Switching cities mid-vacation and switching back again?
February 24, 2020 1:33 PM   Subscribe

How exactly does it work when you leave City A in the middle of a vacation to also visit City B, and then want to come back to the same lodging? Do you need to get two reservations at Hotel A-ville, or do you just eat the cost of days spent in City B? Does this work differently in VRBO, as opposed to a hotel (where coming back to a different room at the same rate is acceptable)?

Trying to understand the logistics of booking & billing for a vacation that's scheduled like a boomerang, in this age of online booking and razor-thin margins.

I know we did it when I was a kid in the 1980s (a few days in the big city, then train up to a different city for three days, then train back to the first city for three more), but it was at a small hotel in a touristy area. I can't recall whether we got different rooms.

Anyway, if I found a good VRBO, I can't imagine they would hold the place for us without paying for the days in the middle, would they? Is it worth asking?

Would I be better off splitting the trip half-and-half, and then just making the last travel day out of the second city?

(For this question, "City A" is London in July of 2020.)
posted by wenestvedt to Travel & Transportation around London, England (14 answers total)
I have both had multiple reservations and eaten the cost for overnight trips as part of a long business trip. A hotel may be happy to hold on to some of your luggage for free but in the luggage room, after you vacate your room. It is very unlikely that anybody would not charge per night until you check out, irrespective of where you spend the night.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:50 PM on February 24, 2020

When flying in and out of the same city on a multi-destination trip, I always land and immediately head to one of the other destinations (by train, car, etc), and spend the end of my trip in the city I fly to/from. So, we landed in London and took the train up to York, then Glasgow, then Edinburgh, then back to London for a week before leaving for home.
posted by outfielder at 2:00 PM on February 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've always just made two bookings.
posted by pompomtom at 2:05 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

We did this in London and just got two different places. In fact, we got the second place closer to the airport (in Windsor) which made our trip home via the airport actually pretty mellow because we were super close by.
posted by jessamyn at 2:16 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

yeah, two seperate reservations in city a. If you do find a vrbo you really like just book ahead on the days you know you want. You don't really need them to hold them the days you aren't there, you just need to book the days you want. if i did vrbo i might tell them what you are doing so they don't think its a double or a mistake or something.

we had a deal last fall where we had booked two days with points and then called back to add a third consecutive day and even that was two reservations.

as far as your last question, it would depend on how far apart they are. we are doing a two city vacation next month where we fly in and out of the same city but spend the first half in one and second in another two hours away and just get up that morning and drive the two hours the airport in the first city. if that is feasible it is the way to go so you don't have to pack up your stuff and wait on check in times etc more than necessary.
posted by domino at 2:26 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

The pricing of hotel rooms is complex, if you book for a long duration it is likely you will get a lower per-day rate. It is very unlikely that this will be so much lower that the days when you plan to be away will become effectively free, but it doesnt hurt to ask.
posted by Lanark at 2:44 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Two bookings, no question. I mean if it works out magically that it's not more expensive to make one long booking then that'd be a nice luxury, you could leave some stuff in the room. But there's absolutely no reason you would be expected to pay for nights you aren't there.
posted by Nelson at 2:52 PM on February 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

Two reservations and if you stay at the same place you can leave stuff in a bag at the hotel's concierge desk for pickup when you come back, if you want. They will normally do it if you let them know you'll be away a certain number of days and are checking back in. For a VRBO or the the like they might be amenable to something like that but you'd have to check with them.
posted by urbanlenny at 3:10 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

For VRBO, it might be a question if there is a minimum booking requirement and/or a pricey cleaning fee that might change the calculation.
posted by metahawk at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’ve done this 3 times, I think. Always got separate bookings.
posted by matildaben at 3:18 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another option, if B has a decent-sized airport, is to fly into London and out of B, or vice-versa. In my experience this works best if you take an airline that has its hub a short flight from both London and B. (For example, given your profile location, it might be possible to fly Aer Lingus, Boston - Dublin - London and B - Dublin - Boston.)
posted by madcaptenor at 5:45 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, that escalated wound up quickly.

It looks like it won't be one long booking in my main city, then.

I appreciate the advice, all! :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:19 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'd like to put in a quick plug for booking two different places in city A, especially if city A is someplace as varied and substantial as London. It's a little more effort on the booking end, but when I've booked two different places (in two different areas of the city, not just different hotels next door to each other) I find I get different experiences, different perspectives, and just a fuller sense of the city as a real place, rather than just the little area around my hotel. Plus different spots give you different kinds of access; maybe your first spot is close to the Tate and St Paul's and the Tower, and the second is closer to the V&A and Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace or whatever. Two places could save you an hour of commuting across central London each day you go to something further away.

Although in general, if the logistics are sensible, I tend to prefer the open jaw approach of flying into A and home from B (or C or D).
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:59 PM on February 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

Seconding Homeboy Trouble for London especially. The city's public transit is better than many places, but it is still kinda a pain in the butt — many trains are small and a good five minutes down from the surface; it's not cheap; a lot of places are still ~15m walk from the train — and the city is very spread out. It's nice to walk through, though, so setting yourself up in two spots is well recommended.
posted by dame at 5:54 AM on February 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

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