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Accommodation prebooking

Denzil

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plan (2017)
I would love advice and recommendations from the forum.
I am looking at pre-booking accommodation along the entire walk. Reasons:
I am a stroller and don't want to have to rush to find a bed or get stressed to get anywhere
I enjoy looking for special places to stop.
I expect that there will be many pilgrims walking in May this year starting. 5 years ago when i walked the same path there were fewer pilgrims i believe and it was generally not a problem.

the negatives for me are:
loose spontaneity and the fun of letting things happen
may need to get a taxi or other transport if i am tired or injured


I will be taking over 50 days on my walk so its quite a job to pre-book but in my case may be well worth it. ( i have the time)

thank you and i look forward to hearing your views.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Don't.........
How could you possibly know how far you feel like walking, or where you would like to stop on day 10, 20 etc.

I can understand not wanting to be stressed about not finding a bed.

Maybe just book your first 2-3 days.
Then book 2-3 days in advance?

Though if you are walking the Frances, in May, I would book as far as Pamplona.
Zubiri in particular can be a bottleneck.

I have met many people who regretted having their whole Camino pre booked.
They were walking longer or shorter distances that they were comfortable doing.
Getting taxis to 'catch up'.
Getting taxis to different towns and villages to join their new friends for meals.
I have never met anyone, who on reflection thought it was a good idea.

I would never, ever, do it.

But that's me.

I have my next Camino coming up.
It's planned for 60 days.
I've booked the first 2 nights.

After that, I'll see how I feel and book 1 day ahead.
It's not hard.


PS. Maybe..........
If you really want to have everything pre-booked.
Do it on booking.com, but only book places with free cancellation.
I'd suggest by day 7, you'll cancel all the remaining bookings

PPS, of course I may have totally misunderstood your post.
Perhaps you are planning to pre-book, as you go.
Not book everything before you get there.


...
 
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I agree with Robo's suggestion above.

Book the first few days (1 for resting on arrival, 2-3 of walking), to have some peace of mind and to get to know your pace better.
After that, starting booking with 48h or 1 day in advance. If you are fine with staying in private accomodation, you will still find places. It gives you the peace of mind of having a bed the next day, but it doesn't take away the freedom of adjusting on the go when you find an awesome place you would like to enjoy more.
I've done 2 caminos that way (Frances and Portugues) and it worked well. I usually write a preadsheet marking down distances and the stages I think i will do. For both caminos, that schedule went through the window around day 4... Sometimes you just feel a lot of energy, sometimes accidents happen. Booking 1-2 days in advance as you walk will allow you to adjust and also see if there are any parts of the way that are busier than others.
Whatever you decide to do, Buen camino!
 
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Just to give the alternative view as we know we are all different! I am a seasoned walker (whatever that is!) and for both my CF walks/pilgrimages I booked accommodation (with booking.com) all the way in advance to fit in with my flight home - that was also booked in advance. It gave me the certainty of knowing that a bed and shower were there for me at the end of the day. For me, that was freedom and a lack of anxiety about finding a bed although for others, I accept, that it would constrict them.
By the way, I was given "guidance" at the pilgrim office in SJPdP that I shouldn't have done that as I might get injured - I'll deal with that if it were to happen but on all my long-distance walks over 20+ years I haven't been injured. Yes, there were days that I could have walked further/less but didn't affect my enjoyment. As I was on a set return date if I walked further one day I would have to walk less the next, and vice versa.
 
Personally during more than 450 nights in late autumn/winter on the Camino Frances only a few nights when arriving in Santiago have ever been booked! I enjoyed the liberty òf spontaneity and solitude.

Walking late in the year without the hordes of spring/summer all was easy. Some places were closed but there was always some accommodation open.

When weary after walking for 6 hours while carrying a pack all that was needed was a simple shelter with preferably a lower bunk for resting, working toilet, shower, and when possible pleasant companions and something to eat.

Nothing else was really necessary; luxury was clean hiking socks, heat in winter as well as an electric socket to charge a phone.
 
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Sometimes plans change and cancelling or changing 50 nights of reservations could be a whole day of work. We also walk slow and have never not had a bed even on a 45 day Camino. Reserving the day before gives you a feel for weather, terrain, and other factors that may play s role in how far you want to go.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I echo the don't pre book everything.

Do book the first few days, maybe even a week. Also, you can do all your advance research about where you aim to stay so that it is easy to book 2 or 3 days ahead and know you've included those 'special places to stop'. I annotate my paper guide book so that I know my favourite options and where I want to avoid. There are other ways of carrying this information. I do also use an app which helps with making bookings.
 
I didn't book before other than the first few nights on 3 previous Caminos, but last year I did and have booked my 47 nights for this spring too. I know how far I want to walk and where to stop to see towns that I haven't stopped in before.
For me, it is fun to look at all my options and pick out albergues that suit me. All sitting here in my room wearing nightgown and robe. Looking for single beds, communal meals, beds with curtains, or alabergues with a certain something or ones that are in quiet areas. If you have stayed in Leon you know what this means.
Most have been reserved by email, and they only ask that you give them a call a day or 2 before. Have 9 done on booking dot com simply because there are some places where that is the only way to reserve.
This allows me to take as much time as needed and as a very slow walker, it has removed any stress or worry. Most days are 15-20km and you kind of need to plan those stops walking shorter distances.
 
Yes, I hate to be a wet blanket about it, but several pilgrims on this forum (myself included) had to hole up in one place after getting Covid last summer which can derail the daily walking plan and the reservation thing.
 
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Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
I have to confess to being a pre- booker, especially when walking with friends. I know what is a comfortable distance, have built in short days and am prepared to cab it if injury or illness occurs. Everyone is different, I know that I would be preoccupied with where we would stay and that would lessen the enjoyment of walking. It takes some time and patience, but as Jodean says, the research is enjoyable
PS. For planning, Gronze is invaluable
 
I have just finished making reservations for my entire 40-day Camino starting in May. I thought a lot about it and decided that was the best choice for me. I realize it would not be for everyone, if not most people. I am planning relatively short distances (averaging about 20km a day) and don’t care if I could have walked further on any given day. I have considered things like illness or injury and will deal with that if that happens. And being an introvert I am not overly concerned about a Camino family.

I have really enjoyed the process of choosing where I will stay each night with all options available to me, and any anxiety about it is now removed. I was never going to be one who wings it from day to day. Perhaps I will come to regret it but as I sit here now I am confident this is what is best for me.
 
I would love advice and recommendations from the forum.
I am looking at pre-booking accommodation along the entire walk. Reasons:
I am a stroller and don't want to have to rush to find a bed or get stressed to get anywhere
I enjoy looking for special places to stop.
I expect that there will be many pilgrims walking in May this year starting. 5 years ago when i walked the same path there were fewer pilgrims i believe and it was generally not a problem.

the negatives for me are:
loose spontaneity and the fun of letting things happen
may need to get a taxi or other transport if i am tired or injured


I will be taking over 50 days on my walk so its quite a job to pre-book but in my case may be well worth it. ( i have the time)

thank you and i look forward to hearing your views.
If you're looking for private rooms, your plans pretty much match what I have done in 22 (and in 21)
(I leave the Albergues to younger ones) I also take busses prior to Burgos and Leon in order to avoid dreary walks in industrial areas and to have more time for city-sightseeing).
Get back to me on PM if you're interested to get my Excel list with rooms and contacts.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
To pre-book or not to pre-book??? I used to just call ahead the day before. But fall 2021 I got "burned" in Logrono on a weekend. And I had started looking two days ahead. Nothing available except a pension for 75 euro where you had to move the bed to open the bathroom door. And no wi-fi, not even in the owner's adjacent bar. So when I continued the Frances in 2022 I pre-booked every night. The planning was fun. The worry about a bed was over. I prefer private albergues with small dorm rooms. I always request a lower bunk. Yes, I did taxi ahead one late afternoon after Pancho Villa graciously offered to share a ride. Or was that gruff looking, bearded man Santiago? (Turned out, he was a retired US Air Force general!) On one other occasion I simply stopped short - at one of the most delightful albergues ever and gladly forfeited my booking fee at the albergue 5km further on. I am old and slow with heart issues. But, having enjoyed stress free pre-booking, next month my wife and I head to the Camino Mozarabe where we have only pre-booked in Almeria, Granada and Cordoba. Not worried about crowds this time of year. Hope to see some other pilgrims. Buen Camino
 
I walked 15 days on the Camino last September from Le Puy en Velay to Cahors (after doing 11 days on the Haute Route with a 2 week break in between. I'm planning to go back this September to walk from Cahors to Pamplona and am planning to pre-book at least the first 2 weeks. Reason being, I developed a proximal tibia stress fracture that sidelined me for 3 months...so this time, I'm taking my time, taking rest days, and hopefully avoiding another stress fracture. It will be great to know where I am sleeping and pre-booking will slow me down, something I tend not to do! I'll take time to "smell the roses" along the way!
 
This is a "new day" on the Caminos with upwards of over 400,000+ now walking them. I loved the spontaneity I had on my first three Caminos since 2015, but for the last three (not on the Frances) I have booked most lodging ahead through booking.com, with free cancellation. I have no regrets, especially since I travel with one to three others; giving much peace of mind knowing we all have beds (in private lodgings) waiting for us, and has always been "smooth sailing" since we have had no injuries or illnesses to contend with.
 
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(General Opinion)
The excitement of the very first Camino without reservations (or just call ahead the same day) in the unknown will always remain unforgetable.
However, many repeaters tend to prebook their trip based on their previous experience and notes, a second time (and more) is different.
 
We like to stay and volunteer in many places that don't take reservations so that is a different experience than you may be seeking. We do make some reservations, but usually only at the beginning and end of the journey or at a hotel or AirBNB in a bigger city. I don't feel the "pressure" or "anxiety" that many of you express about finding a bed.
 
i have done three Caminos. I would book through Pamplona including prison. Then book two days ahead this gives you comfort of a bed and the flexibility
 
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
We pre-booked our entire camino and I don't regret it! We did change our plans once after the initial booking and had to rebook about 60% of it 🤦‍♀️, but the hosteleros and albergue owners were incredibly nice and flexible in moving our dates. It relieved a lot of stress we would have had over finding accommodations while we were on the Camino, and we could focus on enjoying the walk each day.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
You should do what you feel comfortable with and confident about.
use Booking.com free cancellation oh and book Orisson for the first stop - memorable place and night was had there,last June, but email them now.
I’ve walked over a dozen Caminos and pre booked them all . I had the certainty of bed,shower and food.I met loads of great people ( in the main ) - some of them “ spontaneously “!
Have a great Camino .
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
In 2018, I booked everything ahead. When I got injured, I should have taken a day's rest. But, changing all my reservations and baggage transfers was such a logistical nightmare, I continued walking. It worsened my injury and almost threatened being able to complete my Camino.

I too am a slow walker over 70. This year I'll be mixing it up, reserving rooms at the beginning of my trip and at key points along the way - like Logrono and Burgos - and freelancing where I need or want to according to how I feel. I always only reserve a long time in advance where there's free cancellation.
 
Book from SJPdP to Pamplona for sure. Then a few days ahead! Spend some time researching festival days, holidays or conventions in places you will be going through. Those events can leave one strapped to find a place to stay.
 
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I was walking alone on the Camino Frances (SJPDP to Santiago) at age 67 in 2014 over a 45-day period with a rest day at Leon. I pre-booked the whole route and had luggage transport since my visit to Europe totaled 87 days including visiting extended family living in Europe (my daughter was with me on that part of the trip) and meeting my spouse and another couple in Copenhagen after my camino as we had arranged a cruise of Northern European capitals and the Baltic area before my departure home. Only one little hiccup occurred-- in Belorado where the place I booked somehow managed not to find my credit card # (done through Booking.com), so they assumed I wasn't coming and gave away my room to others (it was a Saturday night and there was a festival in town, thus a shortage of rooms that night). I managed to find one at a wonderful private albergue. I do not regret having prebooked my trip. I looked at hill profiles. I had walked shorter caminos previously and knew what I could handle in a day. It isn't hard to figure that out, so I prebooked accordingly and felt one less stress night after night at having to find accommodation. That was important to me. That summer was a highlight of my life and the only summer where I could fit in a whole camino and accommodate the wishes of others to have me join them on other adventures. My camino was done in memory of a brother who disappeared without a trace, remains never found, and for the spirit of a miscarried grandchild. I had enough weighing on my mind and absolved myself from one less headache. Reasons for doing things one way or another are very personal and are to be respected either way. In a more shoulder environment, I hardly booked any accommodation at all, and also volunteered twice as a hospitalera in different albergues, also delightful experiences! Best wishes with your own plans and buen camino!
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I would love advice and recommendations from the forum.
I am looking at pre-booking accommodation along the entire walk. Reasons:
I am a stroller and don't want to have to rush to find a bed or get stressed to get anywhere
I enjoy looking for special places to stop.
I expect that there will be many pilgrims walking in May this year starting. 5 years ago when i walked the same path there were fewer pilgrims i believe and it was generally not a problem.

the negatives for me are:
loose spontaneity and the fun of letting things happen
may need to get a taxi or other transport if i am tired or injured


I will be taking over 50 days on my walk so its quite a job to pre-book but in my case may be well worth it. ( i have the time)

thank you and i look forward to hearing your views.
Thank you all for your wonderful advice and recommendations. There certainly is a lot to consider and I thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question, I particularly enjoyed the diversity of responses. The range of responses made it clear for me, that like so much in life, it really a personal decision. I am considering a hybrid version of what i had in mind,at this stage, booking for the first week or so and doing research on where i would like to stay for the rest of the time, looking for places that could be special, to me. I can then prebook a day or two ahead if that works with the conditions i find. Thank you all again.
 
If you are planning on walking for fifty days no way would I recommend that you pre book the entire journey. Make reservations whilst you are walking? Sure, why not. I've done that a few times.
I do recommend making reservations in Saint Jean and Santiago.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
I pre-booked a lot in advance, and a few days ahead for the rest. I had no doubt that there would always be accommodation available if I hadn't but my budget was so tight I didn't want to risk having to pay more than I could really afford. I cancelled and rebooked a couple of times. Also I'm a bit lazy, so having a destination set meant I didn't just decide to stop early!
 
I would love advice and recommendations from the forum.
I am looking at pre-booking accommodation along the entire walk. Reasons:
I am a stroller and don't want to have to rush to find a bed or get stressed to get anywhere
I enjoy looking for special places to stop.
I expect that there will be many pilgrims walking in May this year starting. 5 years ago when i walked the same path there were fewer pilgrims i believe and it was generally not a problem.

the negatives for me are:
loose spontaneity and the fun of letting things happen
may need to get a taxi or other transport if i am tired or injured


I will be taking over 50 days on my walk so its quite a job to pre-book but in my case may be well worth it. ( i have the time)

thank you and i look forward to hearing your views.
Your reasons all apply to me too but I have never pre-booked anything other than the first night. Your negatives are mine too. I walk till I feel like stopping. One time I walked just 8k, stopped for a bite at a very welcoming albergue and thought, like this place so I stop here. On another occasion I stopped at an albergue in Uterga. Got what was technically the last bed as the other 4 bunks had reserved signs on them. The prebookers never showed up and those beds remained empty while pilgrims had been turned away who would have been happy to use them. Let it happen, you will get a bed. I walked into Santa Catalina some years ago to find the albergue full. Plenty of beds but all prebooked. Outside, some local ladies were offering beds in their homes to help out disappointed pilgrims. So for me, no booking ahead and always carry your backpack yourself
 
Outside, some local ladies were offering beds in their homes to help out disappointed pilgrims.
This is awesome! I wish there was more of that going on; rubbing shoulders with the locals and maybe even have a home cooked dinner. I would gladly pay for such a kind gesture to be helped in a pinch.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Thank you all for your wonderful advice and recommendations. There certainly is a lot to consider and I thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question, I particularly enjoyed the diversity of responses. The range of responses made it clear for me, that like so much in life, it really a personal decision. I am considering a hybrid version of what i had in mind,at this stage, booking for the first week or so and doing research on where i would like to stay for the rest of the time, looking for places that could be special, to me. I can then prebook a day or two ahead if that works with the conditions i find. Thank you all again.
Last time I walked I took my husband and grandson. Previously I walked on my own, and pretty much winged it.
But as my husband isnt intrepid in the slightest, I booked the first five days before hand, and after that he was interested enough to help decide where we stayed.
As you walk you'll meet people and learn about places that may influence your decisions.
We tended to book 2-3 days ahead. Now I'm planning the next Camino.
But having just had Covid, and just now recovering weeks later, I realise that if I caught it again on the Camino, my walking distances would be compromised, so I'll build in some recovery days just in case. If not needed then I'll use them at the end someplace I haven't been.
That's a scenario I hadn't considered before when I always had a tight schedule hemmed in by booked flights and limited holiday time.
 
This is awesome! I wish there was more of that going on; rubbing shoulders with the locals and maybe even have a home cooked dinner. I would gladly pay for such a kind gesture to be helped in a pinch.
There were 4 ladies. I was about to approach them when the hospitalero called me back to say he just had a cancellation. Have often regretted not going with the ladies
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
If you're looking for private rooms, your plans pretty much match what I have done in 22 (and in 21)
(I leave the Albergues to younger ones) I also take busses prior to Burgos and Leon in order to avoid dreary walks in industrial areas and to have more time for city-sightseeing).
Get back to me on PM if you're interested to get my Excel list with rooms and contacts.
I am doing the Camino Frances with my sister-in-law this Sept. We agree to leave the Alberques to the young. We are both seniors. Would really appreciate your Excel list with rooms and contacts. Thanks

Moderator note: a personal email address was removed. Please don't post your email addresses on the forum. It is open to the public, and makes you a potential spam target (or worse). Forum members can communicate via private messages by clicking on another member's name, then choosing "Start conversation."
 
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I recommend the booking.com to book the entire lodgings, either albergues or private inexpensive hotels . The most places, listed on the booking.com are able to be cancelled free charge a few days before arrivals. When I took the Camino Frances last fall, I did make pre booking on the booking.com almost half way through and I had to cancel the entire bookings due to unexpected injury on the way down to Zubiri. All bookings but one were cancelled without any problems. Now I have the places to go for sure without worrying. This is easy way to use the luggage transfer between those lodgings. You now know where to send your backpack to next destination if you want to walk light. By the way I'm planning to take the CF on this coming April. Buen Camino!
 
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Just to give the alternative view as we know we are all different! I am a seasoned walker (whatever that is!) and for both my CF walks/pilgrimages I booked accommodation (with booking.com) all the way in advance to fit in with my flight home - that was also booked in advance. It gave me the certainty of knowing that a bed and shower were there for me at the end of the day. For me, that was freedom and a lack of anxiety about finding a bed although for others, I accept, that it would constrict them.
By the way, I was given "guidance" at the pilgrim office in SJPdP that I shouldn't have done that as I might get injured - I'll deal with that if it were to happen but on all my long-distance walks over 20+ years I haven't been injured. Yes, there were days that I could have walked further/less but didn't affect my enjoyment. As I was on a set return date if I walked further one day I would have to walk less the next, and vice versa.
May I ask how many days you did the complete walk? I can relate to the stress of finding a place, after backpacking all over last summer. It can be stressful. I love the idea of freedom, but I like the idea of knowing it’s one less thing to worry about
 
I would love advice and recommendations from the forum.
I am looking at pre-booking accommodation along the entire walk. Reasons:
I am a stroller and don't want to have to rush to find a bed or get stressed to get anywhere
I enjoy looking for special places to stop.
I expect that there will be many pilgrims walking in May this year starting. 5 years ago when i walked the same path there were fewer pilgrims i believe and it was generally not a problem.

the negatives for me are:
loose spontaneity and the fun of letting things happen
may need to get a taxi or other transport if i am tired or injured


I will be taking over 50 days on my walk so its quite a job to pre-book but in my case may be well worth it. ( i have the time)

thank you and i look forward to hearing your views.
I pre-booked the entire way through Pilgrim, a travel service. I told them how far I wanted to walk each day and the level of accommodations I wanted and never had to think about where to stay. Did this on the Frances, the Portugues, and the lower reaches of the Via de la Plata.

I'm sure it cost more. I don't know what their cut is.

After a few sleepless nights in albergue rooms with people reading their iPhones and traipsing past me to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I decided that I wanted my own room and my own bathroom. I'm sure that cost more too.

The downside, as others have said, is the inability to change course. I also found that I was an outsider in groups of people that had stayed together in albergues. But I met so many people along the way that I don't think this was a big downside.

I think the anxiety of not knowing where I'm going to stay would have been unpleasant. That's me. For others, it may be liberating.
 
May I ask how many days you did the complete walk? I can relate to the stress of finding a place, after backpacking all over last summer. It can be stressful. I love the idea of freedom, but I like the idea of knowing it’s one less thing to worry about
31 days, the longest 25 miles to Sahagun, the shortest 8 miles from Lavacolla to SdC so that I could get there early to enjoy myself, get my Compostella, etc, and catch my plane home later that day - well early the next as I slept at the airport!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.

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