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Booking observations

auburnfive

Veteran Member
I am a self confessed pre-booker looking after the arrangements for my group of 5 on the Frances. I do about half and half booking.com and directly through email. Our last Camino was in 2019, a few changes
- many more places on booking.com require payment in advance, your credit card is charged 3-7 days before arrival, I prefer to pay cash on arrival which is usually the case with direct booking. Last minute cancellations I suppose are more difficult for the proprietor.
- some places require payment when booking, sometimes for a lower price, not worth the risk IMHO
- there are many more apartment style accommodations now even in smaller places ( along the Frances) available on booking.com, if you are looking for apartments is simpler than going through Airbnb, although if you are having a bag shipped could be an issue
- I have rarely had any luck getting a response to the booking forms on an accommodations website, sending an email has had much better results.
 
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Great advice. Thanks for sharing your experience
 
- many more places on booking.com require payment in advance, your credit card is charged 3-7 days before arrival, I prefer to pay cash on arrival which is usually the case with direct booking. Last minute cancellations I suppose are more difficult for the proprietor.
I had a couple places places that did ask if I wanted my card charged before they charged it.
- some places require payment when booking, sometimes for a lower price, not worth the risk IMHO
Are you referring to booking direct or through booking .com? I have never had an issue with booking .com not refunding payment unless I was past the free cancellation deadline which is clearly listed with each booking. Booking direct - yes, it can be risky.

I also had a couple places that when I arrived, they cancelled my booking .com reservation and had me pay in cash. That surprised me.

My only additional big word of caution is to pick places with free cancellation up to the day before whenever possible - you never know when you are going to get delayed or ahead of schedule. But cancel as soon as you know your change is definite - so they have time to rebook the bed.
 
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I always put the "drop dead" cancellation dates on my calendar so that I can cancel if necessary in the free cancellation period.
Often places will have a rate for non refundable and a slightly higher rate for free cancellation. The listing will just show the lowest rate which will be the former. When you click on ‘see your options’ it will bring up the full range of offerings.

The biggest change I have noticed is that in some cases you get a discount for ‘paying now’ albeit not changing the refund policy.

I find booking.com refund processing to be exemplary.
 
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Many places that we book directly with now want a confirmation the day before via Whatsapp. Its great that when you buy a SIM card - like Orange - your Whatsapp number remains the same.
 
I am a self confessed pre-booker looking after the arrangements for my group of 5 on the Frances. I do about half and half booking.com and directly through email. Our last Camino was in 2019, a few changes
- many more places on booking.com require payment in advance, your credit card is charged 3-7 days before arrival, I prefer to pay cash on arrival which is usually the case with direct booking. Last minute cancellations I suppose are more difficult for the proprietor.
- some places require payment when booking, sometimes for a lower price, not worth the risk IMHO
- there are many more apartment style accommodations now even in smaller places ( along the Frances) available on booking.com, if you are looking for apartments is simpler than going through Airbnb, although if you are having a bag shipped could be an issue
- I have rarely had any luck getting a response to the booking forms on an accommodations website, sending an email has had much better results.
I don't remember any real issues from 2 summers ago with using booking.com on the Norte Camino but I would not trust Airbnb. I had 2 issues and one was a nightmare to get my money back. In Santiago we had a room but on the day of the reservation, the host didn't understand english but said enough to say we didn't have reservation. Thru a friend later in the day, speaking Spanish, the host said she was out of town but she had taken the money and blamed it on Airbnb said they were supposed to have pulled the offering. We had taken a taxi to her place, but also the location was a general address for a complex so we possibly were able to find the apartment but were turned away. It took fighting with Airbnb 2-3 months of fighting before they reluctantly refunded us the entire amount.
The second issue, we thought we had a place lined up but the host canceled on us. A day or two later she said her place was avaliable but by then we had already found a hostel. It seemed she was holding out for more money since it was around St James day.
 
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I used booking.com heavily when I walked the Camino Frances last Sept-Oct. Loved the convenience, preferred using a cc for the prepayment vs. Cash when checking in, and loved that I could see photos of the place and rooms.

My complaints with booking.com, though, are numerous: There doesn’t seem to be much oversight or verification of claims made, so I booked a place in Portomarin that was actually more than a KM outside of Portomarin. I walked up and down those stairs multiple times looking for the place and ended up canceling b/c the place was nowhere near anywhere I could get dinner. Ugh! Then when I returned and tried to sort out payments, Booking.com makes it impossible to figure out which charges applied to which facilities. I had all sorts of charges I couldn’t figure out, and there was no customer service line to call. Last, some of the albergues themselves mentioned they don’t like booking.com—one in particular didn’t have my reservation even tho booking.com told me I was reserved there.

Next time I go, I’m calling places direct. I can always use Booking.com to research but will likely try Gronze or direct calling to reserve. All fyi.
 
That is so true, I saved 20 $ per night by booking directly with the accomodation place (hotel)
I meant booking on the booking.com app.
There doesn’t seem to be much oversight or verification of claims made, so I booked a place in Portomarin that was actually more than a KM outside of Portomarin.
You can always check out the address on Google Maps to see the exact location.
 
The 9th edition the Lightfoot Guide will let you complete the journey your way.
I am a self confessed pre-booker looking after the arrangements for my group of 5 on the Frances. I do about half and half booking.com and directly through email. Our last Camino was in 2019, a few changes
- many more places on booking.com require payment in advance, your credit card is charged 3-7 days before arrival, I prefer to pay cash on arrival which is usually the case with direct booking. Last minute cancellations I suppose are more difficult for the proprietor.
- some places require payment when booking, sometimes for a lower price, not worth the risk IMHO
- there are many more apartment style accommodations now even in smaller places ( along the Frances) available on booking.com, if you are looking for apartments is simpler than going through Airbnb, although if you are having a bag shipped could be an issue
- I have rarely had any luck getting a response to the booking forms on an accommodations website, sending an email has had much better results.
I will add that when booking apartments, baggage transfer could be a problem, but usually not a big one as the transport companies usually have working arrangements with a cafe or similar. No one is expecting an albergue to bear the burden of this these days (and rightfully so). And usually the cafe is not all that far from the lodging. I've set up such arrangements, and made sure I ate a good breakfast at said cafe. No problems!
 
I meant booking on the booking.com app.

You can always check out the address on Google Maps to see the exact location.
I have found the Camino App to be a very good place to check out the proximity of a albergue / hotel to the actual Camino trail pror to booking.
 
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I don't remember any real issues from 2 summers ago with using booking.com on the Norte Camino but I would not trust Airbnb. I had 2 issues and one was a nightmare to get my money back. In Santiago we had a room but on the day of the reservation, the host didn't understand english but said enough to say we didn't have reservation. Thru a friend later in the day, speaking Spanish, the host said she was out of town but she had taken the money and blamed it on Airbnb said they were supposed to have pulled the offering. We had taken a taxi to her place, but also the location was a general address for a complex so we possibly were able to find the apartment but were turned away. It took fighting with Airbnb 2-3 months of fighting before they reluctantly refunded us the entire amount.
The second issue, we thought we had a place lined up but the host canceled on us. A day or two later she said her place was avaliable but by then we had already found a hostel. It seemed she was holding out for more money since it was around St James day.
I will second problems with AirBNB. Not directly their fault but there are some who break rules against AirBNB, by renting a place themselves through more traditional means, then sub-let through AirBNB. This is very frowned upon in some areas, especially Paris. Some young gal was subletting this apartment near Luxembourg Gardens Her lease was suspended while having guests use the place. The building committee allowed the people to stay at the apartment until their AirBNB lease was up, fortunately for them. The woman who was making money with Air BNB sub-lets moved on to a different area of Paris, as there are are other people who do not mind all the sub-letting!
 

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