/mall/product_choose/080109 so I have connectivity as soon as I cross a border and don't have to fluff around finding a local SIM.

Posted by
3181 posts

I’ll go farther than acraven and say that if you are seeing limited avaiability now, it’s not probably, but almost certainly because hotels have not set their rates for next year. I panicked the first few times I encountered that oddity, but eventually learned what that wording really meant. I’m pretty much a compulsive planner, but I have found that 4 months is plenty leeway for finding very nice accommodations. The only exception would be in places where a major event is to take place, like The Côte d’Azur during the Cannes Film Festival.

Posted by
1144 posts

If I am booking an AirBNB or Apartment I book a year in advance and for hotels 6 months out. I would start booking in Late Jan/Feb for your dates, but start reading reviews, look at location and narrow your choices down now. I agree on location, much more important to us than 5 stars, plus we like to get breakfast included in the price.

Posted by
3789 posts

I think there is even more hesitation than past years to open up accommodation bookings for 2022 after April. Maybe for Barcelona I would start looking a year out, but I wouldn't commit to an AirBnB that far out unless it was perfect for my needs. If it isn't, check back monthly. I used to plan 11-8 months prior but won't for the near future. I have been caught on too many pre-covid travels with extra expenses due to several flight changes severely impacting either lodging or rental car limitations. Current summer reports sre showing even more impact due to flight changes and cancellations. I would expect some continued impact into next summer's travels as well.

Posted by
165 posts

I'm not looking at AirBNB or Vacation rentals at all. Far too many people lost money because ABNB would not refund (even when the owner would). And I'm not relying on amateurs to even be in business next year. Plus we generally find them expensive for a day or 3 because of cleaning costs etc.

Hotel , hostels, or similar are just fine

Posted by
2340 posts

I'm not relying on amateurs to even be in business next year. Plus we generally find them expensive for a day or 3 because of cleaning costs etc.

Two excellent points! I just booked the last hotel for our April 2022 trip to Italy. I start booking hotels as soon as our flights are in place. I'm another obsessive vacation planner, and I usually know exactly where I want to stay far ahead of time.

Posted by
161 posts

I am always a last minute booker and have really never had a problem. In 2019, my dad invited me on his bunnies trip to Paris very last minute. I had about 2.5 weeks to book a flight and find a hotel in Paris in mid August (peak season) and I was able to book an amazing hotel just down the road from Notre Dame for €150/nt for three people. So i would say if you book at least a month in advance you will be fine but you could easily just book a few days in advance and probably find something too. There are just two things you need to be flexible with: price and distance to city center. My budget is usually really low when traveling solo, about €50/nt for accommodations and I typically book an Airbnb just a couple weeks before arrival and have always been able to find a room without sacrificing location. I would say with the ever changing travel landscape, you could wait until next spring to start looking and still have a plethora of options.

Posted by
165 posts

. I had about 2.5 weeks to book a flight and find a hotel in Paris in mid August (peak season) and I was able to book an amazing hotel just down the road from Notre Dame for €150/nt for three people.

To be fair as I understand it August is low season for Paris - because the locals are all on holiday at the beach.

Posted by
165 posts

April 2022 trip to Italy. I start booking hotels as soon as our flights are in place. I'm another obsessive vacation planner, and I usually know exactly where I want to stay far ahead of time.

This is fundamentally my problem - for a 6 week trip I don't want to know exactly where I'll be each night. I want to speed up or slow down depending on how we feel at the time. Its how we've travelled in Asia for years - book flights and then book hotels around those flight a few days either side -and have an idea of where we're heading in terms of itinerary and locations - but I never commit to how many days in each place. And sometimes the route changes entire too LOL Road tripping in the US we booked hotels in NYC and LA and everything else I generally booked the morning of arrival so we had something to put in the GPS!

Posted by
205 posts

I usually book around 6-8 months in advance. I just rebooked (for the 5th %)H!%! time) for Germany --- this time for May of next year in case my October one for this year doesn't happen. Some places/locations may not be available to book so far in advance, so you have to kind of consider the region, and keep looking month to month to double check.

Posted by
165 posts

At this point - even though my partner is fully vaccinated, and I will be in a month or so, I can't see this trip happening next year. We are hoping for announcement about reopening NZ to the world this week - but the signs aren't good for 2022 at this stage, given we are unlikely to reopen to Australia before Xmas