How far in advance should I make reservations for this summer in Europe. I am leaving on May 20th to basically Rome, Munich, Berlin and was wondering if I should make them now. One other thing is the smaller places like the Cinque Terre and Gimmelwald.
I'd make them asap. you leave only a little over a month away. Put it this way, I'll be in europe for August and part of September and I booked my hotels a month ago (granted it's a busier time than when you're going, but still). The sooner you book, the better places you'll get for less money. For example, I was able to book a top hotel in Florence for September at 75 euros a night. That same room just a few weeks later (still many months before I'll be there) is 115 euros. If that had been the price while I was looking I would have stayed elsewhere. So I'd book now. Good luck!
I think you'll be able to find a hostel or a small room in both Rome and Munich (don't know about Berlin -- haven't been!)
However, if you were going to Venice, or if NEIGHBORHOOD were important to you in Rome, I'd book now.
My experience is that in Rome, GEOGRAPHY is everything. It is so much easier to really get into the vibe of the city if you stay in a neighborhood that has the personality and the pace you enjoy. We made a mistake our first time, and had to take the train in and out of the city each day -- our hotel was in more of a business district -- and we never fully appreciated Rome. On our most recent trip, our small hotel was in a really quaint neighborhood, and we could enjoy an evening 'passagiata' with the locals each night -- and it made such a difference.
We've never had problems booking upon arrival in Germany, but we will be in Rome at the time you are arriving and received nearly 15 'sorry we are all full' replies before finding a place to stay. We were looking for places under 120E.
I ussually say book things as soon as you can as generally the earlier the better the prices and gives you peace of mind
I am going to Berlin in November. A good seven months from now. However, I have the DVD of Passport to Europe, on Berlin. Samantha Brown said all year long the hotels in Berlin Books very quickly. I was surprised to hear that. But I wouldn't take any chances and book as early as possible in all the places your going to.
My two cents.
By the way, I see you are from Madison WI. I spend a lot of time there and is a great town!!
If I know when I will definitely be somewhere, I will make the reservation relatively early. Seven months may be a bit extreme. There are pensions all over, not every single accomodation is listed in a guide book. Samantha Brown stays in high class spa resorts that are a waste of money - you're there to shower and sleep, not spend endless hours of the day inside of. Any journal or postcard writing you do should be in a pub or cafe, enjoy the place! If you want to see a resort, save the travel money and go to one near home.
You are right Eric about Samantha Brown staying in fancy places, but I thought she was talking about hotels over all, are hard to get.
I booked my trip seven months in advance only because I thought $577 was a good price for airfare. I always paid much more than that. Because I booked my airfare so early, I thought because I'm going to Berlin for sure, I might as well book my hotel too.
Advice for early birds like me, if you do book way in advance, it's a good idea to buy insurance. You never know what can happen! I paid only $41.00 for insurance.