Ever had to share a bathroom on a RS tour with other tour members? A friend read that on the RS website and getting cold feet about taking a tour.
I think there are very few tours where this might happen. Your friend could always contact RS Europe for confirmation about a particular tour, but in general no bathroom sharing happens.
Here's what the Rick Steves office told me when I had this question ahead of my tour last year:
"Thank you for your message! The disclaimer regarding the shared bathroom situation only applies to very few tour itineraries, and only takes place at one stop on each of these:
Best of Scandinavia in 14 Days
Best of Bulgaria in 12 Days
Best of Europe in 21 Days
Family Europe: London to Florence in 13 Days Tour"
We had to share a bathroom on the BOE21 day tour but others in the tour had their own bathroom. We did have a sink in our room. It wasn’t a big deal. It was clean and near our room. Not sure how many rooms to that one bathroom, but we had no problem. This was in Switzerland and I heard that hotel is no longer being used by RS.
I’d heard the same thing, Diane. The hotel in question is in Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
I had the shared bath situation with 7 other tour members on my 21 Day Best of Europe tour in 2014. So…2 solo travelers and 3 couples with a women’s toilet, a men’s toilet and a separate shower cubicle. In the 2 nights there I never had to wait for either the toilet or shower. I actually felt better knowing the others with whom I was sharing were fellow tour members. By that time we’d been together for 2+ weeks and kind of knew each other. It was not as bad as I’d built it up to be.
I had also heard they’d moved the lodging for this tour up the mountainside to Muerren but your friends should ask what their hotel will be in Switzerland.
My husband and I were on Best of Bulgaria last year. There were NO shared baths. I think back before COVID, they stayed one night at Rila Monastery, but they don’t do that anymore.
We've been on two tours with shared bathrooms. The people with whom we shared the bathroom were not fellow tour members, but evidently were civilized enough to flush. The door locked.
On the first tour, we shared the bathroom with several German male tourists whom we never saw. The second tour, we have no idea who shared our bathroom. I wonder if they were as concerned about us...
Never ever had to share a bathroom in 8 tours. Wish RS would get rid of that whole possibility.
I’ve been on three RS tours. The only shared bathroom we had was at our hotel in Lauterbrunnen on the GAS tour. The tour guide said there were just two rooms that had a shared “Jack & Jill” bathroom. She gave my husband & me and her those two rooms. It wasn’t a problem at all. She told us she would be up early taking her shower. The bonus was that we had a wonderful top floor room with a balcony looking out at the gorgeous waterfall & view!
The beauty of RS tours is the comradery and apparently the warm seat.
I've heard some people travel with their own toilet seat, just to be safe.
Oh, so those are toilet seats! I’ve seen people at airports and on planes with U-shaped things attached to their luggage or around their necks, but I sensed they were pillows.
You can always check the PHYSICAL DEMANDS section of a tour page. The Scandinavia tour mentions one situation.
We did the RS Scandinavia trip last summer and there were no hotels that had shared bathrooms, in fact the hotels were all quite nice for Rick Steves tours!
Cyn, thank you for the laugh.
Wow. US tourists are very spoiled. We have often stayed in places with shared bathrooms, down the hall. Since even I (who is in the bathroom frequently) spend less than 1 hr total in the bathroom, it's never been a thing.
In college, of course, I shared the bathroom with 30 of my best buddies.
Cyn, the u-shaped things double as both a neck sleeping device and toilet seat, so it's a two-fer for the budget conscious among us.
Paul, yes Americans are pretty soft overall. Really soft. I spent plenty of times being deployed to places with no proper bathroom, and flying on a C-130, but now that I'm out of the military I want a private bathroom. But that's just me. Same with camping. I've done enough living in primitive conditions to last a lifetime.
I have been on 13 or 14 RS tours. The only time we had a shared bathroom was on the Scandinavia tour on Aero island. The group was split into two small hotels. One of the hotels (more like a B&B) had shared bathrooms. Not a big deal. Because the day was a free day (no structured group activities), there was no rush to wake up early and use the bathrooms at the same time. No one had any issues.
For me it all comes down to the quality of the T.P.
Cyn, the u-shaped things double as both a neck sleeping device and toilet seat
OK, BigMike, so is that where some people refer to a restroom as “The Head?”
I suppose an underinflated U-shaped thing would make for an unstable seat, and if you fell in, its third purpose could be a flotation device!
Does the My Pillow guy make one suitable for multiple users in a shared bathroom?
Yep, as Mary said, your small group will share a bathroom on Aero Island. It's a total non-issue. The guesthouse is beautiful and spacious and it's a free day anyway.
On the Bulgaria tour right now, and no shared bathrooms.
I was told by RSE staff that the question about shared bathrooms was the number one question they get. She told me that as I was asking her that question.
No ensuite bathroom is a deal-breaker for me.
As a solo traveler on RS tours who pays the single supplement to not have to share a room, I'd be really miffed if I had to share a bathroom. 😠
One description of accommodations that I always question is "private bathroom." I learned in Venice in 2009 that it doesn't necessarily mean ensuite. I'd made reservations for my husband and I in a B&B and verified that no one else would be using our bathroom. Ignorant as I was, it never occurred to me that our private bath wouldn't be attached to our room or at least very close to it.
As it turned out, the rooms opened on a large central area where breakfast was served. And our private bath was as far away as it could possibly be from our room. Very inconvenient at any time, but especially when breakfast was being served. 🥴 I saw no other exterior bathrooms, so I guess all the other rooms had ensuites.
I disagree that Americans are too spoiled or soft to handle shared bathrooms. Of course, we can! It's just RS tours are not cheap. An RS tour is not a glamping / roughing-it kind of trip. That 2024 Scandinavian tour mentioned previously starts at $5,745 per person with a single supplement of $725 (flights not included) - for 14 days/13 nights. For me, for that price, shared bathrooms are a deal breaker.
With that said, I just signed up for my 3rd RS tour - just not one with a shared bathroom possibility.
For a single room, someone is paying just about $500/night for the tour and you have to share a bathroom?
No, thanks. As I have reached an age where nature calls a couple of times a night, I don't feel like getting dressed to go down the hall to use the loo.
Are Americans too spoiled to share bathrooms? Some of us are and I'm not apologizing for it. First world problem? Absolutely, especially since I live in the first world.
But, if that's you're thing, more power to you.
On our Best of Scandinavia tour in 2018 there were two hotels on Aero island. One was a Bed and Breakfast that had shared bathrooms, I believe per floor. A few days before we arrived on the island our tour guide ask the group if anyone had an issue with the shared bathroom set up. We choose to stay in the more modern hotel but several tour members chose the B&B. As far as I know no one was forced into a place they did not want to be.