Most people I know are ‘booker-in-advancers’.
Before they leave, perhaps even before they book flights, they book accommodation. However, there seem to be a large number of ‘arrive-and-finders’. I have only ever done this once. I’m considering – what with my attempts to become less of a control freak – trying this out more often.
Only once have I arrived in a country and tried to find accommodation.
Disembarking from a ferry in Mykonos, Greece, myself and a group of friends were suddenly overwhelmed by people offering us accommodation. They all had brochures and were shouting out prices and somehow our group ended up separated and discussing different offers with a number of different individuals. Not an entirely successful encounter on the whole. Especially when one member of the group happily announced that we were all to be spending a few days camping on the beach and, ‘no, it probably wouldn’t be that secure, and no, our passports and money might not be particularly safe … but … oh ok’.
In the end, we just selected a friendly woman from the crowd and decided to stay with her. It wasn’t a well-considered decision but, thankfully, we were lucky. Although we were cramming seven people into a five (although really four) person cottagey-villa, it was near to shops and the beach and had a shower and air-con. So we were happy enough.
Despite the success of the ‘arrive and find’ approach, I have, since then, always booked somewhere in advance (with the single exception of Halong Bay). I always feel a lot calmer knowing that accommodation is sorted. However, it does require planning in advance. For example, I tend to start on Booking.com or Agoda.com. Then, I head over to TripAdvisor, where I check which of the places within budget have received good reviews and look at the range of photos available. Having narrowed the search down to a couple of hotels/hostels/b&bs, I then spend days trying to find the best deal. It’s a fairly time-consuming endeavour. But, once again, relatively enjoyable.