We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

Montreal
Level Contributor
16 posts
Save Topic
Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

Greetings folks,

My wife and I are starting to plan our first trip to Ireland this coming September. We will be travelling in the southern portion of the island for 15 days.

We think it may be fun to travel without a particular destination and we wish to use a mix of B&Bs and hotels for variety. We will spend two or three days in each B&B/hotel as neither one of us care to pack and re-pack on a daily basis.

Are we being reasonable in our expectations to travel in September without making reservations with the intention of finding accommodation when we need accommodation?

As an aside, for the past two days I have been reading the responses to the "Top questions about Ireland" on this website and have gathered much valuable information. Thanks to all who participate in this wonderful service.

Take care,

Bob

Westchester County...
Level Contributor
1,410 posts
742 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

Be forewarned. Almost everything everyone advocates is essentially a matter of opinion based on personal preferences, myself included. With that in mind, here we go.

It is somewhat an issue as to when in the month we're talking. Certainly the later, the better for more potential success in working with so much elasticity over tighter preparation. Next, it seems you want to keep open for how long you stay here and there. This should be balanced with more information only you can best achieve by effectively investigation and enlightened choices. Is there, for example, anything of an itinerary directed for core stop areas? It is possible, out of high season, to pull off what you are considering. However, the issues become at what cost under uncertain circumstances in what clearly sound like unfamiliar areas.

Your agenda suggests a wind at our heels romantic vision, catching the spirit in the moment, riding it till the next compelling option presents itself. I'm wondering if this is more an issue about educating yourselves by finding the better situations suited to your interests. That, once again, requires doing some serious study and investigation about where to go, for how long, and for what reasons tailored to your tastes, why this place may be better than that for particular reasons that ring my bell. If all that can be determined quite effectively and efficiently beforehand, does that not begin to sound like a better approach?

I think , given the fact that most people don't have unlimited time, finances and opportunities, it just makes sense to limit the risks of wasting time in a what too often can easily become too often a blind pursuit.

In conclusion, we can, with solid research, know where to eat, stay and what to see and about how much time within striking distance of those options makes sense, all in accordance with personal tastes, which only we know well. Winging it may sound brave and fresh, but its potential, built in the dark, may be far more limiting. That could ironically result in exactly the opposite results, in terms of adventure, of what sounds like your aspirations in staying uncommitted.

england
Level Contributor
5,438 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

Definitely book your first night.

In September you will find accommodation if it is only one double room you need, but not always your first choice. The problem is that it is not so free and easy as it seems, knowingt hat you have nowhere booked to sleep that night can be unsettling and therefore you have to start looking round mid afternoon, panic starts to set in if you have nowhere booked by 6pm.!

Will you have internet access on the move? This always helps.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Southport, Connemara, County Clare, Portumna
Level Contributor
18,967 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

If you are planning on winging it I have a standard response

Winging it the t2p way

Book the 1st and last nights. Pin a Michelin 712 (Ireland) 501 (Scotland) map on an empty wall. Decide any must see places and pin them. work out some stepping stones(towns) on a rough route. get a list of 3 guest houses and 1 hotel for these potential places. email the hotels and ask if there are (1) any events or festivals locally on your possible dates. (2) if the hotel is doing any special offers on your possible dates. Talk to your host and ask in the local pub what's worth seeing. Phone ahead at breakfast for the evening accommodation. Only book one night at once, if the place is good or there's things to do and see within a 30mile radius book an extra night.

Tourist Information Bureau are great and will always find you a bed for the night. Provided there is one available and of course provided they are open! not much fun knocking on doors at 6pm.

Rental cars..If you insist on Auto Transmission then you may need to book in advance. If you need a certain type of accommodation you may need to book in advance. If you are a couple who just want to experience the country and its people then you should have no problems finding good clean no frills accommodation on the fly.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
10,116 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

I agree that personal style and preferences are key. Personally, I hate "winging it". When we've tried it, we've found places we wanted to see closed, and we've spent valuable vacation time searching for a place to stay--and staying in places that were less desirable and more expensive.

My hat's off to people who enjoy travelling that way, but I'm not one of them. Only you can determine if you are.

Columbia, Missouri
Level Contributor
33 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

After several trips to Ireland, we know what we are looking for in our B & B's so we book ahead of time. We like a B & B that is within easy walking distance of at least a couple of pubs and restaurants in a small to mid size town. We like a TV in an en suite bedroom and internet access. We like pleasant and helpful hosts. We don't need extra frills- just a clean place at a fair price. We usually have two or three towns from where we base our road trips and always have alternate plans for indoor or outdoor activities depending on the weather. This has been a good balance for us in that we have flexibility in our daily plans, but know where we're laying our heads at night.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Dingle
Level Contributor
10,692 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

I got rightly caught last night. Dragged out leaving Dingle until the last minute and when I got to Tralee thought I'd just breeze in somewhere, spent an hour driving around various places and I'd have a fair idea where to look.It was 10.20 before I got somewhere.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Southport, Connemara, County Clare, Portumna
Level Contributor
18,967 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

That Harvey is why you have a list and book ahead at breakfast for that night. Festival weekends are always a pain isn't it Garden festival week down in Tralee?

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
13,114 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

I've only traveled to Ireland once in September and winged it the whole way. Didn't have any problem getting a room. Out of 15 days, there was only once a room wasn't available and the owner called another b&b close by and got me a room. I don't however set a certain number of days in my mind. If I like it I might stay several nights, if not I move on.

I don't do hotels, too much like being anywhere else in the world for me. Staying in b&bs gives you the chance to experience Ireland's greatest asset, their people.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Dingle
Level Contributor
10,692 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

I had originally hoped to stay in Dingle, but my hospital time was changed and I only stay in Tralee during the winter and never any issues then!!

Montreal
Level Contributor
16 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Is it unwise to travel without reserving accommodations?

Thank you all, very much!

My wife and I read each reply with keen interest, The majority of your replies either a) advised us against travelling without reserving accommodations or b) cautioned us if we decided to travel without reservations.

We decided to follow the advice of the majority mostly because it is our first trip to Ireland and we wish it to be problem-free as much as possible (and it's easier for me to agree with my wife).

Once agan, many thanks to each of you for taking the time to reply.

All the best,

Bob