Its often a worry for the backpacker about whether to book their accommodation in advance. We want to maintain our freedom to stay longer in a fun place, but we also don’t want to arrive in a city and not have a bed. So here I offer some guidelines…
1. If you are arriving on a weekend, particularly late in the day or at night then book ahead.
2. Check the hostel’s cancellation policy. If they have a 24 hour cancellation policy with no penalties, as most do, then you should be safe, because you can cancel if you change your mind…but do remember to cancel, you don’t want the first night charged to your credit card because you forgot.
3. Look out for festivals and sporting events, which fill hostels fast. Check the hostel’s website for a calendar. Always book ahead if you can for these events. In Edinburgh, during August we have the world famous Fringe Festival. The city will be full, so if you haven’t booked ahead you could be without a bed.
4. If you haven’t booked ahead, check the availability page the night before you leave, and see if there are plenty of beds available. You can usually book on the day of arrival now as well.
So basically, if you are coming to Edinburgh on a Wednesday in February, then you definitely will not need a booking. If, however, you are arriving in July or August you probably should book ahead.