Does anyone know, when a person has already signed up for a Rick Steves Tour and it is discounted afterwards, whether the traveler can also get the new discounted price?
If you're seeing a discount on a tour you've already booked, you should ask this directly to the Tour Department, using the contact information in this link under Guided Tours: https://www.ricksteves.com/about-us/contact-us
It never hurts to ask, and none of us are qualified to give a definitive answer.
I would still ask but there is something in the tour agreement that you signed that states that any tour you purchase is at that price when you sign.
Your tour price is locked in when you pay your deposit, protecting you from any change to published prices (whether up or down) or to exchange rates or other costs. The fine print for the discount code explains that it's for new bookings only. The reason for the discount is really to ensure that your tour has enough people to depart as scheduled, which benefits you. Certain fixed costs mean that tours must depart nearly full in order to make a profit, which benefits us.
Thanks for the info. Disappointed to miss the savings, but we realize now that signing up later is the best thing to do from now on...
Signing up later is not the best approach -- if you want a specific tour.
The discounts are only offered on some tours, not all of them, and only on ones that RS is having difficulty filling. The vast majority of tours in 2016 were at full price (or at least showed no discount on the web page). If you really don't have a tour preference, then waiting for the discounts might work out. So if you want a specific tour or a specific date range, those might all be quickly sold out and you end up stuck with nothing.
I have found that after taking over 10 tours with RS that the ones that do show a discount close to departure time that I had already booked ended up being a smaller group which has its own benefits.
But you might pay more for your airfare with a late booking. . . . Wiping out any savings from the discount. Or maybe the good routes are all full and you are left with a bad connection. Or maybe not---but you won't know until you actually try to book.
There are lots of variables. If everyone held back and waited, then tour dates could be cancelled for lack of interest.
I am new to tours and signed up this summer for my first RS tour at full price, the specific one I wanted. While I hate the thought of waiting so long for the trip, as I usually plan and go much more quickly, I saved SO MUCH money organizing it so far ahead of time. My airfare on my favorite flight is 25% in total (yes, really! but full disclosure 50% less if not using rewards) of what it cost throughout last year...I was watching it since last fall. The pre-tour hotel room was also less expensive than it is now. So, I'd say it likely would have cost me more...and I wanted a specific tour in specific temperatures so I got a win/win by buying in early. And I'd rather know what I'm doing rather than not, unless I make a totally unexpected trip last minute. So my answer is that I am not one to specifically wait to save 5-10% to just lose it and more somewhere else. Wray
I delayed booking an RS tour last winter because I just couldn't decide on a plan. When I did decide to book all the fall dates for one of the tours I was considering were sold so I wound up missing out on that one. I won't delay again if I want to go on one of the tours that sells out.
Airfare is so dependent on your location. While those of you on the East Coast can take advantage of good fares, if I wait to book the few flights per day out of my small local airport they can and do fill early. I do realize it is my choice to live in a location that is at the end of the line.
I hear what you are saying, but note that there is only ONE seat left at that price to Berlin. Also, that flight on Norwegian Air takes 16 hours to get you from New York to Berlin---the flight has a 6-7 hour layover in either Copenhagen or London. This is an illustration of what I meant by the undesirable routes being left for last-minute booking.
I think this summer is a pretty special case, and not illustrative of the usual situation---unless fear of terrorism is the " new normal" from now on. Tourism from the US to Europe is down this summer, and the planes are not all flying full. This tends to keep prices down. Even normally-pricey British Airways has seats for $1137 round trip from JFK to Berlin for the dates you mention. And their flights only take 12 hours to get you there, not 16. Those extra hours in transit eat into your time at the destination, and add to travel fatigue.
I think last-minute deals are great if one is flexible and is able to find decent airfare at that time. I just wouldn't count on it.