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Request comments on travelling alone on RS tours

Am interested in the experiences of women who have traveled alone on a RS tour. I am a 62 year old physically active woman and have traveled to Europe previously both on a tour and independent travel with my husband.
Did you feel excluded? Included? Other comments?

Posted by
874 posts

Diane,
On the city/shorter tours I've seen a mix of couples, singles, and friends traveling together. Solo travelers may be single, divorced, widowed or married (and spouse just didn't want to go). Just about everyone I've met has been friendly and inclusive yet I think you need to expect that you might spend an evening or afternoon or meal on your own every now and then. Sometimes other solo travelers 'adopt' each other for a dinner or to go to the theatre together, etc. I've also had a couple or set of friends invite me to join them for a drink or dinner. It all depends. I've never done more than 8 or 9 days on my own. Perhaps someone else can weigh in about longer trips. I think it'll be fine. I hope you go and have a great time!

Posted by
864 posts

I can confirm what Rachel said. I've been solo on 7, 11, 13, 14 and 21-day tours; my boyfriend is self-employed and can't always get away. I am very shy by nature and not one to push in on others' conversations. But I have made friends on all eight tours, some of whom I still keep in touch with. When the guide "releases" the group for the day, hang around for a few minutes and eavesdrop -- you might be able to easily join a couple of other singles for dinner, walking, whatever. Or pay attention to who's rooming next to and across the hall from you, and don't hesitate to knock and ask if they have dinner plans. It takes a great effort on my part, but it works! I've always felt included and very much a part of the group.

I'm betting that since you're an experienced traveler and physically fit, you'll have no trouble at all fitting right in. :)

Posted by
1178 posts

I've been on two Rick Steves trips solo, both for two weeks.
I'm extremely introverted, yet found that I was very much included on the trips. Sometimes other solo travelers would do things with me, sometimes it was an independent group activity where a few people wanted to go hiking, sometimes a couple would ask me to dinner. I was very pleasantly surprised by the inclusiveness of the groups.
I've only had one problem where another solo traveler expected me to hang out with her the entire trip. I wasn't willing to spend my entire 2 week trip as someone's companion. On the other hand, I met one woman that I got along wonderfully and we've traveled and roomed together since then.
I've found that there are usually 3-4 solo women travelers on the autumn trips. If you put yourself out there just a little bit you'll find some fine companions.

Posted by
260 posts

I just did my first solo trip since my husband wanted a hiatus from traveling. I didn't feel terribly welcomed by most of the couples (and several folks knew each other so maybe that was part of it). I made a note to try to be very welcoming to singles the next time my husband joins me!

Posted by
2786 posts

We have taken 12 RS tours and have had single folks on all of them. We have always noticed that other tour members try to include the singles in "off tour" activities as we do. We ended up partnering with a deft fellow on a tour years ago and we still exchange x-mass cards with him. Go for it!

Posted by
110 posts

I went on an RS tour to see if doing tours was my kind of travel and I found it to be fun but not really my thing, I will not do tours every often. Although there are countries I would not want to travel in without someone with me.
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I will also add that I was on a RS tour and felt fine going alone. I was by myself when i wanted to be alone and I joined other people when I felt like being social.
.

I had a fun time, great guides. Never had a problem with the seating at dinners or finding someone to talk too.
My tour included friends traveling together, couples, parent/child groups and single people. The age range was early 30's to mid 70's. I have food allergies and do not eat some foods and I never has any problems finding food to eat and goodies to munch on.
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Also if you feel concerned about something be sure to talk to the tour guide and they will be more then happy to help resolve the issue. Also the RS tour office is happy to answer questions about their program.

Posted by
329 posts

Diane, I want to commend you for submitting this post. By asking your question you've received what seems to be very helpful responses that i imagine will be appreciated by others who have also wondered about this issue. This is a fantastic website! Thank s to all who contribute.

Posted by
5485 posts

Hi Diane. I did the Berlin, Prague and Vienna Tour as a single women. I felt very welcomed. There was a mix of people. And I spent time with different groups at different times. One of the reasons was our guide, Christoph, did a good job of helping people meet each other early on. I would do it again.

Pam

Posted by
60 posts

Good to read everyone's responses, as I fully intend on going on a RS trip solo in either 2015 or 2016 (looking at the 7-days in either Paris or Rome trips).

Posted by
1571 posts

Hi Diane, I've traveled solo on 4 RS trips and I felt very comfortable with the groups. I think that the city tours (i.e. 7 Days in Paris, Rome, etc.) attract more single people but most tours have some single travelers. On the Germany, Austria, Switzerland tour in 2010 I was the only single woman (there was also 1 single man) but I had a good time with the rest of the group. If you contact the tour office, they will let you know (in general terms) the composition of the tour so far and that may help you make your decision.

Posted by
318 posts

I just came back from my 8th RS tour, going solo on all of them. All but one of the tours included at least one other single woman. I find that most tour members like to hang our and spend time with other tour members, whether they're on the tour alone or with other folks. I have never felt excluded or alone on any of the tours. And I have never eaten lunch/dinner on my own during the tour as there's always people who are looking to eat together.

Posted by
40 posts

Hi,

I have taken 5 different Rick Steves' tours by myself and have made friends on each trip. I always find the group to be friendly and never worry about eating alone. Sometimes there are couples that tend to keep to themselves, but there are always other single women on the tour. I never feel like I'm traveling alone and actually prefer going solo.

You might try sharing a room if you are worried. I had a really good roommate on my first tour, but prefer to take the solo supplement now.

Don't worry because the tour leaders are great and very helpful.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all the excellent posts and ideas. What a great forum. Now I feel assured that I can go on a RS trip as a single and actually have 3 good travel options--RS trip, travel with a friend when available or going it alone. All sound good.

Posted by
826 posts

Hi. I am an 8-time alum (and about your age) and have gone solo each time. I frequently spend time on my own before or after a tour. I love the excitement of being on my own, but I also really value having the option of company when I join the tour, and, sometimes, when I meet up with the tour after a few days on my own, I feel the real vacation has begun. I don't have to worry about travel connections, etc. Bus goes on the bottom of the bus and it's all good.

For me, each tour has been different in that sometimes I find myself making friends with couples and sometimes with singles. I like having time to myself and, when possible on some tours there is the opportunity for a "day off", I take it. I always pay the single supplement as I am a reader and value my evening private time. Generally, though, even the tour members I end up knowing least, for one reason or another, I find some connection with since we become part of the same group. I have met a few grumps, but very few.

One last thing: every RS trip involving a bus/coach, has had enough room for each traveler to have an entire two-seat area to him or herself, if s/he chose. And most people do choose to have some space at some time, travel partner or no. I never would have imagined this as a feature or factor in my enjoyment, but now, I sure do love my bus space.

If you take an RS tour, enjoy.

Posted by
3640 posts

Hi Diane,

My husband & I took two RS trips several years ago, and we've been to Europe 3 times since using our own planning & itineraries. I wanted to spend more time in Paris & my hubby was fine with me going by myself. I planned to just go on my own last year but also checked the 7-day Paris RS tour, thinking it would be nice to have a few dinners with others & knew the RS tours are high quality. The RS rates for August weren't too much more than solo hotels for myself.

We had several singles - men & women in that tour. There were a variety of personality types - I'm more independent; others liked to eat together every night - all worked out perfectly! I do think the 1 city tours probably get more singles in them. (I'm in my late 50s)

I always think a person's attitude is the major factor that will determine whether they will have a fantastic time, so I would say, "Go, & plan to love it!" : )