I'm signed up for the Best of Italy tour in June and received my email for the $100 store credit. It seems to me that I am suppose to get this kit and any additional items that I may need. The kit includes the guide book, money belt, and earplugs. I bought the Italy guide earlier this year and already have earplugs. Does anyone know if I have to buy the kit to use the $100 credit? It just seems like a bit of a waste.
Unless I'm mistaken (and I very well could be) you can "spend" the $100 credit on anything available in the store -- luggage, soap, clothes lines, whatever. But you have to do it all at the same time in one order. If you go over $100 you pay the difference, if you use less than $100 the difference is lost. Not sure how the shipping cost are addressed. My assumption is that the shipping costs are added on just as if it were another item. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
No, you don't have to buy the kit. I am guessing that one of the reasons they changed to the $100 credit is that so many of Rick's customers are return tour members and you can only use so many money belts! Last year on my 6th and 7th tours I called the tour office and asked them NOT to send the money belts and ear plugs as I had enough I was giving them away! I also had already bought the e-guides for my iPad so didn't need them either.
I did not know you had to use the $ all at one time, though.
As noted above, you do not have to buy the kit. You do have to use the credit all at one time, and it will cover shipping and handling. You can't use it to buy gift cards, unfortunately. We haven't spent ours yet, even though we have a tour coming up in May, because a new edition for the guidebook for our trip is coming out in April. We'll be cutting it close, but I'd rather have the 2016 book than the current 2013 version. I'm hoping the book shows up in early April!
I recently used my credit without buying the kit. If you are looking for things to buy, I recommend the streetwise maps for the major cities (having the monuments easier identifiable and the subway lines marked is really helpful) and the Italian phrase book (small and discrete at restaurants). Also, I think they sell the Italian road maps. Even though you will be on the bus, I like being able to see where we are going and local sites when the guide is not narrating. Have a great trip!
Thanks for the help everyone! On to the online shop! Whoo hoo!
We used our $100 credit towards other items, because we already had most of the books recommended for the trip as well as earplugs and money belts. The shipping is included as long as the grand total is $100 or less. Otherwise, you pay the difference. We ended up paying less than a dollar for some travel goodies. But yes, as others previously mentioned, you only get one shot to use $100 credit. You lose any balance left over if it isn't all used up at one time.
Can't add much to what has been said, but I want to second the Streetwise Maps.
Bridget, when did you get your email with the special code for $100 for your tour? We aren't leaving until November but I'm curious to know. Also, are you a single traveling or are you booked with someone else? Is it $100 each or $100 for the group?
If it looks like you can't spend enough to use up the $100 credit, consider some of the Rick Steves travel bags; all great. The day bags and tote bags are great to take on your trip.
I just received the code for the $100 on Thursday or Friday of this past week. I am booked with my daughter, but you only get $100 per group. Since I already had the guide book, I was able to use the store credit for the little things that add up. I did get the money belt, the pocket tote bag, adapters, other miscellaneous items and the city maps that were suggested by other travelers. It is pretty easy to use it up. Enjoy your trip in November!
After taking 13 RS tours (soon to be 14) we have everything we need for travel. I went to the RS Reunion in January at their Edmonds, WA, location and inquired about that $100 store credit. Seems like they will not let you use it on anything that is not for sale in their store, not even for "trip consultation" fees. Anyway, my wife ended up purchasing another piece of RS luggage that cost over $100 so she had to pay for the charge over $100. I view this as an effort on their part to make it easier for them, not easier for us tour members.
If that tour kit is already "pre-populated" in the shopping cart when you click through, then just delete it and continue shopping for items you want.
I just signed up for a tour in July, our third tour in three years, and noticed about the credit for the tour kit ("New for 2016") in the confirmation letter. I guess this means a policy of no more free kits like we used to get. I don't consider this a bad thing, because I don't need a new money belt every year, and we don't use the ear plugs. Also, we used to get two guidebooks, when we need only one. The guidebook and printed materials (less than $100) are really all we need.
I did not know they were selling Streetwise maps. That is good to know. Must be something new.
I just used my $100 code today. You can choose anything in the store. I did not buy the tour pack as I had the money belt; I purchased books separately and a small bag plus more.
For anyone that has used their $100 tour credit already, did you pay tax separately? I have totaled up my goodies and it comes to $98.00. Will I have to pay taxes on that? What about shipping and handling?
If I have to pay taxes, etc., I will take some of the goodies off the listso I don't go over $100.00.
Thanks as always.
I didn't pay tax but I did pay shipping and handling. I went over by about $9 so wound up paying about $20 out of pocket for the extra and the shipping/handling.
You would only pay sales tax for items delivered within Washington State.
Thanks!!! I'm off to spend my " free" money........yippee!
I did hear, from a RS employee, that next year they're going to modify the "$100 per traveling group" policy. It does seem a bit off, a single gets $100, a couple gets $100, a family of 5 gets $100. But that's changing next year. She also said, if someone calls the office to complain, something can usually be worked out...
HI Jane thank you for the info. Since we are a family of four I do think it is not exactly fair that we also only get a $100 credit. It should be something per person booked since we all have to pay. I understand not everyone wanting all the copies of the books but since we are going on the BOE tour I don't think the $100 will cover each book I would like to get. Plus I am confused on the shipping. We now have to pay shipping? In the old way the books and other items just arrived. This seems a little confusing.
LA, you do not have to pay shipping, unless the total, including shipping, exceeds the $100 allotted. Any amount over, whether it's for goods or shipping, you pay. I think our purchase came to about $70, so we opted for express shipping, and the amount was included in our store credit. Do call the office and see if they'll make an adjustment. Evidently this has ruffled a lot of feathers, understandably so.
H Jane and others. Wanted to post my update. I did call the office and alas nothing more was offered for my family of four. It does seem a little "off putting" that one person gets $100 to spend and so do four people. Especially since we are taking a multi country tour I was hoping to get the books for each country. The $100 will not cover it for even one book from each country. If you go on a one week city tour or a three week many countries tour you receive the same $100. It was a nice perk to get the goodies and sad to see it not be as nice as it was before.
One final note that hopefully will change next year. (Too late for us. ) If you are going to Rome the Vatican really needs to be included. I know it is really busy and crowded but RS always says go with us to beat the crowds. Now we are trying to see what we will miss to now have to pay extra on an already very expensive tour to fit in the Vatican.
Ok done complaining. Thanks for the insight.
LA, I'm really sorry to hear that RSE did not make any concessions. Seems like this policy definitely needs some rethinking. But I was told by an RSE employee that there will be changes next year. Even money belts for a group of four or five travelers could come close to topping you out!
When we did the BOE tour, the book that was included was just a general Europe book, but it did cover everyplace we went, as I recall. Is that one still available? It was certainly adequate, given the (short) amount of time we spent in each place
Hi know RS people reads these posts so hopefully they will take a look at it. I remember one year we all got the RS travel bag and the books, and money belt and ear plugs. That was a great year! We call it our Rick bag and it goes everywhere with us. (We got 4 bags!) I really am not a grump and hope these posts are not taken wrong. Just disappointed. RS has been so helpful in the past. Thanks
I just wanted to respond about our Tour Kit Promo Code Program that has been in place this past year. It was a challenging process for us to devise a new way to give this nice extra benefit from Rick to our tour members. We had been providing a tour packet with a Guidebook and moneybelt for each person on a tour for many years but it became apparent that it was no longer possible for us to continue this approach due to the growth in the number of our tour members. The time needed and manpower required to execute this former process became extremely high. And the fact that our tour alums already had moneybelts, or some folks already purchased the guidebook meant replication of things no one needed or wanted. So we tried to develop an alternative approach. Many IT challenges were encountered in devising this program, as it had to work in conjunction with our databases and our sign up procedure on our website. We eventually came up with the current process. In one respect it is a 50% increase in the $ value over what we had provided in prior years (based on tour booking of 2 people which is the majority we get). But it does give a little more to solo travelers and a little less to those traveling in parties greater than 2 (unless being billed separately and were at different addresses which we were able to detect in our database – then we could provide an additional code). Again it could not adjust for families in same households. We tried to figure the best way to do this and this was the process we came up with. We know it is not perfect and may have elicited some dismay in a few folks who feel the allocation is not fair. But we will keep working on it and hopefully develop a program down the road that will be more equilateral in its outcome. Thank you for your understanding. If you have any additional questions or concerns please give us a call. Cheers.
Oh, LA! I have been using those wonderful backpacks originally given out when you signed up for a tour for years! I have 2-3 and they are still used when ever needed. As a veteran of many (and a couple since the $100 credit was instituted) tours, I am now maxed out on what I can buy at the store, have everything I need and am wondering what to do with the credit next time I sign up for a tour. Keith, like Charlie, I am hopeful you all will decide to let us use this tour credit for sessions with your travel gurus for trip consultations or gift cards or something even more creative!
Update. Thanks Keith. As I mentioned I knew the RS team monitored these posts. Even without my name listed in my post the team responded with a phone call and the new code for additional RS stuff. (Have to say that is just slightly scary) I understand you can look up anyone that has signed up to post to see their information but did catch me a little of guard. So let's hope I have not been tagged as That grump.
Thanks RS team for understanding our concern. We know we are spending very little time in each city but we are adding days on to the start and the end of the trip so thought it would be helpful to have the books for each. Also since we are bringing teens with us we think they need to read up on each site to have some back ground information. This is very much an educational trip for them. We know this is an added perk to get the goodies and just one more thing that makes the RS tours stand out from the rest and we appreciate it as such. The RS team has been so very helpful in the past and we very much appreciate it.
Thank you again
Perhaps I'm being clueless here because this seems incredibly obvious to me, but why not simply give a certain amount of credit per person?
Nancy, a per-person allocation is one of the technical challenges that Keith mentioned. It has to be custom-programmed to cross through several different computer applications, which sometimes takes much longer than any one expects.
LA, I was the one who forwarded your name to the tour staff, because it did not sound like they had initially handled your request the way I understood they were handling them. So I thought they could do better.
I'm not in the thick of these projects, myself; only hearing occasional updates.
If you have credit you don't need for yourself, consider buying things to be used as Christmas gifts or to donate somewhere.
Maybe this is just too radical, but what if all the tours were just reduced in price and people could buy, or not buy, what they want? After only two tours I have pretty much everything I want, with the possible exception of a guide book for a new country. Even that is iffy - when I travel without RS, I often just borrow a copy - sometimes electronic- from the library. So just give me a discount! This would seem to solve the tech problems.
Why not just be grateful for what you receive? RS doesn't have to give travelers any such treat. I had a nice time spending my money. Some people see the glass as half empty and others as half full. I like to think I'm a half full kind of person.