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Luggage

New to this forum. Did a quick search re luggage but could not find the answer although admittedly it was very quick!

Are guests responsible for their luggage handling? This is a deal breaker for us.

Thanks

Posted by
439 posts

Welcome but also sorry to see you go so quickly. Some folks have special needs, some have different expectations. The “Rick Steves Way” of culturally immersive, reduced cost, and largely self-sufficient travel cannot work for everyone.

Posted by
3973 posts

You do handle your own luggage, hence the "pack light" philosophy. Unless you have special physical problems that keep you from hoisting a 20 lb bag, please don't let this deter you. The tours are a lot of fun, with great guides who go out of their way to make sure you have a wonderful tour. The emphasis is on learning about the country/city/region you are visiting.

I just responded to your hotel post, by the way. If you're looking for luxury hotels as well as luggage porters, then RS tours probably are not for you. But hang around the Forum for a while and get to know us. You might be surprised.

I will say that my DH has some friends who are appalled that we go on tours where we're expected to carry our own bags. Different strokes.

Posted by
859 posts

I agree with Jane, even if you like nicer hotels (and I am firmly in that camp, give me a nice Marriott or Hilton any day), this forum is extremely helpful when it comes to advice about sightseeing and general Europe navigation. I would totally do a Rick Steves tour except for his choice of hotels. ;)

Posted by
1085 posts

Since most of us have luggage with wheels, I cannot understand why this is a deal breaker for some folks. I would rather roll my own bag up to my room than wait for it to be delivered or have to put it out in a hallway early in the morning for pick-up. I have a friend who won't travel with me on Rick Steves' tours because she wants luggage service so I do understand this is important to some people. About the hotels used though I want to mention that I think these have been upgraded over the years as Rick got older and enjoyed a little more 'luxury', too. On my Ireland tour last year all but one of the hotels were extremely nice. A couple were nicer than the level of hotels I usually stay in here in the US. I do agree though his tours are probably easier to enjoy for people who are used to his travel philosophy. Since I learned early in the 80's to travel using his travel guides they have always been my first choice when looking for a tour.

Posted by
850 posts

I agree with Laurie Beth's thoughts on both the luggage and the hotels.

I did one Trafalgar tour (never again!), and I hated putting my luggage out before breakfast, and waiting in the room at the end of the day for my luggage to be delivered.

I've only traveled with RS for the last 4 years, so maybe they used to be more basic. They DO vary, but I have never been unhappy with any, and REALLY appreciate being in the thick of things as all his hotels are.

Posted by
3216 posts

You are responsible for your luggage. The coach driver will unload it when the tour reaches its stopping point at the end of the day. You carry it from wherever that is to the hotel. Reverse this in the morning. If you bring multiple bags, you can leave the extra ones on the bus and only take the one you need for that stop with you. In the hotel, you might have an elevator. I have noticed that the more recent tours I took had a higher percentage of elevators, but this is just because more hotels have elevators as they remodel for the modern age. If there is no elevator, you will have to walk up the stairs with your bag. No hotel I have ever stayed at on the 10 RS tours I took had anyone to help you with your bags at the hotel. Because of this, it is very important to pack light.

Posted by
2305 posts

Don’t take a RS tour if handling luggage is your first hurdle. We’ve pulled ours on cobblestones for many blocks, carried them up three narrow flights of stairs.

Posted by
126 posts

On my first RS Tour there was an older gentleman - it was his 9th tour - as he carried his luggage up
4 or 5 flights in Rome he said "They should call this the Rick Steve Step Tour!" - it was hilarious. I personally
love carrying my backpack myself and traveling as light as possible. I also love his hotels. Doing my 2nd one in September!

Posted by
6102 posts

Tour member expectations:
Rick Steves tours are physically active, our hotels are centrally located but may provide fewer American-style amenities, and our people policy emphasizes NO GRUMPS! These are essential characteristics of the Rick Steves tour experience. On any Rick Steves tour, you assume certain obligations and responsibilities to RSE and your fellow tour members, including, but not limited to, the following:
Carry or roll your own luggage for up to 15 minutes over uneven pavement from the bus to the hotel (not applicable on 7-day city tours), then haul it up as many as five flights of stairs to reach your room.

As wonderful as the RS tours are, if you require someone else to haul your luggage, this is not for you.

Posted by
3241 posts

I drank the Koolaid on packing light on my first trip to Europe, 4 months long in 1977-78. I've never looked back.

There are sometimes people with enormous luggage on RS tours, but the rules remain the same, you handle what you brung, regardless of size. This is not unique in Europe.

In Bruges one day we saw a taxi drop off a couple with multiple large roller bags at a very expensive looking boutique hotel. There were 6 or more steps up to the entrance. They seemed shocked at the stairs and the disappearing taxi. The woman stayed with the bags. The man went inside. We were sitting on a bench eating ice cream. By the time we were done, he still had not returned, by himself or with help.

I was wracking my 73-year-old brain to try to remember the last time I stayed in lodgings with luggage service, in Europe or the States, and it has to have been at least 30 years ago, maybe on a business trip.

Regardless of country, on self-planned trips we/I stay in apartments or hotels similar to those on RS tours. I find tour hotel experiences fun. And I think the places we stay teach us a lot about where we are.

Full disclosure: the grayer my hair gets, the more offers of help I get. I will accept it if the situation doesn't seem too hinky. But I don't expect help and I do believe that if I can't manage my own luggage, I shouldn't be there.