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Does anyone just drive to places and look for somewhere to stay any more?

(20 Posts)
annandale Fri 05-Aug-16 15:38:02

My parents laugh at dh and me for our super controlled, book six months ahead approach - they always used to just get in the car, get the first available ferry and find somewhere when they got there.

Does anyone do that any more? Have you done it, in high season, and found it OK?

Grausse Fri 05-Aug-16 16:59:58

Even before DC I wouldn't dare. With a family the stress would be unbearable. I like to know where I am going on holiday and enjoy looking forward to it.
Yet I remember holidays as a child where we piled into the car and set off for Scotland. Just pulled up outside B&Bs and knocked on the door.

magimedi Fri 05-Aug-16 17:06:05

Used to do this a lot (about 25 years ago) especially in France. Having got caught out trying to do this a few times & ended up either in a dump or ££££ type of place I now nearly always book ahead.

museumum Fri 05-Aug-16 17:07:54

Now with the Internet we generally Google and call ahead for a night somewhere but only the day before. So we're still playing it by ear but not risking traipsing around.
And we don't go in the school holidays.

GinandJag Fri 05-Aug-16 17:08:39

We always book.

Lweji Fri 05-Aug-16 17:12:33

I've done it in September pre-smart phones.
I've also emergency booked something at the last minute and it was a decent price and excellent location.

OnlyHereForTheCamping Fri 05-Aug-16 17:13:24

Used to do this a lot, still do with camping. The Internet has removed the need tbh. I would rather book An Airbnb that turn up At some crummy hotel

yougetme Fri 05-Aug-16 17:14:13

Oh yes . Thats what we like to do - even with DC in tow. Dont usually do the door knocking thing though.

We tend to go to the local tourist information place and ask them for something on our price bracket. Even in the height of summer and by the sea we have found suitable accommodation on the day.

SugarMiceInTheRain Fri 05-Aug-16 17:22:33

In France we've done this a few times, but that's because our budget is Formule 1 or Premiere Classe hotels and they're cheapo and pretty much always have space! grin Ditto when driving through America and weren't sure how far we'd get in one day, so just found a motel when we started getting tired (as there were loads of them around). Though with kids it's less stress to just book.

NicknameUsed Fri 05-Aug-16 17:50:02

We have done this in the US, but wouldn't do it now, especially in popular destinations.

I agree that the internet means that anywhere worth staying is usually booked up.

DesolateWaist Fri 05-Aug-16 17:53:22

Friends of my parents (the don't believe in the Internet types) did this a few weeks ago in the Lake District.

I'm always amazed that phrase books always have a translation for 'do you have a double room' and never for 'we have a room booked'. I wouldn't dream of turning up in another country without booking.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Fri 05-Aug-16 17:56:29

Went on holiday with my mum and dad once when I was little, 40 odd years ago, we went on 'speck', got somewhere ok. Why not, it'll be an adventure, worse comes to worse, keep a blanket in the car shock

Frrraaann Fri 05-Aug-16 17:58:24

We did it a few years back - pre DC. Lakes/Yorkshire/Borders area. Honestly it was fun but we had a few close shaves with finding somewhere. One night we had the choice of a £250 room (that looked decidedly grim) or a Youth Hostel (£40 family room that was fab!). The key to doing it, was going on LateRooms, hotels.com and booking.com first thing in the morning, picking an area and seeing what was good in the area. After about midday hotel rooms start getting very thin on the ground.

One thing that we did find reassuring: there's nearly always a Premier Inn somewhat near if nothing else turns up!

scurryfunge Fri 05-Aug-16 17:59:44

I always book now. I did this once, not for a holiday but for an unexpected business trip. Absolute nightmare trying to find accomodation on a bank holiday weekend.

BothBarrels Fri 05-Aug-16 18:04:10

Just did the recently in France travelling around, it's a great idea if you are doing a bit of a road trip. Used tripadvisor to find hotels and to work out where to go, to compare what each place had to offer. Given the time I'd do this again for most places in Europe.

annandale Fri 05-Aug-16 19:32:50

So the message is 'yes but no' grin - do a last minute search seems to be the general idea. Great tip to get somewhere before midday.

We are thinking of going to France either tomorrow or Sunday so will see how we get on...

NotCitrus Fri 05-Aug-16 19:50:51

I've done it a few years ago without kids - friend and I booked Eurostar to south of France, then decided where to go. Originally were going to camp with the odd B&B, then ended up in B&Bs all the time as I was pregnant, stayed with a friend of a friend, and in our googling to find somewhere, found a fantastic place to splash out on for our last night.

heron98 Fri 12-Aug-16 14:19:52

Done it with camping. Not sure I'd dare with hotels as I'd be scared I'd be left with really expensive places I couldn't afford.

expatinscotland Fri 12-Aug-16 14:22:11

Done it with camping only. Otherwise, I get online on the day and book somewhere.

Dowser Wed 17-Aug-16 18:47:12

I had to pick my jaw off the floor when my friend recounted her trip to southern France with her 2 year old and 4 year old in tow.

Flew to city with tent and small suitcase for the three of them.
Picked up hire car. Drove to the beach , found a suitable campsite that was shut, parked her car on the verge outside, pitched her tent and settled down for the night.

The next day the proprietor found her a proper pitch inside.

Amazed. Totally.

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