There are many reasons to book ahead, but there are also many reasons to wait. If you are more adventurous and value flexibility more, you may want to wait to book. However, if you are on a tighter schedule, going somewhere more popular, or looking for a specific type of accommodation, it’s best to book in advance.
[Recommended Read: How to Book Accommodation on Arrival]
When You Should Book Accommodation in Advance
You Want to Be Sure of Availability
Whether you book online or over the phone, you can know that you will have a place to stay when you get wherever you’re going. Know exactly where to go and don’t worry about finding accommodation on that fits your comfort level and budget!
You Need Peace of Mind
Booking in advance means you know you won’t have to run around a town you’re not familiar with. You just have to give the address of your booking to the person that will take you there.
You Want a Stable Price
Through a reliable booking website like Agoda* or Booking.com*, you know what you have to pay and won’t get cheated; the owner won’t try to charge you more than the next guest. With Agoda, you just pay directly online and don’t have to deal with exchanging money at all!
You Might Need Special Instructions to Get There
If you book a smaller accommodation, the staff can make sure you have the right directions. This includes having the address and detailed directions in the local language, an access key to bypass security, or special information for arrivals outside normal office hours. If reviews that you have read are full of people expressing confusion, you might want to book in advance and ask for directions.
You Want Access to Hard-to-Book Rooms
In very popular places and during peak season, the earlier you book, the better deals you will find. If you want to stay near the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park in the US in the middle of July, you need to start booking six months in advance to get the best rooms (or any rooms at all!). Wait until arrival and you’ll see that even the campsites are completely full.
In certain cases, the property may offer you a great cancelation policy, like the ones on Agoda* or Booking.com*. You can lock in a price and even cancel just 24 hours before you are due to arrive without paying a penalty. Sometimes, I book by directly contacting the property via Facebook, email, or phone to make a “reservation,” where you don’t actually give them a payment method. This doesn’t work with all properties, but this can give you the best of both worlds by securing you a bed without the mess of cancelation fees and policies.
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