Hello All, Wanted to see if anyone else here is on this tour/date. I am very exited. This was suppose to be for my 50th birthday. But like many other things COVID changed that. For those who have been on a RS tours before what are your top 3 words of wisdom for doing a RS tour. Thank You, SiouxzieQ
Your going to have the best time of your life!! I remember my first Rick Steves tour and I still stay in contact with those fellow travelers, my wisdom is this:
1) Packing light really does make life easier on the road.
2) Don't worry about being "fashionable" wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to wash.
3) Take a flat, thin rubber stopper (3-4" in diameter) for the sinks, you will thank me for this.
Please do a follow up post when you get back from Europe and tell us what you enjoyed most.
Arrive at least one day early
If you want to use a washcloth, bring it.
Learn how to shower in a space smaller than a phone booth.
Have fun... I hope to do that tour in May
Get there early to get past jet lag and catch up on sleep. When you choose a "buddy" (not your travel partner), pick the tallest guy in the group, so you'll spot him right away when "buddy checks" happen. Make at least tentative plans for using your free time so you're not hanging out helplessly when the scheduled part of the day is over.
Study the places you are scheduled to visit so you won't miss that one thing you should have seen! Take 3 complete changes of clothes in complimentary colors so you can mix and match and rotate them. Have lightweight sweater/jacket layers that you can add and subtract. Happy Golden Birthday!
Pack light, arrive early - at least two days if you can, and stay flexible. And above all have fun! Congratulations on your golden birthday.
We did this tour five years ago. I agree with all the above. I’d like to add to get in shape because it is an active tour with a lot of walking.
Also, take a hat and sunscreen. I take an old fashion fan that folds up well and can be stored in my purse. It has been helpful to me when there isn’t a breeze. The heat can be brutal.
I made a thread a while back to ask about tips for RS tours, The thread is at https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/tour-lessons-learned
Some of this may sound familiar :)
1) pack light - personally, I bring a swissgear carryon size rolling backpack/suitcase (that I check) and a backpack. Packing cubes/folders facilitate immensely.
2) bring the guidebook for your tour - I follow RS guidance to divvy it up (while retaining the book binder glue for each section), bring just those sections I want and use the RS binders (often on sale for $1 apiece).
3) free time - during the tour, if you need alone time, head off by yourself to immerse (easier when alone and a break from the structured activities). And if you can, add some time before and after the tour (at least a day or two on each end)
Enjoy and happy post 50th!
I loved this tour! I agree with the other posters but will add my top 3:
I agree with Diane....increase your fitness level! You’ll have more fun if you are in better shape. You’ve got a year, so I’d work on being able to walk 6 miles easily. I like to work up to doing 4 miles 3 times a week and once you are doing that for a month or so, then on a 4th day start extending by 10 minutes each week building to 6 miles on just that 1 day while keeping the rest at 4 miles. You don’t reveal where you live but if you can add in some stairs or hills you’ll thank me when you get to Rome!!
Use your travel shoes on your walks. Make sure you are able to go miles in the shoes you take. Start now. Be comfortable in your footwear.
Start now considering your capsule wardrobe so you can pack light. 3 tops plus 3 bottoms that all work together gives you 9 outfits. One scarf that goes with all your tops gives you 18 outfits. Make sure everything washes in the sink and dries overnight. I use a 2 gal reinforced ziplock bag as my washing machine instead of trying to use a stopper in a sink. I love the blog called The Vivienne Files. She has wonderful color suggestions for capsule wardrobes. Most of her clothing choices are too dressy or too expensive for my lifestyle but I can use her color combos! (OK that is more than 3 so added to “wardrobe”, lol!)
Three top words for taking an RS Tour.
Worth the money!
Three more words for taking an RS Tour.
Stellar memory maker!
Three additional words for taking an RS Tour.
Excellent, exciting, endearing.
Travel expands your understanding of the planet we live on.
Go, explore, enjoy!
You will have the time of your life, RS tours are very special. I have been on 7 and am booked for number 8 next May.
Here are my pearls of wisdom:
Arrive 2 or 3 days early, it really helps you get over jet lag.
Research ideas for activities for your free time
Try to talk to each tour member
Mainly, have fun!
Way more than three words, sorry! If you're traveling solo, I second the recommendation to make the effort to talk to all the tour members. I have made some fantastic friends on the four tours I have taken. On the other hand, if people don't seem warm, don't force it. It's your (and their) vacation, you should have fun. And kind of in the same topic, if there are other solo travelers on the tour, you're not mandated to spend all your time together just because you're the solo people. Though I met many great other solo travelers, I met several that weren't my cup of tea. It's a-ok to set some boundaries and do things on your own, it's your vacation!
One more word of wisdom: keep a journal of your experiences, you will thank yourself in the future when you read it. The immediacy of your words will help bring your memories to life. Even if you don’t write every single day, what a treasure it is to crack open those pages!
Bus time is good for this. Also, send yourself postcards, the real thing, or use a postcard app, like TouchNote, which I use.
What everyone else said, plus:
1. Do the research--watch and read everything you can find about the towns in which you overnight and the attractions along the way. The RS BOE guide book you will receive is a good start but there's so much more to be found online or your library.
2. Don't buy new or specialized clothing just for the trip.
3. Use a travel agent to book your flights and your pre- and post-tour stays which should be two days.*
- = Just my opinion, of course. My agent has been in the business for decades; she knows everything and, because I've known her for decades, she knows my preferences.
If you are not familiar with traveling and packing lightly (although you are not required to do so), study up on the techniques, practice packing and unpacking, and take a three- or four-day road trip to someplace interesting so you can work the bugs out of your new system.
Here are mine: 1) arrive early and acclimate. 2) be open and welcoming to anything new and different 3) maintain your sense of humor! While tour #23 is coming up next Spring, this is one I haven’t been on. My three “w of w” apply to all the tours.
I am booked on this tour (July 3, 2022) with my soon-to-be 18-year-old grandson who has never been to Europe. I am looking forward to traveling with him, and hoping that there are a couple of other young people in our tour group. I have done this tour before with two friends from my high school years. My grandson and I will fly into London for a week pre-tour, then take a 4-hour train trip to Amsterdam on July 1. If my grandson wants to, I will reserve for Anne Frank and the Van Gogh Museum for July 2. He is responsible for planning for London and Amsterdam. I did book us into the first tour hotel in Haarlem, simply because it is convenient.
Get/stay in shape for all the walking and stairs. I have to work at it, but I am in my sixties.
Bring a good quality, carry-on roller bag (My go-to is an Osprey), and fill it with carefully chosen travel clothes that wash and dry quickly. In Venice, you will want to bring a smaller selection of clothing and such with you while you leave your suitcase on the bus, so a lightweight, folding duffel bag might be helpful. You need good walking shoes, a travel fleece and jacket, a sun hat and chapstick, and a swim suit or swim shorts if you plan to swim. Buy or bring a scarf. I bring a travel umbrella, too. Your day pack should be light, and hold your water bottle and the things you need during the day. You will always have it with you on the bus, and probably during the day on tour activities and during free time. Less is more. You can always buy something you discover that you need while you are there. I am not a shopper, but I find that even grocery stores are fascinating when I am traveling. I still remember the four shelves of licorice candy in one supermarket. Who knew?!
Bring your tour roster and a pen to the first tour meeting, and take notes during introductions. It makes it easier to get to know people, and to remember their names.
This is going to be a lot of fun! Contact me through my RS Account if you want to chat.
We did this trip in 2016 and loved it. 3 tips:
As stated earlier, arrive a few days early. I acclimated faster when younger. Prior to BOE we took the train to The Hague (to see The Girl with the Pearl Earring) and Delft. We also went to the Van Gough museum. Not sure if the Ann Frank museum is on the itinerary and if not you may want to see it.
On our first RS tour a woman’s luggage failed to arrive. I now pack a small backpack for the plane with a change of clothes, toothbrush and an extra pair of shoes ( we’ve usually checked our main bag even though it can be a carry on). I also pack 7 pairs of underwear as they’re small and it’s convenient. You can use the small backpack in Venice too.
I bring a scarf/shawl. Sometimes the bus can be cool if you’re on the shady side. Or if cool in the evenings.
Have fun! Our tour guide offered a couple extra excursions which were great fun. There’s plenty of opportunity for exercise (I think only 2 days were less than 10,000 steps) but you can opt out of activities if you’d prefer.
Arriving several days early and staying at the tour hotel is a great idea. We often meet fellow tour members this way. We find that traveling on our own before the tour starts is better than adding time afterwards. You may not feel in the mood for additional travel after a 21 day tour. However, since the tour ends in Paris which is definitely worth some extra time.
I advise against rushing home on the day the tour ends. Your mind will be distracted by the details of getting ready for your flight home. Some people on tours have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight on the day the tour ends. It is nice to linger a bit on the last morning of the tour to say goodbye to your fellow travelers. Leaving too soon sort of breaks the magic spell surrounding the tour experience.
My words of wisdom. Pack light then take a few items out. Get in shape or stay shape. My husband and I walk / hike3 to 4 miles everyday but during beginning of COVID and I was out of work for8 weeks we were up to walking 7 -8 miles a days. We said it kept us away from the pantry.lol Our first RS was the GAS and my biggest fear was talking to our tourmates and eating meals with strangers. I was so worried about it I had sleepless night. We had wonderful group and have stayed in touch with many of them. We have visited them and they have visited. They all laugh when I tell them I was worried about making small talk.
We recently visited our daughter and she lives on the 3 rd floor apartment.. I thought I did good job packing light it weighed in at 23 pounds.. after Carrying it up to the third floor. I opened it and made a list what I really don’t need.. we were encouraged to keep a journal..sad to say after three I gave up. In August we-are doing My Way Alpine..I will do a journal for sure. We hope go Switzerland tot enjoy Murren area afterwards..does anyone have suggestions where to stay. We want to just chilly out - chill in celebrating, my 70th, my retirement of 33 years.and my husband’s 75 birthday and our 50th anniversary..
So I want it to be the best thing we ever did.