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Visiting Wales - too risky not to book ahead??

Hello, I have been avidly reading the forums and have found them to be very informative with some great tips and ideas. There is just too much choice on offer of places to visit. I keep being drawn back to Northern Wales though. We will be visiting the UK in September and had thought about a 3 - 4 night stay in the Conwy area.

Thinking about travelling from London to the area by train, then hiring a car for the duration of our short stay. I thought that by travelling by train at least my husband could sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. As we are visiting our daughter in London our itinerary needs to be flexible, hence we probably won't make any accommodation, train or car hire bookings before we arrive in the UK.

My question is, would it be too risky with accommodation availability, train prices and car hire? I have read that the further ahead you book your train tickets the cheaper they are, but if you booked them a few days prior they would still be cheaper than on the day purchases wouldn't they? There seems to be an abundance of accommodation as well. We are looking at B & B's.

I am normally a very organised and prepared person, but in this instance I am having to have a more relaxed approach to our travels.

Your advice would be appreciated. Thank you. Julie.

Posted by
742 posts

I am a habitual non booker if it's out of the school holiday period like your travel dates,you will be fine.
Even booking the day before will get you significant train fare savings,even more so if you get a 2together travel card

Posted by
1179 posts

If you are planning to drive in Wales; the drive from London to Wales has many scenic options and sites to visit on the way. I think that you may find booking an auto online for a longer time frame to be a better per diem cost. This may prove to be more of a bargain than the train. The only problem with the train is going by all those places you pass by without being able to stop before you get to Conwy (depending on the train line and the ticket type). For Wales check the list of Edward's Castle; you can visit most of them with a CADW pass...you can purchase this a your first stop at Conwy Castle. We enjoyed our time driving through Wales. The roads are good...even thru Snowdonia...with stops for sheep.

Posted by
4838 posts

I am always surprised when I read that people go places without proper planning.

Booking a B &B in advance will let you know basic things like, how close to sites you plan to visit, and where you will park your car.
Booking upfront allows you to do the research in picking the best place at your price point.

Also, some of the best B & Bs fill up early.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks people. I have done extensive research and have chosen several B & B's that read well and have good reviews in the area. I just don't want to book prior to arriving in the UK as we are there to visit our daughter and just doing this as a little side trip. It may turn out that she wants to travel with us so booking prior for 2 rather than 3 or 4 makes a huge difference re cars, accommodation. I think as long as we have a basic plan it can be tweaked once we are there.

I appreciate the comments and will have a think and discussion. Thanks very much.

Posted by
18766 posts

I'm always surprised that people are able and willing to commit to a specific number of days at destinations that are new to them--especially when the trip is during the shoulder season or off-season when weather can be unpredictable. I think this preference is affected by how important it is to have the absolutely best lodgings (charm, value, price) vs. maximizing the sightseeing experience. It has nothing to do with proper planning. The people who don't do proper planning are the ones who don't open a guidebook and ask people they've never met where they should go and exactly what they should see when they get there.

Posted by
351 posts

I am envious of people who feel comfortable winging it and finding accommodation wherever they end up. It seems so footloose and carefree and enables you to take advantage of whatever opportunities or impulses come your way. BUT I am always too anxious and risk averse to do that, so I book ahead. Sometimes really far ahead if I find a place I love. It helps me picture what my trip will look like. The one time we did this (I, husband, sister went to Italy and only booked the first night ahead) it worked out fine, except for the last night in Milan, but I was anxious the whole time.

ETA - that last night in Milan ranks as the absolute worst place I've ever stayed, which sadly reinforces my aversion to winging it. :(

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I am really looking forward to our trip. I will report back after return on how we went.

Posted by
37 posts

I am looking forward to your report. I am a flight attendant and always travel "on the fly" because I never know if I will get there! My daughter and I stayed in Cardiff for several days 2 years ago and I just loved it and the friendliness of the Welsh people. I plan to pop over again for a week next month and want to drive all over and find out where to stay when I arrive.