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Whispers used by guides

On my last RS Tour our guide used Whispers so we could hear him anywhere , do all the guides use this devise?

Posted by
3444 posts

Would be a better question to ask the Tour office directly.

I have noticed that more of them do use it. It depends on the location, the crowds, and of course the tour guide.

Posted by
3103 posts

I think all do, or at least should. It allows everyone to hear and means the group doesn’t have to bunch up as much which allows a smaller impact on the others using the same spaces.

Posted by
7096 posts

Its the situation/venue that dictates the use of the devices, not the whim of the guide

Posted by
704 posts

It really helps when your in a crowded venue like a museum or out on the city walks because of all the surounding noise, but we also used them during our recent Switzerland tour when we had to hop on and off three different trains in order to meet the bus. It was nice as 24 of us worked our way from one train platform to another, through a large crowd, and having everyone at the right place at the right time.

Posted by
938 posts

My 6 tours have all used Whispers when they were needed.

Posted by
4448 posts

They're a relatively recent addition. One of our guides told us that Rick doesn't like them (along the same lines as not having us wear patches with a tour number on it, or following a guide with a raised umbrella), but the guides do.

Posted by
8008 posts

That's interesting Jane! Yes, it does "mark" you as a member of a tour group but I really like them. It saves the guides from having to strain their voices and really helps to hear what's going on.

One of the reasons I like my current travel purse is that one of the side zipper pockets is just the right size to tuck the whisper-set into so I don't have to have it around my neck. If it's raining, I also have an inside zipper pocket on my rain jacket where it fits.

Posted by
1892 posts

I do the same Pam! I really dislike having anything hanging around my neck. I think they are especially useful for the aforementioned train/transit platforms when the group is all spread out. I felt comfortable knowing my granddaughters were "plugged" in and would get to the end point where they needed to be for our Paris tour.

Posted by
2504 posts

@stmurray2, see Forum postings "Hearing Aids." I would also agree with up thread remark "The situation/venue dictates use of devices."

Posted by
938 posts

The Whispers work by plugging in whatever headphones/earbuds you may use for your own devices or on planes, although the guide will offer you "disposible" earbuds at the beginning of the tour.

If you wear hearing aides, whatever works with them and can be plugged into an airplane system will work.

Posted by
8008 posts

I've had a couple of people on various tours bring their over the ear headphones to use over their hearing aids. They work as long as they have the standard plug. Wireless ones don't work.

I, too, bring my own earbuds which are more comfortable than the cheap-o ones that are provided.

Posted by
2786 posts

I have taken 17 RS tours and do wear hearing aids. I am pleased that most every tour lately is using the hearing assistant devices.
This is especially helpful when the tour is using local guides in noisy environments. I now plug one of the provided ear plugs into one ear and leave one of my hearing aids plugged into my other ear. I am currently looking for a good set of ear plugs that I can plug directly into these hearing assistant devices. The headphones I travel with when flying are very good noise cancelling ones but are large and have a different type plug than is required by the hearing assistant devices. I have never heard of Rick Steves not liking the use of these hearing assistant devices, either from all of the guides using them or at any of my many visits to his business in Edmonds, WA.

Posted by
265 posts

I too like it when the guides use whispers so that everyone doesn't have to jockey for a position where they can hear what is being said. But like others have mentioned, I take my own earbuds that are so much more comfortable than those that are provided.

Posted by
284 posts

Like Charlie, I have never heard that Rick Steves doesn't like the Whispers system. They seem almost essential for guides as they catherd groups of approx. 28 people who may end up in different cars on a subway. The devices certainly must contribute to a more pleasant environment at most sites as guides are able to communicate at lower volumes. I certainly like being able to hear the guide over the street noise while walking. I've never taken an RS tour where they weren't used and I often substitute my own Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones for the basic earpieces supplied by the tour.

Posted by
4448 posts

The first 5 RS tours we took didn't use the Whispers. On our 6th tour, the guide said they were trying out "something new. " Since then, they've been used about half the tours we've taken. Maybe more.

We bring our own cheapie little earphones, because I can't wear earbuds.

Posted by
4525 posts

I wear hearing aids and bring along a pair of over-ear headphones that I got from an airline on a long-ago flight. They don't go over the head but cover the ears and have loops that go over the ears, like the hearing aids themselves. They worked well for me on the last tour (first since I got hearing aids), inconspicuous and easy to pack. They don't blot out street noise like a big noise-cancelling headset might, which to me is an advantage.

I haven't been on a tour, RS or otherwise, in many years that didn't use these "whispers" in museums or walking around the streets. They make it very easy to move around individually, and I'd think the guides would much prefer them to shouting or using a bullhorn or something. A possible disadvantage is that you can wander a little too far afield and lose sight of the group. This happened to some of us in St. Peter's, when the RS guide had to corral us back within sight of the local guide who was describing something we couldn't find!

Posted by
101 posts

I have an accessory for my hearing aids that allows me to listen to external audio sources wirelessly through the aids. I wear it around my neck, under my shirt if I choose. The device connects wirelessly to the hearing aids, and can connect wirelessly or using a cord to an external audio device such as a phone. If the devices used on the tour don't have bluetooth capability you would use a cord with a standard headphone jack on each end. Plug one end into the tour device and the other into the device around your neck. There was another recent thread on this topic and I posted the same info.

https://costco.rexton.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/RX17709-Costco-Smart-Connect-Quick-Guide-617-v3-.pdf