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Travel Company versus doing the Camino Frances alone

Hyams

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French way 2015 and next 2023
In 2015 my husband and I completed the Camino Frances. It was an amazing life changing experience and we would like to walk it again next May. When we did the Camino we did not book accommodation ahead of us but simply enjoyed the freedom and allowed the Camino to provide. I have read that many people book ahead now and am unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
 
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Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Many people, often first timers, choose a travel company because of a fear of the unknown, a perfectly rational reason.
But if you have already walked the whole of the Camino Frances, you have the run of it now and know what to expect.. though you will find it busier and more expensive of course.

Going through a travel company will give you some peace of mind, but at the expense of your freedom, flexibility and your wallet. What do you think, is that what you want?

If you choose to do it on your own again, you can always book a few days ahead
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
In 2015 my husband and I completed the Camino Frances. It was an amazing life changing experience and we would like to walk it again next May. When we did the Camino we did not book accommodation ahead of us but simply enjoyed the freedom and allowed the Camino to provide. I have read that many people book ahead now and am unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
I am thinking by 'travel company' you mean have a travel agent set up places for you to stay each night. Is that correct?
I, too, prefer to let things unfold as I walk, and am disinclined to book ahead. I suppose if I knew there were going to be large amounts of people and few albergues, I would consider doing it.
I would not go through a travel agent, however, simply because I prefer to do such things myself.
Most people go to booking.com, and look at the possibilities. If you are thinking you want a private room and not shared space, you could book some place that allows you to cancel without penalty. Many places want at least 24 hours notice to cancel.
Would you feel comfortable booking the first night some place a reasonable distance for your first day's walk, and getting a feel for how busy things are? If it looks jammed, you could start booking forward once you know your pace and expectations.
 

Hyams

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French way 2015 and next 2023
Thank you for your advice. We like to book at SJDP and also Orrison. Is there an app you might know of other than booking.com that lists accommodation as we would prefer our own room.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Rather than paying a company to book accommodation for you and lock you into their schedule, I suggest that you book a day or two ahead as you go. That way you keep flexibility for unexpected illness, injury, weather conditions, or just the desire to take a rest day.

For the Camino Francés I think that it's a good idea to book your accommodation up through Pamplona. After that the pilgrim traffic tends to spread out as there are more "off stage" towns to stop at.

A good resource for albergues, hotels, pensions, etc on the Camino is Gronze.com. They list phone numbers, email addresses, and websites of the properties, and also a link to booking.com for those places that use that platform.

Gronze is in Spanish, but if you use the chrome browser it will translate to English.

 
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Hyams

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French way 2015 and next 2023
Rather than paying a company to book accommodation for you and lock you into their schedule, I suggest that you book a day or two ahead as you go. That way you keep flexibility for unexpected illness, injury, weather conditions, or just the desire to take a rest day.

For the Camino Francés I think that it's a good idea to book your accommodation up through Pamplona. After that the pilgrim traffic tends to spread out as there are more "off stage" towns to stop at.

A good resource for albergues, hotels, pensions, etc on the Camino is Gronze.com. They list phone numbers, email addresses, and websites of the properties, and also a link to booking.com for those places that use that platform.

Gronze is in Spanish, but if you use the chrome browser it will translate to English.

Thank you for your advice. I will certainly check out Gronze.com.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Gronze uses links to Booking.com but has a wider range of options than Booking.com.

If you have enough Spanish, you can book direct and save some cash as Booking.com charge the hotels a hefty fee.

The other suggestion is to have WhatsApp on your phone as many small hotels and AirBnB (within Europe at least) have a WhatsApp number which is useful to contact the hotel.
 

Hyams

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French way 2015 and next 2023
Gronze uses links to Booking.com but has a wider range of options than Booking.com.

If you have enough Spanish, you can book direct and save some cash as Booking.com charge the hotels a hefty fee.

The other suggestion is to have WhatsApp on your phone as many small hotels and AirBnB (within Europe at least) have a WhatsApp number which is useful to contact the hotel.
Thank you for your suggestion. I will also keep in mind.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
You haven't said what date you plan to walk.

If you are not walking the beginning of May or September then there seems to be very little reason to book ahead.

This year, as the first full post Covid year, many people were fearful and didn't know what to expect. Then the huge wave of pilgrims who started during the first couple of weeks of May and who were stopping at popular stopping points and wanting non-shared rooms found that it was very busy and generally frightened others into reserving ahead.

People who weren't part of that huge wave of walkers or who stayed in less popular stopping points and who stayed in shared accommodation did not, generally, have those same problems. Of course large cities like Pamplona on a weekend or when an event is on are still busy for everyone and so it makes sense to reserve in those limited situations.

It also makes sense to reserve your very first night so that there is less stress.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
You haven't said what date you plan to walk.
This was my very first thought also. If you start in October or later or the beginning of April or earlier you should have little to no problem with reservations. I assume you want to walk the Camino Frances again. I understand why but there are many other wonderful caminos to walk.
Many people, often first timers, choose a travel company because of a fear of the unknown, a perfectly rational reason.
But if you have already walked the whole of the Camino Frances, you have the run of it now and know what to expect.. though you will find it busier and more expensive of course
Exactly and it removes any and all spontiaty out of your camino. The itinerary dictates when you will rest and how far you will walk. Personally I think the only thing that should dictate when you walk and rest is your body telling you to. The only entity that should tell you where to take extra time to stay somewhere because that place is pulling you or an injury or your body is telling you to stop is your heart, body and spirit.
I have never considered a company but that is my own personal choice not a condemnation of this method. But I have seen, which in my personal opinion some absolutely outrageous amounts of money some of these companies charge. You can obviously put a price tag on the cost of an expensive meal or a Parador but you cannot put a price tag on a donativo meal with other pilgrims from all different socio economic groups (For sure that does not matter) and from many different, cultures, customs, and languages. Or just sitting in the backyard of an albergue with that group sharing a beer or a cold drink with your feet up just laughing or sharing. The economic cost is minimal if nothing while the spiritual and emotional and memories created have no price tag.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
In 2015 my husband and I completed the Camino Frances. It was an amazing life changing experience and we would like to walk it again next May. When we did the Camino we did not book accommodation ahead of us but simply enjoyed the freedom and allowed the Camino to provide. I have read that many people book ahead now and am unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
Find your own middle way. The advice above is good, but I’d clarify my understanding of one point - it’s unusual to get a better rate direct for the same room as offered on booking.com. Part of their contract with the accommodation providers is that they’re not undercut - that’s one of the reasons why (usually) the providers only list a proportion of their capacity there.

If somewhere shows ‘sold out’ on booking.com; that doesn’t mean they’re full; so direct contact can often secure a room. Paying direct also saves the owners anything up to 30%.

If you don’t speak Spanish then translation software and WhatsApp will do the job

The numbers currently ‘booking ahead’ in my opinion indicate the covid-induced desire for private rooms which, hopefully, will abate.

I reserve my first night then take it as it comes. When I walk between September and April pre-booking is simply not necessary.
 

CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
Off topic, but have the wild fires dimmed in the area past Pamplona? Are pilgrims able to walk again? Moderators, feel free to place this in a more appropriate thread.
My understanding is that they are still busing people around most of Navarra straight to Logrono and then you can start walk from there
 
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Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
The first Camino walking off season I learnt to call ahead to see if they are open.
I planned everything ahead and well I arrived.
Last time this month I just walked out of the blue with gronze as a guide.
I used the correos to transport my backpack, great inexpensive service,I choose the distances I could manage. So I was slow but I arrived. This time I saw so much more I took the time to see. So much more relaxed and contemplative.
Since you are experienced pilgrims you should do what feels right for you. If you like the company tours thats for you , but you were already out there, so why not spent that money on a nice meal, a taxi ride if you need it, a helping hand that you can afford while saving that money, the feeling of accomplishment to have done it by yourself, the great adventure “short cuts” offer you, because you walked somewhere off the common paths, and so much more. But I am more an individual traveller. Whatever you choose it will be the right decision. Ah so much joy.
I second that if booking is sold out as it told me for Caldas de Reis, I walked there and many had still rooms free. Maybe you choose the smaller towns before the big hubs. They offered me wounderful places to overnight. But I was walking the Portugues.
bon camino
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May-June, 2022, Frances
For my first Camino Frances this year (late April till just now, including resting in Finisterre and Muxia), I used a company in Santiago to make my reservations. I was unsure enough of my Spanish language ability, of how many people would be coming post-Covid and of how much the Holy Year would affect numbers, that it was reassuring to know I had reservations. I also wanted individual rooms because of Covid.

The person in Santiago who owns the company WhatsApp-ed me every day to be check in, be sure I was okay, etc. He was available 24-hours a day if I needed help. This was also reassuring, as an older woman walking alone. He met me at the train station in Santiago to say goodbye. He walks the Camino himself, and takes tours as well, so he knows the accommodations.

So this time, it worked out well for me. I had no physical issues that required rest, and had already adjusted walking distances (not over 25 km).

But you do miss the spontaneity of being able to adjust your schedule--to walk a longer distance when you want to keep up with friends, to walk shorter when it's hot, etc. (I must say, though, that even though I lost some of my Camino family along the way due to schedules, I also had the opportunity to make more than one Camino family, and am grateful for all of the relationships!)

For a first time, I was glad I did it the way I did. But if I'm lucky enough to do it again, I will make reservations myself only couple days in advance.
 

Optimistic Traveler

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018
Thank you for your advice. We like to book at SJDP and also Orrison. Is there an app you might know of other than booking.com that lists accommodation as we would prefer our own room.
The Wise Pilgrim app was great for us in finding accommodation, especially small ones not on booking.com. All types of accommodation were listed, from albergues to fancy hotels. Often, there were email addresses or phone #s to call for reservations, so you could bypass booking.com and put that 15% in the albergue's pockets.
 

Sanman

Walk for Nature
Time of past OR future Camino
Via Pondiensa, Francis, Portugal, West Highland W,
In 2015 my husband and I completed the Camino Frances. It was an amazing life changing experience and we would like to walk it again next May. When we did the Camino we did not book accommodation ahead of us but simply enjoyed the freedom and allowed the Camino to provide. I have read that many people book ahead now and am unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
I am an outlier i guess. I loved using a travel company and i have gone solo, I used bookings.com so i have compared. For basically $100 /day i received baggage transport, my own room, my own bathroom. On my latest walk 3 couples I met got Covid - they thought from the crowded Gites..., many had trouble getting accomodation as the route was very popular...so this time I opted for the company Yes there are flexibility issues but you have to give up something to get something, and there is a money consideration. For me ( a senior) it was perfect...like the Camino to each their own
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
I am an outlier i guess. I loved using a travel company and i have gone solo, I used bookings.com so i have compared. For basically $100 /day i received baggage transport, my own room, my own bathroom. On my latest walk 3 couples I met got Covid - they thought from the crowded Gites..., many had trouble getting accomodation as the route was very popular...so this time I opted for the company Yes there are flexibility issues but you have to give up something to get something, and there is a money consideration. For me ( a senior) it was perfect...like the Camino to each their own
the worst possible nightmare [for me] : getting covid on the Way🤞
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Thank you for your advice. We like to book at SJDP and also Orrison. Is there an app you might know of other than booking.com that lists accommodation as we would prefer our own room.

Just curious. Have you had issues with Booking.com?
It seems to be the most widely used app and is very easy and convenient to use.

I've also used Gronze, which sometimes:
links you to booking.com,
or gives a website of the accommodation,
or an email address,
or a phone number.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
So this time, it worked out well for me. I had no physical issues that required rest, and had already adjusted walking distances (not over 25 km).
Hi Marylou, it sounds like you have had a very successful Camino without incident or injury; I'm very happy for you! 😃 I will be in touch for a chat or meet-up sometime before summer ends.
 

Linaka71

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
In 2015 my husband and I completed the Camino Frances. It was an amazing life changing experience and we would like to walk it again next May. When we did the Camino we did not book accommodation ahead of us but simply enjoyed the freedom and allowed the Camino to provide. I have read that many people book ahead now and am unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
As a first timer going to the Frances 6/2023 alone and not a youngster,I looked at both options.For me I feel more comfortable with this approach since they know the lay of land and I do not.The Camino is still up to me with no assistance except lodging and bag transfer.I was able to do an itinerary that I wanted
In 2015 my husband and I completed the Camino Frances. It was an amazing life changing experience and we would like to walk it again next May. When we did the Camino we did not book accommodation ahead of us but simply enjoyed the freedom and allowed the Camino to provide. I have read that many people book ahead now and am unsure whether or not to go with a Travel Company. My fear is that the freedom and flexibility will be gone. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.
I looked at many approaches.The travel companies with a set itinerary did not work for me.I have chosen to go with a company,only setting up lodging,and bag transfer.The Camino is still mine to do.As a first timer,alone and not a youngster,I will be doing it 6/2023.It gives me a sense of security.So as each of us has our own approach this I feel is best for me.I was able to set up my own itinerary,rest days,miles etc.Good luck with your trip!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
My understanding is that they are still busing people around most of Navarra straight to Logrono and then you can start walk from there
Pilgrims were already posting comments on 24/6 that the Camino had re-opened from Pamplona.
 

Linaka71

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I am an outlier i guess. I loved using a travel company and i have gone solo, I used bookings.com so i have compared. For basically $100 /day i received baggage transport, my own room, my own bathroom. On my latest walk 3 couples I met got Covid - they thought from the crowded Gites..., many had trouble getting accomodation as the route was very popular...so this time I opted for the company Yes there are flexibility issues but you have to give up something to get something, and there is a money consideration. For me ( a senior) it was perfect...like the Camino to each their own
Agree!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
May-June, 2022, Frances
As a first timer going to the Frances 6/2023 alone and not a youngster,I looked at both options.For me I feel more comfortable with this approach since they know the lay of land and I do not.The Camino is still up to me with no assistance except lodging and bag transfer.I was able to do an itinerary that I wanted

I looked at many approaches.The travel companies with a set itinerary did not work for me.I have chosen to go with a company,only setting up lodging,and bag transfer.The Camino is still mine to do.As a first timer,alone and not a youngster,I will be doing it 6/2023.It gives me a sense of security.So as each of us has our own approach this I feel is best for me.I was able to set up my own itinerary,rest days,miles etc.Good luck with your trip!
It was a great way for me to go. Good luck, and enjoy every minute.
 

ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
I too have the same dilemma. This coming October will be our very first Camino. We're doing the Camino del Norte only from San Sebastian to Bilbao. So it will be San Sebastian-Zarautz-Deba-Markina-Gernika-Lezama-Bilbao. I don't mind booking the hotels myself and having Correos transfer our luggage's from one city to the next. But my wife insist that we use the services of companies like Caminoways/Followthecamino etc for the convenience and more so the assurance that our luggage's get to our next stop. So basically they will only arrange for the hotel stay+luggage transfers. I understand that her worry is that if we do it on our own and our luggage somehow won't arrive at the hotel where we will be staying the next day then that will be a BIG problem. Unlike most where they actually carry with them their clothes on their backpacks we will be having our stuffs on our luggage's. So it's quite important that we're assured that our luggage will be at the next stop when we get there. I've already asked some who have used Correos and they all say that they are very reliable. The only worry is that if a problem arises I don't think there's someone I can call at Correos compared to when something does go wrong with the travel company I can reach them right away.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
If you have done a caminio before my suggestion is to book you own trip. When you are going, the season, can be problematic. Private accommodations, in Sept. and early Oct. 22 are really pretty booked up on the CF from SJPdP to Pamplona and then Sarria to SdC. You willl also find difficult to find a room during the WineFestival in Sept. in Logrono and Hispanic day in many places.

Correos.com ( paq mochilla) is my first choice for sending a bag ahead.
 
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ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
If you have done a caminio before my suggestion is to book you own trip. When you are going, the season, can be problematic. Private accommodations, in Sept. and early Oct. 22 are really pretty booked up on the CF from SJPdP to Pamplona and then Sarria to SdC. You willl also find difficult to find a room during the WineFestival in Sept. in Logrono and Hispanic day in many places.

Correos.com ( paq mochilla) is my first choice for sending a bag ahead.
Actually it's gonna be my first Camino. I'm just participating in this post. My Camino will be the Camino del Norte. Only from San Sebastian to Bilbao in late October.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
So it's quite important that we're assured that our luggage will be at the next stop when we get there. I've already asked some who have used Correos and they all say that they are very reliable. The only worry is that if a problem arises I don't think there's someone I can call at Correos compared to when something does go wrong with the travel company I can reach them right away
I've never used a company to arrange my Camino, but it's my guess that they contract with one of the existing baggage forwarding services.

I have read good things about the service that Correos provides.

 

Bala

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015, 2018, 2022
..... it's my guess that they contract with one of the existing baggage forwarding services.
As a retired travel agent this was my thought as well. You might want to ask your agent who is providing their ground services. Even if they have a good number of clients walking at the same time, it would be prohibitively expensive to provide dedicated bag transfer service across several hundred Camino miles. And rather pointless since a variety of companies are already doing just that.

The advantage of booking with a company, of course, is if you bags don't show up -- a very outside chance -- they're the ones who have to straighten it out, not you. But you'll still be without your bags in the meantime. Still, that may be peace of mind worth paying for. 🙂
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
The advantage of booking with a company, of course, is if you bags don't show up -- a very outside chance -- they're the ones who have to straighten it out, not you. But you'll still be without your bags in the meantime. Still, that may be peace of mind worth paying for. 🙂
Actually, if you can email, Correos, the company is great about retrieving bags, if you order online. I only had a bag delayed once, over several Caminos….and it was my error, not Correos’. There was a new albergue with a very similar name to one which I always use but I checked the new, wrong destination, on the computer. When the bag did not show up on time, I immediately contacted Correos by email in English and the bag was retrieved and driven to my location within an hour! They are efficient! No charge
 

ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
As a retired travel agent this was my thought as well. You might want to ask your agent who is providing their ground services. Even if they have a good number of clients walking at the same time, it would be prohibitively expensive to provide dedicated bag transfer service across several hundred Camino miles. And rather pointless since a variety of companies are already doing just that.

The advantage of booking with a company, of course, is if you bags don't show up -- a very outside chance -- they're the ones who have to straighten it out, not you. But you'll still be without your bags in the meantime. Still, that may be peace of mind worth paying for. 🙂
Yep that's the peace of mind that my wife wants :) But from what I've read so far Correos does seem to be reliable. Plus definitely it'll be much cheaper if I book the hotels and luggage transfers myself rather than using a booking company.
 
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ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
Actually, if you can email, Correos, the company is great about retrieving bags, if you order online. I only had a bag delayed once, over several Caminos….and it was my error, not Correos’. There was a new albergue with a very similar name to one which I always use but I checked the new, wrong destination, on the computer. When the bag did not show up on time, I immediately contacted Correos by email in English and the bag was retrieved and driven to my location within an hour! They are efficient! No charge
Thanks...that sounds very reassuring. Will tell my wife about it and hopefully she'll reconsider.
 

auburnfive

Active Member
Yep that's the peace of mind that my wife wants :) But from what I've read so far Correos does seem to be reliable. Plus definitely it'll be much cheaper if I book the hotels and luggage transfers myself rather than using a booking company.
You would be paying significantly for that reassurance. The transport companies do an excellent job, the only issues I have heard of is when you book at an Airbnb or apartment and there is no one to receive your luggag. Keep that in mind for your bookings and you will be fine.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Two concerns from my POV:
!.) As Auburnfive states there is never anyone "waiting" to greet you at an AirbnB normally so your bags may end up sitting in the rain in full public view,
2.) I have read numerous comments where pilgrims who used booking service found out later that their accommodations were well of the Camino trail, requiring taxi service to and from the route. I guess my only warning would be to specify that you want convenient, close-by locations and then check the map to see if that is what you were offered.
 

ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
Two concerns from my POV:
!.) As Auburnfive states there is never anyone "waiting" to greet you at an AirbnB normally so your bags may end up sitting in the rain in full public view,
2.) I have read numerous comments where pilgrims who used booking service found out later that their accommodations were well of the Camino trail, requiring taxi service to and from the route. I guess my only warning would be to specify that you want convenient, close-by locations and then check the map to see if that is what you were offered.
Thanks for the concern. Yes I've been told to make sure to get accommodations with a 24 front desk. I'm gonna be booking hotels nor airbnb so this won't be a problem. Plus I've check the Correos website and they do list down all the hotels that they serve in each city.

The booking services did state in their website that when the accommodation is out of the way that they would provide a car service. But again I've decided not to avail of their services anymore since the wife has agreed that we do it on our own. I just have to make sure that the hotels are easy to access.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
As someone who loves planning, I do enjoy looking up places and booking my own accommodation! To me it feels like I’m doing the trip/Camino twice, first time when I do all my research, and second time when I actually go do it!

Good luck and buen camino @ciotime!
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Thanks for the concern. Yes I've been told to make sure to get accommodations with a 24 front desk. I'm gonna be booking hotels nor airbnb so this won't be a problem. Plus I've check the Correos website and they do list down all the hotels that they serve in each city.

The booking services did state in their website that when the accommodation is out of the way that they would provide a car service. But again I've decided not to avail of their services anymore since the wife has agreed that we do it on our own. I just have to make sure that the hotels are easy to access.

I have booked at many accommodations that don’t have 24 hr. Service. Many places don’t, but they know when the bags arrive and are there to receive them.
I agree with @biarritzdon! Do, however pay attention to arbnbs and places out of the way. Correos lists all of the places they deliver to online. When booking, you can contact them, if your not sure, and ask if they deliver there, or if there is a place close by (cafe or bar) where you could pick your bag up! They will know.
 

ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
As someone who loves planning, I do enjoy looking up places and booking my own accommodation! To me it feels like I’m doing the trip/Camino twice, first time when I do all my research, and second time when I actually go do it!

Good luck and buen camino @ciotime!
Thanks!!!
 

auburnfive

Active Member
One more suggestion….if you use booking.com make sure to look at the comments section. Often previously walkers will say things like “ very friendly to pilgrims” or “ right on the Camino trail” which can be very helpful
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
There are also some places that are off the trail, sometimes really lovey rural houses that are off the trail and the owners will pick you up by car and drop you off. They are sometimes several miles off the main trail. Do not assume because it is off the trail that Corros does not deliver. one such Casa Rural is Casa Roan. It is between Portomarin and Palas de Rei but off the trail several miles. it is a Lovely place that serves dinner and breakfast and will transport you from and back to the trail. And Correos does deliver there!

 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
One more suggestion….if you use booking.com make sure to look at the comments section. Often previously walkers will say things like “ very friendly to pilgrims” or “ right on the Camino trail” which can be very helpful
And you can type "Camino" into the search bar of the reviews section to more easily find those comments.
 

dbier

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Last 114km Camino Frances, Jul 21
2023 - Camino P
I vaguely remember that Caminoways used one of the popular luggage services ( tho not Correos) for our transfer. Ask your company who they're using...they'll tell you if they're reputable
 

ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
I vaguely remember that Caminoways used one of the popular luggage services ( tho not Correos) for our transfer. Ask your company who they're using...they'll tell you if they're reputable
Thanks...we've decided to no longer use the booking service but instead book the hotels on our own and use Correos.
 

ciotime

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
On a side note our route is from San Sebastian-Getaria-Deba-Markina-Gernika-Lezama-Bilbao. But I've recently read that the hike from Gernika to Bilbao is not very compelling but rather boring and nothing much to see along the way. Has anyone gone this route? If so we might just instead go to Mundaka from Gernika instead of going to Lezama and from Mundaka just catch a train to Bilbao. Mundaka seems like a nice place to spend the night compared to Lezama.
 
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sdill

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF last 100km 2022
For my first Camino Frances this year (late April till just now, including resting in Finisterre and Muxia), I used a company in Santiago to make my reservations. I was unsure enough of my Spanish language ability, of how many people would be coming post-Covid and of how much the Holy Year would affect numbers, that it was reassuring to know I had reservations. I also wanted individual rooms because of Covid.

The person in Santiago who owns the company WhatsApp-ed me every day to be check in, be sure I was okay, etc. He was available 24-hours a day if I needed help. This was also reassuring, as an older woman walking alone. He met me at the train station in Santiago to say goodbye. He walks the Camino himself, and takes tours as well, so he knows the accommodations.

So this time, it worked out well for me. I had no physical issues that required rest, and had already adjusted walking distances (not over 25 km).

But you do miss the spontaneity of being able to adjust your schedule--to walk a longer distance when you want to keep up with friends, to walk shorter when it's hot, etc. (I must say, though, that even though I lost some of my Camino family along the way due to schedules, I also had the opportunity to make more than one Camino family, and am grateful for all of the relationships!)

For a first time, I was glad I did it the way I did. But if I'm lucky enough to do it again, I will make reservations myself only couple days in advance.
Hi Mary Lou, do you mind sharing who you used in Santiago to assist you? Thanks!
 

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