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Pre-Booking? Camino Frances mid Sept. 2019 start

2020 Camino Guides

ncssoucie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Hello all, Canadian here. I'm arriving in SJPDP on Sept 13 and starting my camino on the 14. I have a reservation in St. Jean and I've booked the monastery in Roncesvalles . Are any further bookings needed? Can you book ahead on a day to day basis? Do you need to? I'm more inclined to just go with the flow, that being said I would also like a bed. I'm getting more excited daily,
Thanks
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Hello all, Canadian here. I'm arriving in SJPDP on Sept 13 and starting my camino on the 14. I have a reservation in St. Jean and I've booked the monastery in Roncesvalles . Are any further bookings needed? Can you book ahead on a day to day basis? Do you need to? I'm more inclined to just go with the flow, that being said I would also like a bed. I'm getting more excited daily,
Thanks
Hi....

No. No further booking is needed, and you CAN book on a day-to-day basis. If you do find that there is a bed race in one section of your walk, then you can then decide to use booking.com or equivalent to book a room for the next night.

If you avoid stopping at the end of the stages which Brierley's guide uses, your chances of a complete lack of lodging is extremely low. Keep in mind that if you do find all lodgings are sold out, you can have a bar owner or even an alburgue Hospitalero contact a taxi to take you to the next town. Before the taxi drops you off, you can arrange to have him pick you up the next morning to pick you up and take you back to where you left off.

That is exactly what I did on one memorable occasion when, after a 42 km day, I was tired and found nothing available in a tiny village. A bus had offloaded a group ahead of me, and they took the last alburgue beds. My son and I used Booking.com and located a room two towns over and a bar owner called a taxi for us. Then the next morning, that taxi owner drove us back. Easy peasy.
 

truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept-Nov 2016)
Camino Podiensis/Le Puy (Sept 2019)
Camino Frances (Oct 2019)
Barring injuries or otherwise, I cannot advocate enough for the “going with the flow” strategy. Even if there are no beds in town, you will never be left to sleep outside in the cold. Be open to the unexpected.

The only booking I made was Orisson, that’s it. Initially I tried making reservations at Beilari but it was booked up. I let the kind souls at the pilgrims office point me to an open albergue when I hopped off the train. Personally I love traveling like this.

EDIT: I’m departing for my second Camino in early September, this time starting from Le Puy and going allll the way to Santiago, and I’m purposely bypassing the Brierley stages. I appreciate how he laid them out, his research etc, and for a first-timer it’s great. However, I put unnecessary pressure on myself because I felt “behind”, but my body just can’t clock kilometers according to his guide. I am excited to stay in the small towns and villages I bypassed three years ago. Just another argument for my go with the flow approach. 😉
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Can you book ahead on a day to day basis? Do you need to? I'm more inclined to just go with the flow
Yes, you book daily. It is the highly recommended course of action.:)

"Need to" is relative. Many pilgrims obsess about finding a bed, and are on the verge of ruining their experience by worrying. I quit before the heat of the day, so finding a bed at 1400-1500 is easy. I prefer the early stop to booking. It leaves me time to do laundry, wander the village, and have a beer. So, you do not need to, but you need to have a strategy for the guidebook end points, which may present a problem.

If you are going to worry about finding a bed, then do the logical thing and book!;)
 

ncssoucie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Thank you all for your responses. I think I'll play it by ear and book ahead only is I feel it necessary. I agree about finding different end points then Brierley... I'm pretty sure my pace will fix that for me {that's slower not faster.😊)
 

Jamminclark

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances partial (May-June 2018)
Frances (2019)
I only booked the first night on my last mini-Camino. When I hit Zubri I found that all the local Albergues were full. The owner of one of the alburges I spoke to made a phone call and then transported us to a hostel on the edge of town (which we never would of found on our own) for free. Really nice older guy and refused any money for his troubles. When I go this year in Sept I will only book the first night and then wing it. The Camino will provide :)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Beyond what you have already booked, @ncssoucie , not booking at all is wonderful as it allows room for spontaneity. And as others have said, staying between guidebook-determined stages can land you in albergues that aren't full, when the more common stopping places are jam-packed.

This is especially true if they don't have all the conveniences that many people now feel are essential, such as electricity and wifi. It's in these hold-outs (such as San Anton and the Ermita San Nicholas) that the camino spirit survives and thrives.
 

FionaMcG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2017: Camino Frances
Sept-Oct 2019: Camino Frances
In September, we will undertake our second Camino to celebrate my partner's 70th birthday - yeah! Bring it on! The routine below worked for us on our last Camino so we will go with that flow again!

I bought the Brierley map-only guide so that I knew where the masses would be stopping off. I also had the Village to Village guide on my phone (via Kindle) so between the two, I had a good selection of places to stay and contact numbers. Before leaving home, I booked SJPDP and Roncesvalles , and a place for the night before I knew I would be leaving Santiago de Compostela. If I could see that we would be in a big city at a weekend and wanted to spend an extra night there, I would usually book a few days in advance. (For these, I used booking.com and chose places that had free cancellation in case our dates changed.)

Other than than, before/during/after dinner, we would assess how we felt, and how far we thought we could walk the next day. (If there were big climbs/descents or it was an extra-long stage for us, we decided whether or not to send on our bags.) I bought a Vodafone SIM card in Pamplona and had a handy list of helpful Spanish phrases. I would make some calls to find an albergue for the next night so that we did not have to deal with potentially having to walk even further. If things changed en route, I immediately called the booked albergue to let them know of our late arrival or cancellation.

Your state of mind, state of body and state of the weather(!) often determine what is best on a day-to-day basis... book-a-bed or go-with-the-flow!

Buen Camino!
 

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