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How Far to Book in Advance?

AussieSunnygirl

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino September 2022
Hi All, I've posted a couple of questions with respect to our upcoming Camino next month and I've appreciated the feedback - thank you.
My friend and I would prefer private rooms (alburgues/hostals/pensions) for our accommodation and as most advice on this forum suggests that booking ahead to Pamplona is a good idea, we have done this. Out of sheer curiosity, I have looked further ahead at approximate dates that we expect to be in certain towns/villages and have identified a lot of accommodation has had the 'eyes picked out of it'; for example only the overly expensive or lowly rated/poor reviews places still available or no private rooms left to offer at all.
One thing that neither my friend nor I relish, is the 'bed race' and the anxiety surrounding this - no way to enjoy our camino. My friend intends having her backpack forwarded each day due to an injury, which will mean we do have to start each day knowing where it will end.
Would it be too crazy/restrictive to book the entire Camino in advance? I'm in two minds; we like being organised and pre-arranged accommodation (with free cancellation) would take a load off - the idea of walking for the day and taking our time knowing we have somewhere to stay would be great. I know we could find ourselves delayed for any number of reasons. Do we 'free range' it, or book as much as possible to avoid the anxiety around finding accommodation each day and deal with the consequences should they arise?
 
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CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
Hello
You sort of can't free I range if you need to send a pack forward, most if the times you need to let the transport co know the next destination the night before...
I suppose you can pre-book the whole Camino,it's not like it isn't possible
I pre-booked all my Albergues from León forward and yes it gave me a tremendous peace of mind (I was a part of the crowd that left SJPdP late May and we DID create a bed shortage and thus ensuing race)
Remember - it is your Camino after all, do what works best for you
Good luck and Buen camino
 

auburnfive

Active Member
I am one of those who tends to book ahead, especially when there is a small group of us. It can be enjoyable to do the research in finding accommodation that is pilgrim friendly, has historical interest etc. Some things to keep in mind is to give yourself some short or rest days, and to decide ahead of time that you will taxi or bus a section or part of it when needed. Injuries can occur when you push yourself to make it to that certain town you had planned on.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
Hi All, I've posted a couple of questions with respect to our upcoming Camino next month and I've appreciated the feedback - thank you.
My friend and I would prefer private rooms (alburgues/hostals/pensions) for our accommodation and as most advice on this forum suggests that booking ahead to Pamplona is a good idea, we have done this. Out of sheer curiosity, I have looked further ahead at approximate dates that we expect to be in certain towns/villages and have identified a lot of accommodation has had the 'eyes picked out of it'; for example only the overly expensive or lowly rated/poor reviews places still available or no private rooms left to offer at all.
One thing that neither my friend nor I relish, is the 'bed race' and the anxiety surrounding this - no way to enjoy our camino. My friend intends having her backpack forwarded each day due to an injury, which will mean we do have to start each day knowing where it will end.
Would it be too crazy/restrictive to book the entire Camino in advance? I'm in two minds; we like being organised and pre-arranged accommodation (with free cancellation) would take a load off - the idea of walking for the day and taking our time knowing we have somewhere to stay would be great. I know we could find ourselves delayed for any number of reasons. Do we 'free range' it, or book as much as possible to avoid the anxiety around finding accommodation each day and deal with the consequences should they arise?
Where have you looked to determine the availability of accommodation? Have you made direct contact or relied on booking.com?
 
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Hi All, I've posted a couple of questions with respect to our upcoming Camino next month and I've appreciated the feedback - thank you.
My friend and I would prefer private rooms (alburgues/hostals/pensions) for our accommodation and as most advice on this forum suggests that booking ahead to Pamplona is a good idea, we have done this. Out of sheer curiosity, I have looked further ahead at approximate dates that we expect to be in certain towns/villages and have identified a lot of accommodation has had the 'eyes picked out of it'; for example only the overly expensive or lowly rated/poor reviews places still available or no private rooms left to offer at all.
One thing that neither my friend nor I relish, is the 'bed race' and the anxiety surrounding this - no way to enjoy our camino. My friend intends having her backpack forwarded each day due to an injury, which will mean we do have to start each day knowing where it will end.
Would it be too crazy/restrictive to book the entire Camino in advance? I'm in two minds; we like being organised and pre-arranged accommodation (with free cancellation) would take a load off - the idea of walking for the day and taking our time knowing we have somewhere to stay would be great. I know we could find ourselves delayed for any number of reasons. Do we 'free range' it, or book as much as possible to avoid the anxiety around finding accommodation each day and deal with the consequences should they arise?
I book at least 6 months in advance.
 
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Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Like @Anniesantiago, I, too, book well in advance. If you’re going to book rooms, the choice is so much better the farther out you are from walking. We’ll be back on the CF in April/May, and our room reservations are all set.

Because you want to transport a pack, as you said, you need to know your night’s destination. When I walk with my wife, we book our entire Camino. Yes, there can be unexpected events that might alter your plans, but in general, it works pretty well if you know how far you want to walk every day. But, I do like the reservations that offer free cancellations up to a day or so before expected arrival. However, some places are not so flexible. Nonetheless, the system of having reservations works well.

As you’ve already made reservations through Pamplona, you clearly know how to find places. However, this close to your Camino, you may find less availability of room on the booking sites like Booking.com. I like to also use Gronze.com to identify places and then contact them directly by email. In general, places will respond to you quickly letting you know if they have a room available. Because September is a busy month on the Camino and because you want to transport a pack and because you want private rooms and to avoid any stress from the possible “bed rush”, nailing down more accommodations down now seems like a good strategy. Buen Camino!
 

Rick M

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 22)
Sept 21
You have received some great advice from the veterans above.......except for one thing. They all know what their walking pace will be, and can reasonably pre-book a Camino armed with that experience. You do not know what your walking pace will be (first timer, right?) and will wind up using a guidebook standard for selecting your daily distance. Not everyone walks that pace, some are quicker, many are slower. Pre-booking the whole route may become a ball and chain if you find your daily pace does not match your expectations once you start walking.

Book a few days ahead of time. If you are really concerned about availability, book the next ten days. After Logrono, people start injuring out, and the accommodation situation improves as people wind up cancelling. I cannot recommend booking a whole Camino in advance to a first timer. As you learn your pace, you can make your reservations a few days ahead of you as you go. Sure, its a busy time to walk in September from SJPP, but there is always something available, somewhere.
 

Traveljunkie

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
You have received some great advice from the veterans above.......except for one thing. They all know what their walking pace will be, and can reasonably pre-book a Camino armed with that experience. You do not know what your walking pace will be (first timer, right?) and will wind up using a guidebook standard for selecting your daily distance. Not everyone walks that pace, some are quicker, many are slower. Pre-booking the whole route may become a ball and chain if you find your daily pace does not match your expectations once you start walking.

Book a few days ahead of time. If you are really concerned about availability, book the next ten days. After Logrono, people start injuring out, and the accommodation situation improves as people wind up cancelling. I cannot recommend booking a whole Camino in advance to a first timer. As you learn your pace, you can make your reservations a few days ahead of you as you go. Sure, its a busy time to walk in September from SJPP, but there is always something available, somewhere.
I would add to this to book conservatively. I am a seasoned hiker, and during my first Camino, my friend and I were unable to make the mileage we expected - you never know when blisters (I never got any) or foot/knee/ankle issues may arise, and having short days (or better yet, rest days) every few days, and projecting shorter regular days of walking is good insurance.
 
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tabbyCat

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2017, July 2022
I JUST finished the Frances. We did not make ANY reservations in advance and we often did not arrive at our destination until after 6pm Only one day did we need to keep going due to a full Albergue. And, in that case we walked additional 3km to an EMPTY municipal Albergue. And that is the critical criteria. If you are flexible with where you can stay (ie municipal, dorms, upper bunks, etc) you will not need to engage in any “race for beds.” We found most of the municipals less than half full (where they are open).
 

winemakerfw51

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portugues (Sept-Oct 2018)
When I walked the Portuguese Camino, I booked every night ahead and had my bag transferred every day. Yes, I had peace of mind. But, it can severely limit your flexibility. I got injured with 5 days of walking left, and really needed a couple of rest days. The logistics of changing all of my accommodations was formidable…and that’s just for 5 days! So I kept on walking, and I almost didn’t finish because of the injury.

I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to change arrangements for a 30 day walk! There’s been some good advice on the forum about planning several days ahead as an option. If you want private accommodations every night, you may need to plan well in advance.

If you run into a problem like I experienced, you can always skip stages and use public transportation to stay on schedule. It’s tricky.
 

AussieSunnygirl

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino September 2022
Where have you looked to determine the availability of accommodation? Have you made direct contact or relied on booking.com?
I've used a range of methods including, contacting the accommodation directly, as I can't understand enough Spanish to ensure I am booking correctly on their private site (as they had no English option). Booking.com is my first port of call, though, certainly not the only tool I use for booking; also My Pilgrim Bed, Gronze, and a host of other booking sites in the hope they may have availability as opposed to Booking which is so highly utilised (unfortunately, a lot of those just redirect you to Booking anyway)...
 

AussieSunnygirl

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino September 2022
What amazing insight, advice and generosity in your responses. So glad I asked the question; definitely some thought provoking replies and sound advice, thank you. My friend and I have been 'training' for over 2.5 years now doing longer distance walks three to four times per week and have done a number of multi day hiking trips in national parks in the hinterland in preparation for our Camino, but, I'm sure nothing will compare or will have prepared us for the adventure we're about to experience.
 
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AussieSunnygirl

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino September 2022
When I like to have a private room, 1-2 days in advance is sufficient, in my experience. But that is in May or Sept/Oct. I use booking.com mostly.
This was what I was expecting too, Damien, but it seems this year really is something else with numbers of pilgrims.
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
I've used a range of methods including, contacting the accommodation directly, as I can't understand enough Spanish to ensure I am booking correctly on their private site (as they had no English option)
If an English option is unavailable on a private site, try right-clicking within your browser and then choosing "translate to English."

Also, you may find availability by going directly onto the accommodation's website, even after finding nothing on some of the large booking platforms. Most accommodations only list a portion of their inventory through the third party websites.
 

Diabo

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Cahors - Toulouse '2015'
Roncevalles - Carrion de los Condes '2016'
Carrion - Ponferrado '2018'
Hi All, I've posted a couple of questions with respect to our upcoming Camino next month and I've appreciated the feedback - thank you.
My friend and I would prefer private rooms (alburgues/hostals/pensions) for our accommodation and as most advice on this forum suggests that booking ahead to Pamplona is a good idea, we have done this. Out of sheer curiosity, I have looked further ahead at approximate dates that we expect to be in certain towns/villages and have identified a lot of accommodation has had the 'eyes picked out of it'; for example only the overly expensive or lowly rated/poor reviews places still available or no private rooms left to offer at all.
One thing that neither my friend nor I relish, is the 'bed race' and the anxiety surrounding this - no way to enjoy our camino. My friend intends having her backpack forwarded each day due to an injury, which will mean we do have to start each day knowing where it will end.
Would it be too crazy/restrictive to book the entire Camino in advance? I'm in two minds; we like being organised and pre-arranged accommodation (with free cancellation) would take a load off - the idea of walking for the day and taking our time knowing we have somewhere to stay would be great. I know we could find ourselves delayed for any number of reasons. Do we 'free range' it, or book as much as possible to avoid the anxiety around finding accommodation each day and deal with the consequences should they arise?
Hi there, I have always booked my rooms in advance. Find it reassuring and an incentive to keep going. Bon Camino
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago de Compostela (2022)
People forget it’s a pilgrimage. Go with the flow. How much trouble is caused by people booking up rooms only to cancel them and thus depriving someone who genuinely wants to book a room being denied as the accommodation is full.
 
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hueppi

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2013
Consider that some albuerges do not accept reservations at all. For instance Casa Paderborn in Pamplona does not take reservations. It's first come first serve until full. They open around 1 pm.
Critical dates are the San Fermines festivities in July. But only because all other accommodation will be closed or booked. And Casa Paderborn only has 26 beds
 

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