Traveling without reservations

It’s practically impossible, not to mention thoroughly restricting, to have all your pillows reserved before you head out on a trip, even if it’s only a 3-week stint. I know people do it all the time, but I think such pre-planned decisions often turn into unnecessary dilemmas.

Maybe you’ll want to hang somewhere a few more days than planned, maybe you’ll want to leave before, or maybe you decide to skip the destination all together.

Recently, ‘dancing dadTim Leffel addressed this issue in his Tripso column by saying that for many reasons web bookings can be disastrous, and half the cool places you could be staying in may not have an online reservation policy; the ones that do are mostly popular franchises, especially outside Europe and the US. So, you are probably better off just getting there and figuring it out — ofcourse, being wary of peak seasons.

Opportunities of booking your stays from the comfort of your own home for places in Asia might only be possible at Hostel World — those too are quite limited the minute you start exploring places like Nepal, India and China.

Having said that and having backpacked extensively, although I don’t plan much before hand, there is only one time I took a trip without having any faint idea of where I was going to sleep. I landed up squatting in the Balearic Islands for 4-days and it was the best trip ever.

It takes a lot of guts, confidence and humility to let yourself be at the mercy of the people at the destination you are visiting, but that could make the whole difference to your personal experience of the journey.

A good way to balance it out is booking the first night or two before you leave, and then figuring it out as you go along. If you are adventurous and open-minded, you’ll find a way, or if nothing else, you will definitely have a memorable story.

Posted by | Comments (3)  | September 25, 2007
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

3 Responses to “Traveling without reservations”

  1. Katya Says:

    i agree! some of the best travel experiences iºve had are when iºm lost and confused and end up wandering into an adventure of some sort…and preplanning everything to death would take away all the excitement of travel.

    iºm now wandering around europe (see blog) which the vagabonding book helped me work up the courage to do, so i thought iºd pop in and say hello!

  2. AJ Says:

    That kind of “by the seat of your pants” attitude seems to scare a lot of people, but it shouldn’t. Maybe our lives at home condition us to eliminate all the risks and uncertainties we can possibly imagine. This is a good strategy for airport security, but not for traveling.

  3. Mark Says:

    Greetings –

    As someone who owns a small guesthouse that does not really have a web presence, we very much appreciate those seat of the pants travelers who show up and discover great small places to stay.