Getting 'caught out'

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Annoying Twit
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Getting 'caught out'

Postby Annoying Twit » 25 Nov 2016, 10:55am

If people find themselves delayed and needing a place to stay without a booking, how difficult is it to find a place to stay?

Is it incredibly expensive just rolling up somewhere and asking for a room?

Has anyone experience of doing something like this?

Has anyone ended up effectively 'stuck outside' all night?

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meic
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby meic » 25 Nov 2016, 10:57am

Has anyone ended up effectively 'stuck outside' all night?
Frequently, all through my life.
Yma o Hyd

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Si
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Si » 25 Nov 2016, 11:10am

My first tour through Scotland I took a bivvi bag just in case....didn't need to use it though. Strangely the nearest I came to using it was in Edinbourouourgh! Big conference in town and so virtually no vacancies...was getting ready to kip down in a park with the winos but TIO found me somewhere miles out of town eventually.

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Heltor Chasca » 25 Nov 2016, 11:29am

Never had a problem with campsite availability and when they've been out of reach, I've wild camped all over the place. Worst was a night next to a rubbish pit in Africa. Stupid mistake. All sorts of wildlife rumbled past including a small pride of lions 'playing' with the carcass of a baboon. 50yds was too close for comfort. At about midnight an armed and drunk game-guide spotted us and yelled, 'I'm off to sleep in that cabin down the road. If there's a problem, only wake me up when blood starts getting spilled.'

Best night's sleep I've had

Vorpal
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Vorpal » 25 Nov 2016, 11:46am

I never used to book anything. Once upon a time ;) that was part of the adventure, and I met lots of interesting people and stayed in interesting places.

I guess it depends somewhat on what you mean by 'caught out'. Mostly, I've had good luck with that sort of thing, and gotten some substantial discounts because things were slow, and I was obviously willing to go on to the next place.

However, different people approach these things differently, and if you are someone who would get stressed out by getting caught out, it might be best not to try it. If, on the other hand, you are pretty adaptable, and don't mind making do, try it and see if it works for you. The worst that is likely to happen is that you have a bad night, and book the rest of your trip(s) two or three days in advance, as you go.

I've been forced a few times to change plans, but I've never ended up with no place to sleep. I have bivvied (with no camping equipment or bivvy bag) even though I had a hostel booked (couldn't get there safely). I've slept in a barn, on strangers' floors, and once in a 24 hour laundrette. But I've also slept worse in hostels or hotels sometimes than I did in the laundrette.

These days, I prefer to have a little more security, but the wonders of the internet mean that I can find something with little or no notice, if I need to.

Go out prepared to make do: carry a bivvy bag, or even just a couple of emergency blankets and enough clothes that in layers will be enough for the lowest likely temperature; if you aren't carrying a smart phone or tablet or something, mark some places on your maps where you can get information, like libraries, tourist information, etc. Plan on being at your destination early enough to use those resources and get to the next town, if necessary. If you are prepared, it's not getting caught out.

Have fun :)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 25 Nov 2016, 12:10pm

Not been caught out yet. But I did once end up at this place: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Rev ... _York.html

On checking out I found that a previous guest had slipped a note onto the reception floor, wedged between the mat and the desk: "THIS HOTEL SUCKS. LEAVE NOW."
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iviehoff
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby iviehoff » 25 Nov 2016, 12:19pm

Several nearlies.

Looking around to stay somewhere one Saturday night in various places around Woodbridge in Suffolk, everything seemed to be full. Eventually found disreputable and closed-looking pub, but there was someone in there, and the guy he wasn't the owner, he was just looking after it, and there was a private party in that night, but they weren't using the rooms so he didn't see why we couldn't use one, ie for money in his pocket. We'd have to take it as we found it (a mess) and there was a band playing.... It was very, very, loud and went on till very, very, late.

Arriving in a Tunisian town with the sun already set, we found that there had been a festival there which had just closed down (so nothing for us to see any more), but too late for people to leave so the place was rammed. But we were allowed to stay in hammocks in a tent that was erected behind a hotel. Very cold on a clear winter's night.

Arrived in Donegal Town and couldn't find anything in or around town. Settlements around weren't yielding anything either. Eventually saw a sign to a hostel down some tiny lanes a few miles out of town, and on arrival discovered it was a hostel in the sense of a place where Polish fieldworkers stayed. Someone who wasn't the owner said there was a spare room, again take it as we find it - a terrible mess again. We spent probably best part of an hour making it habitable and moved in. The owner then turned up at this point, and tried to persuade us we couldn't possibly stay, but relented.

Arrived in a small Bolivian town at sunset after failing to find a suitable wild-camp spot anywhere in the vicinity. There had been an earthquake about 6 weeks previously, and although this town was mostly habitable, unlike places I'd seen a day's ride back, which were flattened, one hotel was closed due to the building being unsafe, and the other was full of people whose houses were similarly damaged. Someone said I could sleep in the waiting room of the bus company. There were even some mattresses there - Bolivian buses can be many hours late and this place only had one a day, timetabled at about 1am. So I did. The story about what happened when I awoke in the morning and found myself locked in will have to be related another time.

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Heltor Chasca » 25 Nov 2016, 12:33pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:Not been caught out yet. But I did once end up at this place: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Rev ... _York.html

On checking out I found that a previous guest had slipped a note onto the reception floor, wedged between the mat and the desk: "THIS HOTEL SUCKS. LEAVE NOW."


Brilliant!

The reviews are pretty funny.

m-gineering
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby m-gineering » 25 Nov 2016, 12:46pm

in this modern age one course of action is to stop at a fast food place with Wifi, grab something to eat and find out with booking.com or an equivalent on your smartphone whats available in the vicinity.

If you feel that is cheating I quite understand ;)
Marten

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tyreon
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby tyreon » 25 Nov 2016, 1:01pm

Never been caught out,always found somewhere.

If it's summer and temperatures are okay you can always move on or find somewhere to sit the night out. Next day,find somewhere early. If 'abroad' and weather dictates things could get dangerous,will find church,mosque,temple to seek zzzzzs and solace. If I'm really worried I'd knock on doors to ask to sleep in garage or shedcall transport etc. More serious+++: I'm breaking in somewhere,put it right the next day.

Norman H
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Norman H » 25 Nov 2016, 1:52pm

I mostly camp or use hostels and the occasional B+B and normally only book the first day or two in advance. So far I've never been caught out but it's worth taking a few precautions.


A tent and sleeping bag are always good insurance even when not planning to camp and most campsites will try to squeeze in a lone cyclist or two, even when “full”. I've also found that enquiring at rural pubs will often result in offers of camping, especially if you buy a pint or two.


It's also a good idea to research alternative accommodation beforehand, especially if like me, you don't usually tour with internet access.

Mistik-ka
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Mistik-ka » 25 Nov 2016, 2:05pm

City police cells. Canadian blizzard. -38º F. :(

Vorpal
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby Vorpal » 25 Nov 2016, 2:12pm

There's a big difference between getting caught out on a long summer evening when the weather is good and no harm in camping under the stars, and Blizzard conditions!
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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whoof
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby whoof » 25 Nov 2016, 3:05pm

I think booking in advance depends on a lot of factors, mainly being where and when.

June in France I've only once not been able to find a hotel as there was a rugby tournament on. There was no campsite either and we ended up pitching the tent next to a hedge.

I tend to book first and last nights and then just roll up somewhere in between.

Camping in Europe I've never booked anything.

If I'm doing a B and B tour in the UK, usually in August I do book in advance as I find that they fill up.

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meic
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Re: Getting 'caught out'

Postby meic » 25 Nov 2016, 3:15pm

Mistik-ka wrote:City police cells. Canadian blizzard. -38º F. :(

Did you have to get arrested or were they being sociable?
Yma o Hyd