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An alternative system for Albergues

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F

Former member 98814

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Hi everyone! When i walked the camino in the summer, I think I booked a place to stay maybe 15%-20% of the time. In the second half of it, I was walking with someone who booked pretty much for every night. Here's the thing. If no one booked ahead, there would be less panic to get there but I know that will never happen. Instead there is a bed race each day, leading to blisters. :) I did lose that race one day and slept out under a porch with just a sleeping bag liner, but generally speaking it is safe enough to leave it to providence. What if they had a system where the number of vacancies in each town could be displayed either on a website, app or on an entrance sign, a bit like the parking vacancy signs, so that people didn't need to panic so much. I notice a lot of albergues simply only had phone bookings and no internet bookings, so maybe this is a pie in the sky suggestion. :) However, it would be a nice if there was less panic amongst the pilgrims, where each races the other to get a bed first. Maybe I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one...
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Hi everyone! When i walked the camino in the summer, I think I booked a place to stay maybe 15%-20% of the time. In the second half of it, I was walking with someone who booked pretty much for every night. Here's the thing. If no one booked ahead, there would be less panic to get there but I know that will never happen. Instead there is a bed race each day, leading to blisters. :) I did lose that race one day and slept out under a porch with just a sleeping bag liner, but generally speaking it is safe enough to leave it to providence. What if they had a system where the number of vacancies in each town could be displayed either on a website, app or on an entrance sign, a bit like the parking vacancy signs, so that people didn't need to panic so much. I notice a lot of albergues simply only had phone bookings and no internet bookings, so maybe this is a pie in the sky suggestion. :) However, it would be a nice if there was less panic amongst the pilgrims, where each races the other to get a bed first. Maybe I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one...
That’s asking for each albergue owner to have the internet resources to log on to a system every time a bed is taken up… perhaps as many as 2 dozen or more times in a day. Who will pay for that overhead and that time?
Pilgrims like the simplicity of the system as it is, in no small part because of the lowered costs. Many of us remind each other to be grateful for the presence of a comfortable bed, showers and other indoor conveniences, perhaps even a breakfast thrown in… all for 10-12 euros!!!
Start adding on things, like computer savvy, a computer network and ISP, a software platform and *time on task*…. Surely the prices will have to jump, and yet the end product: bed, shower, breakfast won’t really change.
As you noted, the overwhelming majority are happy to do without the bookings. Getting 100% of the people to pay for what only 1/5th want… it’s not a “value added” proposition.
 
F

Former member 98814

Guest
That’s asking for each albergue owner to have the internet resources to log on to a system every time a bed is taken up… perhaps as many as 2 dozen or more times in a day. Who will pay for that overhead and that time?
Pilgrims like the simplicity of the system as it is, in no small part because of the lowered costs. Many of us remind each other to be grateful for the presence of a comfortable bed, showers and other indoor conveniences, perhaps even a breakfast thrown in… all for 10-12 euros!!!
Start adding on things, like computer savvy, a computer network and ISP, a software platform and *time on task*…. Surely the prices will have to jump, and yet the end product: bed, shower, breakfast won’t really change.
As you noted, the overwhelming majority are happy to do without the bookings. Getting 100% of the people to pay for what only 1/5th want… it’s not a “value added” proposition.
None of that is necessary, all an albergue would need to do is be part of a simple app on their phone at zero cost.. In return for that, everyone will benefit from the peace of mind that they will know which albergue to visit for a bed, everyone is happy. It will make it easier for some albergues to actually keep their prices low by maximising occupancy. "Pilgrims like the simplicity of the system as it is." What? They'd prefer to make 7 phonecalls when a simple app could save them all that the bother? The person who walked with me rang on average 4-8 calls per day to make a booking: that's not efficient or simple. Most people use apps nowadays, it is just an easy way of making life that bit easier and simpler.
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Some very personal thoughts :

Panic is what you create yourself .
Not everything in life needs/ can be controlled.
Not everyone has a smartphone and wants to install a "simple " app.
I do not believe or think that any of my Caminos will be easy and simple. I would prefer them to be painfree and without major incidents but that is the most I wish for.
Like I wrote earlier here on the forum : the Camino is a metaphor for life itself : the good , the bad & the ugly.
My piece of mind comes from other sources...
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I don’t know where magical zero-cost apps come from. If the Albergue owners do not pay to be members, then walkers will have to pay to be users, and it will be a niche market.
Most people do not book ahead every night. Some of us book ahead some of the time — using things like Booking.com (and then pay a premium on the room for the convenience).
Confirmation bias is not a market survey. The albergue owners out there are not fools. I’m sure many have considered such technologies… but they don’t want to have to pay for a fancy smart phone, for the ISP, for the data… it’s simply not reasonable overhead.
This is much like the “Why don’t they put in Porta-loo units for us on the trails?” discussion that comes up every year or so.
Because it’s not cost effective.
Because one person’s anxiety is not reflective of the 350K who travel annually now…
Because for the foreseeable, albergue owners have to function on less revenue so new experiments are not high on the list of priorities.
Because keeping it low-tech is part of the commitment of the route in general to make it accessible for pilgrims with less economic means (for the phone, for the SIM card, for the data plan…)
And that’s just for starters.
 
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Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Past OR future Camino
2021
In my experience the Wise Pilgrim app comes darn close. Linked with Booking.com and ease of emailing albergues, I have never had to make a call or had to run.

Wanna take some of the worry out of the next town's lodging? If you like the place you are in today, ask the staff for a recommendation for tomorrow. Sometimes they will make contact for you.

All due credit to the OP: instead of just posting a complaint, they actually offered a possible solution. We should keep that in mind when we answer =)

M
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
A creative idea, Mel!

Instead there is a bed race each day, leading to blisters
The spreading anxiety of this is a potential positive feedback loop that can be stopped without an app. If people don't buy into the fear, and just walk - perhaps booking, perhaps stopping between Brierley stages, for example - the collective level of fear will be kept in check.
And let's face it. The bed race is fear made visible.

@SabineP said something that's so easy to forget:
Panic is what you create yourself .
Not everything in life needs/ can be controlled.
[...] the Camino is a metaphor for life itself : the good , the bad & the ugly.
My piece of mind comes from other sources...
We think anxiety arises because of limited numbers of beds for the number of pilgrims. But anxiety arises because of our relationship to those beds. Because we have a low tolerance for not having everything work out the way we want, and a lack of flexibility about plans.
 

The Austrian

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Nov 11, 2016
CF Oct 31, 2018
OP's idea does have merit for peak season. And indeed as malachiuri said, it is such a nice thing to see a solutions driven comment instead of focusing on a problem.
Not sure if Albergues pay to be on Gronze, but they would be ideal to implement something on their app?

Or, of course, avoid peak season like I did (twice) and there will always be a place to lay your weary bones.
 
The OP's proposal is a good one. Anything that takes the stress out of the Camino is good ... Whether you're just enjoying the trip or seeking refreshment of the spirit not knowing if you'll sleep out tonight helps with neither. And the wonderful cameraderie among pilgrims vanishes when the rat-race starts; as I tramped thru Tricastela in July seeking a bed I found myself thinking unchristian thoughts about the tourigrini in the cafes enjoying their afternoon. I didn't find one, but as I have a tent this wasn't a problem, but without one it would've been.

My suggestion: each Camino town creates a roster of volunteers who have a mobile phone. The number is on gronze. Pilgrims call this number and the volunteer tells them what hostels have space and makes a booking for them. If there are no beds, then they get info about where they might find one.

Also, each town sets up an overflow (church, hall, school sports room, whatever), and a link person to direct pilgrims otherwise stranded thereto.

This matters. I arrived in O Cebreiro recently, knowing that the municipal closed at 11, but in fact it closed at 10. All the hostels were full. It was cold and wet, but I have the gear to deal with that. If I hadn't, it would've been very unpleasant indeed.

One final suggestion. Perhaps more towns and villages could do what Moratinos does, and use a roster of volunteers to keep the church open? Closed churches are now the rule, not the exception, and this matters to me and, I suspect, to many.
 
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RRat

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Hi everyone! When i walked the camino in the summer, I think I booked a place to stay maybe 15%-20% of the time. In the second half of it, I was walking with someone who booked pretty much for every night. Here's the thing. If no one booked ahead, there would be less panic to get there but I know that will never happen. Instead there is a bed race each day, leading to blisters. :) I did lose that race one day and slept out under a porch with just a sleeping bag liner, but generally speaking it is safe enough to leave it to providence. What if they had a system where the number of vacancies in each town could be displayed either on a website, app or on an entrance sign, a bit like the parking vacancy signs, so that people didn't need to panic so much. I notice a lot of albergues simply only had phone bookings and no internet bookings, so maybe this is a pie in the sky suggestion. :) However, it would be a nice if there was less panic amongst the pilgrims, where each races the other to get a bed first. Maybe I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one...
There is already a system in place that works. Call a taxi, the taxi calls ahead to confirm space. Worked for me.
 
F

Former member 98814

Guest
Wow! Why complicate a system that has worked for decades, just walk and find a bed
Complicate a system? Apps allow you to know where there is a vacancy in a glance. Ringing a dozen numbers, over several hours is way more complicated, tedious and pointless. My walking companion did that. Personally, I just mostly didn't bother to ring ahead as it was too much hassle. I had to sleep outdoors one night.

As an aside, I am only on this channel a few weeks and I have grown to dislike immensely the conservative, kneejerk reaction to any suggestions to make caminos run a bit more smoothly.

I have gone on countless long haul adventures over the past 10 years and I had hoped I'd find likeminded free spirits on here. I can't for the life of me understand how people who go on long walks can be so close minded and lacking in freespirtedness. It seems caminos make people averse to change. I will leave this forum for good this week.
 

Michelle_McA

Paso corto, vista larga
Past OR future Camino
2021
I hope there never comes a day where anything is automated on the Camino. I think a lot of us go there for the simplicity of just living and relying on the goodness of the universe. Whenever I haven’t found a bed, something always worked out. That’s the beauty of the Camino. Automation defeats the faith and goodwill of the people you meet along the way in any such anxiety-producing situations
 

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Past OR future Camino
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
I'm currently in Leon, have stayed primarily in Alburques. One of the things I have witnessed is pilgrims making multiple reservations for the same night. One for the location they hope to get to, one for a location a bit closer and perhaps one for a bit farther if they feel like going on. So one group of three I witnessed doing this had removed the availability of 9 beds. I truly don't see what purpose reservations are serving.
 
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F

Former member 98814

Guest
I hope there never comes a day where anything is automated on the Camino. I think a lot of us go there for the decades-old simplicity of just living and relying on the goodness of the universe. Whenever I haven’t found a bed, something always worked out. That’s the beauty of the Camino. I sincerely hope it doesn’t grow to have automated things. It defeats the faith in the goodwill of the people you meet along the way in any such anxiety-producing situations
I think most people think things happen on the camino by magic but under the surface most things are actually automated. All of the supplies for example that you depended on like bed liners, food, drinks were there because behind the scenes goods are being automatically ordered to replenish what has been used. Do you think no one used the maps on their phones to see how far was left on their journey? I bet 99% of the pilgrims did and many times a day. They used their phones to see if albergues had pools. They used them to read the reviews and compare the prices. The taxis that magically come to collect bags and bring them to the next albergues have automated systems in place. The pilgrims who have an alarm to automatically wake them in the morning. The numerous automated coffee machines and vending machines that saved many a person stuck when shops weren't open. I was saved by one such vending machine when I ran out of water. Most people nowadays use the internet to plan their camino and without it likely it wouldn't happen: that's entirely automated. Almost everything on the camino is automated, the beauty of it is that nobody notices because it does what it needs to do and makes itself invisible to the eye. Like the fact that we are using the internet right now, built on automated internet protocols.
 

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Past OR future Camino
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
I also think it's naive to think the Camino is the same today as it was a thousand years ago. Between luggage delivery, Booking com, smart phones, and near end to end wireless coverage technology is a big part of today's Camino. The question is whether it adds or takes away from the experience.
 
F

Former member 98814

Guest
I'm currently in Leon, have stayed primarily in Alburques. One of the things I have witnessed is pilgrims making multiple reservations for the same night. One for the location they hope to get to, one for a location a bit closer and perhaps one for a bit farther if they feel like going on. So one group of three I witnessed doing this had removed the availability of 9 beds. I truly don't see what purpose reservations are serving.
That's exactly the problem I saw for 4 weeks solid. It is a system that is dysfunctional.
 
F

Former member 98814

Guest
I'm currently in Leon, have stayed primarily in Alburques. One of the things I have witnessed is pilgrims making multiple reservations for the same night. One for the location they hope to get to, one for a location a bit closer and perhaps one for a bit farther if they feel like going on. So one group of three I witnessed doing this had removed the availability of 9 beds. I truly don't see what purpose reservations are serving.
How's the weather out there these days? I was there July-August.
 
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FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Past OR future Camino
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
How's the weather out there these days? I was there July-August.
Weather has been fantastic. A few days of rain, cool mornings with pleasant to warm afternoons.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Wow! Why complicate a system that has worked for decades, just walk and find a bed
I walked with three family members one year and finding four beds at once posed additional problems, so we eventually started emailing ahead the morning of, which worked well. We were always told we had to arrive by 5pm or we'd lose the beds...sounded fair to me.
 

Mark L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Done : Le Puy to SJPdP in 2020.
Planned : Saint Jean to Santiago in 2021
Tbh I’m on both sides ….
like the positive suggestion, like apps and it’d be handy …
if it could work and all pilgrims actually had capacity for an app themselves or a team of people handled it on behalf of simple lodgings and all stops did the same etc. Erm not going to happen
I am ok sleeping on a porch, terrace or most anything in a bivi bag which weighs sod all anyway
but then that’s sort of my job being an outdoor expedition company owner.
live thought about it for next year, but tbh, I find the rhythm in the trip itself rather than a pre done timetable. I’m good to just wing it really
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am ok sleeping on a porch, terrace or most anything in a bivi bag which weighs sod all anyway
but then that’s sort of my job being an outdoor expedition company owner.
live thought about it for next year, but tbh, I find the rhythm in the trip itself rather than a pre done timetable. I’m good to just wing it really
Good for you being an outdoor expedition owner, but I doubt most women walking the Camino if they are in the age range of 60-80 would be too keen on winging it in a bivy bag on a rainy night.
 
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AlexB

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés
But also how this affect the people that work in the Camino. At the end Albergues benefit from full occupancy so they can keep working. It's absolutely a double sword because Albergues taking reservations are trying to sustain their businesses, another thing they can do is charged for the reservation so there are not so many people doing multiple reservations for the same night. I'm currently in Nájera and I have seen it already.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I help to run two non-profit albergues. We started out this year accepting reservations, but the phone never stopped ringing and the hospitaleros were constantly interrupted in their work and leisure hours -- it added significantly to the stress and workload. When we turned away worn-out pilgrims, holding back beds for people who never showed up and never called to cancel..? We decided to pull the plug on reservations altogether. It seemed more fair all around to just go back to first come, first served.
 

Ian Salsbury

New Member
Past OR future Camino
booked to do Lugo-Santiago June 2018
Hi everyone! When i walked the camino in the summer, I think I booked a place to stay maybe 15%-20% of the time. In the second half of it, I was walking with someone who booked pretty much for every night. Here's the thing. If no one booked ahead, there would be less panic to get there but I know that will never happen. Instead there is a bed race each day, leading to blisters. :) I did lose that race one day and slept out under a porch with just a sleeping bag liner, but generally speaking it is safe enough to leave it to providence. What if they had a system where the number of vacancies in each town could be displayed either on a website, app or on an entrance sign, a bit like the parking vacancy signs, so that people didn't need to panic so much. I notice a lot of albergues simply only had phone bookings and no internet bookings, so maybe this is a pie in the sky suggestion. :) However, it would be a nice if there was less panic amongst the pilgrims, where each races the other to get a bed first. Maybe I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one...
Some of us like to just walk and find a bed when we are ready rather than to book ahead. Booking ahead loses some of the freedom or spontaneity of the pilgrimage.
 

Mark L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Done : Le Puy to SJPdP in 2020.
Planned : Saint Jean to Santiago in 2021
Good for you being an outdoor expedition owner, but I doubt most women walking the Camino if they are in the age range of 60-80 would be too keen on winging it in a bivy bag on a rainy night.
then don’t ….
I wasn’t trying to speak for everyone on the camino. I was actually referencing the post. Nor did you mention the points on that around many of the same age range not being au fait or having apps in the first place and realistically how that would be updated by Albergues.
plus, I was giving a personal view on timetabled itinerarie. My own view and preference.
tbh, doesn’t matter what you say here, somebody wants to jump on it.
i was commenting on the OP and referenced it, not solely on a subset of a comment from a response to it. You made no mention of the subject in question but seem fascinated that someone qualified could suggest he could camp out.
you also (wrongly) assume I don’t fall in the age range you quoted and I probably should also apologise for being a male in that age range too
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
then don’t ….
I wasn’t trying to speak for everyone on the camino. I was actually referencing the post. Nor did you mention the points on that around many of the same age range not being au fait or having apps in the first place and realistically how that would be updated by Albergues.
plus, I was giving a personal view on timetabled itinerarie. My own view and preference.
tbh, doesn’t matter what you say here, somebody wants to jump on it.
i was commenting on the OP and referenced it, not solely on a subset of a comment from a response to it
you also (wrongly) assume I don’t fall in the age range you quoted
I was more responding to being an older woman as there are many on this forum, not particularly speaking to men of any age. I meant nothing personal to you, so I apologize that you were offended by my post.

Edit- I wish I was in a position to do what you suggest. If anything, I admire your capabilities to do as you are able to do in a pinch and go with the flow by winging it.🙂
 
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Mark L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Done : Le Puy to SJPdP in 2020.
Planned : Saint Jean to Santiago in 2021
I was more responding to being an older woman as there are many on this forum, not particularly speaking to men of any age. I meant nothing personal personal to you, so I apologize that you were offended by my post.
I’d be happy to meet you and I’d also be the first to offer what support I could were you to feel in danger.
even if that meant my carefully planned “schedule” now meant nothing
I’m not offended but I attempted to actually reference the OP.
you didn’t
and seem to think I’m alpha male so react on a wrong basis.
i grew up in hotel business and know how hard levelling online vs phone vs walk in accommodation bookings are. Particularly without tech. The reality is most would find the op, as I acknowledged, a good idea but then I’ll guarantee you a decent percentage don’t turn up unless they paid up front.
Ill say it again, FOR ME, I don’t want to be constrained by a set timetable, I don’t want to spend a day on the phone or an app, I don’t want to find I then can’t or won’t turn up and take someone’s place they could have had … but the worst I get is I just sleep like i do a lot at work … no big deal to me
 

RRat

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
You took taxis? I walked.
A number of us, all strangers, arrive at an alburge late in the afternoon, around 4 PM. Walking another 5k to another possible full alburge? A taxi is called. Driver does a head count and calls ahead. There is about 10 of us and few others are trickling in. He knows of a hotel that has a top floor that is set up for tour group pilgrims but doesn't currently have a tour. Two euros each for the taxi and one of the best alburges I've stayed at. We're happy, the taxi driver fills three cabs so he's happy, the hotel is happy. The hotel was full of sport car enthusiasts. Parking lot with Porsche, Ferrari, etc. Dinner and drinks later was a blast.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I have gone on countless long haul adventures over the past 10 years and I had hoped I'd find likeminded free spirits on here. I can't for the life of me understand how people who go on long walks can be so close minded and lacking in freespirtedness. It seems caminos make people averse to change. I will leave this forum for
Ok, now think about this for a moment
Some, not all people who go to the Tomb of Saint James are pilgrims. They may well be free spirits, which you seem to like. Or they may be closed minded, which you don't like. Which are you?
You had an idea. Some people have disagreed with you and you got upset. How open is your mind?
Now, whether there is a booking app or not, some people will book and some won't. Does this actually matter?
Will anyone notice if you leave the forum?
Are you the only person who has gone on adventures?
Why are you so upset?
Relax, it's only the internet, not real life.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I don't think that the idea proposed by @Mel C is a bad idea, but it's probably totally unworkable. Too many variables. And there currently isn't a unified network of albergues to make it happen. Even if there were such a network, many would choose not to join, leaving us pretty much where we are now.
Also, we have to remember that this year is an outlier (hopefully) as far as reduced capacity in albergues and closed albergues.
My suggestion: each Camino town creates a roster of volunteers who have a mobile phone. The number is on gronze. Pilgrims call this number and the volunteer tells them what hostels have space and makes a booking for them. If there are no beds, then they get info about where they might find one.
This is even less likely to happen, since it involves a ton of cooperation between public and private businesses, not to mention recruiting all of the volunteers!

One that that is definite - albergues should not hold beds for pilgrims past a certain hour, or have the ability to charge for no-shows.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Complicate a system? Apps allow you to know where there is a vacancy in a glance. Ringing a dozen numbers, over several hours is way more complicated, tedious and pointless. My walking companion did that. Personally, I just mostly didn't bother to ring ahead as it was too much hassle. I had to sleep outdoors one night.

As an aside, I am only on this channel a few weeks and I have grown to dislike immensely the conservative, kneejerk reaction to any suggestions to make caminos run a bit more smoothly.

I have gone on countless long haul adventures over the past 10 years and I had hoped I'd find likeminded free spirits on here. I can't for the life of me understand how people who go on long walks can be so close minded and lacking in freespirtedness. It seems caminos make people averse to change. I will leave this forum for good this week.
Ive done both, just 'winged it', stopping when I felt like it, but the last time I took my coeliac husband and our grandson, and for that one I booked ahead a day or so in advance. I booked one place per night, and we always turned up though so never wasted a bed that could be used for someone else. I prefer not to plan my Caminos as much, but it turns out my husband isnt very intrepid.

On my first Camino, I stayed in a place in Los Arcos - the owners said they were all booked out but they had some attic space available, which was fine with me. Later that evening I expected the place to fill up, but there were 6 empty mattresses in the attic, and other beds in the rest of the albergue - all the people who didnt turn up. Livelihoods are at stake here, and I thought it rude of people not to notify the place.

Having walked several times now, I know the towns where accommodation is likely to be limited, and those where there is little risk of missing out.
I think that because two of those towns occur early in the Camino people start to get anxious.
I think if all places took a 50% deposit, wasted bookings would be eliminated, making it easier for all to get a bed.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
IMO reservations do not impact those who don’t want to make them. Some albergues don’t take reservations. Some do. Some fill up early others don’t. Even if no one took reservations you could still find yourself without a bed at the end of your desired walking distance so the reservations don’t impact your final result in the least. You have many options: stop when you see a place you like that’s open. Walk as far as you want to/are able, and if no bed taxi somewhere. Pair up with others and get a pricey hotel room (usually available). Walk even if tired—good for the soul.

Walking further doesn’t give you blisters, wrong socks, shoes, or not changing wet socks can though. I walked many 35-55 km days and no blisters.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
IMO reservations do not impact those who don’t want to make them. Some albergues don’t take reservations. Some do. Some fill up early others don’t. Even if no one took reservations you could still find yourself without a bed at the end of your desired walking distance so the reservations don’t impact your final result in the least. You have many options: stop when you see a place you like that’s open. Walk as far as you want to/are able, and if no bed taxi somewhere. Pair up with others and get a pricey hotel room (usually available). Walk even if tired—good for the soul.

Walking further doesn’t give you blisters, wrong socks, shoes, or not changing wet socks can though. I walked many 35-55 km days and no blisters.
And maybe I was lucky, but when some places were full the owners directed me to another that had room, some even called for me.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
And maybe I was lucky, but when some places were full the owners directed me to another that had room, some even called for me.
Only because I had read about this in the past, I requested help from the man in charge of the Dutch muni albergue in Monjardin because it was full when we arrived. After three different phone calls, he was finally able to secure us a room in a new albergue in Luquin, an additional kilometer further away. We were very grateful.🙂
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
And maybe I was lucky, but when some places were full the owners directed me to another that had room, some even called for me.
This happened to me in Puente la Reina. I can't remember which albergue was full, but the hospitalera called Albergue Estrella Guía, which was a wonderful place!
This 👆 times a thousand. Karma needs to find every walker that wastes a reservation and punish them with bedbugs
Absolutely!
 
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Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
I have only ever booked ahead when walking in areas with few or no albergues due to winter season closures or remoter longer stretches BUT for my upcoming Camino portuguese, I’ve booked a bed at quite a few inexpensive public and private albergues on the Portuguese central route to reduce my anxiety (Covid, fewer beds, closed facilities, need to walk shorter days) and almost every owner has written me back to inform me of their Covid “rules”, to THANK me for booking with them and say they’ll be waiting to welcome me. I guess it gives them some relief that they’ll have guaranteed income after a long stretch with few pilgrims.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I'm currently in Leon, have stayed primarily in Alburques. One of the things I have witnessed is pilgrims making multiple reservations for the same night. One for the location they hope to get to, one for a location a bit closer and perhaps one for a bit farther if they feel like going on. So one group of three I witnessed doing this had removed the availability of 9 beds. I truly don't see what purpose reservations are serving.

Hopefully if the 'bookers' don't turn up by a certain 'advised' hour the beds are given to others.
I think that is normal practice?

But shocking selfish behaviour on the part of those doing the multiple bookings, particularly if they are not also cancelling. 😳

I tend to book a day or two ahead, as I prefer private accommodation. CRs, Hostels and the like.
Mostly they tell me they'll hold the room till a certain hour, and to let them know if I'm going to be late.

I made sure I learnt enough Spanish to call them and say "Hold my room, I'll be there by xxx time"
 

Michelle_McA

Paso corto, vista larga
Past OR future Camino
2021
I think most people think things happen on the camino by magic but under the surface most things are actually automated. All of the supplies for example that you depended on like bed liners, food, drinks were there because behind the scenes goods are being automatically ordered to replenish what has been used. Do you think no one used the maps on their phones to see how far was left on their journey? I bet 99% of the pilgrims did and many times a day. They used their phones to see if albergues had pools. They used them to read the reviews and compare the prices. The taxis that magically come to collect bags and bring them to the next albergues have automated systems in place. The pilgrims who have an alarm to automatically wake them in the morning. The numerous automated coffee machines and vending machines that saved many a person stuck when shops weren't open. I was saved by one such vending machine when I ran out of water. Most people nowadays use the internet to plan their camino and without it likely it wouldn't happen: that's entirely automated. Almost everything on the camino is automated, the beauty of it is that nobody notices because it does what it needs to do and makes itself invisible to the eye. Like the fact that we are using the internet right now, built on automated internet protocols.
Oh no. I don't plan my Caminos. I don't check reviews or prices. I just go. I don't train. I just walk. Mighty slowly sometimes. Pools? Where? There is no planning ahead and strategizing for me (recognizing this isn't for everyone!). I prefer to let destiny guide me. I've walked it 6 times and never done anything like this. I just show up, no reservations. I move along if there isn't a bed or you have discussions with people in town, other pilgrims etc. A solution is always found. No over planning (which leads to anxiety and lack of magic). I know, I know, this isn't for everyone. But once I couldn't find a bed and a literal priest found me in the street and took me to this magical little tiny albergue where I slept in the office in the 'emergency pilgrim bed' and woke up to an albergue full of spirited pilgrims. Now that's the Camino. I don't look at the Camino as automated whatsoever. Not sure where you're staying, but the places I've stayed in over the course of 6 long Caminos did not have vending machines and sheets being dropped off in giant trucks (apart from maybe in Pamplona and Roncesvalles). Buen Camino!
 

Oravasaari

Helsinki, Finland
Past OR future Camino
2015 SJpdP to Fistera, 2016 Leon to Fistera, 2017 CF-Salvadore-Primitivo, 2018 CF run/walk
I've walked four times and have only ever "stress-booked" once (Orisson, the very first night on my very first CF - due to me havin been a newbie to the whole thing). I keep going back to walk caminos precisely because it is the most stress free thing I've ever known compared to normal life. So planning ahead, booking, faffing about and stressing is nothing I desire to even contemplate; and I don't. In over 100 nights on camino I've only ever had to walk-on once due to a town being booked solid, but despite that, I can honestly say that I've never asked myself "I wonder if I can find a bed?". I can understand that people with medical conditions, mobility issues or those 100% against sleeping under a tree as an option under any circumstances might like to book though. I may walk with my wife at some point in coming years and only then would I perhaps book places at pinch points like Orisson, Roncesvalles and the last 100km. Booking hotels seems to be the best bet to 100% ensure accommodation, but that would mean missing out on the alburgue dimension, which for me is part of the attraction, warts and all. As pointed out by many posters above, if alburgues charged a non-refundable fee or the whole cost for booking online it would ease any allocation issues caused by the over-needy making selfish multiple bookings and tying-up beds for no reason other than their own insecurities. Just go with the flow and if issues pop-up then there are always other options, even taxis ahead or back to a larger town. Relax.
 

Lhollo

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF pt2, Belorado to Sarria, May 21 – June 12, 2022
Some thoughts…

First, my own situation is that I have to book a long time in advance because of medical issues. I’m very glad of places that take bookings and sadly have to avoid those that don’t. It’s something I have to accept; I can’t be proud about it. I hope one day to arrive at a point where I can enjoy the ‘other’ side of the Camino in albergues. Instead, I chat when I walk, or when I stop in cafes, and see familiar faces. It is what it is. So, given this context…

I suspect that the OP is a few years/a decade or two ahead of time. I was struck on my recent Camino by the many pilgrims booking ahead, and the ways in which they did this: mostly finding telephone numbers online, sometimes through Brierly or info sheets from Pilgrim Offices etc. And yet we’re also dealing with a system that only half enables this need for virtual/advance reservations. I found it intriguing that the Camino is both still outside of time—it still feels medieval, in the sense that many pilgrims can and do just wander from A to B to C until they figure something out for the night—whereas the Camino is also right here in the present, everyone networked, messages going up and down the route between pilgrims on WhatsApp, bookings flying through the ether. One foot in each camp. Maybe it has to be this way.

I think it’s probably shortsighted to imagine that the foot which is in the present won’t continue into future presents. This means that as tech improves—as networks become each year broader, firmer and more efficient, with supporting infrastructure and better accessibility—of course, the foot that is in this ‘present’ camp will step along, keeping in stride.

I don’t think it’s ridiculous to imagine that, in the fairly near future, all payments will be digital. We’re close to this now. It also isn’t ridiculous to imagine a system that includes both digital payments and bookings at the same time: so, at the time of an albergue receiving a payment, the bed would be crossed off automatically through the same, standardised booking system (eg app and website). This means that the bed would be immediately registered on the network as occupied, and everyone looking at the system would see this live-updated availability. It’s also possible that individuals would be registered to that same system and that poor behaviour on their part (eg, making three reservations for one night) would be either impossible or registered on the system as negative. This would be similar to what Airbnb does in reviewing guests as well as hosts (personally, I find this part of Airbnb strange and not very nice, even though I also understand it. I shudder at the idea of it applying to pilgrims and hope this never happens, certainly in any non-anonymous way).

But it could be that rather than there being a system solely for pilgrims, there will be a dominant bigger travel system—eg Booking.com but more advanced, a few years down the line and even more developed than it is now—and that use of it will be very standard. Could, instead, a new app aimed solely at caminos, or at thru-hikes, act in this way? Money is the issue here. I think anyone creating such an app/website/networked service would need to make a deal with the digital payment system it used (eg Worldpay, PayPal; probably unlikely), charge a small percentage to albergues for processing payments and bookings (ugh… although charges for card payments already exist) and/or make its profits from app sales in the way that,eg, Wise Pilgrim does now. Ultimately, it would need to provide the simplest and quickest possible way for albergues and hostels to handle bookings and beds, otherwise it wouldn’t work.

I’m not saying that I think any of this is a good or bad idea, only that I suspect it will happen, if not very soon then at some point in the coming decades. This is because of the shift to digital: digital networks will continue to grow exponentially. This has pros and cons. It just is.

But I do also think that, along the Camino, belief in what the Camino stands for is so strong that the primitive, organic aspects will be preserved. Cash-only Albergues even though everything has gone digital. Off-network ones. Walk-Ins only. People who dig in harder and harder to compensate for digitisation pulling the other way. It will reach an equilibrium, eventually, but right now is a period of rapid change. I think we have to make of it the best we can, collectively, and try to adapt to the new in such a way that the new becomes as good a thing as possible, for everyone concerned.
 
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Thomas1962

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
In Galicia an association is working on an app for booking albergues, it will be an own alternative for the very expensive booking dot com company. For sure, next year everyone will hear more about that.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Some thoughts…

First, my own situation is that I have to book a long time in advance because of medical issues. I’m very glad of places that take bookings and sadly have to avoid those that don’t. It’s something I have to accept; I can’t be proud about it. I hope one day to arrive at a point where I can enjoy the ‘other’ side of the Camino in albergues. Instead, I chat when I walk, or when I stop in cafes, and see familiar faces. It is what it is. So, given this context…

I suspect that the OP is a few years/a decade or two ahead of time. I was struck on my recent Camino by the many pilgrims booking ahead, and the ways in which they did this: mostly finding telephone numbers online, sometimes through Brierly or info sheets from Pilgrim Offices etc. And yet we’re also dealing with a system that only half enables this need for virtual/advance reservations. I found it intriguing that the Camino is both still outside of time—it still feels medieval, in the sense that many pilgrims can and do just wander from A to B to C until they figure something out for the night—whereas the Camino is also right here in the present, everyone networked, messages going up and down the route between pilgrims on WhatsApp, bookings flying through the ether. One foot in each camp. Maybe it has to be this way.

I think it’s probably shortsighted to imagine that the foot which is in the present won’t continue into future presents. This means that as tech improves—as networks become each year broader, firmer and more efficient, with supporting infrastructure and better accessibility—of course, the foot that is in this ‘present’ camp will step along, keeping in stride.

I don’t think it’s ridiculous to imagine that, in the fairly near future, all payments will be digital. We’re close to this now. It also isn’t ridiculous to imagine a system that includes both digital payments and bookings at the same time: so, at the time of an albergue receiving a payment, the bed would be crossed off automatically through the same, standardised booking system (eg app and website). This means that the bed would be immediately registered on the network as occupied, and everyone looking at the system would see this live-updated availability. It’s also possible that individuals would be registered to that same system and that poor behaviour on their part (eg, making three reservations for one night) would be either impossible or registered on the system as negative. This would be similar to what Airbnb does in reviewing guests as well as hosts (personally, I find this part of Airbnb strange and not very nice, even though I also understand it. I shudder at the idea of it applying to pilgrims and hope this never happens, certainly in any non-anonymous way).

But it could be that rather than there being a system solely for pilgrims, there will be a dominant bigger travel system—eg Booking.com but more advanced, a few years down the line and even more developed than it is now—and that use of it will be very standard. Could, instead, a new app aimed solely at caminos, or at thru-hikes, act in this way? Money is the issue here. I think anyone creating such an app/website/networked service would need to make a deal with the digital payment system it used (eg Worldpay, PayPal; probably unlikely), charge a small percentage to albergues for processing payments and bookings (ugh… although charges for card payments already exist) and/or make its profits from app sales in the way that,eg, Wise Pilgrim does now. Ultimately, it would need to provide the simplest and quickest possible way for albergues and hostels to handle bookings and beds, otherwise it wouldn’t work.

I’m not saying that I think any of this is a good or bad idea, only that I suspect it will happen, if not very soon then at some point in the coming decades. This is because of the shift to digital: digital networks will continue to grow exponentially. This has pros and cons. It just is.

But I do also think that, along the Camino, belief in what the Camino stands for is so strong that the primitive, organic aspects will be preserved. Cash-only Albergues even though everything has gone digital. Off-network ones. Walk-Ins only. People who dig in harder and harder to compensate for digitisation pulling the other way. It will reach an equilibrium, eventually, but right now is a period of rapid change. I think we have to make of it the best we can, collectively, and try to adapt to the new in such a way that the new becomes as good a thing as possible, for everyone concerned.
What an erudite, enlightened and easy to understand post. Things change rapidly in the tech world....
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I don’t think it’s ridiculous to imagine that, in the fairly near future, all payments will be digital. We’re close to this now. It also isn’t ridiculous to imagine a system that includes both digital payments and bookings at the same time: so, at the time of an albergue receiving a payment, the bed would be crossed off automatically through the same,
This may happen but I doubt the near future. Too many people are unaware of the limitations of internet access in rural areas today (not decades ago, today). Personally I’ll be sad to see something like this occur as it will mean less $ for the small albergue owners just so things are super convenient to people walking (there’s a reason booking dot com rooms cost more, the magic of online isn’t free).

And again, reservations do not make things more stressful for those who don’t want to make them (as the OP stated) since others making reservations or not, they can easily end up in a place without a bed. Instead with this sort of system they will be eyes glued to their phone constantly calling out decreased bed availability to the unfortunates near them, all the way from zubiri
 

sunwanderer

Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
I have gone on countless long haul adventures ...
... people who go on long walks ...

The disconnect seems to be that most of the people on this forum view the Camino as a spiritual journey, internal as well as external, rather than an adventure or walk.

Certainly, not all on the Camino have this perspective.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
....

And again, reservations do not make things more stressful for those who don’t want to make them (as the OP stated) since others making reservations or not, they can easily end up in a place without a bed. Instead with this sort of system they will be eyes glued to their phone constantly calling out decreased bed availability to the unfortunates near them, all the way from zubiri
Smallest_Sparrow,
They won't be "calling out decreased bed availability to the unfortunates near them, all the way from Zubiri" but from wherever they boarded their plane! Imagine what a long haul flight would be filled with bed searchers !!
 
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Pilgrim9

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
For those who are concerned about allocation of the costs of an albergue booking app, an analogy might be drawn to e.g. the Indian Railways (IR) app for reserving train tickets.

I know from extensive personal experience that seats on almost every IR train tend to completely sell out about two weeks after the tickets are made available for sale, i.e. about 2 1/2 months in advance of train departure. There is a very short window of opportunity to buy a ticket. The demand for seats is so extreme that IR even accepts tentative bookings for already-sold seats, for the fairly-numerous cases where the ticket-holder cancels his or her prepaid ticket in advance of train departure day.

IR train tickets are extremely economical, as are albergue beds.

Traditionally, IR train tickets were sold only in person in the stations. This involved multiple queues, each one having 50 to hundreds of people, all pressing hard forwards towards the ticket counter. Essentially, access to train tickets was allocated on a chaotic scramble system, with elbows sometimes in faces and so on. Very stressful, and hugely wasteful of peoples' time.

A few years ago, the IR information technology group developed an on-line ticket sales app. It was decided that all of the app's development, operational, and maintenance costs would be paid by the people reserving through the app. So, when buying a train ticket through that app, one pays the normal in-station ticket price and then one also pays a non-trivial on-line reservation fee. The train ticket itself is cancelable through the app, and refundable (less a trivial ticket cancelation fee), but the on-line reservation fee is entirely non-refundable. This system protects the folks who cannot reserve through the on-line app for whatever reason (no on-line device, or simply cannot afford the reservation fee, etc.). They can simply continue to buy tickets via the traditional in-station scramble system, with the exception that the length of the queues are now shorter due to other folks using the app. So, even though they do not use the app, they get the benefit of shorter in-station queues and less scramble stress.

I have, many times, used each of the two systems of purchasing IR train tickets. I very strongly prefer using the IR on-line reservation app instead of wasting hours and hours in a ticket queue.

Perhaps 100% of the costs of an albergue reservation app can be allocated to those reserving beds through the app. Importantly, the albergues would not pay for the app. Pilgrims choosing to reserve a bed through the app would pay in advance for both their bed and the non-refundable reservation fee. Pilgrims choosing not to use the app would not be paying for it, and would I think in most cases get the collateral benefit of experiencing less bed scramble stress.

Just a thought.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
In Galicia an association is working on an app for booking albergues, it will be an own alternative for the very expensive booking dot com company. For sure, next year everyone will hear more about that.
A system was in place for the Xunta albergues in Galicia at the beginning of the season this year, but apparently it was to glitchy and was abandoned.

I do agree with what @Lhollo wrote. Something like this will probably happen eventually, but it will evolve. Perhaps with just a few albergues going this route at first, with more joining in if it's to their advantage.

And to the posters that find booking ahead to be stressful - for many others, knowing that they have a guaranteed bed waiting for them each day relieves their stress and allows them to walk in a relaxed manner.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
For those who are concerned about allocation of the costs of an albergue booking app, an analogy might be drawn to e.g. the Indian Railways (IR) app for reserving train tickets.

I know from extensive personal experience that seats on almost every IR train tend to completely sell out about two weeks after the tickets are made available for sale, i.e. about 2 1/2 months in advance of train departure. There is a very short window of opportunity to buy a ticket. The demand for seats is so extreme that IR even accepts tentative bookings for already-sold seats, for the fairly-numerous cases where the ticket-holder cancels his or her prepaid ticket in advance of train departure day.

IR train tickets are extremely economical, as are albergue beds.

Traditionally, IR train tickets were sold only in person in the stations. This involved multiple queues, each one having 50 to hundreds of people, all pressing hard forwards towards the ticket counter. Essentially, access to train tickets was allocated on a chaotic scramble system, with elbows sometimes in faces and so on. Very stressful, and hugely wasteful of peoples' time.

A few years ago, the IR information technology group developed an on-line ticket sales app. It was decided that all of the app's development, operational, and maintenance costs would be paid by the people reserving through the app. So, when buying a train ticket through that app, one pays the normal in-station ticket price and then one also pays a non-trivial on-line reservation fee. The train ticket itself is cancelable through the app, and refundable (less a trivial ticket cancelation fee), but the on-line reservation fee is entirely non-refundable. This system protects the folks who cannot reserve through the on-line app for whatever reason (no on-line device, or simply cannot afford the reservation fee, etc.). They can simply continue to buy tickets via the traditional in-station scramble system, with the exception that the length of the queues are now shorter due to other folks using the app. So, even though they do not use the app, they get the benefit of shorter in-station queues and less scramble stress.

I have, many times, used each of the two systems of purchasing IR train tickets. I very strongly prefer using the IR on-line reservation app instead of wasting hours and hours in a ticket queue.

Perhaps 100% of the costs of an albergue reservation app can be allocated to those reserving beds through the app. Importantly, the albergues would not pay for the app. Pilgrims choosing to reserve a bed through the app would pay in advance for both their bed and the non-refundable reservation fee. Pilgrims choosing not to use the app would not be paying for it, and would I think in most cases get the collateral benefit of experiencing less bed scramble stress.

Just a thought.
A system like this might also have the advantage of showing the total beds available and not just the limited number available by the current booking sites which make accomodation looking fully booked.

Just a thought.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
And to the posters that find booking ahead to be stressful - for many others, knowing that they have a guaranteed bed waiting for them each day relieves their stress and allows them to walk in a relaxed manner.
I prefer stopping at will/randomly for the night, but each year I walk I have been booking ahead more and more to eliminate stress, especially as I always walk with two to four family members or personal friends as we prefer not to split up.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Apps may not cost anything but time is money and someone has to enter bed availability. for those saying "but when someone reserves a bed it will automatically deduct a bed" should remember not every albergue allows reserved beds and those may very well continue not reserving beds as they do it in the spirit of supporting pilgrims not turning a profit (which will undoubtedly earn them contempt from "free spirits" demanding to know bed availability 24/7) . I do imagine that this sadly will come to pass (see below), first with the for profit privates, then the munis, with the parochials holding out against great undeserved pressure (aka whining).

sadly come to pass because first, not everyone can afford a smart phone (sorry to remind people to check their privilege) and second, I do think a decade from now people will be whining about the stress of continually checking the app to know when to stop. it's clear this won't add any flexibility, and the solution will be as it currently is: stop when you find an open good place even if not tired (and explore the town), take your chances and walk as far as you want then maybe walk further than you'd like, get a hotel room with others, taxi to other accommodations, walk different times or routes, book ahead. the app wouldn't change anything except add another level of stress to those seeking to be stressed, and perhaps pressure albergues that can't or won't want to use this system to close.

edit: and as I've said before elsewhere, if the "free spirits" don't know after Pamplona how far they walk in a day, or where they plan to stop, then they haven't been paying attention. and seriously, part of this bed crunch is everyone insisting on stopping in the same place, which in my book isn't exactly as randomly free spirited as some portray themselves.
 
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muddy-mama

Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
I am on the Camino now. This is my first Camino so I can't compare with a precovid Camino. My plan was to carry my backpack all the way and stop when I needed to. In reality I found carrying my backpack to difficult and I have booked ahead because you need a reservation for them to accept your pack
. I book for the next day when I reach my albergue and never multiple bookings. With many alberguss closed and those that are open at half capacity I have sometimes had to walk further or less than I wanted
.
 

Pilgrim9

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
A system like this might also have the advantage of showing the total beds available and not just the limited number available by the current booking sites which make accomodation looking fully booked.

Just a thought.
Yes, of course. The Indian Railways app shows the number of seats remaining for each ticket class for each train for each day. The same could and should be built into the notional albergue beds app.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
People might want to take a look at this thread


He’s had few pilgrims while other places overflow. I think part of this bed issue is people wanting a specific albergue (the one with WiFi and new beds and electrical outlets everywhere!!!) or enough beds for their entire group!!! (rather than meet up somewhere to start) or have to “stop where everyone else stops” while walking in the middle August. I don’t think an app will solve these issues—the app won’t create more beds. People need to modify their behaviors and expectations 😱
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
People might want to take a look at this thread


He’s had few pilgrims while other places overflow. I think part of this bed issue is people wanting a specific albergue (the one with WiFi and new beds and electrical outlets everywhere!!!) or enough beds for their entire group!!! (rather than meet up somewhere to start) or have to “stop where everyone else stops” while walking in the middle August. I don’t think an app will solve these issues—the app won’t create more beds. People need to modify their behaviors and expectations 😱
An app isn't designed to solve these issues...its merely to show where there is availability and ease booking.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
An app isn't designed to solve these issues...its merely to show where there is availability and ease booking.
Exactly. It won’t fix the issue being complained about—people not getting a bed exactly when and where they want. It makes it easier to reserve a bed for those who refused to learn enough Spanish to do it by phone instead shifting the work onto the albergues—but if albergues want to take that on then great. I just don’t want to hear whining about albergues who choose not to participate. With any luck this app would remove any need for anyone to actually learn the language or interact with the people of Spain 🙄, while allowing them to compulsively check their app all they way across Spain with building anxiety as the bed count drops minute by minute.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Exactly. It won’t fix the issue being complained about—people not getting a bed exactly when and where they want. It makes it easier to reserve a bed for those who refused to learn enough Spanish to do it by phone instead shifting the work onto the albergues—but if albergues want to take that on then great. I just don’t want to hear whining about albergues who choose not to participate. With any luck this app would remove any need for anyone to actually learn the language or interact with the people of Spain 🙄, while allowing them to compulsively check their app all they way across Spain with building anxiety as the bed count drops minute by minute.
But there is no establishment in the world that will guarantee giving you a bed exactly when and where you want.
Once an establishment is full without a creative solution they cannot accommodate you. An app would tell you of availability or not.
This would only appear to be an expanded version of booking.com.
Nobody needs to use it if they don't want...it is only a supplementary suggestion for what it's worth and worthy of consideration.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
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Aragonés ('18)
I'm all for being open minded, but there needs to be a line drawn, somewhere...

The Camino is an over thousand years old pilgrimage path. Albergues are simple, non luxury places to rest for one night, for a low price, which allows almost everyone, including those who have little money, to have the chance to go on that spiritual journey.

The Camino is not a railway company, nor a parking garage, and not the waiting queue for the newest theme park attraction. The day I walk into a tiny rural spanish village of 75 inhabitants and there's a giant blinking LED-sign above the road, showing "only 12 beds left. Book now!" I'll know it's time to turn around and go home, at least for me.

There are parroquial albergues, private ones, municipal ones, and those run by associations. Many rely on volunteers and barely have enough money and time to keep things going as they are, let alone spend their ressources on vacancy apps, special bed-capacity-hotlines or the like, just to offer a more easy and more comfortable Camino experience. Pushing all these different kinds of albergues into ONE app/system is probably impossible, anyway.

Everyone can walk the way they want, so if one prefers to book, that's totally fine! And it's already possible. Use a company, make phone calls, or use already existing booking apps. No need to reinvent the wheel!

But labelling those who don't want all that and prefer to just walk - without all the technical circus - narrow minded, that's not really fair.

A pilgrimage is not meant to be easy and fun all the time, and as a pilgrim one is not entitled to anything. No bed? Well, keep on walking to the next albergue, next town, take a bus, ask fellow pilgrims to share a taxi / hotel room to keep cost down, or sleep on a bench. That's already plenty of options. One could say that an open mind is needed to give in to that uncertainty...
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
But there is no establishment in the world that will guarantee giving you a bed exactly when and where you want.
Once an establishment is full without a creative solution they cannot accommodate you. An app would tell you of availability or not.
This would only appear to be an expanded version of booking.com.
Nobody needs to use it if they don't want...it is only a supplementary suggestion for what it's worth and worthy of consideration.
But the issue of the OP was not getting a room due to reservations. As I’ve said, reservations aren’t the issue, too many people wanting the EXACT same bed is. As has been said several times, the solution if you don’t want a reservation is simple: walk further, taxi, hotel with others, stop sooner than you’d like, don’t stop where everyone else does. All the app would do is make the albergues spend time updating bed availability and deal with whiney self entitled people waving a cell phone in their face saying “but it says you have rooms”. You could look at the app, see 20 beds available at your target town 45 min away and find them filled when you arrive. Then what? See all the things normal people already do.

If albergues want to use the app to get more business then great—I’m a believer in to each their own. But I think it puts an undue burden on albergue just to deal with anxiety mixed with self-entitled (I want to stop whenever and make no reservations but I’m scared there won’t be a bed and refuse to use any of the many solutions to that problem). There will be albergues who won’t use the app out of idealistic or economic reasons (if you’re donitivo run by volunteers and not taking reservations then data entry is a burden)
 
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