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what do you do if you can't find accommodation? is a tent necessary?

Edviux

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
 
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dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Maybe. All you need to worry about now is where to put your tent. I know that sounds facetious, but wild camping is technically illegal in Spain (although the legislation was probably aimed at Roma, rather than slightly desperate pilgrims). Anywhere you pitch your tent is also likely to be private land too as there are very few campsites on the Primitivo. So the tent option needs thinking about. If you have a mat, you can sleep in church porches or the local deportivo (sports centre) - Spanish villages have a tradition of looking after pilgrims with nowhere to stay. If you have a companion, the cost of the room is halved down to the cost of a private albergue. I would say go and see what happens and if you take a tent, make sure it is a) very light and b) so cheap you don't mind ditching it when you decide the extra weight is not worth the effort. Buen camino.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!

I have never carried a tent, and not sure many would, just 'in case'.
There are a few, very few, Pilgrims who wild camp.
But as @dick bird says, it's illegal.
And why carry all that extra weight.

Maybe take a cheap mat if you are concerned, and if you find yourself without a bed, I'm sure an extra layer of clothes, your sleeping bag and a mat, will see you OK in a church porch or similar.

But I'm sure other options will reveal themselves. Like sharing a private room with a fellow Pilgrim or something. I think it's very rare that Pilgrims find themselves 'sleeping out'.

Try not to pack your 'fears'. Taking this and that, just in case.
We all do it first time out ;)
 
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I wild camp all the time. Use a lightweight tarp. Depending on the time of year, there will be times when the tourigrini and the jacotransers and the local scout groups bag all the beds, so you will have to sleep out, and that's why good warmgear is essential as backup. As for wild camping, I've never had the slightest problem. And it's fun.
 

Binka33

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018: CP: Tui to Santiago
2016: CF: SJPDP to Muxia
2013: CF: SJPDP to Burgos
Hello, just finishing Camino primitivo now and there was never a problem with the accommodation to have a free bed in September. Summer was full, but autumn is just fine. The pre-bookings one day ahead are necessary just after Lugo and after Melide it is a total chaos with frances 😜🤪

But otherwise the alberguese were very nice.
Im going to summ-up our experience here on the forum after arrival.

Buen camino!
 

Trude

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
I am walking in late October and have a cheap lightweight tent in my backpack if I can’t get accomodation. I will pitch the tent when it gets dark and be gone after the sun comes up nobody will know I have been there. It is a good option in these times.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
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I wild camp all the time. Use a lightweight tarp. Depending on the time of year, there will be times when the tourigrini and the jacotransers and the local scout groups bag all the beds, so you will have to sleep out, and that's why good warmgear is essential as backup. As for wild camping, I've never had the slightest problem. And it's fun.

Is this a problem on particular routes?
I honestly don't know anyone that 'had' to sleep out.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Is this a problem on particular routes?
I honestly don't know anyone that 'had' to sleep out.
I walked Easter week on the Frances in 2017. When we arrived in Zubiri there was a huge bus with the driver loading backpacks in the hold. The bus was filled with pilgrims, but I didn't know where they wre being taken. I'm glad we had reserved our first few days. I later talked to someone who had to sleep on a park bench in Pamplona.
 

RRat

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
A tent will cost you more than a few €30 nights.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I walked Easter week on the Frances in 2017. When we arrived in Zubiri there was a huge bus with the driver loading backpacks in the hold. The bus was filled with pilgrims, but I didn't know where they were being taken. I'm glad we had reserved our first few days. I later talked to someone who had to sleep on a park bench in Pamplona.

Yes, Zubiri can be a choke point can't it?
When I was last there in 2018 (end of April) everything between Zubiri and Pamplona was booked out.
Some got buses, taxis to Pamplona.
A couple walked into our Hotel just past Zubiri late at night, and managed to get a room that had just been cancelled!

I guess my earlier point, was this it is very rare to have to sleep out, as there are usually other options.
Walk further, stop short, walk off the trail a bit, bus forward or back, share a room, ask around......

I'm surprised that person couldn't find a bed in somewhere the size of Pamplona.
I guess they may have been looking for a Donativo?
(or at least very low cost bed)

And re your post @Camino Chrissy , it was Easter Week on the most popular route, at the biggest choke point on the whole 800 kms. Talk about a perfect storm :cool:
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I've walked over 3500 km on various Caminos, and have never needed a tent.

Only 2,000 kms here.
But I have often looked longingly at super lightweight tents and tarps. :rolleyes:
Maybe I'm just a gear junkie. :(

Of course I realise I'll never use it.

Or that 'one time', if ever it happens, I'll have to pay more for a room, or get a short taxi ride to another place. Way cheaper than a tent/tarp, and hasn't happened yet.......
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
I think “can’t find a bed” is actually “can’t find a cheap bed that matches my budgeted finances” or “can’t find a bed suitable to my specific liking” since there is ALWAYS beds in Spain if you are willing to pay a little more, travel a little further, or accept a little less comfort.

I met a pilgrim who insisted they had to continue on to another village in search of a place to sleep since our current location was out of them. “How’s that possible?” I asked, given my albergue had empty beds. The reply? “Oh, there’s plenty of empty beds here, but no empty rooms!”
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
Plan your trip for a not busy time of year. I echo the recommendations of pairing/tripling up for a hotel room if necessary, or taking a bus or taxi (or walking) to next albergue if the one you want is full & you don’t want to share a hotel. Even if you have to get a hotel a few times it will be cheaper than buying a tent. Since wild camping is illegal (and extremely rude to the generous people allowing us to walk across their country—and often private property) that really shouldn’t be something you even put as a last resort. There are always other options.

Buen Camino, may you always find shelter
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
Or just keep walking...........
 

Bama Hiker

Certified Peregrino
Past OR future Camino
Oct 5-Nov 5 2013 Frances
Apr 5-May 12 2022 Frances
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
Hola! I would suggest that if you are using any of the guidebooks, especially the John Brierley guide, do NOT follow his planned stages. 90 percent of English speaking pilgrims use the book and they all do the same walking program. We discovered this fact before our Frances trek and started in October instead of September to help avoid the crowds. That said, if you can walk and stop in between the recommended towns, you will avoid most of the horde formations every day. We basically planned our stops 1 or 2 towns beyond the popular stops, which typically had lower costs to stay in the albergues. You will be fine. Best wishes and Buen Camino!
 
F

Former member 98814

Guest
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
If carrying a sleeping bag is possible for you, I'd recommend a bivvy bag. I've one that is about the size of your fist and if you put your sleeping bag inside that you are good to go, for wind or rain. It weighs about 1-200g, so it is a viable option. In summer you may not need a sleeping bag, just a liner. I was kicking myself I didn't bring mine when I had to sleep out in a church porch, without a sleeping bag. (I say sleeping, it was more surviving until sunrise. 😁).
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I had to sleep out in a church porch, without a sleeping bag. (I say sleeping, it was more surviving until sunrise. 😁).
I have been in a tent with a sleeping bag a number of times over the years, and was still cold and in a fitful sleep. When I finally "survived" until sunrise, I fell into a wonderful warm sleep, but it was always short-lived.
 
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WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I have never carried a tent, and not sure many would, just 'in case'.
There are a few, very few, Pilgrims who wild camp.
But as @dick bird says, it's illegal.
And why carry all that extra weight.

Maybe take a cheap mat if you are concerned, and if you find yourself without a bed, I'm sure an extra layer of clothes, your sleeping bag and a mat, will see you OK in a church porch or similar.

But I'm sure other options will reveal themselves. Like sharing a private room with a fellow Pilgrim or something. I think it's very rare that Pilgrims find themselves 'sleeping out'.

Try not to pack your 'fears'. Taking this and that, just in case.
We all do it first time out ;)
A tent will cost you more than a few €30 nights.
Until it was stolen, I carried a tent that cost twenty US dollars, and weighed less than five kilos. Two meters wide, a little less deep. In three years of wandering, I only had to use it four nights (none of them on Camino). And my other two nomadic years (after the theft), I managed without one, though several times I was tempted to buy a cheap one.

But I don't think sleeping out is so rare. I spent ten of those months as hospitalero in a village that was not an "end of stage" in any guidebook I am aware of. And yet more than half the days in summer, we were full. We've loaned mats to pilgrims to sleep under the frontón, in the ruined castle on top the mountain, in the churchyard, etc. We've seen pilgrims sleep on the padded tiles paving the playground in the town plaza, or hang hammocks on the trees in the plaza.

As for "wild camping" being illegal, is it illegal if someone gives you permission? I met a Dutch guy in a tent just west of Santiago, on my way to Finisterre. He said he'd been there two weeks, and had several conversations with cops who told him he's OK as long as he doesn't try to start a fire.

See also https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...u-can-indeed-camp-the-camino-del-norte.71761/
 
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Karl Oz

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
Five kilos?!! My pack and its contents usually weighs in around 6.5 kilos. That would practically double my carrying weight.
Same with me. But some people are more stoic than I!
 

davidgunzenhauser

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future
I am not sure what the conclusions are about camping in a tent. I am hoping I get this opportunity. Someone wrote me that on one of his camino trips there were ten nights where he got in too late or everything was full and he used a tent.

I am bringing my lightweight tent and I don't have a problem using it. I am only worried to have problems with police etc.

Also, I see some comments in this thread about never having a problem and not needing the tent in all of their trips, but, was that before COVID? I think there could be less options available as a result. Am I wrong?
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019 CF
A sufficiently light tent and matress would have easily cost me a couple of hundred euros. So i decided, in case i would not find a place at an albergue, i could just spend money on a taxi, a hotel, pension, airbnb or whatever and likely still have money left AND would not have to carry a tent and matress.
I understand people that carry those things because they like using them, but everyone i met that carried it "just in case" regretted doing so.

In the end, i was able to easily find a bed at an albergue every night except one. That night i had to resort to spending ~20€ for a single bed room. I'd say my plan worked out well enough ( but that was 2019)
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
I've walked over 3500 km on various Caminos, and have never needed a tent.
My first long distance camino was from Le Puy. A pilgrim I met shortly after starting and quite a few times afterwards pitched his tent in the albergue grounds. If that was not possible (such as the former seminary at Aire-sur-l'Adour), he walked on.

I have carried a tent every trip from Le Puy in April 2016 to the 20 km training 20 km trip to day. It has been used frequently on multi-day trips in Europe (see below) and locally.

It is a two person tent (me and my pack) with an all up weight (tent, ground sheet, sleeping pad and pegs) of under 0.9 kg.

Kia kaha (be strong, take care, get going)
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
I understand people that carry those things because they like using them, but everyone i met that carried it "just in case" regretted doing so.

No regrets on my part. Mine is used on a regular basis. In an emergency, I can wrap myself in it while help arrives. (Haven't needed to do that, but having and using it gives me that option.)

For the 20 km training trip today my pack weighed 7.5 kg on starting. This included tent, water (1 litre), sleeping bag, porridge for about 20 days, three top layers (two are for wet weather), change of hose (long socks) and grundies, 12 inch tablet, battery charger (with applicable local wall plug), very small medical pack, water filters.

From a post on this theme last year, I purchased a tent using two 3 metre long bendy poles that crossed at the top to form an external frame. When erected it was lovely with clear head room inside for two. It had four issues for me. All up it was nearly double the weight of my existing. The poles were awkward to get into place (even after several trials) and required considerable flexing. If one of the poles broke, getting a replacement en route was likely to be impossible. And it was bulky (wasn't going to fit in my pack easily, especially the poles, even when broken down).

Kia kaha (be strong, take care, get going when you can)
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
... they are not necessary.

That's your opinion.

For me, having a tent was an essential necessity.

Except for Le Puy to Compostela, I have found it necessary on all my other trips when, for whatever reason, accommodation indoors was not available.

If I walk again from anywhere heading to Compostela, I would use my tent as necessity requires.

Kia kaha (be strong, take care, get going when you can)
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Only 2,000 kms here.
But I have often looked longingly at super lightweight tents and tarps. :rolleyes:
Maybe I'm just a gear junkie. :(

Of course I realise I'll never use it.

Or that 'one time', if ever it happens, I'll have to pay more for a room, or get a short taxi ride to another place. Way cheaper than a tent/tarp, and hasn't happened yet.......
He who dies with the most toys wins!

I’ve got more lightweight gear than a pack-mule could carry; much of which I admit has rarely seen action. I default back to the same old favourites - although I did recently add a pair of those bottle holding clamps which you recommended. All I have to do is remember which of my excessive number of rucksacks I affixed them to.
 

RRat

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
I walked Easter week on the Frances in 2017. When we arrived in Zubiri there was a huge bus with the driver loading backpacks in the hold. The bus was filled with pilgrims, but I didn't know where they wre being taken. I'm glad we had reserved our first few days. I later talked to someone who had to sleep on a park bench in Pamplona.
But at least he was off the cold ground sleeping in a plastic bag (tent).
 
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Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I've used Bivy's throughout the world and when I come across a full albergue/lodge I have asked the owner if I could use their yard/garden to "camp" for the night at a reduced rate and have never been turned away.
In addition I pack 2 large plastic trash bags and use 1 under the bivy as a moisture barrier and 1 to stash my backpack against moisture. Fortunately these few items weigh very little, take up minimal room, but are worth their weight in gold in times of need.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
What to do if you can't find accommodation in albergues? is hotel accommodation the only way out? I plan to go to Camino Primitivo, but I can't afford to spend the night in expensive accommodation like 30euro / per night. Maybe it’s worth taking a tent and then not worrying about it?

Thank You for Your reply!
Not necessary. Budget for the cost of a decent lightweight tent, but don’t buy one. If you need to use a taxi once or twice to get to cheap accommodation or use occasional slightly upmarket accommodation, you’ll have the funds to do so.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I've been kind of looking into a lightweight, comfortable sleeping pad/Thermarest kind of thing in case I can't find lodging. I think it would be pretty rare that one would need a tent. I'm thinking that if I have a lightweight mat for under my sleeping bag, it would practically always be possible to find a roof, awning or some kind of cover to sleep under in Spain, if need be.
 

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