What is your ideal RS tour Length??

Hi everyone,

I returned from the RS Loire/So. France tour two weeks ago. Several of us were commenting we would have preferred it to be at least one more day (making it 15 days). I know Rick would like to make many tours longer, but his sales are better at 14 days due to American vacations. However, how many of you out there would like to see a few more 15-18 day tours?? An option might be to offer two versions of the same tour. For example, maybe the Loire tour could be 14 days for 3/4 of its' tour dates, but then the other 1/4 of the dates could be a little longer. I know this would seem to be a logistical problem, but actually I don't think it really would be. For example, on the Loire tour, we definitely could have used one more day in Arles. All you would have to do is add anothe day to the hotel there.

Okay, I DO realize it would be more complicated than that, but what do you think? Would you like to see more 15-18 day tours???? Would you actually take one if it were offered??

I definitely would because I want to maximize my money's worth (if I spend all the money to fly there, I wanna get the most out of it). Plus, I just like hanging out in Europe! ;)

Can't wait to hear what you think!!!

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
427 posts

I suppose I should answer my own question -I would love some 17-18 day tours again!!!

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2028 posts

"I definitely would because I want to maximize my money's worth (if I spend all the money to fly there, I wanna get the most out of it). Plus, I just like hanging out in Europe! ;)"

Gretchen, I know a lot of tour members feel the same as you and that's why many of them plan add'l days on their own before or after the tour portion of their trip.

Posted by Terri Lynn
Nashville, TN, USA
719 posts

The only time I take tours is when evaluating them for research but frankly, I would say the longer the better. There is so much to see, do, and savor in all of the European countries. If you made a 3-month-long tour that included both Western Europe and Eastern Europe (please also include St. Petersburg, Russia), I bet it would fill up. I would be glad to try such a tour.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
427 posts

Hi again,

Nancy - yes I often add time at the beginning or end of the tour, but I travel alone and so I like doing things with the group. - I have more experiences, etc. when part of the group, due to the local guides, etc. available that I am less likely to take part in while traveling before/after the tour. That's why I'd like to see some more 15-18 day tours offered. Again, it doesn't have to be every single tour - just a few dates offered from each tour schedule.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts

Gretchen,, I have only taken one RS tour.. the Family Europe in 14 days.. and we stayed/added another 12 days onto the trip.

Frankly the tour was NOT 14 days.. it starts late on day one.. and ends at breakfast on day 14. It is a 12 day tour.

We would have LOVED a slightly longer tour.. it was so fun,, and we could have easly enjoyed a few more REAL days on tour.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
1077 posts

I would like to see more 21-day tours. Some of the Rick Steves travelers on his tours are retired, so they can spend as much time as they wish without having to get back home for work.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8025 posts

I'm certainly in the longer-the-better camp, especially with a long flight from the West Coast. But years of customer surveys and purchase patterns show that the majority don't agree. We avoided itinerary changes in 2014 but upcoming 2015 tour releases will include a few adjustments, based on recent feedback from tour members and guides, and the tour planners continue to listen to such feedback. Another way that some people extend trips is by taking two tours back-to-back.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

Laura - that was exactly my thought - back to back tours. Cruisers do it all the time - many on the same ship - some on different ones. But one should be able to figure out the logistics of doing two different RS tours back to back.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts

Laura, when taking back to back tours does rs offer a discount the way cruiselines often do?

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts

Laura, when taking back to back tours does rs offer a discount the way cruiselines often do?

Posted by Nancy
Beaverton, Oregon
269 posts

We would much prefer longer tours! We routinely do them back-to-back and, no, they don't give a discount.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
427 posts

While back-to-back tours sound great, adding on 1-2 more days is obviously much more economically feasible (I can't afford 2 $3000+ tours in the same summer). As it is I usually only do one tour every other summer, due to my teacher's salary.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2092 posts

I checked out the Top 10 Tours listed elsewhere on this web site. Some surprised me. I have taken 12 RS tours. I am retired and would vote for more 21 day tours (actually 19 days not counting the first day's dinner and the last days breakfast where half to the tour folks are often gone). I went up to RS Headquarters in Edmonds, WA, and talked with the Travel Department folks about the length of the tours and wishing there were more 21 day tours. I was told that the 7 day tours were their best sellers followed by some 14 days ones and the 21 day Best of Europe Tour. In looking over the Top Ten Tours, I did not take the time to figure out how many days each one of them are. I will leave that to folks who have more free time than I do. The length of the tours is most likely influenced by many factors, including available guides, sleeping accommodations, cost-benefit-ratio, and past history. Adding just a day or two might not work out for many of these factors whereas keeping them in 7, 14, and 21 day lengths seems what they are doing. Happy travels.

Posted by Rachel
Washington
126 posts

I think 9, 10 or 11 days would be nice for those of us who are still working. Sometimes it seems like the city tours are a little too short, and a day or two could be added on in the country (e,g, do an overnight train trip to York as part of the London tour or trip to Bayeux or Alsace as part of Paris trip). For many in salary management positions it can be tough to take off the whole 14 days plus travel time.

Posted by Rachel
Washington
126 posts

I think 9, 10 or 11 days would be nice for those of us who are still working. Sometimes it seems like the city tours are a little too short, and a day or two could be added on in the country (e,g, do an overnight train trip to York as part of the London tour or trip to Bayeux or Alsace as part of Paris trip). For many in salary management positions it can be tough to take off the whole 14 days plus travel time.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
427 posts

Hi Rachel,

Yes I agree it's important to have enough time to travel in a two-week period due to work/vacation time. However, in actuality, most "14 day tours" are about 12 1/2 days, because the first tour day doesn't start until before dinner time and it ends on the last day at breakfast. So, my "14 day tour" went from Sunday evening through the following week, until a Friday breakfast. That left the first weekend for travel from the U.S. ( for example you could leave on a Sat morning and arrive on Sunday afternoon, before the first meeting pre-dinner). Then, the tour ended on a Friday at breakfast time, leaving all Friday and Saturday to return to the U.S., plus allowing Sunday for jet lag recovery time. You would have only missed 10 work days. Perhaps that's why I'm looking for a few more days on tour. Right around the time I'm really getting into the swing of things, the tour is over. I have taken two 14-day tours, one 10-day tour, and one 7-day tour. Even on the 14-day tours, I still have felt the need for just a little more time.

I'm still surprised they don't offer a FEW options for longer tours - again, not a whole tour schedule that is longer, but a few tour dates. If they say, offered one tour date per month with a longer days/tour option, I bet that they would sell, with the number of retirees (and teachers in the summer) that have some flexibility.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts

Perhaps they could alternately offer a 21 day tour with a slightly different itinerary for those of us travellers who do have more then two weeks to spare( and there are more and more of us!) ...
Hit some of same highlights.. but a few different stops along the way.. and as I said.. alternate it with their regular 21 day tours.. so that alumni have another choice to try.

Posted by Sherry
Campbell River, Canada
223 posts

I second Pat's suggestion re: adding a few longer tours on a limited schedule. There are a lot of us (retirees) who would be interested. We really enjoyed the Best of Italy 16 night tour(best vacation we have ever had) but would have liked to have more days and or more cities/towns or rural areas to visit next time. The tour was so interesting and fun and when we left our guide, driver and tour buddies to tour on our own, we missed the convenience, cameraderie(sp?),experiences and value of the tour. In reviewing options for another tour, we couldn't find one that gave us enough new options in Italy to book again. We live on the same island as Pat from Victoria and it is a major PIA to travel first to the mainland and then onwards to Europe, requiring extra time and expense so we would like to make our airfare costs count by having a longer tour. Great topic Gretchen!

Posted by Bob
Reading, PA, USA
316 posts

I looked at the RS Italy tour. I just did not go to some of the places I wanted tog o to and spent too few days in the major cities. Because of that I did my own 30 day tour using the RS tour as a basis and filling it in.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts

Wait a minute laura, I just looked at the top ten tours. Only one was 7 days long , a few were 14 days the rest were 17 and 21 days tours.

I think more people would like longer tours, frankly I would never fly ( time and money) for only 7 days.

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
468 posts

We have taken 5 RS tours and travelled on our own to Europe a couple of times. We have always added extra time onto the RS tours.
Which means a few more days on the 14 days tours would be great for us. The one thing that we really look at when considering the 21 day tours is bus time. I would love some of the 14 day tours to be extended a few days by staying extra nights in some places and or adding a few days without adding more long driving days. Basically what I'm saying is that I would like covering almost the same territory with a few days and activities added on. We really enjoy the stops and the local guides We have done a 14 day tour back to back with a 7 day tour and a few extra days added on. My DH was getting a little antsy at the end to get home. Mostly I think he was just tired.

Good subject, Gretchen!

Posted by stan
Kansas City
730 posts

Agree with Rachel - like more 8-11 day tour options. I can add on days on my own from there. 18-21 days with the same people sounds too long to me.

Posted by Eric
Beaverton, Oregon, USA
139 posts

Personally, I would prefer to see more 3 night stays on tours. The typical 2 nighter translates into one partial day to get oriented and one full day to see the sights. Adding another day in many places would provide opportunities to seek out the "back door" experiences after having seen the highlights of the location. One of the positive aspects of a tour is the opportunity to compare notes with fellow travelers at the end of the day. Unfortunately, it's hard to take advantage of this information sharing on a two night stay since you are typically off to another location the next morning.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
427 posts

Hi again,

I agree with Eric and Mimi that if extra days were added, that would be great. I don't necessarily need more locations. For example, I would have loved one more day in Arles in Provence this summer. I like the idea of some 3- night stays too!

:) Gretchen

Posted by John
Van Nuys, CA, USA
255 posts

I'd also like to see more 3-day stays extending the tour a bit, but I don't think it will ever happen. Unless someone here starts their own tour company :-) If you look at the existing tours, the 2-nite stay is what they do. It seems to work for them (we have an existence proof) and I doubt they want to take the risk to their sales of changing this.

In the end what it comes down to are the limitations of mid-range travel. If price is no object then one could hire a consultant to set up a tour, arranging for guides to the various sites, transportation if you don't want to drive, etc. Indeed one of the RS guides I had ran a small travel shop doing just that. Going on a package tour is a compromise; you have to live with their choices for location and duration. It's not always exactly what I want, but I can't afford the custom alternative and doing the tour is better than not going at all, and for many itineraries I find it is competitive with or even better than doing solo travel.

Posted by Alan
Folsom
22 posts

We have not taken any shorter or longer tours than 14 days, which seems about right. There is a lot of standing in place litening to local guides, risng early for the bus, the bus rides, etc. It can get tiring and we are in pretty decent shape. Lots of fun, but we enjoy the days off just to wander and cafe sit. We are going on the RS Spain tour in 2015. There are 3 of us. Adding up the tour cost, airfare, a few extra days, it's pretty much a $20,000 trip (or more). Not sure i could afford this if it went to 21 days. As much as I like these tours, for our next trip to Europe, I'm thinking pick a place, like a town in Umbria, rent a flat or house, do day trips to surrounding villages. Yes, we will not get the cultural aspects nearly as well as we would on another RS tour, but we will be at our own pace, and enjoy the sights, sounds, food, at a much lower cost. Or, a My Way tour may be our way then.

Posted by TC
Atlanta
662 posts

We do a lot of independent travel, but our first RS trip was 21 days in England, Scotland, and Wales and it was the best one yet because we had enough time to see / do it all without having to do any of the logistical work on our own. We would love to see more tours in the 19 to 21 day range and will not consider anything less than 14 days due to the air fare. We have done cruises back to back and got discounts on both trips. Since that is not the case with RS tours, we have to add four to six days on our own. If the repeat offender discount were offered on back to back tours we would definitely consider them. TC