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How about a tour for Canadians?

I was thinking, if Canada eliminates the two-week quarantine upon return, maybe RS should run a tour for Canadians. It could include some tweaks, like visiting the Canadian D-Day beaches and museums.

I don't think there'd be enough uptake to make it a go, but its a fun fantasy.

Posted by
2586 posts

I think it’s worth considering 🤔 for Canadians!

Posted by
2516 posts

Canada (govt) would also have to drop it's travel advisories to the target countries so that we could (hopefully) be able to get insurance from Canadian insurance companies. Someone on another thread gave a link to an American company that would sell policies to Canadian travellers. The benefits were IMO limited compared to our current annual policy, and the prices made my stomach clench.

But I agree that there is likely not a sufficiently large market for such a restricted demographic.

Posted by
6454 posts

But I agree that there is likely not a sufficiently large market for such a restricted demographic.

I recall reading RS had 24,000 signed up for tours this year.

Canada has a population equal to about 10% of the US. If Canadians taking an RS tour do so in proportion, that means ~2400 Canadians spread over 48 tours, thinned by how many times each tour goes each year.

Air Canada could use an A380 on the Vancouver-Calgary route, but the economics just would not work.

( But social distancing would be achievable! )

As Andrea said, 'a fun fantasy'

Posted by
1118 posts

Of course the exchange rate would kill us too. That's the main reason I always decide to go independently, even though there are three or four RS itineraries that really appeal to me.

Maybe we can get a deal as the first brave guinea pigs!!

Posted by
1118 posts

joe32F, can that plane pop into Pearson for me and my husband?!

Posted by
5184 posts

See! another reason to get out those maple leaf luggage tags and pretend to be Canadian. 😉

Posted by
5910 posts

Our Canadian friends have offered to send us Canadian flag pins and luggage tags. Maybe I should take them up on it.🇨🇦

Posted by
6454 posts

See! another reason to get out those maple leaf luggage tags and pretend to be Canadian. 😉
Our Canadian friends have offered to send us Canadian flag pins and luggage tags. Maybe I should take them up on it.🇨🇦

And then all you need to do is buy some genuine counterfeit passports with perfect imitation bitcoin, in case the pins and luggage tags fail to get the border patrol to just wave you through without checking your documents. (Pesky details)

And where are the 'weekend posters' when you need them? :-)

Posted by
14 posts

we have always gulped at the poor exchange rate, but we still think the tours we have done have been worth every penny, we have done three and the combination of great itineraries, great guides and thoughtful, gracious fellow travellers have made the trips wonderful. Also having seen how the RS company has been so honourable and first class with customers and employees during this pandemic really cements our loyalty

Posted by
1271 posts

I've always wondered how many Canadians take his tours. We've done one and we were the only non-Americans in the group. I asked our guide about the tour that includes Normandy if Juno Beach was part of the D-Day day and she said they stick to the American sites. Not surprising since it is an American company catering to Americans.

But I'm in if he ever sets up a Canadian centric tour.

Posted by
1118 posts

Nick, I've heard a lot of our hockey players who didn't make it here are playing and coaching in leagues over there. So we must take in a hockey game!

(We went to the arena in Chamonix, hoping to buy a t-shirt or jersey. The arena was open, but nobody was at the shop, so we couldn't. We did see a giant Canadian flag at one end of the rink though)

Posted by
11437 posts

Allan when I took my then 11 yr old
Daughter in a Rs family tour - there were 8 of us Canadians on that tour of 26 ! A family of four from Toronto, a mom and daughter from Calgary and us two !
Not a bad proportion really .

Fact is the American dollar makes the tours very expensive for us and they aren’t cheap to begin with , so other than that one tour we’ve only ever traveled independently.

Posted by
1271 posts

Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach were the only locations that immediately came to my mind. By Canadian centric I was also thinking about payment options, except by credit card there wasn't any convenient payment methods such as a cheque or e-transfer. It would be nice if RS had a Canadian address as well so payment wouldn't also create cross border fees on top of the exchange rate.

Also the content discussed on the bus. I'm sure every tour was different but on my tour our guide gave french lessons every day on history, culture etc., and compared the differences between French and American education, lifestyle, work, etc. She seemed to feel bad that she couldn't compare their way of life to Canada. It wasn't a big deal and I let her know that.

One amusing story-at least to me; while in the Dordogne region she'd tell stories about French vs English conflicts and remind us of the help France gave the Americans during the American Revolution. She'd have us cheer French victories and boo the English (all in fun), but I couldn't help thinking, wait a minute, I'm a loyal subject of the Queen, I should be booing the French in these stories.

Posted by
5184 posts

Is it true that RS waives the "no grumps" policy for Canadians as its not necessary?

@Allan, just a note that our tour leader on the RS Paris HOF tour, was, in fact, a Canadian.

Posted by
6454 posts

Is it true that RS waives the "no grumps" policy for Canadians as its not necessary?

They just check the "not applicable" box

On the one tour I was on that had Canadians, they were not bashful to proudly ( and politely) proclaim their true identity when someone like a local guide asked "are you all Americans?".

Posted by
1118 posts

joe, if I had a dime for every time I'm asked "what part of the States are you from?" I could afford an RS tour. This is usually asked by Americans, but I've also experienced it from people in England. Sometimes I put on a hoser accent to try to repel the question.

In my experience, Canadians seldom say they're from "Ontario... Alberta... etc", we just say Canadian. I guess we all assume nobody knows our provinces.

Posted by
327 posts

There must be more stops on a Canadian centric tour...

Don't forget about Canada's history in the Second World War in The Netherlands and Belgium, Sept. 1944 to April 1945.

The First Canadian Army played a major role in the liberation of the Dutch people who had suffered terrible hunger and hardship under the increasingly desperate German occupiers. The First Canadian Army also played a leading role in opening Belgium and the Netherlands' Scheldt estuary (tidal river), gateway to the port of Antwerp.

https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/canada-netherlands#n_intro

Canada's presence in Gibraltar in 1940 is a bit of history that was a surprise to me when I visited the rock.
Read more about that here:

https://cmea-agmc.ca/heritage-moment/canadian-tunnellers-tackle-gibraltar

Or how about renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry's legacy buildings throughout Europe?

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/best-of-frank-gehry-slideshow

Posted by
1271 posts

On the one tour I was on that had Canadians, they were not bashful to
proudly ( and politely) proclaim their true identity when someone like
a local guide asked "are you all Americans?".

I'm one of those that will proudly (and hopefully) politely say I'm Canadian. I remember a conversation at dinner on our tour last year, someone brought up that it was a good group but usually you can count on one village idiot per tour. I quietly looked around our group wondering who it might be in ours. I went around the table thinking to myself it isn't him, isn't him, isn't her, until I got back to me and thought, oh oh...

Posted by
1271 posts

In my experience, Canadians seldom say they're from "Ontario...
Alberta... etc", we just say Canadian. I guess we all assume nobody
knows our provinces.

I don't bother with the Province but I do say I'm from Calgary, Canada. I either get no recognition of the Calgary part or somone recognizes Calgary for the Calgary Stampede or Banff.

Posted by
1118 posts

Yes, but only if it is a tour to France.

Posted by
42 posts

Andrea, you have read my mind! I have been wondering about that too recently, but dismissed it just as quickly as an unlikely dream. But since we're fantasizing, if Rick ever did do a tour for just us Canadians, wouldn't it be marvelous if we could pay the same tour price in Canadian dollars!

Posted by
284 posts

RS world headquarters is located in Washington State - The Best Thing Next to Canada. So it makes some sense in a non financial sort of way. OTOH, there are probably a few Canadian travel companies already plotting new tours of Europe while it is not inundated with American tourists.

Posted by
6454 posts

if Rick ever did do a tour for just us Canadians, wouldn't it be marvelous if we could pay the same tour price in Canadian dollars

As long as you are not too picky about the hotel having to have running water and electricity. And the group meals at a restaurant with 'welcoming golden arches' is palatable ( pun intended).

,,,"but its a fun fantasy. "

Posted by
230 posts

We are Canadians and were recently to go to Greece with some American friends, on a RS tour this past May. It would have been our 3rd RS experience, and will not be our last. Still hoping to go 2021. I feel, that the majority of the Americans who shared our past tours were great, well travelled, educated and experienced travellers who seemed to embrace the style of travel, enjoyed it and repeated it with different RS tours each year. ( ok, there was this one guy from Texas, 😜:) We have never had any other Canadians on these tours . The exchange is prohibitive for some, understandabley, I would love to find a more affordable tour that offers up the same tour philosophy here in Canada, but at this point, not finding it. A tour focused on Canadian needS would be lovely, I agree.

Posted by
1271 posts

I remember looking at one time for a Canadian tour company and found a couple, but aside from being able to pay in $Canadian there was nothing that made it stand out from the mass tourism-50 person per bus tours. I'll still take the RS brand. After all, his Mom was Canadian so that must be where he gets all his good ideas ;).

Posted by
42 posts

Yes, for the same style of travel, there is no Canadian based company equivalent to Rick Steves, providing the same standard of quality, which is why I was supposed to be gallivanting around Scandinavia with RS tours in less than 2 weeks' time (4th tour in 4 years!). Just fantasizing though, how nice it would be not to have to pay a "premium" for being Canadian.

PBS (the station on which I discovered Rick Steves) used to accept Canadian dollars "on par" during their funding drives, for several years not that long ago. I admit that's where I got that idea from.

For a different kind of travel, there is a Canadian travel company that has the same ethical standards and, like Rick, shies away from the mass-travel-for-profit mentality that other companies seem to adhere to, which is G Adventures (formerly known as GAP). Their founder Bruce Poon Tip is very much like Rick in many aspects, including trying to better the world, beyond just running a travel company.

Posted by
3023 posts

Canada offers some small select travel groups - often directed to women traveling together; and large bus group tours, but I see those more locally advertised. G Adventures also comes to mind - but I really consider that a global company with Canadian roots. Similar to it are Intrepid and Exodus (Australian and British, respectively). All 3 keep numbers to under 17 on a trip. Where they differ to RS is the options of levels of comfort and fitness. They may have started as adventure companies for the young back in the day, but they continued to support those clients as they aged and matured...and, of course, they offer the world not just a part of it.
As I only use tours in places that are only too complicated to organize logistically, and even that is less and less as my travel experience mature, I doubt I would take a tour of Europe even 'at par'. I am just not a very good 'joiner'.
I am an RS advocate for adding his guide books to the others I read, and his PBS programs and YouTube for planning, but I have embraced his back door approach.

Posted by
11437 posts

BigMikeWest y God Virginia- we have met many Americans while traveling - and as a rule they are as fun and interesting as meeting “ locals “ to us - when I took my child on an RS family tour - she loved talking with the American kids as they were just as fascinating to her - she learned that some Americans schools start at 7:30 am and do two “ shifts “ which fascinated us both !

So being similar is dress and pop culture - yes we are - but we have our differences and most are great , just a few are weird .

Posted by
13 posts

I doubt that any travel insurance will cover Covid until well after a vaccine is implemented.

Posted by
284 posts

"The best thing about Canadians is they are unlike most Americans. "

Read up on some Canadian history. Check out how they treated their First Nations people, and their Japanese citizens during WW2. They are not saints. They are very nice people overall and my experience with them has been 97% very good. My trip to Portugal had at least 4 Canadians on it. IIRC, my first Rick Steves guide was a Canadian, working for an American company (RS) in Italy. I wonder how complicated his income tax was!!!!

Posted by
56 posts

@nivende several companies and some countries are offering insurance

this was a major roadblock for me to plan any trips internationally
now that i know i can get , i still dont feel comfortable in going though as the covid cases seem to ne increasing everywhere

Posted by
464 posts

Hmm. I thought this was a thread about pitching RS to create a tour of Canada. I’d sign up for that in 2022 especially if I could link up with the Rocky Moutaineer or attain tour of the eastern provinces.