Mister and I use to wing-it for accommodations when traveling, we didn’t like to schedule the exact where and when.
This habit began way back when the kids and I would go along on Mister’s business trips. He didn’t always know how long or how many daily stops he would make so it was easier to wait and choose where to stay each night.
Plus, we preferred to see properties in person, rather than rely on phonebook listings or brochures which usually used out-of-date pictures.
Some may find this next detail hard to imagine and the concept may make some shutter.
The wing-it days I refer to started before the biggest world change I’ve witnessed in my life, so far.
It was back when people didn’t own home computers, laptops, iPads, notebooks, or cell phones with internet. Heck, back then we never heard of Google. A handheld GPS was better known as a, map.
Now, with internet at our fingertips, even-though you can’t believe everything on there, I feel with enough research and weeding through reviews you can get a pretty good idea about a place.
And so, we made a habit change for our last few holidays. I pre-booked accommodations for all or most nights we were away. The main reason was, a couple places were popular enough that if we hadn’t had reservations, we would have been hooped.
Unexpected upsides came with having nightly reservations.
We never pulled into a town or city tired and possibly in the dark and then had to search for a place to stay. We also never stopped too early because uncertain of what the next town would offer. Both these may sound trivial, but believe me, Mister and I have shared many cranky episodes regarding these points in the past.
Do we ever pass places we would like to stay at while on our way to one we’ve booked? Yes, but we’ve also driven through towns that if winging-it we would have been disappointed and moving on down the road.
Another bonus to pre-booking is becoming aware of local events that may mean places are full. I can’t count the number of times while winging-it we would arrive somewhere, towns or cities we had stayed before and knew they had lots of choices, only to find a concert or sport event had everything jammed.
Our trip planning starts with a basic route or a particular destination in mind. Using the internet, I research sights along the way and estimate the time it will take to drive and see the ones that interest us. Considering that information, I’ll check 2-3 towns or cities we would be near at about 2-5pm each day. I like to look for unique Hotels, or Motels but we have some well-known chains we like too. I’ll make my choice after reading reviews on numerous websites.
If the trip isn’t for a while, and it’s required, we always pay the couple dollars extra for, get this, free cancelation. Smiley face.
Pre-booking still causes me occasional trepidation, but there is also the excitement that we could stumble on a hidden treasure of a place, which has happened. By this I mean, an establishment that its curb appeal might have us driving past, but by reading reviews we’ve booked, stayed and have been pleasantly surprised.
Knock on wood, we also haven’t been disappointed to the point where we’ve had to move to a different premise.
For now we’re enjoying this new way of travel, but I’m also sure we’ll do a wing-it trip again. If and when though, I’ll use the internet to research and list possibilities along the route.
I’ve also tried doing reservations a couple days ahead while on the road, but this meant evenings were spent researching and booking, and I felt it took away from the trip.
Do you pre-book trip accommodations or wing-it as you go?
Do you prefer privately owned motels or big hotel chains?
What is the biggest worldly change that has occurred during your life, so far?