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Travel & Holiday

A roof over your head

To book or not to book, that’s the question
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - April 20, 2011
By: Sheila Lim
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A roof over your head

Besides location and cost, another prime consideration for travellers selecting a place of accommodation is whether to make an advance booking or not.

Booking in advance

Doing this gives you peace of mind that you will have somewhere to rest and sleep once you arrive at your destination. This is particularly so if you plan to travel to a highly popular tourist spot, a place reputed to be unsafe, where a big-scale event will be taking place, or if you will arrive at your destination late at night. Locating an address in a totally strange place is bad enough, so don’t push your luck by doing so in the dark! 


Advance bookings can be made over the Internet, through a travel agent or over the telephone (barring language barriers). However, it's not uncommon for travellers to book a room and find that it is no longer available upon arrival, particularly if it’s at the lower end of the cost scale or during peak tourist seasons.

The main disadvantage is the inconvenience of having to change or cancel a reservation if your plans change. Find out what the cancellation policy is before you make a reservation. Most hotels will require a credit card number to guarantee a booking, and may charge you for one night or more if your cancellation is made less than 24 hours (or longer in more popular destinations) before arrival. 

Homing in when you arrive

If you love a trip that’s truly “free and easy”, it’s better to look for accommodation when you arrive rather than make advance bookings. This allows you to enjoy a more flexible travel schedule – which means that you could prolong or shorten your stay according to how much you like a place.

If that’s what you opt to do, you’ll need to muster lots of courage and willpower, and have plenty of luck too! Make life easier for yourself by using guidebooks, a GPS gadget, your mobile phone and/or the services of tourist information offices (if any can be found). Alternatively, walk around and inquire at the first few places you think are suitable.


Pleasure islands