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Problems with the advance booking for accomodation

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Joined: Jun 04
Points: 12
Posts: 3

Posted: 2004-06-07 16:16:00   


Please help! I am going to europe for 1 month travelling with 5 frds; and we decide to find some apartments for accomodation. But the problems come with the advance booking. Since the house owners require us to transfer the deposit to him first, we feel very unsafe. Should we do that?

How to protect ourselves?

Please help us!

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Joined: May 04
Points: 50
Posts: 4

Posted: 2004-06-26 01:30:00   

You should try a travel agency instead is much safer.

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Joined: Jun 04
Points: 150
Posts: 5

Posted: 2004-06-26 17:10:00   

There are a couple of simple checks that you can do.

1) Look up the telephone book to see if that person is listed at that address. Most european countries have an online search index.

2) Pay the deposit by credit card - some credit card have inbuilt travel/purchase insurance - if this option is available.

3) Search other agencies and see if the house is listed with them.

4) Ask for a referee .. possibly someone another traveller who can vouch for them although clearly you need to verify that this is someone else and unrelated.

And ask yourself if it is too good an offer eg 4 bedroom apartment in London for 75 GBP a night etc.

Of course the real risk is not the deposit, say 10%, but that you turn up and there is NO accomodation available.

It would be useful to say which city etc and when as some other people may have knowledge of that city.

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Joined: Sep 03
Points: 4
Posts: 1

Posted: 2005-03-12 07:31:00   

You are going to have to pay an advance deposit if you expect accommodation to be kept for you in high season. I can fully understand where the house owners are coming form. If you pay by credit card you should be fairly ok ( the banks don't give credit card terminals to fly by nights) I also suggest you take out travel insurance .

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Joined: Aug 04
Points: 34752
Posts: 1044

Posted: 2005-03-12 08:50:00   

Of more than 100 trips (except only 8 of them, package deals), I have never reserved accommodation in advance. This requires a bit of courage and patience but has allowed us/me flexibility to itineries:

- if we didnt like a place we moved on

- sometimes we changed hotel for a better/cheeper one

- even if all hotels full one can usually still find guesthouses

- hotels in towns between big cities/destinations are easier/cheaper

- avoid cities during major events if possible

- sometimes we have used night-trains to overcome the hotel problem

- most airports and railstations have a free accomodation finding service

- I love to travel by camper/camping, no hotel needed!

In a remote town in Peru we could only find place for two of the group, 3 of us were allowed to sleep at the local police station! For uneasy travellers or difficult destinations (eg. elderly/language/security), I recommend joining a guided tour group (can be a lot of fun) or taking a flight/hotel package deal.

[ This Message was edited by: rangutan on 2005-03-12 09:03 ]

Rudolf "Rangutan" Graspointner

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Joined: Sep 03
Points: 8701
Posts: 69

Posted: 2005-03-12 22:33:00   

Just following Rangutan's point of avoiding places during major events ( unless that is why you are going!) is that it is a good idea to check out public holidays too. My friend and i ended up sleeping under an umbrella on the beach in Spain because we had not realised that it was a public holiday!!!

We were first on the beach though!

Enjoy it while you can!

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Joined: Jun 02
Points: 12936
Posts: 221

Posted: 2005-03-19 10:04:00   

Great advice from everyone.

I personally prefer not to book but with that amount of people in a group I would probably recommend it. I have just returned from a week in Byron Bay where we booked 2 houses (there were 9 of us) and we were required to pay a (large) deposit but I think that's fair enough.

Prior to booking I would suggest seeing if the house in question is listed in more than one rental/accommodation website (ie and seeing if you can contact them to make some inquiries.

Also if the person that lets the house has spent the money on creating a website I would imagine that it was legit but make sure that you have an actual address for them not just a P.O Box and go with your gut feeling. If you have doubts foind somewhere else.



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