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Rick Steves Tour Newbie

Hello all. I've actually been on different company tours to Europe three times with my music students but I will be taking my very first Rick Steves tour soon. I'll be traveling by myself so I was wondering if I would be able to make new friends in the tour group without being in the way. I'm a very low maintenance traveler but I didn't want to be a third wheel for anyone else's holiday. Any insights for a solo tour member? Cheers.

Posted by
8586 posts

short answer, yes. RS tours attract nice people. Are you sharing rooms, or paying single supplement?

There were 5 singles on our last tour, and they all blended in just fine.

Posted by
8586 posts

for sharing rooms, we saw them rotate rooms among same sex singles, so that you weren't always with the same roommate. With a odd number, one would get a room to themselves every few days. On one tour, there was only one single male, and he got a room to himself the whole trip.

Posted by
2488 posts

Hi mekelrogers,
My first RS tour was Paris & the Heart of France in 2014. I went solo and another single woman paid the single supplement so I had my own room for the whole time! I agreed to take a roommate when I booked the tour and as it turned out, I was the extra single woman. There were mostly couples and me as a single and the other woman I mentioned was actually with her sister and brother-in-law. They almost always sat together at meals. Many times I was the odd person at meals which made me feel uncomfortable - the other trio stuck together. After the first few days, people began inviting me to join them at meals and in free time activities. The point I am trying to make is if you are friendly and approachable, it will all work out and you will find yourself making lovely friends. I especially did not want to intrude on anyone's space.
What tour are you taking?
I am going on the 17 Days in Italy tour beginning Oct 9 - 25. I paid the single supplement for this trip so an extra single woman may get her own room!
Happy travels,
Judy B

Posted by
17 posts

I'm doing the Scotland tour in 2017. I'm also looking at the one you took (Paris and the Heart of France) for the future. Hopefully you enjoyed it very much. :)

Posted by
17 posts

Great, I have a former student that just did the HOF tour with her parents and she loved it too.

Haven't picked an exact date for Scotland yet but probably in June (as a school teacher I need to go during the summer break). :)

Posted by
553 posts

Five years ago I took the Barcelona/Madrid tour solo, had a roommate the entire time because the other two solos had paid the supplement. All four of us did stuff together and separately and had a great time. I still keep in touch with two of the three. My roomie and I hit it off really well and still correspond often.
I do think that the longer the tour, the easier it is to get to know people (which is kind of obvious, I guess).

You'll have a great time, no matter which tour you choose, or whether you opt for the supplement or take a chance on roommates. :)

Posted by
3197 posts

I've taken 12 tours as a single. On my second tour - Venice 2002 - we had a great group. Four of us are still in contact, 3 of us have gone on additional RS tours together and 2 of us have even toured independently. I've forged relationships on other trips as well. The Ricksters are a very sociable and amiable group of travelers.

Posted by
3580 posts

I've traveled as a single on RS tours. There is usually someone to talk to or share a meal with, whether you have a room to yourself or not. Sometimes the couples split up and a few women or a few men will go off and do something that interests them. On one tour women got together with the female guide and visited a Turkish bath. I made friends with some of the couples. Sometimes the "couples" are two friends, a mother and daughter, or two siblings. These tend to behave as singles some of the time. I made a point of sitting with different people at each group meal. Some people will cluster together, but most don't. I find that the RS tour members are mostly friendly, open-minded, and looking to have a good time. Go and enjoy yourself!

Posted by
1224 posts

You'll be fine as most people on the tour are friendly and inviting. We loved talking, sharing meals, and partaking in experiences with everyone whether a single or pair.

Posted by
475 posts

If you have traveled in your Europe you may know how small and how close two beds can be. If you are ok with that then take a chance and don't pay for the single room. Personally I would pay. The RS office is very helpful. They could probably tell you how many singles have signed up for your tour. I have heard more singles go on the city tours.

Posted by
1056 posts

My husband and I have taken three RS tours in the past, all of which had some single travelers as well as couples or groups. Although some groups were more friendly and inclusive than others, we always saw the single travelers included in free time activities as often as they wished. Since we customarily linked our RS trips to other independent travel, I found that after several weeks of close travel with my husband, it was occasionally nice to go off and do things with others and take a break from coupledom. In fact, we are still in contact with two single women we met in 2004 on our first RS trip. Tomorrow I begin my first RS trip as a single traveler, my husband having died last winter. I chose RS travel specifically for the observation that single travelers are welcomed by the group.

Posted by
1097 posts

My husband and I befriended a single woman on our last tour and she spent the majority of the first part of the trip with us. We had a blast. Later on, she made friends with another single woman on the trip and we were kind of sad to lose our "third wheel." :)

Posted by
3521 posts

I have been on 10 RS tours, always as a single. On my first 3 I took my chances on not paying the single supplement and got lucky on 2 of the tours where I had a room to myself. The third with two different roommates with very ... peculiar ... habits convinced me I need to pay up because I am just too used to being alone in my own room at night. :-)

I have made many friends from the tours, some I communicate with even now. It has never been difficult to find someone or a group of someones from the tour to hang out with, have a meal, spend spare time, etc. Shuffling among the various others in the tours eliminates the 3rd wheel impact. After all, everyone signed up for a group tour so they probably weren't looking to be completely alone the entire tour. Don't take it personal if someone or a couple don't want you along for a specific meal or free time sightseeing, they might have a memory to relive or just simply want to be alone for a while.

There have been a couple tours where one or more of the participants made it clear early on to everyone they didn't want to have anything to do with the rest of us beyond the mandatory interaction, unfortunately. These were mostly spouses forced to go on the tour who had no interest in travel.

Overall, I think you will have a blast and truly enjoy your tour.

Posted by
1068 posts

I have taken 7 RS tours, all solo. I initially did not pay the single supplement, but have decided my privacy is important to me, so I now take it. Groups are all different. It will be rare to not have anyone to eat dinner with or talk to when the group is together. However, I have been on group that had "groups" inbred.....2 couples traveling together, a family of 4, etc., and when there was free time, you were basically on your on. I never minded going off on my own in a smaller place, but can feel a bit overwhelmed in bigger cities. However, on other trips (Best of Scandinavia this June--awesome--thanks to the Ricksters taking the tour) it was like you had friends with you. I remain in touch with a number of former tour members. My point is that tours vary, no....I never felt alone, but on some tours people were more willing to be with a soloist! Of course, this is mainly when you have free time...... when with the group, it is great (well for me so far!)

Posted by
17 posts

Wow, this is all very helpful. I've decided I'm just going to go for it and be friendly to everyone, which I guess is good advice in any situation. :) Maybe I'll meet some of you all in the future. Since everyone here seems to be so nice I figure making friends won't be too difficult.

Posted by
418 posts

My husband and I have been on tours in late May and in September. The May tour had 7 different single women. My last tour in September had all couples. I think there are more singles in May to August. You should be fine. We enjoyed the singles on our May trip. We spent more time with them than the couples. All of the singles were included on dinners together and free time. No worries!

Posted by
418 posts

My husband and I have been on tours in late May and in September. The May tour had 7 different single women. My last tour in September had all couples. I think there are more singles in May to August. You should be fine. We enjoyed the singles on our May trip. We spent more time with them than the couples. All of the singles were included on dinners together and free time. No worries!