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hotel reservations

virginia
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hotel reservations

I have been looking at hotels for my trip to China (Beijing and Xian)this coming May. Does it make more sense to wait until a few weeks before to make hotel and train reservations? After reading many posts on this forum it appears that train tickets don't even go on sale until about 10 days before the travel date. Does the same go for hotels as well? I tend to be a planner and want to get everything booked ahead of time, but I also want to get good rates on everything. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Sherbrooke, Canada
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1. Re: hotel reservations

I travel extensively in China (2 months this time) and I usually book no more than one week ahead. I get good deals on wotif.com or kayak.com

I have stayed at the Inter-Continental for $100 per night, so you never know what you may find there. I am a planner to but you need to be patient.

Coopersburg...
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for Allentown
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2. Re: hotel reservations

I've been thinking way too much about this because I too am a planner and a penny pincher but I also don't want to stay in just any hotel. We're planning a trip for April to China. After extensive research I found (I think) fun places in Hong Kong, Yangshuo, Xi'an, and Beijing. I booked the Yangshuo one today, the Hong Kong one a couple of months ago (Salisbury YMCA seems to book up quickly), and the Beijing one (a small Hutong place) about a month ago.

The two small ones in Beijing and Yangshuo are so much less expensive then the mainstream hotels that I'm excited about getting a deal and staying in very unique places. And, I like having the peace of mind having the bookings confirmed.

For Xian, there doesn't seem to be any small or very unique places, so I'm going to wait on that one for another couple of weeks.

Miami Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Shanghai Region
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3. Re: hotel reservations

Generally speaking, your best deals with the widest selection will be at the Chinese booking sites such as ctrip.com and elong.net. These sites do not quote rates more than 60 days from the period of the reservation. You will find some western websites will still have full rack rates or smaller discounts than the Chinese websites do. Since credit card prepayment is not required at the Chinese sitesfor hotels, you do not have to worry about the hassle with foreign credit card verification and surcharges.

These hotel rates are flexible and can change often, and they usually carry no cancellation penalty (but may have no-show penalties). So go ahead and reserve and then continue to look for lower rates.

For the big western chains, such as Intercontinental (Holiday Inns, etc.), Accord, Sheraton, and Marriott, their own websites usually have a low-price guarantee. So look there too. I have also walked door to door after arrival for lower rates with some success. This takes time for the weary tourist though.

Train reservations are most easily made by the hotel travel desks who can instantly confirm seats with no waiting at the sometimes unbelievable lines at the train stations. There is a nominal fee, of course. Some people have the arrival hotel obtain the first train tickets before the travellers arrive from abroad.

My experience is that the smaller, family run inns and boutique hotels are less flexible in rate variations. They know their market and have a small supply of rooms.

Shanghai, China
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4. Re: hotel reservations

How about http://www.hqhostelxian.moonfruit.com for Xi'an?

5. Re: hotel reservations

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