All of the France tours for 2022 direct you to join a waiting list. Does this mean they are all full?
If there is a waiting list, then the tour is full. But some people may have double booked and will drop out after Dec. 31. So if there is a tour you are interested in, have your name added to the waitlist.
Best of Paris 7 Days appears to be open, but all the rest look to be fully booked.
That answers that! So to make sure I get a trip in I'll have to do it myself, which I've found is more rewarding just a lot more work.
Have a great self-supported trip, and I hope the extra work makes for a rewarding time. Rick Steves does have an assortment of guidebooks for many parts of France, or course, so he can, at least, provide some advice.
The 2022 tours must include people still on standby from 2020 & 2021, plus any that were planning on 2022 to begin with. That pent-up demand must have filled up pretty much everything.
One way to do a relatively easy search of all availability is to go to Our Tours in the menu of this website. Then, instead of clicking on a country, click on the word Search which is in Blue at the top of the Find a Tour list. Then, instead of selecting country or time, click on Select Tours by Departure Date. You will land at what is essentially a sortable spreadsheet (and can actually be copied into Excel) showing the status of tours. The default sort is alpha by country, but you can sort on any column, the last one being status: Available, Limited, or Waitlist. You can pretty quickly see what is not yet waitlisted.
In the past, I have used this if I have a short, specific period of time for travel to determine what is available and when.
To be honest, I think that January 1st will show movement on some of those tours. There was such a frenzy to put deposits down when reservations first opened and I think some people booked more tours than they planned on taking because they were worried about getting any tour. December 31st is the last day to have a deposit refunded in full. I am sure that some people have had their plans change in all of this time.
When are you thinking of going? Could you put yourself on some waitlists and then have enough time to decide if you waited until January? I travel in a variety of ways and I know that you can have a wonderful vacation no matter how you decide to go. However, there is something special about a Rick Steves Tour. It is far more than having someone pick out the hotels, and provide transportation. The guides are a great value added proposition as is the experience of traveling with a congenial group of people. I try things when on a tour that I might not try traveling independently and am always glad that I did.
Just as a point of reference, we were on 2 waitlists and we now have reservations on both tours. I think initially they were allowing people to sign up for 5 waitlists, so there maybe lots of movement by the end of 2021. Some people probably waitlisted hoping to get a more desirable date on a tour they already signed up for.
It looks like there are currently 16 itineraries with seats available on multiple dates at this search https://www.ricksteves.com/tours. Click on the ‘browse’ tab then the ‘seats available’ link. It seems to take a moment to load.
I agree with Carol and Patty. Rick offered free cancellation thru Dec 31 if you signed up by a certain date so I agree there will likely be cancellations and movement by the end of the year.
I enjoy both independent travel and Rick’s tours so I too encourage you to add your name to a wait list for whatever dates work for you.
In preCovid years they also had “shadow” dates at times where they could add tour departures when the other tours were filled. Perhaps they have those plans this time as well.
Thanks all for the input, I may consider booking Paris and then tour on my own in Provence or Dordogne assuming something doesnt open up that meets my schedule.