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Small gifts for fellow tour members

Just scheduled my first RS tour in 2018. Do tour members bring small gifts for other tour members, a gift from their home state for example? Curious.

Posted by
1874 posts

Not that we've experienced. It is not uncommon for various tour members to buy (while in Europe) a bag of special local candies, cookies, etc. or slices of cheese and pass around the bus to share, especially if the food had been referenced in the commentary while on tour. Doing that will definitely result in many votes for "Most Popular Tour Member." (But, should I mislead anyone new with that meant-as-a-joke, there is no formal election.)

But, on one trip (a Tauck Tour) a young Japanese lady and her mother gave everyone a small token gift of a bookmark the last day of the tour.

I've seen tour members give RS guides a small gift, such a a food product or book from their home state, but even that is rare.

The greatest gift is just being a pleasant fellow tour member.

Posted by
3753 posts

I agree with Maggie that fellow tour members will just appreciate your enthusiasm for the trip, being courteous to each other, etc. Also, everyone is attempting to travel light so others wouldn't be expecting you to be carrying something extra for them.

If you would like to share something from your home state, share a few stories or pictures.

Posted by
3470 posts

Don't believe that has ever happened on any of our many tours. Sharing locally bought candies, cookies, etc. happens fairly often while traveling on the bus. But it's certainly not mandated or expected. Just whatever one feels like doing or not doing.

Posted by
5912 posts

No. Like TC said, people would share local snacks and pastries while on the bus. Not everyone on the tours would be comfortable getting gifts from strangers.

Posted by
2454 posts

Only saw this done once. A guy from Louisiana bought Mardi Gras beads for everyone-the big heavy ones. We did not know that until our final dinner in Nice when he broke them out (poor guy dragged them through France.) So, we are all having dinner in Nice wearing Mardi Gras beads. Different... So, answer is no. If you feel the urge, buy some sweets while you are there, pass them around on the bus.

Posted by
333 posts

No. On my tour I brought bite sized Belgian chocolates to our introductory meeting (purchased a couple days earlier in Bruges) and passed them around when it was my turn to speak. I did it because I was traveling solo and thought it would be an ice breaker, a way to initiate conversation. It worked! Nobody brought gifts though. While a lovely thought, it could easily backfire, making some feel beholden and others concerned about luggage space. The best gifts to bring are an open mind for learning and an open heart for the new friends you'll make!
Have fun!
Lisa

Posted by
654 posts

don't do it. I think it would feel a bit strange to have someone I've never met give a gift like that, and their is also an implied expectation of reciprocity with gifts. On the 4 tours i've taken nobody has ever done this, and I hope nobody does.

What people sometimes do is if they are at a market and there is some inexpensive local food specialty they might buy enough to share and offer it to the travelers on the bus.

Posted by
2263 posts

You could buy a bottle of local wine or typical liqueur and pour a drink for anyone who would like to share.
I've found the nicest thing you can do for fellow travelers, aside for being consistently on time for scheduled departures, etc., is to individually inquire after them -- how was their lunch, are they feeling better this morning, What was their hike like, and so on. That shows more individual awareness and sensitivity than a perfunctory "how you all doin' this morning?"

Posted by
84 posts

Thanks for the responses, I did not know and did not want to be the one that didn't if some did. Thanks, that is what is so great about this forum.

Posted by
6326 posts

I've never been on a RS tour, but on another tour I took, a couple of women from Louisiana brought some home-made pralines and gave one to everyone on the tour, along with a copy of the recipe on an index card. It was very much appreciated by everyone on the tour and they certainly made some friends in a hurry. This was the only time I had that happen.

Posted by
281 posts

My husband and I are retired and we had some business cards printed up and handed them out to all of our tour group members on the last day of the tour. I got a couple of Christmas cards from some of my "new" friends. It was nice to be able to keep in touch other than Facebook and/or emails. On my first tour (best of Italy in 17 days) I celebrated my birthday and my buddy bought a bottle of Lemoncello for everyone on the bus to share. They purchased it along the way and it was really thoughtful.

Posted by
308 posts

I have taken two RS tours and none of the other tour members gave out gifts. However, on one tour, the tour guide gave out personalized gifts at the last dinner and I absolutely cherish it!

I think if you were to bring something, having it be something small, inexpensive, and related to your home state would be very nice! I know I would find it very charming.

Posted by
903 posts

I'm in the "no" camp on this one. I've never seen anyone do this other than sharing candy or chocolate, and it was typically the guide who was sharing the treats. Some of the guides have given small gifts at the end (folk heart, Olympic pin, print of tour group photo) and those have always been appreciated. While it's a nice thought, we're talking 28 strangers at the beginning of a tour. I just don't think it's necessary.

Posted by
14274 posts

One guide told me they are not allowed to accept gratuities and that they are very well paid by RS. The same goes for bus drivers and local tour guides. They also tip hotel staff so you don't need to leave tips for maids, waiters, etc.

Some tour members share locally purchased snacks. On one tour, I handed out chocolates from Israel at the meet-and-greet and it went over well. I can't think of anything specific to Wisconsin (cheese, beer) that you could bring with you that would be "special" to an American group. Maybe home-made cookies with cranberries? On one tour, I brought a souvenir book of Israel's sights in my guide's native language as a thank you gift.

Posted by
524 posts

I have taken 14 tours, and so far, no one has every brought gifts for the group. On a few tours the guide passed out small token gifts: Pinocchio's on Village Italy and chili pepper trinket on Southern Italy. As others have mentioned, passing out treats on the bus is always a nice gesture.

Posted by
50 posts

On my first tour nine years ago one couple gave out postcards from their state (Hawaii) with their email and Facebook address.

Posted by
2263 posts

Now that it is being mentioned, on my last several tours, the guide had a small gift or gift pack for each tour member, passed out at the end of the tour. Examples included prints of the group photo, maps with our tour route plotted out, coins from the former Yugoslavia, in which one guide grew up, packets of spice mixes, and just this morning I was using on my eggs the little can of sweet pepper spice that I was gifted in Spain!

Posted by
53 posts

We have been on 2 tours and soon to be 3 in September. When traveling in the past either on our own or a tour, my husband has brought liitle Colorado state flag pins. He would give them out to people we chatted with or when someone was especially kind. For example, a woman in Baxeux,--we needed help in a laudermat trying to figure out the machines. A local women was especially helpful, though she didn,t speak Englush, we muddled through and had a fun time while she laudered some sleeping bags. She wa quite pleased with the flag. We also carry cards with our names, emails and phone numbers to give to tour members or others who would like to stay in contact after the trip.

Posted by
685 posts

No, don't do it. On our four RS tours it hasn't happened. On the other hand, a "business" card as was mentioned would seem like a good invitation to keep in touch. Have a great trip.

Posted by
366 posts

I have been on 8 tours and on one a tour member gave out bookmarks from the state he lived in at the last dinner, another brought a praline from her state. I have also gotten key chains from guides on the last day . Also on several tours the tour members bought a small gift for the guide and bus driver. Members only contributed if they wanted to.

Posted by
41 posts

NO. The sharing of pictures is the best gift. Get a tour member to set up a Google shared drive where everyone can post pictures to share. You will have 24 best friends when the tour is over.