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2025 RS Tour refund policy change

Please read carefully as the new policy is not what we're used to. I am very disappointed that "fully refundable" is now 30 days from date of RS receiving my deposit. While I have never changed my mind after signing up for a tour, this doesn't give me much opportunity to do so. Too many things can change between now and next spring/summer/fall.
Please correct me if my interpretation is wrong.

What is your cancellation policy? (Emphasis is mine)
For tours departing Jan.1 -Dec. 31, 2025, tour deposits are fully refundable for 30 days from the date it is received unless otherwise noted in our Tour Conditions for 2025 tours. For tours departing Jan 1–Dec. 31, 2024, tour deposits are 100% refundable for up to 120 days before the tour departure date or unless otherwise noted in our 2024 Tour Conditions.
2025 Tour Conditions https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/tour-conditions

Posted by
1243 posts

Thanks for pointing this out. It is important to know.

Posted by
316 posts

Was the 120 days always the policy or was it only changed to that when they first started running again after Covid?

Now that Covid restrictions are mostly non existent, it would make sense not to have such a liberal cancellation policy. Unforseen things that come up or change are what insurance is for.

Also, presumably you could transfer your deposit to a different date if necessary.

Posted by
8618 posts

I think that this can be a positive change. There was a time, particularly right after Covid, when people would put deposits down on 2-3 tours to save a space so they could decide later. The generous cancellation policy meant they tied up tours from others registering because they had no money at risk.

This way , people register for tours they expect to take vs. hope to take leaving more space for others.

Posted by
523 posts

This “new” policy is actually the policy that existed pre-Covid. But thanks for pointing it out!

Posted by
6370 posts

This is still way better than another tour company with which we are booked for next year: $1000 deposit per person, refundable for 2 weeks. That's a deal breaker for a lot of folks.

Posted by
256 posts

I just signed up for a 2025 tour and paid the deposit. Although the Tour Conditions say it is refundable for only 30 days, when I go to my tour account it states that the deposit is refundable through December 28, 2024. Puzzling for sure.

Posted by
2906 posts

Jane, $1000 would be a deal breaker for me. I've been stung before and will never recoup all the tour cost (NOT RS). Perhaps that's why I'm a little sensitive about this change. My first tour was 2019 but I don't remember the contract terms. 2022 was the feeding frenzy year, 2023 and 2024 were/are the book early/plan ahead years.

Simpgolf, very interesting about the refundable date. A puzzle for sure.

Posted by
2906 posts

Here's another change. Single Supplement. This may not be a bad thing, albeit more money, since many of us solo travelers want a single private room:

From Tour Conditions, in part:
...If you wish to add a single supplement at any time after placing your original tour order and a single room remains available, we will add it to your order at the single supplement rate originally posted for that departure. If no single room remains available, you can either 1) maintain your original rooming selection or 2) for a non-refundable $250 fee, RSE will research and book a market rate single room on your behalf and at your expense, if possible. If you elect option 2, RSE will confirm the additional cost of the single room prior to booking. If no single rooms are available or you do not wish to pay the additional cost, we will maintain your original rooming selection.

Posted by
109 posts

We were just about to put down a deposit when I saw the new conditions.

I looked up the entire contract policy and if you look up RS tour contract/deposit conditions for 2025 (on the same page as the 2024 conditions but you have to highlight 2025)... It clearly says that the new conditions for 2025 are 30 days full refund and afterward no refund except extreme conditions, no exceptions. However, you can change to a different tour within the same year if room is available.

Posted by
2499 posts

If I remember correctly, this is the policy that existed before the Pandemic. I admit 30 days does give me pause but I usually decide in my own mind that whatever I book, I will make it happen. The transfer policy eases the concern of the 30 days. I am somewhat familiar with smaller tour companies and their refund policies are even narrower.

Posted by
3259 posts

Yes, this is just the way it was before Covid. It seems very reasonable to me. RS has gone out of his way to be consumer friendly during Covid. I am sure he needs to get back to normal now. It is a business that needs to be able to plan.

Posted by
489 posts

I just put down deposits for 3 tours today and did completely miss the change. So thanks for the alert, Horsewoofie. But I’m going to carry on. The $400. for each tour would definitely hurt but loss of the $2,575. for single supplements would really be bad. However I did read that single supplements are still refundable up until 60 days from start of tour.

I can’t imagine canceling any of these tours but it is 1 year from 1 tour and 18 months from another. That’s a lot of water under the bridge between now and then, but these tours seem to fill fast (especially single supplement slots) and I missed out on one last year surprisingly early after they were released.

Posted by
316 posts

But you wouldn’t pay the single supplement until the final tour payment is due, correct? You just book it at the time you are putting your deposit down.

The way I read that clause was if you booked a double and then later changed your mind, they would add it if available or assist in sorting alternative accommodation for a fee. Not sure I’d want to be at different accommodation then the rest of the group though. I would imagine you would be responsible for getting to the group hotel each morning and for getting to your own accommodation on return.

Posted by
2906 posts

KB, if you book the single supplement when you book your tour, you pay it and the tour deposit at booking. If a single is not available RS Tours will contact you. The new policy for booking a single supplement after booking your tour is only if you booked with the possibly of a roommate and there are no single rooms available. Then you have the option of keeping the roommate or paying the extra for RS to try to find you a single room. Hope that makes sense. I had to read it a couple times.
I've always booked the single supplement when booking the tour and not had a problem. I book my tours early for that reason.

Posted by
31 posts

I just booked a 2025 tour. In my tour account, it clearly states, "Deposit refundable through May 18, 2024". Also, I went on tours prior to Covid, and this was not the rule. It's been 120 days before departure at least since 2017.

I am discouraged because it's so far out. I know I'm taking the tour, but the dates are fuzzy.

It's definitely something to pay attention to. I'm glad I read carefully because I assumed it was the same policy.

Posted by
5685 posts

No where can I find that the deposit can be applied to a different tour in same year.

@christinar, It is clearly stated under the terms and conditions here:
https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/tour-conditions

Here is what is says:

Transferring to another tour: Change in plans? Up to 60 days prior to your tour's departure, you can transfer to any other tour in the same calendar year with seats available, applying your existing deposit and with no transfer fee. If you transfer to a different tour, the price of that tour will be applied, effective on the date we confirm your transfer. Transfers less than 60 days before your tour's departure are generally not possible.

Posted by
31 posts

Hi Laura,

Thanks. I was editing my post at the same time you added this. I did find it. It does give some relief to know it could be transferred if seats available.

Thanks!

Posted by
7710 posts

Just saying, if you are planning on spending that much money for a tour, you get decent travel insurance.

Posted by
4292 posts

I just looked back at my invoice for my 2019 tour and it was 30 days.

Posted by
1 posts

lesson learned recently ...I booked a tour early, now it's $600 less for 2.
RS will not refund.
Been a loyal RS customer for years, but will definitely be our last!

Posted by
7011 posts

lesson learned recently ...I booked a tour early, now it's $600 less for 2. RS will not refund. Been a loyal RS customer for years, but
will definitely be our last!

@avr.cal_82, what do you think Rick Steves' company is? Costco? Costco will pay you the difference if an item goes on sale within one month, but I only know of a handful of companies that will do that. And certainly not any tour companies.

In fact, if you decide that you are not going to book a tour with a tour company that refuses to give you a refund because they are now having a sale, I don't think you will be traveling any more tours. Good luck with that.

I really get tired of these one-time posters coming here to complain.

Posted by
2906 posts

.I booked a tour early, now it's $600 less for 2.
RS will not refund.

avr.cal_82, There was a thread a week or so ago with the same gripe. I can't find it now. Was it yours?
I'm sorry you feel you should get a refund but like anything that goes on sale after you purchased it, that just isn't the case. The company is not obligated to give you a refund for the difference. Just like buying clothes, you can pay full price, knowing you can purchase your item and get your size. Or you can wait for a sale that 1) may not happen or 2) risk that the item isn't available or not in your size.

I don't understand why you're upset. Yes, $600 would have been nice spending money but there is no way in advance to know which tours may be put on sale. You signed up for the tour and dates you wanted. It certainly couldn't have been a 2025 tour since they posted a month ago and it's too soon for any to go on sale. The cancellation policies for 2024 and 2025 are stated in my lead post.

Been a loyal RS customer for years

You infer that you've taken other RS tours. Surely you have seen how quickly some tours fill, seen tour sales in prior years and understand the conditions and policies.

Although I was hesitant to book with the new 2025 refund policy, the $100 "early bird" bonus plus the need for a certain date and single room, I booked my fifth RS tour South England for June 2025. It's a long way off, a lot can change; that's why I bought trip insurance. If the tour goes on sale, so be it; I got the dates and single room I want.

Posted by
7072 posts

There was a thread a week or so ago with the same gripe. I can't find it now.

Yes, funny that that post disappeared.

Posted by
19 posts

In regards to RS not refunding a tour if RS later reduces the price of the tour: What else is new?

He does guarantee that the price you book is the price you will pay even if costs increase. Not all tour outfits will do that when booking tours nearly a year in advance. Besides by booking early a person is locking in the tour of their choice. That's a nice advantage. If one wants to get deals, then look at his list of tours that are on sale. I seem to remember doing the Ireland tour that way when I suddenly had some free time in late August. Of course, then I had to deal with last minute air fares, but that's another subject.

On several tours, I agreed to share a room. On one of them, the other guy on the tour decided to buy the single supplement and so I ended up having my own room alone at no extra cost. OTOH, some gorilla who showers once a week whether he needs to or not could have joined the tour, and I would have to have deal with sharing a room with him. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

Posted by
7 posts

Just noticed this change as I was about to book Fall 2025, Yikes!! 16 months- feels too far away to be 100% certain about something that far away. For $400, I guess I'll just wait and chance it and maybe waitlist a few tours as things get closer, or travel another way.