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Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

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Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Hi,

I would like to inquire about the idea of making advance bookings for ferries, hotels, and inter-island tickets. I am going to be in Greece for almost 4 weeks and I'm being pressured by some travel agencies to book in advance, but this requires paying for hotels in advance and such. My preference is to not do this, but plan it as I go. I am concerned about not being able to move around and stay where I want when I want if I don't book in advance. I have been to Greece once before and I had everything booked in advance, but it was a two week trip. In four weeks, I can imagine I might like a place more or less and want to stay longer or leave earlier. With advance booking, this isn't possible. Some travelers say it's ok to just "wing it," and that I can get ferry tickets anywhere as I need them and find hotels easily. I'm also assuming that with the economy as it is, there is less competition for tourism services. Does anyone have any experience traveling in Greece without advance reservations and seeing several islands? I am traveling in Sept/Oct 2009, and want to see Kos, Simi, Rodos, Kriti, Santorini, Mykonos and maybe Corfu as well as spend a few days in Athens. Thanks, Mark

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1. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Hey and welcome Mark:-) You've made the best defense for winging it than I ever could..lol! TAs of course, want the bookings to get the commissions..no need in Sept/Oct..Just plan on your arrival..Will you be heading straight out to the isles via flight/ferry (which by the way, would be the way to go), then you definetely don't need any pre-booking..If you plan on staying in Athens, maybe a first night res wouldn't hurt since this is a major metropolis and having a place to stay when you get there is better than trying to find something on the spot here! Your choices may be more limited in the popular isles of Santorini and Mykonos, if you go in early-mid Sept since these isles' Season lasts a bit longer..You may end up spending more time than you think once you get to Crete since it is HUGE and can easily take up your entire trip..diverse and loads of ground to cover here..good isle for later on as well since it's as South as it gets and maintains reltively great weather longer! If you flight tickets are booked in stone, the only consideration I'd give to booking would be the final night in Athens before your flight home! You're absolutely right in that you may end up somewhere you love so much you'll want to give it some of that 'extra' time;-) Sounds like you're pretty well set in that decision anyway but just wanted to hear it;-)) Go for it..then don't forget to come back here and tell us all about it! Have a blast..Go and Enjoy!

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2. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Wing it.

Birmingham, United...
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3. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Just 'wing it' you'll be fine, I did 4½ weeks in the Cyclades islands earlier this year, just can't be beat on price and flexibility.

Nanaimo, Canada
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4. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Here is another vote for winging it and that is from a compulsive planner.

It is so easy to find accommodation in Greece on a walk up basis and in the shoulder season you are very likley to get a much better rate. This is our recollections on finding a pension on a walk up basis.

Finding a Pension

Not having a hotel booking can be very stressful for the compulsive planners. I have learned to overcome this insecurity and have found the adventure of searching for a pension to be one of the joys of the trip. On arrival we scout the town and find the area where we want to stay. Then we look for a pension. The pension owners are on the lookout for prospective clients and are generally nearby, so it is fairly easy to make contact. Often there are signs on the door leading you to a nearby taverna where the owner has their second business.

We always ask to see the room, make sure there are cooking utensils ( often they have a refrigerator and stove but no pots pans or cutlery). We check out the bed to see if (by some miracle) it has some give to it. I need three pillows so we make sure there are extra pillows. If we are interested we then ask price. Make sure that the price includes the air conditioning as many of the pensions charge extra for that. Also ask where the fuse box is. Many pensions switch the refrigerator and air conditioning off at the fuse box. Be prepared to walk away. Often they will reduce the price as soon as you make motions to leave. (In May and early June anyway) In fact walking away is not a bad idea it gives you a chance to compare one place to another. Often the price is the same but the quality can differ widely. This gives you the best choice.

Pensions generally do not take credit cards. Often they may ask to hold on to one passport. This is unnerving but over the years we have gotten used to it and have never had a problem with the passports going missing. Often they will accept cash payment and the passport problem goes away. It is a strange coincidence that my wife (the keeper of the passports) is 100% consistent in randomly pulling my passport out to give to the hotels.

nc usa
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5. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Ditto- at that time of year you shouldn't have trouble with accommodations or getting the ferry tickets you want. We normally wing it and have no problems.

Delphi,Greece
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6. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

I agree with previous posters,BUT do a carefull research to know where on an island/town you want to stay. Doing some extra homework to know some accomondation options that may suit you, then heading there upon arrival, is not a bad idea too. And of course, especially for late September/October, make sure ferry shedules work with your itenerary.

Athens, Greece
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7. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

I agree, wing it, having researched though.

Winging it is another thing, arriving somewhere without having a clue and trying to find a place to stay is another thing too.

First of all, internet is full of places to book hotel rooms, without having to pay even a cent, like booking.com or venere.com

There you book ( check cancellation policies ) and usually can cancel some days before if you don't like or change plans or find something better. You don't have to pay a single cent in most of the places. Just check cancellation policy and stay away from 'pay right now" buttons or labels :)

You can also plan or draft your trip, just to have an idea. It makes sense and adds to the excitement.

From all the parts you refer to, only thing i would probavly try to book would be some plane ticket. I mean, you plan visiting 3 really distant places to each, like Rhodes and then Corfu? these are one side to other, so flying may be an option.

Only way to avoid paying a very expensive fare is to book earlier . Aegean Airlines is a very good carrier offering better fares the earlier you purchase ticket.

Other way, do "wing it' but in the same time, fir sure make a "wish-list" or a basic draft, including some key locations or some key places you want to stay, just to ease things :)

Athens, Greece
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8. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

Agree with all the other posters..WING IT, but plan also. Secure ferry timings {or thereabouts viable connections}, domestic flights/ do research on which particular part of the island appeals to you, and don't let the room owners take you blindly.

Corfu has no connection with the Cyclades or the Dodecanese, but that doesn't matter. With such flexibility, you'll work your way via the mainland and {the beautiful countryside of Delphi/Meteroa-Ioannina-Igoumenitsa most likely} enroute,

have fun,

9. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

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10. Re: Seeing Greece: Book Everything in Advance, or "Wing It?"

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