The Day I showed up at a hotel without a booking was Liberating. Who woulda thunk!
After visiting 46 countries in the world, meeting plenty of people who just stroll up to hotels and hostels without a booking… I am finally brave enough to follow their footsteps. I mean considering I only had a return flight for this current 6-month journey with no set itinerary and not know where I’ll be the next day… I sound like a late bloomer.
You may ask – Why have I never tried it before!?
Fear. Laziness. Old school.
Fear because I was scared I wouldn’t find a bed or a room. In reality, that’s not possible. Unless for some epic reason the Universe disliked me – perhaps. However, at the end of the day, there are plenty of hotels which are not affiliated with online booking agents nor have their own websites. So even thought all the hotels within the budget said they’re fully booked, there will be an empty room. Even the exact hotel that said all rooms are sold out because most likely they held back some rooms for the people who just rock up to their hotel – unannounced.
They will welcome you and the room can be had for a better price too! High season or not. Trust me the hotelier would much rather not pay a commission to Booking.com or whichever booking agent out there.
Laziness because I always picture myself roaming street after street with no pre-booked hotel with my luggage in tow. Aimlessly in search of the one hotel I want to spend a night. Reality, I’ve unknowingly booked at “dives” (despite reading many reviews) and found better places without a reservation.
It is Always better to look at the room in person before paying.
Okay maybe if I’m used to staying in 5-star hotels with an unlimited bank account, I might have a bit more faith in the hotelier. However, it is more interesting to stay in family runned or truly locally owned hotels which does not look like every other hotel. This is because the clientele in these interesting hotels are typically more interesting as well.
Old school because that’s what I am. I studied Engineering – need I say more!? Okay I will say more if you insist.
The old mindset is you walk into a hotel, step up to the front desk and say “I have a reservation under Karen Sze”. Now how will I be able to say that if I never made a reservation in the first place?
So now what!? – you say.
Now I spend a lot less time researching hotels and hostels. I don’t have to follow the fixed travel itinerary that was planned months or weeks in advance. Everything is flexible. There’s a new level of Freedom!
I get an idea of where there’s a cluster of hotels in my destination city. I show up. Walk into the random hotel. Ask for the price. See the available room(s). Negotiate for a better price.
I trust my intuition in this process. I have faith and trust in that the Universe will help me find the hotel or hostel that’s best suited for my stay. That I will meet the people I am meant to meet during my stay.
Happy and Safe Travels!!