5 Ways to Vacation Without a Hotel Reservation



If you’re the type of adventurer who likes to have a game plan months in advance, then embarking on a trip without a hotel reservation might create some pre-vacay panic. But you can relax; you’ve got this. Booking hotel rooms in advance is so passé. If you want a tweet-worthy trip, wing it as far as hotel reservations (or try a hotel alternative) and you’ll probably be delighted by the places your Instagram will go. Here are a few ways to vacay without hopping on hotels.com in advance—because really, who has the time?

  1. Do a daytrip. If you don’t want to book a room period, then an overnight stay isn’t going to work for this vacation, unless you jetset to a place where you have a friend. Instead, plan to go somewhere that is within a one- or two-hour drive or train ride of home. That way you can come home and sink into your own bed at day’s end, but still fill your Facebook with sunny beach pics from morning to night. Lake trips and jaunts to the mountains are solid alternatives if you aren’t within driving distance of the ocean.
  2. Use AirBNB instead. Booking a hotel for one night, let alone a few, can put quite the dent in your carefully stocked savings account. Maybe that’s why your friends have been posting about AirBNB and other home-sharing sites. AirBNB allows homeowners to rent out an extra room or a totally separate home or apartment to travelers, and the rates are often much lower than that of a hotel. There’s the added perk that they tend to be more comfortable, come with a full kitchen, and may offer better amenities or locations than the mainstream hotels. So scour AirBNB for a room if you don’t want to do the hotel thing.
  3. Travel during the “shoulder” season. You probably know that the warmer months typically constitute the “tourist season” in most locales, but have you ever heard of the “shoulder” season? It’s the month right before and right after the peak travel season, and hotels are usually deserted. Consider setting out during the shoulder season if you’ll be making hotel reservations last minute. You’ll still probably enjoy the perks of warm weather, but without the crowds and high prices of peak season.
  4. Arrive early and be flexible. If you do decide that you want to book a hotel room on the spot, then remember that the early bird gets the worm. Show up as early as you can and inquire about a room if you want to ensure that you snag one. Also keep in mind that you’re probably not going to get the presidential suite on a moment’s notice. Be flexible about which room you plant in; chances are you’re going to be out exploring most of the day, anyway, so you really only need a bed.
  5. Try a hostel. Another hotel alternative is the tried-and-true hostel. Most hostels are well-kept and safe, especially if you go by the customer reviews and ratings on a site like com. When you’re traveling without a room reservation, have at least a few hostel addresses on-hand so that you can swing by and see if anything is available. Chances are they’ll have a few open spots, at least in a shared room. Most of them have lockers for your valuables (though you’d be smart to bring along your own combination lock, since not all hostels provide them).


Travel Advice – Traveling without room reservations [There Are Places]

10 booking hotel mistakes (and how to avoid them) [USA Today]

Reserving Rooms As You Travel [Rick Steve’s Europe]

  • April 5th, 2016
  • Posted in: AVA