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To pre-book or not to pre-book?

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To pre-book or not to pre-book?

Hi All,

I am a first-time poster, but I have found plenty of useful advice on these forums. I was hoping the Trip Advisor community might be able to help me with a query.

I will be travelling to Ireland/UK for the first time with my mum in June. It will be her first time out of Australia, while I have only ventured as far as New Zealand. We will be hiring a car to allow us more freedom.

My travel agent told me not to pre-book any accommodation outside London and that we would have no trouble finding somewhere to bunk down for the night. This is fine in theory, because it would allow us to just stop if we find somewhere we love instead of having to continue along. However, I have heard some horror stories about people getting stuck or having to pay exhorbitant fees for last-minute bookings. My concern is that June would be a busy time and we could end up with some such horror stories of our own. The travel agent said they are the exception rather than the rule, but I haven't actually heard of anyone who has had success with the 'winging it' method over there.

I may be worrying unnecessarily, but I'd love to hear your tips and experiences. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Ventry, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle Peninsula
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7,223 posts
121 reviews
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1. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

Even in June, winging it is not really a problem, particularly if you are using b and bs. The exception is where you are hitting a town where there is a music or other festival underway, or a race meeting. In those cases it best to pre-book

Philadelphia...
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67 reviews
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2. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

jmaygg,

I'm going to have to disagree with soonas a bit here... I'm going to suggest that you do prebook all B&B accommodations if you want to stay in any major town or village regardless of festivals.

While tourism is down considerably, the popular towns/villages book up quickly and you'll end up having to drive into town to enjoy it at night -- not fun when you want to have a 2nd pint (or 3rd!)

My recommendation to clients is always prebook unless you don't mind being outside of town, calling around to find a place, etc. When on vacation, it's just not worth it to have such flexibility but waste time and get nervous when the first, second or third home doesn't have a room.

Hotels would be different as they are a bit easier since they have more rooms.

Just my 2 cents :)

england
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5,438 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

I might pre book my first night if I was arriving late or knew for definite where I wanted to go, but winging it in June should not be a problem. I flew over for Dingle races in August one year and got a B and B Friday night between the airport and town no problem, and one arrived on a Friday in Kildare without reservations not knowing it was a race day, once again we found a small hotel with a room. Just one point, are you sharing a room? A double or twin is a lot easier to find than two singles. June is not generally very busy.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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55 reviews
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4. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

My standard answer. Tourist Information will 98% of the time find you a bed somewhere. But find the contact details of 2-3 Guest House (B&B with more than 5 bedrooms) and a Hotel at or near potential stepping stone locations. come back with a rough Itinerary for more guidance.

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
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12,035 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

i think you are safe going with soonas since he lives in ireland and not the u.s....

i have gone "winging" it several times and have had no problems...i do however book my first and last night when i do that....i do that because arrival day i am usually exhausted and don't want to have to spend energy looking....the last day i do it for the same reason...lol...

9 posts
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6. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

Thanks for all your help guys, it's great.

Tony2phones, here's a rough itinerary:

Flying into Cork

2 nights Killarney/Dingle area

2 nights Galway

1 night somewhere between Galway and Dublin (we were thinking County Cavan just to look at some family history stuff, but not sure if there's much else to see?)

1 night Dublin

(or maybe from Glasgow and then 2 nights Dublin?)

- fly to Glasgow -

1 night Glasgow

2 nights Fort Augustus area

2 nights Fife/St Andrews/east coast area

1 night Scottish borders/English Lakes area

2 nights Bath

then on to London.

Yes, we are planning to use b&bs as much as possible. And we will be sharing a room, so will only need to find one.

Thanks again for all the great advice. Much appreciated!

Saginaw, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
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7,308 posts
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7. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

Perhaps you might consider putting your specific query on Cavan in a new post on the Co. Cavan Forum, mentioning also the town/village, or general area you intend to visit for your Family History Research.

Ventry, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle Peninsula
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7,223 posts
121 reviews
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8. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

Dingle town is a popular destination for the June Bank Holiday weekend, so if you are considering staying in the town on 3rd, 4th, 5th, you might consider pre-booking. This applies to the town only, there should be plenty of accommodation available in places like Ventry etc

Scunthorpe, United...
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9. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

I much prefer sorting out accommodation before we leave on holiday as it saves time once you arrive. There is so much to do and see and I regard time spent chasing up accommodation (even as little as 30min) a waste.....

As you have a basic itinerary sorted out you know what areas you want to stay. Start looking at possible accommodation choices. You will find some super places - book them now to save time and hassle later on. It also makes sure you get the pick of the accommodation.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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55 reviews
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10. Re: To pre-book or not to pre-book?

That's a tight itinerary? My choice would be to land Cork and drive to Killarney for 2 nights, drive round Dingle on the way to Galway (Galway sessions are 13th-19th June). From Galway its 2 1/2 hrs across to Cavan (I am hoping the Glasgow bit here is a typo) then down to Dublin. Like I say its tight with a lot of time behind the wheel.

Glasgow to Fort Augustus is also a hell of a drive and unless you have a special reason for that I would head across to Stirling (Scotland's best Castle). I also like Kircaldy on the Fife coast but would suggest Edinburgh. From Edinburgh to Bath is 7 or 8 hours down the M6 and onwards, I would break this at Stratford. Tripping into the lakes will add a lot of extra time to this stage.

I know you want to fit everything in but even on a tour coach with 2 drivers your list would mean 7.00am starts and 7.00pm finishes. Please have another look at the maps this is a holiday not a multi drop international freight route.

Edited: 19 January 2011, 14:59