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Will finding a bed be a challenge in May on the Frances?

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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances planned (2020)
My wife and I keep hearing of more and more people walking the Frances this May and we am getting a bit nervous about finding a bed each night along the Way. We are planning to leave SJPP on April 21st to walk to Santiago and hopefully then to the coast. We have a flight booked home from Santiago on June 5th. We cancelled our plans to walk in 2020 due to Covid and have been looking forward to walking this year, but we want it to be a fun experience and not stressing over accommodations. What challenges do you think we will have this year finding accommodations with the anticipation of a high number of walkers?
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Will you start in Saint-Jean-Pied-de Port? Then it would be a good idea to book the first etapas till you reach Pamplona. After that you will be ok, especially if you stop in the " in between stages " aka not the stages the Brierley guide advises.

Also take into consideration that as a couple booking a private pension /hostal will be not that more costly than two beds in an albergue.
 
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Started last year May 13th. Never had a problem getting a bed without reservation, despite all the talk about it being a problem and it being a holy year with record numbers. (Orisson is an exception if you want to stay there. Book that ahead)
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Will you start in Saint-Jean-Pied-de Port? Then it would be a good idea to book the first etapas till you reach Pamplona. After that you will be ok, especially if you stop in the " in between stages " aka not the stages the Brierley guide advises.

Also take into consideration that as a couple booking a private pension /hostal will be not that more costly than two beds in an albergue.
Thanks.
 
Started last year May 13th. Never had a problem getting a bed without reservation, despite all the talk about it being a problem and it being a holy year with record numbers. (Orisson is an exception if you want to stay there. Book that ahead)
Orisson is full up for our dates. Good to hear you didn't have issues last year.
 
Transport luggage-passengers.
From airports to SJPP
Luggage from SJPP to Roncevalles
So far for late May-July - I have had very few issues finding accommodations, even when most places were closed due to COVID. Orisson will probably be booked. You may want to reserve a day or two ahead for Sarria to Santiago. But overall - listen to the "Camino Grapevine" for problems with accommodations ahead. We usually heard about shortages of beds a day or two before arrival. When we heard that - we reserved. Always worked out. rarely had to walk further than we wanted to walk.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
"Camino Grapevine"???
Word of mouth... with forming friendships and using Whatapp... people who get ahead of the group often alert their Camino friends who are behind them of any accommodation issues ahead. We always seemed to know about bed shortages, the really cool albergue experiences, and great bars/restaurants (especially the Vegan places) in the upcoming days due to someone getting ahead of the group and letting us know. I experienced this on the Frances and the Norte/Primitivo.

Have you ever heard the song "I heard it through the Grapevine?"
 
"Camino Grapevine"???
Any combination of informal information gathering that you undertake. It could be hospitaleros keeping in touch with other hospitaleros a little ahead of where you are, fellow pilgrims who have walked ahead and are keeping in touch, and reporting 'LIVE' on this forum.

The hard part is determining how reliable the information might be, how relevant it will be by the time you arrive in the place it is about, and what response you want to make. My experience is that the quality is highly variable, particularly as conditions can change pretty quickly as you move along the Camino.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
May 20 - June 25th 2022 SJPdP --> SdC. Initially booked SJPdP, Orisson & Roncesvalles
Somewhat getting cold feet then added 2 more nights Zubiri & Pamplona.
Totally "giving in" to the "hype" while somewhere between these nights while already walking that "there are no beds" started booking ahead
...in retrospect probably was unnecessary but it did give me a piece of mind for the duration of the whole walk.
 
Last year when I was there in May, people were sleeping on the street in SJPP - no beds - and I've seen pilgrims crying in Roncesvalles. I'd book SJPP, Orisson or Borda, Roncesvalles and Zubiri. Then, as someone else said, if you walk the "in between" stages and plan on finishing your day by 2 or 2:30 you should be ok.
 
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Last year when I was there in May, people were sleeping on the street in SJPP - no beds - and I've seen pilgrims crying in Roncesvalles. I'd book SJPP, Orisson or Borda, Roncesvalles and Zubiri. Then, as someone else said, if you walk the "in between" stages and plan on finishing your day by 2 or 2:30 you should be ok.
I was working on the Frances near Leon last year, 2nd half of April. Pilgrims passing through reported plenty of space in albergues although private accommodation was often full.
 
If you want to use a luggage transfer service (and at my age, I do!) then you need to book a few days ahead so you know where to send it.
 
If you want to use a luggage transfer service (and at my age, I do!) then you need to book a few days ahead so you know where to send it.
No, this is not necessary. In every albergue you can find envelopes for the luggage transport, you write your name on it, your telephone # and your destination of that day. You put the money in it (in the albergue the hospitaleros know the prices) and leave your backpack there. That's all ... All along the Camino Frances Jacotrans will take care of your backpack.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I was working on the Frances near Leon last year, 2nd half of April. Pilgrims passing through reported plenty of space in albergues although private accommodation was often full.
Two people; two different experiences. As you probably know, there are "waves" of pilgrims. One day there are plenty of beds, and the next there are none. Also, April is pretty early in the season. With 20 stages from SJPP to Leon, those arriving must have begun quite early. I think there are probably more pilgrims beginning in May than in April, though I could be wrong.
 
Started four times in mid-April and all accommodations have been tight or full SJPdP, Orisson, Roncevalles, Zubiri. I’ve always recommended to make reservations for this section. After that you should be able to wing it more except for sections before or after a long section without towns. You will also get an idea if you are in a “wave” or not. Last summer there was a wave ahead of me who had evidently started early May. I had no issues being just a week or so later.
 
No, this is not necessary. In every albergue you can find envelopes for the luggage transport, you write your name on it, your telephone # and your destination of that day. You put the money in it (in the albergue the hospitaleros know the prices) and leave your backpack there. That's all ... All along the Camino Frances Jacotrans will take care of your backpack.
somewhat "in reverse" but my experience was that i was told to 'call specifically' to pick up your luggage
so it may apply to the 1st albergue one may stay at. Just because, say, Jacotrans does its runs does not mean that they WILL stop at your albergue (esp. if between stages); they have to KNOW that there is something waiting for them
As to how much money to put in the envelope - the prices are clearly marked on the envelopes proper. I've had stretches where I would put 15E for 3 days and write all 3 albergues on the envelope. No problems at all.
and thats how Wattsup becomes your friend....(along with already-mentioned grapevine)
 
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One possible option if you find no accommodations where you need to stop for the night is to use google maps or booking.com to find a place in a nearby town but not right on the camino. Then take a taxi there and back. Or sometimes the hotel owners will pick you up and drop you off. Not ideal and can cost more but something that might work in a pinch.
 
We will be starting the same day from SJPdP! Last year was our first (also postponed from 2020) camino and we had the same worries. I think much of that goes away a bit as you start walking and finding your pace. We did book ahead quite often once we found what made the most sense for us. I can confirm that there does seem to be a grapevine of information out there and that waves seem to exist. We found that going off stage and choosing different towns not as the official guidebook stage helped. We also stayed at some private room albergues and pensions along the way that were very similar in price or just slightly more. We did not think last year (same time frame) was overly busy but there are some towns that have less options so looking a little ahead helps. See you soon!
 
My wife and I keep hearing of more and more people walking the Frances this May and we am getting a bit nervous about finding a bed each night along the Way. We are planning to leave SJPP on April 21st to walk to Santiago and hopefully then to the coast. We have a flight booked home from Santiago on June 5th. We cancelled our plans to walk in 2020 due to Covid and have been looking forward to walking this year, but we want it to be a fun experience and not stressing over accommodations. What challenges do you think we will have this year finding accommodations with the anticipation of a high number of walkers?
Or walk another route. This is why we have avoided the Frances for over 6 years. To many people, to many early morning walker's, I just don't want to worry about not finding bed's. There is plenty of beautiful sights to be seen.

I hope you're fortunate.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
My wife and I keep hearing of more and more people walking the Frances this May and we am getting a bit nervous about finding a bed each night along the Way. We are planning to leave SJPP on April 21st to walk to Santiago and hopefully then to the coast. We have a flight booked home from Santiago on June 5th. We cancelled our plans to walk in 2020 due to Covid and have been looking forward to walking this year, but we want it to be a fun experience and not stressing over accommodations. What challenges do you think we will have this year finding accommodations with the anticipation of a high number of walkers?
To me, Orisson is the most critical reservation to make ahead of time. I had read of some people making a reservation only to find they did not. I think that would be very rare but I made my reservation ahead, then confirmed the reservation 1 to 2 weeks ahead AND 1-2 days ahead just to be sure.
I did get nervous, among the daily big crowds, so would decide by late morning, how far I felt I could walk, and call ahead to make a reservation for that same night. The exception was if I was going to a large municipal albergue with plenty of beds. This worked great for me (because I usually got there by 2 PM) and cut down on last minute anxiety. The later you get to your destination, the bigger the chance that they may be filled--but usually there will be another one with an opening.
 
I was working on the Frances near Leon last year, 2nd half of April. Pilgrims passing through reported plenty of space in albergues although private accommodation was often full.
When you say private accommodations were often full, are you talking about the private rooms in the albergues or places in hostales/pensiones?
 
There is another pinch point where booking a day or two ahead is a good idea: Mansilla de las Mulas, just before León.
The municipal albergue is shut and the number of beds can be less than the number of pilgrims.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
We walked last year, starting from Pamplona in early May. We were in a massive wave that we couldn’t escape for weeks. And we walked slowly, so any wave should have passed us by, but it didn’t. The problem persisted for most of our Camino.

We didn’t care where we stayed, private albergues or not, private rooms or not, just as long as they took reservations because we were sending a bag. We often stayed at off-stage places, but it didn’t matter. Sometimes I called as many as ten places in various towns before we could book two beds. I remember several times calling every single place listed in Gronze without any luck. We eventually learned that we were okay as long as we were booking 4-5 nights out. That limited our flexibility which we didn’t like, but walking in May was lovely. And the crowds didn’t bother us apart from having trouble finding beds.

We did meet a few other pilgrims who got frustrated and quit because beds were so tight, or who took a bus ahead many miles to try to escape the wave we were in.

One tip that I would share is not to depend on booking.com for what is available. There are often beds or rooms that are not listed on booking.com if you call the albergue or pension directly. Speaking enough Spanish to make a booking on the phone will help. Also, other people who are walking alone and just show up at large public albergues that do not take reservations might be able to find beds. But that won’t work as well if you are a couple and not at all if you are shipping a bag.
 
My wife and I keep hearing of more and more people walking the Frances this May and we am getting a bit nervous about finding a bed each night along the Way. We are planning to leave SJPP on April 21st to walk to Santiago and hopefully then to the coast. We have a flight booked home from Santiago on June 5th. We cancelled our plans to walk in 2020 due to Covid and have been looking forward to walking this year, but we want it to be a fun experience and not stressing over accommodations. What challenges do you think we will have this year finding accommodations with the anticipation of a high number of walkers?
I have the same concerns, we are starting a week after you and I have only had luck booking accommodations ahead by emailing many places and then reserving whomever replied with availability. I recommend you doing the same and booking thru Zubiri as many experienced pilgrims have suggested.
 
Thanks for your reply. I did do that. Maybe we will cross paths somewhere. Safe travels.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
No, this is not necessary. In every albergue you can find envelopes for the luggage transport, you write your name on it, your telephone # and your destination of that day. You put the money in it (in the albergue the hospitaleros know the prices) and leave your backpack there. That's all ... All along the Camino Frances Jacotrans will take care of your backpack.
Generally, you need to have a reservation at the destination albergue for your bag to be accepted and held there.
 
I do not know the regulations of all the different luggage transport companies where you can prebook long before.
I meant the simple Jacotrans method which works on the whole Camino Francés on a day by days basis: put money in the envelope and your backpack will be transferred to your next destination.
 
@Ianinam
I have only used the day-by-day transport services, Jacotrans and others like them. Yes, you fill out the info on the envelope with your destination, but when it arrives, if you don’t have a reservation, it may not be accepted.

I think that very large albergues probably don’t check every arriving bag, but smaller ones do check the names on each bag against their reservation list. They don’t want misplaced luggage sitting around. One time last year when we had a reservation in my husband’s name but the envelope on my bag had only my name, we received a text asking if it was our bag. Otherwise, they weren’t going to accept it.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Generally, you need to have a reservation at the destination albergue for your bag to be accepted and held there.
I think that you should have a reservation, but I don't think that the albergue (or other accommdation) checks the bags to make sure that their owners have a reservation.
 
I think that you should have a reservation, but I don't think that the albergue (or other accommdation) checks the bags to make sure that their owners have a reservation.
That did, in fact, happen to us last year. In addition to the time we were texted, one other time the person checking us in mentioned that the name on the bag didn’t match the reservation, but in that case they accepted it anyway. But they did check.

As I recall, both of these incidents were at small, hostal-type places.

ETA: My husband and I have different last names. After those two incidents, we were careful that the name we used for the reservation matched the name we put on the bag.
 
That did, in fact, happen to us last year. In addition to the time we were texted, one other time the person checking us in mentioned that the name on the bag didn’t match the reservation, but in that case they accepted it anyway. But they did check.

As I recall, both of these incidents were at small, hostal-type places.

ETA: My husband and I have different last names. After those two incidents, we were careful that the name we used for the reservation matched the name we put on the bag.
Thanks, that good information.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
No, this is not necessary. In every albergue you can find envelopes for the luggage transport, you write your name on it, your telephone # and your destination of that day. You put the money in it (in the albergue the hospitaleros know the prices) and leave your backpack there. That's all ... All along the Camino Frances Jacotrans will take care of your backpack.
Excellent to hear that, I met people who weee deciding over dinner whether to carry
Thanks
 
My wife and I keep hearing of more and more people walking the Frances this May and we am getting a bit nervous about finding a bed each night along the Way. We are planning to leave SJPP on April 21st to walk to Santiago and hopefully then to the coast. We have a flight booked home from Santiago on June 5th. We cancelled our plans to walk in 2020 due to Covid and have been looking forward to walking this year, but we want it to be a fun experience and not stressing over accommodations. What challenges do you think we will have this year finding accommodations with the anticipation of a high number of walkers?
I’m walking in May and I get the impression it’s going to be busy. I’m booking to Pamplona (nearly done now) and am expecting that as I plan to walk short distances I should be ok. I’ve been advised that the Camino provides. I like that, so caution to the winds. (Most likely)
 
Generally, you need to have a reservation at the destination albergue for your bag to be accepted and held there.
This was not my experience. On the one occasion when I used this service I simply addressed the envelope and left it to be picked up. At the other end all bags were in a big pile and I had to look for my own as they were not sorted or arranged in any manner.

Having claimed my bag by picking it up there was then no compulsion to stay. In fact, on this occasion there was no one around.

While I didn't use the service again I did often come across piles of bags left in the foyer of albergues. The receiving albergue's only party to the contract is to designate where the bag transport company leaves the incoming bags.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
When you say private accommodations were often full, are you talking about the private rooms in the albergues or places in hostales/pensiones?
I meant commercial, ie run as a business and therefore bookable as opposed to municipales and donativos which don’t take reservations.
 
…we want it to be a fun experience and not stressing over accommodations.
The above is entirely up to you. Simply take for granted that everything will sort out in one way or another. Still be ready to accept your favorite albergue is completo and you are welcome to ask the locals where to spend a night. Take it as a part of Camino adventure, not as a stressful burden, and whole new experience will open in front of you. Buen Camino and in Camino we trust!
 
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