My friend and I (two women) are traveling to Italy in October. We are making hotel reservations for all of the large cities, but wonder if they are necessary in mid-October in small Tuscan towns?
Possibly not but I hate the unexpected and always book ahead. I'm usually on a tight time frame and so rely on things to be organised before hand. One thing you also may wish to consider if if the town you want to stay in has limited accommodation you may not find anywhere to stay. Although October is not high season Italy generally is really popular at any time of the year. Just my personal thoughts.
it's a bit of a gamble to not pre-book lodgings. I was in Italy in Sept. & Oct. last year, and there were LOTS of people travelling so lodgings were booking up quickly.
I'm not sure which "small" Tuscan towns you had in mind, but a good example of the lodgings situation was the morning I left Florence. The small Hotel I was staying in had two cancellations / openings - they were re-booked in ten minutes!!!
I don't like wasting time looking for place to stay when arriving in a new town, so I usually pre-book, even though this means a bit less "spontaneity". One problem with NOT pre-booking, is that one might end up with a room that is "less than desirable", in a dodgy part of town, and at a price that is more than one budgeted for.
September/October is peak season. There will always be a room available but it may not be what you're looking for or the price you wish to pay. I'd book in advance. I would not want to waste time looking for a room when it could be taken care of in advance.
as a counter-point to some of the earlier posts, I was in Tuscany and Umbria last Sept. I was traveling with a friend who liked to play it by ear, so no advance reservations. We'd show up in town, Rick Steves book in hand, and start looking. We were in hill towns such as Perugia, Cortona, Spello. We were always able to find a place to stay, usually within 1 or 2 tries. And we were able to see the room before committing.
So it can be done. However truth be told I think its a bit of a time waster to be walking around, bag on back, looking for hotels. Next time I'll call a day or two in advance as I'm travelling around. Also the people at the hotels have a book with comprehensive listings of hotels and a couple of times offered to call ahead if we wanted them to make reservations for us. Maybe its just the staff at places Rick recommends, but I found the people at the hotels to be friendly & helpful.
Sorry, we're those spontaneous types. We only book first and last night's lodging. As we don't want to have to be anywhere at a certain time, in case we change our minds, we book the rest as we go, either by deciding to stay in a town we happen to really like and want to spend more time in, or we'll ask at our hotel for a recommendation at the next area we are heading, or we just go online and find one through venere.com. We've never spent a lot of time lugging luggage through towns looking for lodging, but maybe we've just been lucky. Also October is off season. Along the coasts, many of the resorts are closing or have closed. In Gaeta a hotel, which was closing down for the season, stayed open for us and another couple and even turned the hot water back on for us. Either way, prebooked or spontaneous, have a great trip.
thanks to all for your help!
I have to agree with Ken. Why waste time when you are there trying to find a decent place to stay when it is sooo easy to book online these days. Save yourself the stress and do it ahead of time!