Because of something that's likely to remain an open issue until after I leave for Europe, I may have an unexpected few days in Florence, which could be a real positive. It would be midweek, in mid-October. However, I always travel with reservations, and the places I usually stay in Florence are very unlikely to have a vacancy, if I just show up. So, would someone who normally travels more "free form" please advise me of what you'd do upon arrival in Florence without reservations. I'd like to stay in the 100 E or so range, but want clean, safe, and central. Simple is fine, as is a shared bath (with the "clean" proviso being particularly important). Where do you start with this? (and FYI, my Italian is limited to things like excuse me, yes, no, please, Coco-Cola...) Thanks
October being high season (any my favorite B&B books up months ahead for Oct) maybe think about staying outside Florence and training in. That or have the phone numbers for some of your central B&B's, hotels etc. Phone when you know you'll be there. May have to change accommodations after a day or two but so what.
We tend to travel without reservations. One thing we will sometimes do... if we know we will be arriving in a town a day or two in advance, we email them to see if they have availability. So you could check your favorite haunts and see- they just might have a room for you. If not, then go down your list and see who can accommodate you. Or, as soon as you do know you will be in Florence then start emailing. Sometimes we have to piece together our hotels- a night here, two nights there. It's the price we are willing to pay to have the flexibility of no set time schedule. We were in Florence end of March. No problem getting a room last minute.
Hotel Dali was very clean, large rooms private bath,recently re done, very friendly Marco speaks beautiful English. No breakfast but he will direct you to a close bar that serves wonderful pastries and espresso at reasonable price. 50 euro/night (Would have stayed there the entire 6 nights, but it was booked over the weekend.) so... Hotel Casci 80 euros/night, included breakfast. Family run, very clean speak english well. Larger hotel, more rooms and availability. We stayed here for 2 nights. Both are just a block and a half or so from the duomo- in different directions. Would stay at either one again.
October is considered "mezza stagione" (mid season) in most hotels. The best way to go about it is do a search online upon arrival or the day before. I've always found accommodations for me or friends in Florence the same day or the day before. I just checked some websites online (booking.com, venere.com) to see if anything is available today (it's 8:45 am in Florence). Plenty of choices under 120 euro in the core of the historical city center. And this is September, just days before the start of the World Cycling Championship in Florence, a major event this year taking place in Florence in the latter part of Sept.
Can you still make reservations at the train station? They used to be a good source when we arrived without reservations.
Try your usual places and if they are booked ask them for a referral.
If you can access the internet (some hotels provide this, or Western Union offices), you can check booking.com the day before or even the day of your needing a room and they should have several choices for you. You can filter by price, location, number of stars, etc. Read some reviews before you book (you can filter reviews by solo traveler, family, etc.) to see if things that are important to you are available at the properties you are searching. If that fails, try the TI across from the Santa Maria Novella train station.
You might contact La Scaletta hotel since they have a chat room you can access from their home page. We are staying there the first week of October and our double room with private bath and view of the nearby Boboli gardens is around 125 Euros. Can't beat the location, just a few meters from Ponte Vecchio south of the river.