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Linking tours

Do you like a puzzle? I am trying to link up two, or even three, RS tours, early spring 2020 (March, April, May), with plenty of time between tours to make those weird connections without pressure. I’ve got 25-35 days to spend in Europe and all destinations are in the mix except Scotland—already been there.

Does anyone know if a giant calendar matrix of the 2020 tours exists? That would be a cool thing to see.

Posted by
116 posts

Not aware of any matrix. We linked 2 tours several times in the past couple years with 3-6 days off in between. I’d pick your first choice and work around that. When we did a Sicily tour two other couples on that tour were also on the South Italy tour—kind of fun. But other times the tours were far apart—Scandinavia and Village Italy and BOE with Scotland. Flights within Europe were easy.

Posted by
249 posts

I think rather than having 2 or 3 tours tightly linked together, you might want to consider having several days in-between to savor the memories from the first tour, before jumping into the second tour. We booked two tours last year and are doing the same again this year.
Disclosure: only one of the tours was a Rick Steves. The other was another company.
Last year, we spent 5 nights in Prague before joining the second tour. This year, we are spending 5 nights in Florence before joining tour 2...and then we are spending 5 nights in Paris at the end...just because. We'll be gone about 5 weeks. I personally don't think I would want to be on a rigid schedule every single day.

Posted by
361 posts

Call me a crazy nerd (guilty!) but I read your post and figured "hm... why can't I make such a calendar?".

So I went where renee suggested going on the website:
https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/all

  • Clicked on the "Our Tours" section of the site.
  • Clicked the "All Tours" option towards the top of the left column.
  • Clicked the "Search" Tab
  • Clicked the "See Tours by Departure Date" link
  • Selected "2020 Tours" under "Choose Your Tours/All Dates"

The list that shows up is cleanly and conveniently formatted in rows and columns that I was able to simply copy and paste in to an Excel spreadsheet. I then sorted all that data by the "Begin" date in Excel, which allowed me to easily delete all the rows for dates pre-March 01, 2020. I could also delete all rows of tours ending after May 31, 2020, leaving me with an Excel spreadsheet that only included tours beginning and ending within the 3 months you mentioned.

You can export Excel spreadsheet data in to Google Calendars fairly simply (it just requires formatting the dates properly, and giving your header row the proper titles; in this case it also required creating "Start Time" and "End Time" columns, which I just automatically populated as 00:01 and 23:59 respectively to make sure full days were set).

Save the above as a .CSV file (comma separated values), then imported that file in to a Google calendar.

The result:
https://imgur.com/Incg70h
https://imgur.com/0EDEdlO

Bit cumbersome as so many tours overlap on certain days that you have to click on the "XX more" to expand the full list. Then would have to whittle things down from that point to clean it up a bit (perhaps delete entries or tours one wasn't interested in, color code certain things, etc).

I need a hobby!

But anyways, if ya want the .ics file to import it in to whatever your preferred calendar application is, just let me know. I can also just export it to a generic google calendar link and you can do whatever you want with it!

Posted by
1213 posts

Call the RS office and ask them. If they will do it, you have saved a lot of time and effort.

Posted by
361 posts

That’s definitely be the best approach, I’d imagine! They have tour specialists and a sales department with people who likely know schedules and dates quite well. Especially if ya narrow it down to preferred countries and such, they could probably draw up some options!

Posted by
904 posts

Nice work all! We can't afford to take that much time off at once but that is a great tool for those who can!

Posted by
3753 posts

Great job, 1885BD! So many possibilities!

Posted by
745 posts

Thanks for sending me on an imaginary journey - sincerely appreciated. Please let us know how you "solve" this delicious dilemma.
"And when my mind is wandering
There I will go"
- Fixing a Hole - The Beatles

Posted by
92 posts

we have linked several trips this way just not three together. We chose the do a city tour in one of our fly to cities, ie London, Paris, Rome because each is a direct flight from Seattle. Last year we did London 7 days and Best of Spain (14) but wish we had gone on to Portugal. We left an extra bag on London and picked it up on our way back from Seville. Same in Paris. 2017 we matched up Paris (7) and Heart of Paris (11) Both time we went from one to the next with no break. Usually you have you last day as travel and it is easy to get planes or trains to the next start point (and cheap) but you have all day then the next usually wont start until 4 pm or later so you have that day and you will already be acclimated to the time and schedule.
Our favorites are Adriatic, Best of Italy, Spain and France in that order. This year England (14)and Netherlands (Amsterdam) (7) "my way".
What ever you decide you will enjoy it
Safe Travels
D

Posted by
630 posts

Blockquote

Posted by 1885BD
Call me a crazy nerd (guilty!) <<

Thanks for the post. I have no idea what you said.

Posted by
8206 posts

1885 - WOW! I'm always envious of spreadsheet skills!

Bogiesan, I've done both 2 and 3 back to backs with Rick Steves tours and also a Road Scholar tour.

I did:

21 day Best of Europe (ends in Paris) + Best of Paris + Village Italy
Best of England + Paris and the Heart of France
Germany, Austria and Switzerland + a Road Scholar walking tour in England
Villages of Southern England + Best of Scotland
Road Scholar London + Road Scholar Wales

The combo I liked least was Villages of Southern England and Best of Scotland. I decided it worked better to have 2 totally different cultures than 2 that were similar. By the end of the Scotland trip is was totally over castles, lol! Road Scholar London and Wales were different enough (city vs country) that that combo was OK.

I do like your plan of enough time in between to make weird connections. I also need non-group time, a few days to have nowhere specific to be first thing in the AM (even though I am a morning person and an early riser) and a few days to re-combobulate my suitcase and laundry!

What a fun time. Do you have any countries in mind?

Posted by
630 posts

Renee:

I think this is what you’re looking for - a list of all RS tours that you can sort by date, price, whatever. Click at the top of the “begin” column and it will sort by date.

Purrfect! Thanks!

Posted by
630 posts

Thanks everyone, excellent advice and good reading. Looking now at several combinations:

Paris— 02.09 to 02.15
Venice, Florence, Rome—02.17 to 02.26

Sicily—03.01 to 03.11
Venice &c—03.13 to 03.22

Venice &c—03.16 to 03.25
Athens & Greece—03.28 to 04.10
Barcelona & Madrid—04.12 to 04.19

Paris—03.29 to 04.04
Athens &c—04.06 to 04.19 or
Belgium — 04.06 to 04.16 or
Portugal—04.06 to 04.17 or
Turkey—04.06 to 04.18

Belgium—04.06 to 04.16
Andalusia—04.19 to 04.25

Portugal—04.13 to 04.24
Europe 14–04.26 to 05.09

Europe 21–04.28 to 05.21
Barcelona—05.24 to 05.31

Athens—03.30 to 04.12 or
Belgium—04.04 to 04.11
Europe 21–04.14 to 05.04

Posted by
37 posts

1885 - I too pull the data from the Rick Steves site into an excel spreadsheet. Then I add in (painfully because the site doesn't do a great job of date formatting) possibilities from Road Scholar. From there I can find possible combos. I've done it for a couple of years and am currently working on the 2020 tours. Obviously I miss dealing with data since I retired.

Posted by
361 posts

Lizat - I’m glad I’m not alone in fondness for Excel! It’s a great way to make most any collection of data (with some formatting adjustments when needed) compatible with countless things.

After my initial look at the calendar I decided to make it a bit more user friendly - separated the data by country, and then uploaded each of these new sheets to Google as separate calendars. That way I could display/hide varies tours and countries and further refine it. I suppose one could drill down even further than that - tour length, price, etc. Endless possibilities!

And the entire exercise gave me a newfound appreciation for just how many folks might be on RSE tours at any given time!

Posted by
745 posts

Best of Bulgaria (May 10 - 21) + Best of Istanbul (May 24-May 30) has my attention.

Posted by
8206 posts

Keep the date of Easter in mind as well. In 2020 it's April 12.

I did a week+ in Paris on my own before my Belgium and Holland tour this spring and that combo worked out great. I loved the flowers in Keukenhof this time of year. Just jaw-dropping. I started in Paris the end of March, took the train to Ghent on April 4 and the tour started April 6. If I hadn't done the Best of Paris a few years ago that would have worked really well as a back to back.

It was fairly cool temp-wise in both areas. I was comfortable and I suspect being from Boise you would be too. Some of the folks from warmer climates were pretty cold.

Posted by
745 posts

And....Orthodox Easter is April 19, 2020. Several Eastern European countries (without separation of church and state) close national sites several days prior to Orthodox Easter weekend.

Posted by
1926 posts

Which combination are you leaning toward? I would love to hear.

Posted by
630 posts

Which combination are you leaning toward? I would love to hear.

As I started searching through the lists by clicking on the Begin or End Date columns, i found some patterns and cycles. Also, later in the year here are several more from which to choose. Now I’m looking at September and October, maybe going south. However, I’d like to get Europe out of my system so the E21 tour looks great. My family was stationed in Madrid when I was a wee lad so I’d like to see Spain. My sister would like to see Portugal. Maybe I can her to join me.

For anyone keeping score at home:

Starting with E21: a) 09.13 to 10.03; b) 09.20 to 10.10; c) 10.04 to 10.24
A) These start on 10.04 or so: Paris, Rome, Barcelona/Madrid, Munich etc, Italy, Adriatic, Istanbul, Prague etc, Spain, Sicily, Tuscany, England, Germany,
B) These start 10.11 or so: London, Spain, Paris/France, Adriatic, Sicily, Portugal, Turkey.
C) These start 10.25 or so: Portugal, Paris, Barcelona, Munich etc, Sicily, Turkey.