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Pre-Booking Lodgings and Availability

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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Well said, Dave. The exact same thing happened to my upcoming Lebaniego camino in April. Most places in Santander I could afford were completely booked on the websites. Then I sent a facebook message to one of them (that seemed to have a very active facebook page) and TA-DAAH! Got a booking confirmation in 15 minutes, plus arranging for them to take care of my suitcase while I walk the Camino.

Of course knowing Spanish helps, but often I see accomodation people happy to try English. With due respect to those who prefer more impersonal interactions, imho nothing works better than human contact to get a nice outcome :)
 

Just_Me

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (April 2019)
booking ahead by phone and not speaking the language (well enough) - any hints? There are many places listed in the guidebooks that don't have a website but a phone number. I don't feel confident enough to call and make a reservation (yet).
 

Bob Howard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Frances 2018
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
Dave, are you at liberty to disclose the name of the hotel. I have stayed in three different hotels in SDC, and I really like them, but not as much as you liked yours. So, please tell . . .
 

Bob Howard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Frances 2018
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
Oh, never mind. I just noticed your final paragraph about not disclosing until after confirmation.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
So true, Dave. I have stayed at three different hotels each time in Santiago and thankfully loved them all, but my reason for changing hotels each year was due to my previous choice looking all booked up on the travel sites, even though I checked months ahead. Emailing sounds like a good alternative. I didn't think of doing that at the time...duh.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
Good tips @davebugg .

I had a rather unfunny moment though with Booking.com last year.
I wanted to book the same Hotel I had used on my first Camino for Pat and I.
I knew she would like the cat in the lobby! Amongst other things.

A week out they cancelled my booking, saying it was an error and that they were booked out my a large group....... I have booked weeks ahead. Won't be staying there again !


I have certainly tried emails.

But even better is phone calls! I had a couple of Spanish lessons purely based around calling to book rooms. It was great fun and so useful. My teacher even had me asking for extra pillows, extra soap, toewls etc. (Yes he's met Pat) ;)
 
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
booking ahead by phone and not speaking the language (well enough) - any hints? There are many places listed in the guidebooks that don't have a website but a phone number. I don't feel confident enough to call and make a reservation (yet).
My castellano is perhaps about that of a child of 3 or 4. I prepare a brief script, to the effect that I am a pilgrim from Canada, and that I would like to reserve a room for (e.g.) tomorrow night. I ask the price, and then give them my name, and the rough hour of my arrival. My accent is so astonishing (try to sound like John Wayne speaking Spanish) that I do not get a rapid fire response, but a carefully slow one. It seems to work.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation.
I'll be watching this thread to find out the name after you have secured your reservation. :)

I also had a couple of similar experiences. The first one was on my second Camino. I had told my new pilgrim friends about Casa Barbadelo, but it wasn't available on Booking.com, but when we called they had plenty of availability. The other was in Finisterre. It seemed like everything was booked when I tried to find a place for a few nights in July (I was already in Santiago, so it was last minute) But I emailed to Albergue/Pensión Cabo da Vila and they had a private room available. I also told a couple of new friends and they were able to get a room there too. It was a great location in Finisterre.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
booking ahead by phone and not speaking the language (well enough) - any hints? There are many places listed in the guidebooks that don't have a website but a phone number. I don't feel confident enough to call and make a reservation (yet).
Hints?
Other than learn a bit of Spanish? :oops:
I had a couple of private lessons. Well worth it.
My teacher would go in another room and I'd have to ring him to book.
He would ask me to spell my name.
give my phone number.
what time I would arrive.

Then I had to learn to call and say I was going to be a bit late.

Really useful............ About 50% of my booking were phone calls.

In terms of hints?

Learn some key phrases.
To spell your name.
To give your phone number and email address
And get a Spanish speaker to practice with, so you get used to hearing the responses.

i.e. If you asked a hotel in your own language, you could get a range of responses that won't just be a Yes or No.

Single or Double?
For tonight?
We only have a triple?
Only with a shower.
Do you need dinner?

So it's good to have heard a few different responses and that way you can listen for 'key words'
 

John Finn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
I'm a fan of Booking.com but one would want to be very skeptical of warnings about "only one room left" and such like. Such messages designed to get you to book straight away are almost certainly incorrect and are an example of the sharp practice indulged in by nearly all booking sites. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority recently published a report (linked below) condemning such ploys and the sites have undertaken to discontinue such activity later this year. In the meantime, be wary, and if you have the language skills, contact the accommodation directly and you will probably get what you are looking for, and maybe for a reduced price too.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hotel-booking-sites-to-make-major-changes-after-cma-probe
 

mjal

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
All of this is good,clean stuff but I don't think anyone has mentioned what I think is a major advantage of the booking sites (especially booking.com which is IMO the easiest to use).

I know that this will be heresy to many, but we like to have all our accommodation booked in advance. Having said that, we are talking 10 days or so ; recent expeditions include biking from Logrono to SdC and Seville to Salamanca with rented bicycles. You can see where this is going ; the bikes need to be collected and returned on specific days so rooms, flights all need to be booked pretty much at the same moment. I do this also for walking tours (e.g. in the Black Forest, Germany).

If hotels etc are plentiful, the pressure is not the same but certain areas are difficult (e.g. some sections of the VdlP).

There really is no other way to synchronise flights, rooms ( and possibly bikes). I do use emails sometimes but there is a tense day or two waiting for replies.

We have just returned from 8 days walking in Andalusia ; this was all booked on the day before we flew out.

I shall now don my steel helmet in anticipation of some discipline for my "heresy" of being totally pre-booked...
 

mjal

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
PS : You can detect that we are not staying in albergues. We do not need to cost-wise and perhaps others should consider this also.

Have I opened a can of worms which needs a new thread?
 

AndrewDavOz

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
hi Mjal,
as you've made your reasons clear, it is quite logical to make bookings in that situation. no helmet should be needed! And in any case, some people are uncomfortable with the uncertainty of heading into the distance without a confirmed reservation. Until they resolve that discomfort they will want reservations too.
Andrew
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Single or Double?
A warning to newbies; in Spain this means number of occupants. If you want a shared big bed ask for one (cama de matrimonio) or you may end up with a room with two narrow beds. Almost everything was booked up in San Sebastian and an American couple was arguing at the desk of our hotel about their reserved room because of the mixup of terms. The couple left.
 

mjal

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Hi AndrewDaveOz,

Thank you for your kind words!

Perhaps I can enlarge on our caminos (such as they are ) and our habits re rooms?

CF in late April/early May 2008 : walking ; equipped for and committed to staying in albergues. So, here goes....

Day 1 : leave B and B in St Jean at 0830 as we have been assured by the Pilgrim Office that it will take 7-8 hours to reach Roncesvalles. We are there at 1330, somewhat cold and wet. After spending time in the church, we walk on and eventually book in to the Hostal Haizea in Espinal (at 1600).

Day 2 : we are going to overnight in the albergue at Trinidad de Arre. So we approach at 1520 (doors open 1500) and are met by "completo". What? Onward to Pamplona, in a dim frame of mind, on a very hot day, and take a hotel room in the centre of the city.

Day 3 : shall we reach Maneru? No albergue (then) so obtain a room on-the-spot in a Casa Rural.

Day 4 : arrive at Estella at 1200/1230 to find a fair number of pilgrims sitting on the bench outside the municipal. Why? The penny drops ; it's the bed-race, even in 2008. Do we continue on the long, shadeless stretch to Los Arcos with no promise of a room? I suppose we could have tried Villamayor but by this stage we have decided to reach Logrono the next day to take a bus up to Bilbao. The Tourist Office (shock, horror) books us a room in Los Arcos.

Day 5 : march to Logrono for 1430, bus at 1500 and Bilbao for that night.

What did we learn? We were walking faster/further than most people ; we had no need/wish to stop at 1200-1400 on such a short expedition but it became obvious that albergues were difficult if one wished to walk until (say) 1600-1700.

Apologies for being long-winded but I wanted to illustrate where we were coming from in terms of our (present-day) booking habits.

Mike.
Ayrshire, Scotland.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
And even if you do succeed in booking a room through some booking site, still you can sometimes make a better deal by direct contact. Happened to me a few month ago when I booked a room through Booking.com. Later I went to the hotel’s own website and got a better/bigger room with a balcony at slightly less the price that I had got on Booking.com, which did not show that option.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Lots of good input on this thread. I only use booking.com to keep everything concise and I like thier app. Although they do not exclusively have access to all the rooms, the times I have taken "the last one" they showed available, it does then show "sold out", so I do believe that is correct, at least for the number of rooms they are given to reserve.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
I usually send an email (in Spanish) and tell them why I want to stay at their place. There's not always space but often there is.

On another note, Dave, you are walking with a Jill? Jill is usually an uncommon name, but this forum is thick with us! Jsalt, Kanga, and at least two others. I have mixed feelings about this. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
As a Camino walker, multi million mile flyer, and long time IT exec (retired), I'd like to add a couple of comments. Sites like Booking.com and others, while very good, were intended to both increase the number of people that can see rooms and, more importantly sell off the less desirable rooms. Most started as ways to bleed off the excess rooms that people would opt out of normally. This allowed the property to put the less desirable rooms (like those near the elevators or machinery) online and sell at a discount while keeping the better rooms in house. They have evolved since then, but still have some of the same algorithms (i.e. not all rooms from any site are available at any given time).

As Dave put it, there are always rooms held back for some period of time (if only to try to avoid paying the commission to a website). The items about "only 1 room left" are true but what it really means is that there is that number of rooms available at the site, not at the property. That said, I'm a fan of the sites just for the ease of access.

What has surprised me a bit is that I've also never really had a problem with just sending a note in English to whichever property in whatever country I need some help on and I get a response quickly. Language never seems to be a roadblock when you're trying to provide a small business owner with some business.

Order of march:
1) Use booking.com, airbnb.com etc. site or app to see what's out there.
2) Use the property's direct website to double check both the rate and the accommodation specs to see if you can get a better deal or room at the same or better price
3) Even if you have no luck on 1 or 2, send a message to the property if you really want to stay there. There may still be rooms kept apart (but you may have to pay a bit more)
4) Pay close attention to the cancelation dates. Many indirect sites are more restrictive than direct sites.
5) In any of the online sites, make sure that you keep a copy of their acknowledgement (paper or phone). They all screw up at some point.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Excellent advise, John. I do not speak Spanish so get intimidated to email, but will not shy away from trying when needed in the future.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Excellent advise, John. I do not speak Spanish so get intimidated to email, but will not shy away from trying when needed in the future.
@Camino Chris
You do not need much Spanish to send an email requesting a reservation. The important thing, for getting the best price and accurate information about availability and price, is to contact the hotel (hostal, etc.) directly. You can find their name on Booking.com then look them up online and send them a request for a booking, by email or whatever system is on their website. I use a standard request email which I composed and had checked over by a Spanish speaker. It goes as follows:
Reservacion:
Quisiera hacer una reservacion para el 25 de noviembre [you will have to learn, or write down, the names of the months but can just write the day in as a number]. Soy peregrina y quiero una habitacion individual [or doble] para dos (tres) noches [depending on how long you want to stay]. Por favor me puede informare el costo total.
Gracias,
[My full name]
This has always worked for me. I do know some Spanish, but have no confidence, so find that this works for me better than composing an email for each occasion. Also, it may save some money to say that I am a pilgrim, as there are discounts in some places. I always stay in San Martin Pinario in Santiago. There, I send an email in English directly to Reservations, requesting a room on the pilgrim floor, as this is how to get a much cheaper room than is available in the hotel section. On my last pilgrimage, I tried to change my reservation at San Martin Pinario by email, since I was going to arrive sooner by one day. I got no reply but thought that they would have received this email, as they received the previous one. When I arrived, I did not have a booking for my first night, but there was, fortunately, space on the pilgrim floor, as it was November. This showed me that anything having to do with bookings it is necessary to make sure that you receive a confirmation.
I do not feel confident in making phone calls. Listings of accommodation in towns on pilgrim routes may only give phone numbers as contact information. But they must also give the names, which may be looked up online if I want to make an online booking. I have also had to phone a number on a door to get the albergue opened and this was easy. You only need a few words of Spanish, eg. "Estoy peregrina al albergue." This may not be fluent, but it will get the point across.
I understand how making bookings is simple on Bookings.com and a little more complicated when you have to contact the accommodation directly. But this could save you money or give you access to a bed where there were none available on Booking.com .
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Thank you, @Albertagirl, for all the good information and taking the time to share it!
@Camino Chris
You're welcome. But I should have included the email for San Martin Pinario: info@sanmartinpinario.eu . I noticed that the prefix info@ seems common for hotel emails in Spain. In any case, you can usually find the email address easily on their website, after you have skipped over all the commercial booking websites like booking.com or Travelocity posting advertisements to book the accommodation that you want through their booking service. Some hotel websites offer direct online booking, through a function similar to that of the booking services. But I tried one a few days ago and was informed, online, that my booking had not gone through and I should try again or contact the hostal. But there were no available spaces when I tried again, and it was a struggle to compose an email explaining the problem. Then I noticed that I had received an email from the hostal confirming that my reservation had gone through, with a reservation number. So I had to write another email saying that all was well. I do hope that my booking, for a room in Madrid before I begin my camino de Madrid, had gone through. But of course I have saved the booking confirmation, just in case. I can see how having even less Spanish than I do could make booking accommodation challenging. Buen camino
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
@davebugg,

I doubt I’ll be on the way anytime soon. And, I love looong bathtubs. Love them.

So, if you post name of this haven as a secret, for my eyes only. Tell everyone they can’t peek; I promise not to tell a soul!
 
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
I have stopped trying to use hostal/hotel websites' online booking after three instances in a row of finding out that they were not using it!! Using email as Albertagirl has laid out does work quite well (info@....), but I have discovered that a few places do not believe in confirmation emails. I have discovered that booking on FB sites is more effective than I thought it might be. I have not walked on the Francese for a number of years and I have often gone off-season, so am less likely to use luck and serendipity as I once did (although I had some wonderful experiences by doing so).
 

Harlan Sager

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
Camino Portugal 2016 and on to Finisterre
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
____________________________________
Using the many online sources available and planning our Camino Frances as well as our Portuguese Camino from Lisbon, my wife and I pre-booked all our lodging directly with the hostels, inns, albergues, posadas etc where we wanted to stay. This meant having a schedule so we built in rest days. It also allowed baggage transfer. We did this since as 70+ year old pilgrims we wanted to be assured of a room and a bed at the end of a days walk. This was not as convenient as booking.com but was more to our liking as we had more options.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
____________________________________
Using the many online sources available and planning our Camino Frances as well as our Portuguese Camino from Lisbon, my wife and I pre-booked all our lodging directly with the hostels, inns, albergues, posadas etc where we wanted to stay. This meant having a schedule so we built in rest days. It also allowed baggage transfer. We did this since as 70+ year old pilgrims we wanted to be assured of a room and a bed at the end of a days walk. This was not as convenient as booking.com but was more to our liking as we had more options.
I'm glad that worked out for you. There are many who share your strategy.

For me, I just do not care for pre-booking an entire Camino. . . other than at my start location and at my ending point.

For the days or weeks in between, I don't like having to focus on being at a specific place for day's end. There are just too many times that I have thought I would walk a certain distance, only to find that my actual distance was different. I love walking and backpacking, so stopping too early in the day because my pace was faster than usual would bore me.

If I am feeling off when I get up and start walking and want to make it a short day, I don't want to have to drag myself further on when I just want and need to stop early. And no, unless it is a sort of emergency, taking a taxi is not for me, unless the location where I need to stop is completo for all lodging options :)

I personally find that are just too many variables for me to know for certain where I will end up at the end of the day. I also never worry about not having bed for the night; as I said above, if a town's entire lodging infrastructure is fully booked, and I am not wanting to walk any further, I can taxi to the next town. The next morning, I can taxi back to where I left off and continue on from there. :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'm a fan of Booking.com but one would want to be very skeptical of warnings about "only one room left" and such like. Such messages designed to get you to book straight away are almost certainly incorrect and are an example of the sharp practice indulged in by nearly all booking sites. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority recently published a report (linked below) condemning such ploys and the sites have undertaken to discontinue such activity later this year. In the meantime, be wary, and if you have the language skills, contact the accommodation directly and you will probably get what you are looking for, and maybe for a reduced price too.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hotel-booking-sites-to-make-major-changes-after-cma-probe
In the US at least, booking.com’s practices have changed. Now they no longer say “only one room left.” Rather, they say “only one room left at our site.” Or when they have reserved all their available rooms, they say “you missed it. No availability at our site.” And that is likely true, since booking.com only has access to a very small number of rooms at any one place. But I think that when people read it, they don’t make the distinction that the only thing that is sold out is the booking.com’s allotment. Then they suggest you look at other places in the area where booking does have available rooms.

I use booking.com for non-camino traveling. They have a great set of filters that help narrow things down quite a bit. I particularly like that I can easily find hotels with fitness centers in out of the way places. That would be much more difficult without sites like booking. On the camino, of course, I don’t need a fitness center. 😄
 

MartinatCordell

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2015)
Primitivo (2018-19)
Finisterre (2019)
I am a 75+ y.o. pilgrim who previously completed the Camino Poetugués in 2015 and last year walked as far as San Román de Retorta along the Camino Primitivo. On those two routes I never had any problem in finding accommodation, even though I am a slow walker and don't usually arrived until well after 4pm. My concern is that I do not have any experience of the availability of space in albergues along the Camino Francés. I read what is said above by earlier contributors and I am sufficiently confident in Spanish, but that doesn't alleviate my fears of not finding somewhere to stay late in the day (if not booked ahead) especially the nearer to SdeC one gets. My questions boil down to how many nights ahead should I attempt to make a booking for accommodation along the sector of Melide to Lavacolla and then the same question especially for the night that I arrive in SdeC? I should add that my ETA in Melide will hopefully be towards the end of April and a few nights later in SdeC. Any help will be most gratefully received.
 

Awakekiwi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2016)
In some threads on pre-booking Camino lodging (albergues, hostals, hotels, hostels, etc), using Booking.com or another reservation app is frequently mentioned. The discussion will sometimes then lead to posts about trying to book a place for the night but finding no beds or rooms available for the date or the reservation.

So I thought I'd confirm what many other Forum members have stated prior: That it is typical for lodging facilities to only make a portion of their rooms available for reservations thru the Booking.com-type apps.

Here's my example. When Jill and I finish our pilgrimage on Camino Ingles from Ferrol this October, I wanted to make sure we stay at the same wonderful place in Santiago de Compostela that my son Caleb and I stayed at last October when we finished the Camino Frances.

For the last few days I have tried using several different reservation booking sites to secure a room at the lodging. These included Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, etc. Results: nothing, nada, zip. No rooms available, even within 14 days of my desired dates.

It was frustrating because I really wanted to stay at that place again. The staff and accommodations were wonderful. I started looking at other places to stay, and during the time we will be there on October 23 to 25, there were a number of other great choices.

Then I remembered what I already knew. . . . . and I sent an email directly to the place. Not only that, but since Caleb and I really liked the specific room we were staying in, I also asked them to help identify THAT specific room for the reservation (Great location in the old city, a french door opening to a French balcony, great view from above of a busy pedestrian street, very comfortable and spacious room with a great bathroom that has a big shower stall and a separate and looong bathtub, etc).

I got a quick reply - - given the time zone differences -- and they knew which room we had stayed in. Right now I am just waiting to hear back that the reservation has been finalized for that specific room on the days requested in October.

So if you find that the lodging reservation/booking app shows that no rooms are available, don't listen to it. Try directly contacting the place you want to stay at, either thru email, Facebook, or phone. If by phone and you need translating assistance, oftentimes the place you are staying at already can help out.

And no, I am not going to reveal the place; at least not til AFTER I get the confirmation. Besides, there are a lot of great lodgings available in SdC; my choice is somewhat colored not only by the qualities of the place, but also by sentiment. :)
Great I love that sentiment thing. I have many fond memories of special lodgings along the way and special connection with some.. and I agree.. we found a wonderful place in central Santiago that could only be booked directly.
I recommend also looking for the website of hostels when you find them.. you can often book directly via email or form on their website for cheaper than on booking dot com. And as you say more availability that way.
 

Cartski

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain, France - all
Previously this script was shared:

Reservacion:
Quisiera hacer una reservacion para el 25 de noviembre [you will have to learn, or write down, the names of the months but can just write the day in as a number]. Soy peregrina y quiero una habitacion individual [or doble] para dos (tres) noches [depending on how long you want to stay]. Por favor me puede informare el costo total.
Gracias,
[My full name]

Sorry for the lack of attribution; phone typing is tough.

Using scripts seems like a great way to help me get over the language barrier.

Are there any other useful, basic scripts that people have had success with for albergues, food, transport, etc?

Thanks!
 

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