Homeless for Hogmanay

News Years Eve in Edinburgh. The streets are over-flowing with locals and tourists alike, the bars and pubs are brimming with merry drinkers, the count-down until the New Year is on. And what am I doing? Desperately hunting for a place to stay!

When I arrived in Edinburgh the day before New Years Eve, I was horrified to find that there had been a mess up with our accommodation for the following night. Whether human, or computer I’m not sure, but regardless, I had to find somewhere to stay for New Years Eve. And it was no easy task.

Edinburgh is one of the most popular places to welcome in the New Year in the world. With their very own festival: Hogmanay, it is a unique and admired place to celebrate. With the biggest ever Auld Lang Syne and various activities and events throughout the new year period, people flock from all over the world to come and join in the festivities. As great as this is, it did make finding last minute accommodation rather challenging…

Hostelworld: No availability

Expedia: No availability

Lastminute.com: No availability

Google: Nothing

What was I going to do? My bus back to London was at 9.30am on New Years day, so as a last resort I could do an all-nighter. But I knew that wouldn’t end well. Crap. Time to panic!!

My friend and I spent hours trawling the internet for last minute availability or cancellations, but much to our dismay, there were none. Eventually, however, a guest house a couple of miles from the city centre was showing that it had rooms-‘book it, quick!’ I said.

Phew. It might have cost us an extra £150, but at least we wouldn’t be homeless for the night, or so we thought…

After dropping our bags off in the morning, we agreed that we would return at around 6pm to check in and get ready for the street party that night. However, on our return, there was nobody there. The door was open so we let ourselves in, and then proceeded to search for a member of staff. But there was nobody to be seen anywhere! After ringing the doorbell several times, shouting out ‘hello, is anybody there!’ and knocking on the staff quarters, we got out our reservation out and called the contact number.

After several rings, and my patience beginning to wear thin, the owner answered the phone. He then told us that there had been a problem with the booking and that actually there were no rooms available! On the verge of losing my temper, I listened to he’s instructions for us to take a cab to an ‘unfinished’ guest house that we could stay in.

I was rather dubious about taking a taxi to a random house like this; this was the sort of thing that happened to me in Cambodia, or Vietnam-not Scotland! But nevertheless, I got in the taxi, and a few minutes later I arrived at my third accommodation within less than 24 hours.

It turned out that the booking agent had over booked the guesthouse by 6 rooms, and that in order to solve the problem they had quickly made up rooms in a guest house due to open early next year. The house was fine; I’ve stayed in a lot worse. However, that was exactly what it was-a house. With shared bathrooms, and room with literally a bed in it, this was not what I would call a guest house, but it was fine, I had somewhere to sleep.

I could go out an enjoy my New Years Eve celebrations, which is exactly what I did.

It was a close call, but in the end, I wasn’t homeless for Hogmanay. Tip for next time? Book well in advance and check the booking details!

Lesson learnt.