Arriving at a hotel late at night, exhausted from travel, only to find out it’s fully booked is every traveler’s nightmare. But even in that frustrating situation, there are still steps you can take to find last-minute accommodations.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Ask the hotel for assistance rebooking you, search online booking sites for availability nearby, consider alternate lodging options like home shares, and as a last resort, look for shelters or 24-hour businesses.

This comprehensive guide will explore strategies for finding a place to stay when a hotel is sold out. We’ll provide tips on working with hotel staff, leveraging online booking sites, getting creative with alternate accommodations, and more.

Read on to be prepared for this travel mishap next time it happens.

Ask the Hotel for Assistance

When you find yourself in a situation where a hotel is fully booked and has no available rooms, don’t panic. There are several steps you can take to resolve the issue and find alternative accommodations. The first thing you should do is ask the hotel for assistance.

Inquire About Cancellations

One option is to inquire about any cancellations that may have occurred. It is not uncommon for guests to cancel their reservations last minute, which could potentially open up a room for you. Politely ask the hotel reception if there have been any recent cancellations and if there are any rooms available as a result.

This could be your chance to secure a room.

Ask Staff to Recommend Nearby Hotels

If the hotel is truly fully booked, the next step is to ask the hotel staff for recommendations on nearby hotels. They are likely to be familiar with the area and may be able to suggest alternative accommodations that have availability.

They may even be able to assist you with making a reservation at another hotel, saving you the hassle of searching and contacting other hotels yourself.

Request a Free Shuttle

In some cases, hotels that are fully booked may provide a free shuttle service to transport guests to nearby hotels with available rooms. This can be a convenient option as it eliminates the need for you to arrange transportation on your own.

Ask the hotel if they offer a shuttle service and if they can assist you in finding a room at another hotel that offers this service.

Remember, it is important to remain calm and polite when dealing with the hotel staff. They are there to assist you and will likely be more willing to help if you approach the situation with a positive attitude. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case none of the above options work out.

Research nearby hotels in advance or consider booking a room in advance to avoid any last-minute availability issues.

Use Online Booking Platforms

When faced with a fully booked hotel and no available rooms, turning to online booking platforms can be a game-changer. These platforms offer a wide range of options and can help you find alternative accommodations that suit your needs.

Here are a few ways to leverage online booking platforms in such situations:

Check Hotel Tonight for Last Minute Deals

If you find yourself in a bind and need a place to stay at the last minute, Hotel Tonight is a great option to consider. This platform specializes in offering discounted rates for same-day bookings. By downloading the Hotel Tonight app or visiting their website, you can browse through their selection of available hotels and find a suitable room at a discounted price.

It’s a fantastic way to snag a deal and secure a room even when hotels are fully booked.

Try Airbnb for Home Share Options

Airbnb has revolutionized the way people find accommodations when traveling. In addition to traditional hotels, Airbnb offers unique home share options, allowing you to rent a room or an entire home from a local host. This can be a great alternative when hotels are fully booked.

Not only does it provide a comfortable place to stay, but it also gives you an opportunity to experience the local culture firsthand. With Airbnb, you can find a wide range of options, from cozy apartments to luxurious villas, depending on your preferences and budget.

Leverage Travel Aggregator Sites

In addition to dedicated hotel booking platforms, travel aggregator sites like Expedia,, and Kayak can be a valuable resource when hotels are fully booked. These sites compile information from various sources and provide a comprehensive list of available accommodations in your desired location.

By using their search filters, you can narrow down the options based on your specific requirements, such as price range, amenities, and location. This allows you to compare different hotels and find the best available option.

Remember, when using online booking platforms, it’s essential to read reviews from previous guests to ensure the quality and reliability of the accommodations. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case your first choice doesn’t work out.

By utilizing online booking platforms, you can navigate the challenge of a fully booked hotel and find alternative accommodations that fit your needs. These platforms provide a convenient and efficient way to secure a place to stay, even in the most challenging situations.

Consider Alternative Accommodations

When you find yourself in a situation where a hotel is fully booked and has no available rooms, it can be frustrating and stressful. However, there are alternative accommodations that you can consider to ensure you still have a place to stay. Here are a few options to explore:

Look for Nearby Hostels

If the hotel you had planned to stay in is fully booked, one option is to look for nearby hostels. Hostels are budget-friendly accommodations that offer dormitory-style rooms or private rooms at a lower cost compared to hotels.

They are a popular choice among backpackers and solo travelers looking for a more social and affordable experience. Many hostels also offer common areas, kitchens, and organized activities, making it a great way to meet fellow travelers and make new friends.

Research Camping Options

If you enjoy the outdoors and have access to camping gear, consider researching camping options in the area. Camping can be a great alternative accommodation, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature while saving money. Look for nearby campsites or national parks that offer camping facilities.

Make sure to check if reservations are required, especially during peak travel seasons. Camping can provide a unique and memorable experience, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding environment.

Rent an RV as a Last Resort

If all other options are unavailable or not suitable for your needs, renting an RV can be a last resort. Renting an RV gives you the freedom to travel and have your own accommodations wherever you go. RVs come in various sizes and amenities, allowing you to have a comfortable and convenient place to stay.

It’s important to plan ahead and research RV rental companies in the area. Keep in mind that driving and maneuvering an RV may require some practice if you’re not familiar with it.

Remember, when faced with a fully booked hotel with no available rooms, don’t panic! There are always alternative accommodations to explore. Whether it’s staying in a hostel, camping, or renting an RV, you can still find a place to rest and enjoy your trip.

Prepare an Emergency Plan

When you find yourself in a situation where a hotel is fully booked and has no rooms available, it’s important to have an emergency plan in place. This will help you remain calm and find alternative solutions to ensure a comfortable stay. Here are a few steps to include in your plan:

Identify 24 Hour Businesses

One of the first things you should do is identify 24-hour businesses in the area. This could include restaurants, cafes, or convenience stores that are open all night. These establishments can provide a temporary refuge while you figure out your next steps.

They may also have facilities such as restrooms or seating areas that you can utilize.

Research Overnight Parking

Another important aspect of your emergency plan is to research overnight parking options. If you’re traveling by car, you may need a place to park and sleep for the night. Look for secure parking lots or garages that allow overnight stays.

Some cities even have designated areas where overnight parking is permitted. By knowing your parking options in advance, you can avoid any last-minute stress or inconvenience.

Pack Essential Overnight Supplies

It’s always a good idea to pack essential overnight supplies when you’re traveling, especially if you anticipate the possibility of not finding a hotel room. Some items to consider include a sleeping bag or blanket, a travel pillow, toiletries, a change of clothes, and any necessary medications.

These supplies can help you stay comfortable and prepared in case you need to spend the night in an unconventional location.

Remember, having an emergency plan in place can greatly reduce stress and ensure that you have a backup option when a hotel is fully booked and has no rooms available. Stay calm, think creatively, and make the most of the resources available to you.


Arriving to a sold out hotel is stressful, but being prepared with backup options and plans can give you peace of mind. With some creative problem solving, online resources, and help from hotel staff, you can almost always find a safe place to stay for the night.

The next time a hotel has no vacancies, use the strategies in this guide to handle it smoothly.

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