Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door, Inc. ("RSE") knows that sometimes the best-laid plans go wrong. That is why, in certain circumstances, RSE will return some of your money to you if you cancel or interrupt your tour. We will do this not because we must, but purely as a courtesy for your benefit, and for the benefit of your traveling partner(s) or family member(s). For these purposes, we consider your traveling partner to be someone who shares the same accommodations with you. A family member is your spouse, a step-child, or your blood relative in the first degree.
Note: this protection is not intended as a substitute for comprehensive travel and health insurance.
To qualify for Tour Cancellation/Interruption Protection, all tour members are required to sign and return a Release and Waiver Agreement and a Tour Member Participation Agreement prior to the beginning of a tour. Any pre-existing physical, mental, or emotional disability that may require attention or treatment must be reported prior to the beginning of a tour. Omitting important information, or altering the Release and Waiver Agreement, will render it and your Tour Cancellation/Interruption Protection invalid, and could result in expulsion from a tour at your own expense.
Once your deposit refund date has passed, we cannot refund your deposit money under any circumstance. However, we may refund to you a portion of your tour payment if you cancel your reservation for a qualifying unforeseen medical or family emergency, as outlined below, before the tour begins. The maximum possible refund if you cancel your reservation before the first day of the tour for a qualifying reason is your tour price, less the $400 per person deposit.
On the day the tour begins, or any day thereafter, if you withdraw from the tour for a qualifying, unforeseen medical or family emergency as outlined below, RSE will refund to you $75 per person for each missed day. (If you withdraw from the tour for a non-qualifying reason, there will be no refund possible.)
Qualifying Medical or Family Emergencies
RSE will refund a portion of your tour payment only upon the following qualifying unforeseen medical or family emergency events (excluding in all cases circumstances described under "Exceptions to the Refund Policy"). An event is "unforeseen" if it first occurs less than 60 days prior to your tour's start date, or while on tour.
- You, your travel partner or a family member dies or suffers an unforeseeable and disabling injury or illness requiring hospitalization or urgent medical care prior to joining or while on tour.
- You, your travel partner or family member suffers a certifiable personal disaster (such as your home floods or burns down, or you are a victim of a serious crime) necessitating a change in travel plans.
- You or your spouse are called into active military service or have leave revoked.
Exceptions to our Refund Policy
RSE will not refund your tour payments in any amount under these circumstances:
- Carrier-related delays, including those caused by bad weather, labor disputes, civil unrest or mechanical problems.
- Personal problems or difficulties that are not medically disabling.
- Business problems or emergencies.
- Governmental obligations or requirements related to subpoenas, summons, jury duty or lawsuits, war, terrorism or the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
- Your inability to obtain a passport or visa or other travel-related document.
- Self-inflicted injury or harm.
- Problems related to alcohol or substance abuse.
- Personal injuries caused by high-risk personal activities such as skydiving, racing or bungee cord jumping.
- Incomplete Release and Waiver or Tour Participation Agreements.
- Non-qualifying reason.
If you need to cancel your tour reservation you must notify RSE immediately.
If you request a refund of your tour payment because of an unforeseen illness or injury, we require you to provide us with a letter from your attending physician, typed on the physician's letterhead, verifying the specific reason given for advice against traveling. This letter must be faxed (425-771-0833), or mailed (PO Box 2009, Edmonds WA 98020), to the attention of the Tour Department Manager. Any information provided by your physician will be maintained in the utmost privacy. If you request a refund of tour payments because you have been a victim of a crime, flood, fire or accident, you must provide us with a copy of a pertinent police, fire department or investigative report.
If you should need to cancel your tour reservation due to the unforeseen loss of your job, we will refund your tour payment (minus the non-refundable deposit) if you notify us at least 30 days before your tour's departure date. We will require a letter signed by your employer specifying the date of termination, typed on the company's letterhead (including contact information). This must be provided to RSE prior to your tour start date. A refund check will be sent to you upon verification of the information.
A Final Word
This documents RSE's plan for providing partial refunds of tour payments in certain events. However, our willingness to make these limited refunds is no substitute for comprehensive travel and health insurance to cover possible additional costs (airline tickets, loss of luggage, trip delay, medical evacuation, etc.).
Although travel is usually fun and safe, travel, by its nature, always involves some risks that you or RSE will not anticipate. You may consider purchasing optional comprehensive travel and health insurance for your trip.