The quickest way to find answers to your questions about our guided tours is to review the most frequently asked questions below. If you can't find the information you're looking for, please contact Tour Sales & Service at [email protected].
Covid Policies for Tours
Will I need a Covid vaccination to join a tour? And what about boosters?
For our 2023 tours, all eligible travelers need to be "fully vaccinated" according to the CDC — meaning that you have received a single dose (Johnson & Johnson) or two-dose series (Moderna/Pfizer-BioNTech) Covid vaccine at least 14 days prior to your tour start date. Booster shots are not required but recommended for those that are eligible. Get more details about staying up to date on Covid vaccines from the CDC.
Do I need to bring my original vaccination card with me on tour?
If you're on a tour departing between Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2023, you will need to show proof of vaccination to your guide on the first day of your tour, in one of these forms: original CDC (or equivalent) vaccination card, photo of front and back of original card, or photocopy of front and back of original card.
Am I required to wear a face mask during my tour?
No — wearing a face mask while on tour is optional. However, at any time the situation with Covid may change, and your guide may instruct you to wear a mask while on the tour bus or in other public settings.
Will I need a negative Covid test prior to joining a tour?
No, we do not require pre-tour testing.
What happens if I test positive for Covid during my tour and need to quarantine?
We expect you to monitor your health and only travel with us if you're feeling well. For our 2023 tours, if you test positive while on tour, you're obligated to follow local protocol for quarantining and cannot rejoin the tour. Rick Steves' Europe and On Call Assistance Services will provide you resources and support. While the cost of finding and coordinating the services is included with your tour, the expenses associated with performing the services are your responsibility. Fortunately, these expenses are often covered by travel insurance.
Will I receive a refund if I must leave my tour due to a positive Covid test?
Yes, we provide a $200-per-day refund for you (and your travel partner if you choose to leave the tour together) for the number of tour days missed due to Covid. This is not insurance and is not intended as a substitute for comprehensive travel and health insurance.
What if I test positive and I'm on consecutive tours?
You may join a subsequent tour as long as the first day of the next tour is at least five days after you tested positive and you are symptom free. You also must present a negative Covid test to your guide on the first day of the tour. Tour members may not join or rejoin a tour in progress.
What happens if a member of a tour group tests positive while on tour?
If any member of a group is diagnosed with Covid during a tour, they'll need to leave the tour and follow the protocols of the local health authorities. Those in close contact with the affected tour member will need to be tested, and if positive, follow the same requirements.
What's the best way to stay healthy while traveling?
For advice on staying healthy while on tour, see Rick's article, Tips for Healthy, Happy Travels.
How do I sign up for a tour and how much is the deposit?
When our tours are open, bookings can be made on our website with a $400 deposit for each traveler.
How do I apply a credit to my tour?
Sign up for your tour online, choose the "Apply Tour Credit" option for paying your deposit, and submit your request. We'll apply your tour credits when we process your booking.
What is your cancellation policy?
Tour deposits are 100% refundable for up to 120 days before the tour departure date or unless otherwise noted in our Tour Conditions.
How do I cancel my tour?
If you need to cancel your tour you must notify RSE immediately in writing: sent via email to [email protected] or mailed to 130 4th Ave N, Edmonds, WA 98020. Cancellations become effective on the date received by RSE and are governed by the RSE Tour Credit Terms and Conditions.
How will I receive a refund?
If possible, refunds will be issued against the original form of payment (credit card, ACH, check). If we're not able to refund the original form of payment, we'll send a check. If a tour credit was used for payment, the credit will be re-issued with the original expiration date.For full details see our Tour Conditions.
What are your terms and conditions?
Please see our Tour Conditions for the full details.
Are prices per person?
Yes: Prices are per person, in US dollars. The price of your tour is guaranteed the moment we receive your deposit.
Are flights included in the tour price?
No, our tour prices don't include airfare. Your flight arrangements are completely up to you.
Are there any age restrictions for tour members?
We have no official upper age restrictions as long as you're physically fit and a strong walker, but we do have some guidelines for children. Teens are welcome on all Rick Steves tours. Kids 8 and older are welcome on our Family Europe tours and My Way® vacation packages. Tour members under 18 must room with a parent or guardian.
What types of rooms are available?
- Shared Rooms for Solo Travelers: We assign solo travelers of the same gender to shared rooms with two twin beds at no additional charge. If a tour has multiple solo travelers, we'll rotate roommates at each hotel.
- Private Single Rooms: We have a limited number of extra-cost private single rooms. The single supplement fee guarantees a private single room, which is often the smallest, most basic room type in European hotels.
- Rooms for Couples: Couples are usually given rooms with one double bed, but two twin beds are also possible. Queen- and king-size beds generally aren't an option in most of the hotels we stay in.
- Twin Rooms: Rooms with two twin-size beds tend to be best for friends and siblings rooming together. Some of these twins can be cozy — separate mattresses and bedding placed side-by-side within one bed frame.
- Triple Rooms: A typical triple room has one double bed plus a single bed, rollaway, or cot. While we can request three twin beds, this configuration isn't common (for this reason, we do not recommend triple rooms for three adults).
How do I know if there are enough seats left on a tour?
We immediately update the number of seats available when a new booking, transfer, or cancellation is submitted. "Sign Up!" means there are six or more seats remaining. "Filling Fast" has less than six seats remaining — and there is a chance it could fill while you're in the booking process (if this happens, we'll call you promptly to discuss your options).
What is a "Single Supplement"?
It's an additional fee that guarantees a private single room for a solo traveler. Single supplement costs vary by tour and can be found on each tour's webpage.
When and how should I pay the remainder of my tour balance?
The remaining balance for your tour is due in a single payment 60 days prior to departure. For your convenience, we offer secure online payment options for both electronic check and credit card. We also accept personal checks (US bank accounts only) and bank drafts or money orders in US dollars (US or Canadian banks only).
Can I transfer a reservation from one tour to another?
Yes: Up to 60 days prior to your original tour's departure date, you can transfer to any other tour in the same calendar year as long as seats are available on the tour you want. Please call us at 425-771-8303 to arrange this. Any changes in the tour price will be reflected on your new invoice.
Do you offer custom itineraries or private tours for large groups?
We don't offer custom itineraries but we can reserve a tour date on one of our existing tour itineraries for a private group. The private group needs to be 25–28 participants and the accommodations are 16 double rooms. If there are fewer than 25 participants in the private group, the tour price will be adjusted or the tour date will be opened to other non-group participants. To request a private group tour, please contact us at [email protected].
Should I purchase trip insurance?
For information about insurance, see Rick's article "Do I need travel insurance?"
What tour discounts does Rick Steves offer?
- Tour Alum: Tour Alums receive a $50 discount for each tour taken prior to the departure year of a new booking. The discount is valid on one tour per calendar year and it is not transferable, but it is cumulative. For example, if you've traveled with us on two previous tours, you would receive a $100 discount when you book a third tour departing in a new calendar year. During the online booking process, you'll have the opportunity to note if you've traveled with us previously. We will apply the correct Tour Alum discount to your final invoice.
- Multi-Tour: When you take more than one tour during the same calendar year, you'll receive a $100 per person discount for each additional tour you book. If you put multiple tours into the same cart, you'll see your multi-tour discount listed on your order. If you place separate orders for multiple tours in the same year, we'll apply the discount when confirming the later booking.
- Cash/Check: Pay your tour balance amount by cash or check, and you'll receive a 2% discount.
- Kids: Children age 8–17 receive a $200 discount on our Family Tour itinerary.
What does "Waitlist" mean and how does it work?
A "Waitlist" departure date means there are currently no seats available. You can submit an order for any waitlisted tour without paying a deposit. If seats open up, we'll send an email to everyone on the waitlist and the seats will be filled on a first come, first served basis. (If a tour is departing in less than 30 days and seats become available, we are not able to notify waitlists). A deposit of $400 per person is required to secure the seat(s).
How many waitlists can I be on at the same time?
You may be on up to five waitlists. To be removed from a list either log into your Tour Account, or contact Tour Sales & Service at 425-771-8303 or [email protected].
What are the chances of seats opening up on a waitlisted tour?
In previous years, our tours have had about a 10% cancellation rate. Although it's difficult to predict when and how many seats might become available, we anticipate more seats may open around four months before tour departure dates, when people can cancel and still get their deposits refunded. Openings are never guaranteed.
Can I be on a waitlist and confirmed on another tour?
Yes, you can be on up to five waitlists at the same time as you are confirmed on another Rick Steves tour. If you are on a waitlist, we will contact you if seats become available and you may transfer to your preferred tour. Please note: If you are booked on a tour that starts within 60 days, transfers to another tour are not possible.
How can I be removed from a waitlist?
Getting Ready for Your Tour
Check your passport!
Please note: The current standard processing time for a new or renewal passport is about 10–13 weeks, plus you'll need to add in mailing times of up to two weeks for before and after. If you need your passport sooner, there are expedited options that require an additional fee or an appointment to go in person to the nearest US Passport Agency.
When will I receive the list of hotels for my tour?
The names and contact information for your tour's first and last hotels will be available in your tour customer account once your reservation is confirmed. The complete list of hotels will be available in your tour customer account about one month prior to your tour's departure.
How do I make pre- or post-tour hotel reservations?
We can't make additional hotel reservations for tour members. We recommend booking additional hotel reservations through email or the hotel site's secure booking portal; you can use our handy Hotel Reservation Form as a guideline. Email is not a secure way to send credit-card information, so if the hotel lacks a secure booking portal, it's smart to call or fax the hotel to finalize your payment.
When should I fly to Europe and back?
Check your tour account and daily itinerary for your tour dates and exact start time of the "Day 1" tour meeting. If traveling from the United States, you must depart at least one day in advance of your tour start date. We recommend that you book flights several months before your departure date — and much earlier if you want to use frequent-flyer miles.
Where can I find information about entry requirements for my tour?
The entry requirements for Europe vary by country and may change at any time. In the days leading up to your departure, we advise checking with the US Embassy website for your arrival country. For more country-by-country information see
What travel documents are required?
Everyone who joins a tour is required to bring a valid passport and provide passport information to Tour Sales & Service before departure. The State Department recommends that your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your return date and have a minimum of two blank visa pages. You also need to bring proof of COVID-19 vaccination (such as a CDC issued vaccine card or equivalent) showing vaccination dates (this applies to tours departing in 2023). You're responsible for obtaining all required travel documents prior to your tour. If you're not a US citizen you'll need to contact your government to determine specific passport and visa requirements for traveling in Europe.
How do I apply for or renew a US passport?
To download a passport application, go to the US Department of State website. Due to a post-COVID travel surge, the standard processing time for new and renewal passports is currently about 8-11 weeks. A first-time passport application must be done in person at a designated passport facility.
If you need your passport sooner, make an appointment to go in person to the nearest US Passport Agency. You'll pay an additional expediting fee, plus overnight shipping both ways. In a last-minute emergency, call 877-480-2778 and speak to a customer-service representative. If you can prove that you must travel within two weeks (by showing evidence of a purchased airline ticket), you may be able to receive a passport in 24–72 hours.
Will I need a visa?
Turkey requires a visa for US and Canadian travelers. You can apply for a visa 90 days prior to arriving in Turkey. Visit www.evisa.gov.tr for more information and to obtain your visa.
Will I need a COVID-19 vaccination or any other immunizations?
We require proof of COVID-19 vaccination (for all travelers who are eligible) to participate in any Rick Steves tour departing between Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2023. There are currently no shots required for travel in Europe or Turkey. You should, however, be aware of the rules where you'll be traveling and check with your doctor to see if you're up to date with regular immunizations.
What happens if I get sick on tour?
We expect tour members to monitor their health and only travel if they're feeling well. However, getting sick while on tour can happen to anyone — and it can affect not just your trip, but your fellow tour members' trip, too. If you start to feel sick during your tour, notify your guide right away, so they can direct you to a local clinic or pharmacy for diagnosis and treatment. If anyone has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they will need to leave the tour and follow the requirements of the local health authorities.
What's the best way to stay healthy while traveling?
For advice on how to stay healthy while on tour, see Rick's article: Tips for Healthy, Happy Travels.
How do I get to the start of the tour?
About a month before your tour departs, easy-to-follow directions to your tour's first hotel will be available in your tour customer account. Once at the hotel, a sign in the lobby will describe where the group will meet on Day 1.
Does my luggage have to measure exactly 9 x 21 x 14 inches?
You must be able to comfortably handle all your luggage by yourself at all times. Therefore, we strongly urge you to limit your luggage to airline carry-on dimensions. Our online Travel Store sells carry-on-size rolling bags and backpacks.
What should I pack?
Packing light is essential! Bring versatile, comfortable clothing that you can layer. Pack for the season in which you'll be traveling, but expect some rain regardless of the time of year. For more ideas on what to bring, check out Rick's Travel Tips: Packing Light, where you can find packing lists for both men and women.
What is a tour kit?
A tour kit includes the essential items you'll need for your tour: a guidebook or books (when available) with important maps and information about the places you'll visit on your tour and a money belt to help keep your valuables safe from pickpockets. When your tour kit is ready, we'll email you information on how to order it. For tour kit questions, please call Tour Sales & Service at 425-771-8303 during business hours — or leave a detailed message and we'll call you back.
While on Tour
What are the physical demands of your tours?
Our tours are physically active! Expect to be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, and in all weather conditions. You'll also need to carry your own luggage, often up several flights of stairs.
What are your hotels like?
Rick Steves tour hotels are often quaint, sometimes creaky, full of two- and three-star personality, and run by friendly Europeans. Some don't have elevators, no (or weak) air conditioning, and spotty Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi only in common areas. Private bathrooms are the norm, but on a couple of tours a small chance exists that for one or two nights your bathroom may be down the hall.
What will the meals be like on my tour?
While on tour you'll eat like a local. Cuisine is typical of the region and can vary widely from country to country. Local beer and wine are optional at group meals, and at your own expense.
Can I get special meals for my dietary restrictions?
If you require a vegetarian diet, please alert your guide at the start of your tour, so he or she can make arrangements for your upcoming meals. Beyond this, we cannot take responsibility for tour members with special dietary needs or allergies. Tour members with dietary restrictions usually manage fine with a little flexibility and willingness to supplement meals as needed at their own expense. Please discuss all relevant dietary/health issues with your guide at the start of your tour so he or she can assist you when possible.
How will I do laundry on my tour?
Most tour itineraries have accessibility to laundry services once or twice during the tour, and your guide will give you tips on when and where you can do laundry.
Will I need to know the language of the countries I’m visiting?
While it's not necessary to be fluent, it's nice to master a few basic courtesies such as "Please" and "Thank you." You can find a page of helpful phrases in each of Rick's guidebooks.
Is smoking allowed on tour?
No: You're not allowed to smoke or vape on the bus, in the hotel, or where other tour members are present. Nonsmokers, be aware that we can't isolate you from Europeans who smoke in public areas or hotels.
Are tips covered in my tour cost?
Your tour includes tips for the guide, driver, and group meals. Please do not tip beyond this. When you're out on your own it's customary to round up, or add a euro or two, rather than tip a certain percentage.
How much money will I need?
On fully guided tours, plan to spend between $50 and $100 per day for your beverages at group dinners, meals on your own, snacks, souvenirs, and free-time transportation and entrance fees.
For My Way tours you'll be responsible for the cost of all your lunches, dinners, and daily expenses — so your out-of-pocket expenses will likely be higher than on a fully guided tour. Be sure to plan and budget accordingly.
What happens if I need to leave my tour after it starts?
If you must leave your tour for a Creditable Event, a pro-rated tour credit of $200 per day may be issued. This is not insurance and is not intended as a substitute for comprehensive travel and health insurance. See our Tour Conditions for what qualifies as a Creditable Event.
Family Europe Tours
What is the age range of kids on these tours?
What documents will I need to bring for my children?
In addition to a passport/visa, any child under 18 who isn't accompanied by BOTH parents must bring a notarized letter, signed by both parents, allowing the child to be taken out of the US and also allowing the adult traveling with the child to seek any necessary medical care. The letter should include the child's legal name, date of birth as shown on his or her passport, plus dates and countries of travel. For details, call the US State Department at 888-407-4747.
What is different about a Family Tour?
The museum visits and lectures are livelier and slightly condensed to better match kids' interests and attention spans. Restaurants will also be family friendly. We encourage families to participate in the activities together — activities for the adults and children are not separated. Your guide and tour assistant are great resources for free-time options, but keep in mind they're not babysitters.
What will the rooming arrangements be like on a Family Tour?
Double-occupancy rooms (doubles and twins) are the standard in Europe. We have limited triple and single supplement rooms available as well. Our tour hotels will try to keep family members near one another as much as possible. In some unavoidable cases, the rooms may be on separate floors. Kids under age 18 must room with a parent or guardian at all times and may never be in a single room alone.
Do you have more advice for traveling in Europe with kids?
Yes! Traveling on a tour with kids can be a rewarding, memorable experience — for you, your child, and for other members of your tour group. To help make the most out of your trip, Rick has some great tips for traveling with kids in Europe.
More questions? Contact Tour Sales & Service at [email protected] or 425-771-8303.