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Making camino reservations for 2021

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
NOTE FROM THE MODS — I made an off-topic comment in response to one of @Marbe’s posts in another thread. She responded with such helpful information that I thought it would be a good idea to move it and start a separate thread. We know that some of you think it’s premature to make reservations, but @Marbe2 and others are thinking positively and forging ahead.

Hi, @Marbe2, you are an experienced forum member so you probably already know this, but for other forum members — the fact that booking.com and other hotel booking sites show no availability is no indication of whether the facility actually has availability. Those websites only have access to a fraction of the hotel/pension’s beds. Direct contact with the places is the best way to go, either via WhatsApp, email, or even a phone call.

I believe @Anniesantiago has started booking some places for her groups and reported that a lot of places are asking for a deposit. Totally reasonable, but that may also mean that lots are not using booking.

Actually, I used three booking sites, Hotels.com, Agoda.com, and booking.com as well as the direct hotel itself. Some days none of these websites had availability, and other dates there were. Places I tend to stay in Ponferrada and Sarria are fully occupied most days I tried. I know there are many that like to walk spontaneously, but if someone wants a private room, this year, in September, as added protection, then booking ahead might be advisable. If booking a single room, the cancellation process is pretty much the same. No deposit required now. Canceling in advance with no charge on my reservations required from one night to about a week before the actual reservation date.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I used three booking sites, Hotels.com, Agoda.com, and booking.com as well as the direct hotel itself.
@Marbe2, out of curiosity, do you usually/sometimes/never find that the availability varies across the booking websites? By that I mean if a hotel shows no availability on booking, does it happen that agoda or hotels might have rooms?

And are you finding with your direct calls that pensiones and hotels are filled, or is it that they are not yet taking reservations? I know some may say this is jumping the gun, but for those of us itching to get back on the camino, you know what they say about the early bird!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
@Marbe2, out of curiosity, do you usually/sometimes/never find that the availability varies across the booking websites? By that I mean if a hotel shows no availability on booking, does it happen that agoda or hotels might have rooms?

And are you finding with your direct calls that pensiones and hotels are filled, or is it that they are not yet taking reservations? I know some may say this is jumping the gun, but for those of us itching to get back on the camino, you know what they say about the early bird!
Yes, on booking.com. I wanted one place that no longer had availability, but it was still showing availabilty on Hotels.com. This often happens. But sometimes it depends upon the parameters of the website. I requested a twin bedroom. Booking did not have availability for a twin, but showed no other options. Then on Hotels.com, four twin beds were available in a room (for the same price as two) for the same night at the same hotel, so I booked it, knowing if a twin eventually opens up I will change it.

When all else fails, then I go to trivago.com to see if any vendor, including the hotel itself, has the hotel available.

However, as much as possible, I like to book with one provider, usually booking.com because it is easier to keep the reservations in order and if adjustments or cancellations need to be made I can do it orderly and quickly.

This time, I particularly scrutinized rooms for cross ventilation. I actually looked for rooms with large windows, and yes, bathroom windows, whenever possible. and as many balconies as we could find. Some rooms do have aircon systems.
However, I do not really think many of these machines purify the air in any way, so I will likely not use them as they will likely just blow the cold air and germs around the room. As you know I am looking for garden outdoor areas to eat. If we have a room with a balcony we will buy food in a supermercado and eat and drink our nightly meal on it.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
@peregrina2000 With regard to accommodations being filled verses not available, I think both are currently happening. Most of the places I stay in are available now, for September 2021, but some are completely booked at summer high season prices. There are certain places that are not showing yet.

I tend to mix probably 5 or 6 private albergues with / rural houses, pensions, and hotels. This time, I am only using four private albergues, one pension, one hostel, three rural homes and the rest larger hotels. I booked no place where we had to share a bathroom! We are in the at risk category so knowing no one else that evening will share the same air space as us in the middle of the night without a mask on, was important to us.
 
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Kristinka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2020 and July 2021
I pre booked my entire Camino for 2021. My husband and I are starting on June 26th so I know it will be busy as hell at that time. I used Expedia, Booking and emailing directly and I have to say that some places I wanted to book were sold out. I was charged the entire amount due when booking online but can cancel for free a few days before arriving so seems like a good deal to me.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I pre booked my entire Camino for 2021. My husband and I are starting on June 26th so I know it will be busy as hell at that time. I used Expedia, Booking and emailing directly and I have to say that some places I wanted to book were sold out. I was charged the entire amount due when booking online but can cancel for free a few days before arriving so seems like a good deal to me.
Did you book airfare, and if so, what did you do for health insurance?
 

Kristinka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2020 and July 2021
Yes my airfare is booked. I didn’t purchase travel insurance as my private health insurance entirely covers overseas hospital stays, not doctor visits unfortunately but I can live with that. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to enter Spain as we’re coming from the US 🤞🤞
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre (2018)
A friend and I have already pre-booked private rooms for next year, with the exception of 2 places that we have not yet been able to contact (emails have not been answered). Most bookings were done through booking.com with free cancellation anywhere from the same day to about one week prior. For those places that were not available through booking.com (either they do not use booking sites, or booking.com showed no availability), I emailed / phoned to make reservations. Being that we are from Canada and the U.S., we will not be making any flight reservations until much later in spring when we know more about the COVID situation. If the decision is made to go, I will certainly be looking into getting travel insurance if it is available. My current travel insurance is through my employer, but at this time it has been terminated due to COVID, and would not be valid anyway as long as there is a government travel advisory.
We're hoping to be able to begin our journey at the end of August.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Yes my airfare is booked. I didn’t purchase travel insurance as my private health insurance entirely covers overseas hospital stays, not doctor visits unfortunately but I can live with that.
But if you become ill or have an accident before you travel you will lose all your non-refundable costs. Travel insurance would cover that and quite a few other things.
 

Kristinka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2020 and July 2021
But if you become ill or have an accident before you travel you will lose all your non-refundable costs. Travel insurance would cover that and quite a few other things.
My airfare (Tap and Iberia) can be cancelled or changed for free as they had a special going on when I booked that allows me to make one change/cancellation free of charge. Well, I’m sure they won’t be giving me back the money but at least I will be able to get credit that I can use in the future. Which is fine with me as I paid $380 from Nyc to Pamplona compared to $1,200 a few years ago. Since it’s such a huge difference in cost I’m willing to take that gamble 🤞.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
My airfare (Tap and Iberia) can be cancelled or changed for free as they had a special going on when I booked that allows me to make one change/cancellation free of charge. Well, I’m sure they won’t be giving me back the money but at least I will be able to get credit that I can use in the future. Which is fine with me as I paid $380 from Nyc to Pamplona compared to $1,200 a few years ago. Since it’s such a huge difference in cost I’m willing to take that gamble 🤞.
Great fare!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese coastal (2021)
Hi everyone!
I have had all my accommodation from Porto to Pontevedra booked since the 7th Sept i fly on the 17th Sept 2021!
I intend to do the Variente Espiritual and hopefully do the boat!
From Pontevedra i have accommodation booked for Vilanuava de Arosa and Padron;but between Pontevedra to Vilanuava de Arosa i think i might have to wing it at the moment!
Woody
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
My sister turned 80 and we need travel insurance that covers covid 19. We Live in USA. Anyone know of a reputable company for someone her age? Last piece I need tp put in place to firm up plans.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
If we are able to return to the Camino next year we're going to try and book directly with the accommodation providers. They've all had a tough year and that saving of 15% commission they pay booking.com etc.. may help them in these tough times.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Anyone know of a reputable company for someone her age?

There are many threads here from years ago, when many of us were agonizing over how to read the policy fine print. See here. And a word of caution about reading the fine print

After lots of help from friends and forum members, I decided a few years ago that the annual international United Healthcare was the best for me. Their policy iincludes the important coverage for extreme emergencies, like medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. I do not include coverage for flight delays and cancellations, because my main concern is that my medicare advantage plan doe not cover any overseas costs.

I spoke to United Healthcare early in the pandemic and learned that my policy would cover my medical expenses if I contracted covid abroad. The exclusions that many people were talking about for international pandemics (again many forum threads on this) did not apply to my medical policy. The customer service person informed me that for UHC, at least, the pandemic exclusion related to coverage for international travel not medical treatment.

I haven’t done any research since I first started buying that policy, but I hope to have occasion to buy another one soon!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
If we are able to return to the Camino next year we're going to try and book directly with the accommodation providers. They've all had a tough year and that saving of 15% commission they pay booking.com etc.. may help them in these tough times.
Good luck!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
There are many threads here from years ago, when many of us were agonizing over how to read the policy fine print. See here. And a word of caution about reading the fine print

After lots of help from friends and forum members, I decided a few years ago that the annual international United Healthcare was the best for me. Their policy iincludes the important coverage for extreme emergencies, like medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. I do not include coverage for flight delays and cancellations, because my main concern is that my medicare advantage plan doe not cover any overseas costs.

I spoke to United Healthcare early in the pandemic and learned that my policy would cover my medical expenses if I contracted covid abroad. The exclusions that many people were talking about for international pandemics (again many forum threads on this) did not apply to my medical policy. The customer service person informed me that for UHC, at least, the pandemic exclusion related to coverage for international travel not medical treatment.

I haven’t done any research since I first started buying that policy, but I hope to have occasion to buy another one soon!

Thanks, I will check this out. We usually only make two trips a year. I agree, we too are not looking for flight coverage just coverage for medical expenses. Before, we retired we both would have been covered through work, but medicare does not cover europe and so neither does our supplemental plans.
 

Kristinka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2020 and July 2021
If we are able to return to the Camino next year we're going to try and book directly with the accommodation providers. They've all had a tough year and that saving of 15% commission they pay booking.com etc.. may help them in these tough times.
I wanted to do the same thing and contacted every single lodging directly though always through email as I like to have some type of proof of speaking to someone. I was surprised to see that most of them don’t respond and I sent more than one email to make sure it was received...I pre booked my entire Camino from SJPDP to Muxia and I think only 8-10 nights I was able to book directly 😔.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I wanted to do the same thing and contacted every single lodging directly though always through email as I like to have some type of proof of speaking to someone. I was surprised to see that most of them don’t respond and I sent more than one email to make sure it was received...I pre booked my entire Camino from SJPDP to Muxia and I think only 8-10 nights I was able to book directly 😔.

I doubt that many rooms will be empty the second half of 2021 if folks can get vaccinated and travel bans are lifted! 😀😀
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
However, only 24% of Spaniards say that they will take the vaccination right away. 😥
Hopefully, that attitude will change as more information about the vaccines comes out.

 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
However, only 24% of Spaniards say that they will take the vaccination right away. Hopefully, that attitude will change as more information about the vaccines comes out.


I think, hopefully, good responses to the vaccines in other countries, who will perhaps get the vaccines a bit earlier, will encourage others to get them too.
 

camino.ninja

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
NOTE FROM THE MODS — I made an off-topic comment in response to one of @Marbe’s posts in another thread. She responded with such helpful information that I thought it would be a good idea to move it and start a separate thread. We know that some of you think it’s premature to make reservations, but @Marbe2 and others are thinking positively and forging ahead.



Actually, I used three booking sites, Hotels.com, Agoda.com, and booking.com as well as the direct hotel itself. Some days none of these websites had availability, and other dates there were. Places I tend to stay in Ponferrada and Sarria are fully occupied most days I tried. I know there are many that like to walk spontaneously, but if someone wants a private room, this year, in September, as added protection, then booking ahead might be advisable. If booking a single room, the cancellation process is pretty much the same. No deposit required now. Canceling in advance with no charge on my reservations required from one night to about a week before the actual reservation date.

It is reccommended to make reservations at least one day ahead because of covid. And it might even become a permanent thing.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
How does one find out if a lodging uses WhatsApp?
Start a new contact. Put in the phone number (with country code) and the phone will tell you whether they have a WhatsApp account. I always put the number in first, so I know whether there is an account before I type in the name, etc.

In Spain, if the number begins with a 9, it’s a land line and won’t have a WhatsApp account. I think all mobile numers start with 6 or sometimes 7 but I could be wrong.
 

Mycroft

Active Member
Hi everyone!
I have had all my accommodation from Porto to Pontevedra booked since the 7th Sept i fly on the 17th Sept 2021!
I intend to do the Variente Espiritual and hopefully do the boat!
From Pontevedra i have accommodation booked for Vilanuava de Arosa and Padron;but between Pontevedra to Vilanuava de Arosa i think i might have to wing it at the moment!
Woody
I hope the Variante is not as hot for you as it was for me in September 2019!!
 

Mycroft

Active Member
A friend and I have already pre-booked private rooms for next year, with the exception of 2 places that we have not yet been able to contact (emails have not been answered). Most bookings were done through booking.com with free cancellation anywhere from the same day to about one week prior. For those places that were not available through booking.com (either they do not use booking sites, or booking.com showed no availability), I emailed / phoned to make reservations. Being that we are from Canada and the U.S., we will not be making any flight reservations until much later in spring when we know more about the COVID situation. If the decision is made to go, I will certainly be looking into getting travel insurance if it is available. My current travel insurance is through my employer, but at this time it has been terminated due to COVID, and would not be valid anyway as long as there is a government travel advisory.
We're hoping to be able to begin our journey at the end of August.
Gosh what kind of work do you do? I didn't know anybody got travel insurance benefits through work! 🇪🇸
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Gosh what kind of work do you do? I didn't know anybody got travel insurance benefits through work! 🇪🇸
Many companies in the USA provide health care to their employees. Some of health plans will reimburse for out of country medical interventions. It depends on their plan.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Many companies in the USA provide health care to their employees. Some of health plans will reimburse for out of country medical interventions. It depends on their plan.
But that's not exactly the same as having travel insurance which will reimburse you if you can't travel due to your own or a close family member's illness, pay for early flights home if necessary, pay for hotel stays for a partner while your are hospitalized, etc.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
No, in USA it is health insurance provided by the employer.... Not trip interruption, or baggage reimbursement, etc. I can not say that there is no company that couldn’t provide it, but usually (not all companies), it is health insurance that covers one overseas at reimbursement rates for what is customary and reasonable for the procedures received.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
No, in USA it is health insurance provided by the employer.... Not trip interruption, or baggage reimbursement, etc. I can not say that there is no company that couldn’t provide it, but usually (not all companies), it is health insurance that covers one overseas at reimbursement rates for what is customary and reasonable for the procedures received.
Last year I needed x-ray and stitches while on the Camino. My health insurance from home paid most of it, and my travel insurance covered the remainder, which was more than the insurance premium I had paid.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
But that's not exactly the same as having travel insurance which will reimburse you if you can't travel due to your own or a close family member's illness, pay for early flights home if necessary, pay for hotel stays for a partner while your are hospitalized, etc.
It can vary from company to company, and in some companies there are .... even more comprehensive... plans available to those up the food chain. In my own case, my union negotiated a plan for retirees which provides for some of the costs mentioned above.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I was able to find insurance for my sister who will be over 80 for our next Camino. Used insuremytrip.com Both their representative and the insurance company we chose indicated that the plan will cover medical costs for Covid....if USA and Spain are allowing international travel, then we will be covered up to the financial medical limits of the policy. All set for Sept 2021!
 
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Mycroft

Active Member
Many companies in the USA provide health care to their employees. Some of health plans will reimburse for out of country medical interventions. It depends on their plan.
Ah, now I see. My definition of travel insurance is different (trip reimbursement, lost luggage, ect.). Sounds like you mean health coverage when traveling. Fortunate!
 

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