This document outlines what Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door ("RSE") agrees to provide when you sign up for a tour, and what you agree to do in return. This is very important information, so please read it carefully before you complete your reservation request.
Tour price guarantee: Our tour prices do not include airfare, and are subject to change without notice due to the unpredictability of currency rates and trip costs. However, your price for the tour you've selected will be locked and guaranteed the moment we receive your deposit. For current tour prices, visit ricksteves.com or call our Tour Department at 425/608-4217.
Included in the price of each tour: Sightseeing tours by an RSE guide, and local guides when appropriate, including admissions to sights seen as a group; all breakfasts and half of your dinners (as determined by RSE); accommodations each night, often in family-run hotels in the historic heart of each city; all transportation from the first hotel to the last hotel of the tour (does not include optional activities or independent travel during the tour); all RSE guide, local guide and driver tips; a moneybelt, earplugs, tour patch, plus any Rick Steves' books applicable to your specific tour; and Tour Cancellation/Interruption Coverage. Exception: "My Way" tours do not include guided sightseeing, admissions or dinners.
Itineraries are subject to change: Europe is full of surprises and we need to be flexible enough to take advantage of whatever comes along so that we may provide you with the best possible tour. Uncompleted portions of the tour itinerary are not cause for refund.
Tour payments: To reserve a seat on an RSE tour you must agree to these Tour Conditions and provide us with a deposit of $400 per person. We accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express for all tour payments. Note: we cannot accept credit card information via email. We also accept personal checks (written on a US bank account), bank drafts, and money orders made payable to Rick Steves Tours in US dollars. Your final tour payment is due in our office at least 60 days prior to the start of the tour, in one payment please. A 2.5% discount will be applied to final balance payments made by personal check, bank draft or money order. Please mark your final payment due date on your calendar. The due date is listed on your initial confirmation letter and tour invoice. Missing the final payment deadline may result in your being removed from the tour! If you sign up for a tour less than 60 days before its departure, the entire tour price must be paid, and the deposit portion is non-refundable. (Tour deposit refunds are discussed below.)
Solo travelers and single supplements: If you are traveling solo, you need not pay the mandatory single supplement often required by other tour companies. You will most likely room with another tour member of the same sex. If you wish to guarantee a private room, we offer a limited number of optional single supplements for an additional fee. Refer to your tour's web page at ricksteves.com for current single supplement prices. (If a private room is not available when we receive your tour order, we will notify you immediately, and you will have the option to cancel your reservation.) Please note that a single supplement guarantees a private room — not a larger or nicer room, as European single-bed rooms are generally the smallest and most basic rooms the hotel has to offer. Single supplements are refundable if cancelled at least 60 days prior to tour departure; those cancelled later will be forfeited.
If a payment to RSE is returned unpaid for any reason, we will assess a $35 returned item fee per occurrence. The fee(s) will be added to the applicable tour balance, and must be paid in full prior to your tour departure.
Transferring to another tour: Change in plans? Up to 60 days prior to your tour's departure, you can transfer to any other tour in the same calendar year with seats available, applying your existing deposit and with no transfer fee. If you transfer to a different tour, the price of that tour will be applied, effective on the date we confirm your transfer. Transfers less than 60 days before your tour's departure may not be possible.
Cancellations and refunds: Deposits for tours are refundable for two weeks from the date they are received. Exceptions are: (1) deposits made less than 60 days before a tour departs are non-refundable; (2) "early booking" deposits received through Dec. 17, 2013 for tours departing after Feb. 28, 2014 are 100% refundable through Dec. 31, 2013. After these dates, deposits are not refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your tour reservation. Cancellations must be in writing: sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; faxed to 425/771-0833; or mailed to Rick Steves Tours, PO Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020. Cancellations become effective on the date received by Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door.
Tour Cancellation/Interruption Coverage: Your tour price includes Tour Cancellation/Interruption Coverage. You will receive a detailed explanation of this coverage in the Pre-Tour Planner enclosed with your initial confirmation letter; you may also review the terms on our website.
You may wish to consider purchasing separate comprehensive travel and health insurance to cover possible additional costs (airline tickets, loss of luggage, trip delay, medical evacuation, etc.). Please note that travel insurance companies often require insurance be purchased within two weeks of your initial tour confirmation date to include coverage for pre-existing conditions.
If we cancel a tour you have reserved, the entire amount you have paid to RSE for the applicable tour will be refunded to you within 14 days after the tour's cancellation, as required under Washington State law. Or, you may choose to transfer to another tour with seats available (see "Transferring to another tour," above). Once this occurs, RSE and its representatives have no other obligations to tour members on cancelled trips including any additional costs or fees related to the issuance and/or cancellation of airline tickets or other travel reservations not made by RSE.
Tour forms, obligations, and risks: To travel on a tour, and to qualify for Tour Cancellation/Interruption Coverage, 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 Coverage invalid, and could result in expulsion from a tour at your own expense. Please understand that to keep costs down, and because it may be unobtainable in any event, Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door, Inc. provides only limited protection up to the tour price (minus the deposit amount), and only in certain qualifying, unforeseen circumstances. RSE has no additional travel or health coverage to protect tour participants. Tour members intentionally assume the many risks inherent in European travel.
Participation: Although we want everyone to have a good time, it sometimes happens that someone participating in a tour can misbehave or do things that are incompatible with the safety, comfort or convenience of other members of the tour. In those circumstances we have the exclusive right and discretion, to expel someone (even you) from a tour at any time, without any claims or complaints by you against us.
All Rick Steves tours are physically active: This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. Get in shape before you leave for Europe! On any Rick Steves tour you should be capable of fully and happily participating — without any assistance — in the following levels of activity:
You'll want to pack light: Each tour member is allowed to bring just one airline-carry-on-size piece of luggage (approx. 21" x 14" x 9") plus a small day pack or shoulder bag. You will always carry your own bags from the bus to your room, which may include carrying it up several flights of steep stairs or walking 10-15 minutes to the hotel. Your Pre-Tour Planner includes tips for packing light and creatively.
No smoking is allowed on the bus, in hotel rooms or during group meals. Smokers may smoke only outdoors and downwind from the group.
Children under age 18 must room with and be accompanied on the tour by a parent or guardian, who is responsible for participating in all tour activities in which the child partakes.
The information provided during the tour is for your own personal enjoyment and not for professional use. Recording guide lectures for professional purposes and soliciting business from tour members while on tour or afterward is strictly prohibited.
Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door, Inc. is registered with the State of Washington as a provider of travel (#601-035-937-001).
Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door, Inc.
130 Fourth Ave. N
P.O. Box 2009
Edmonds, WA 98020
Tel: (425) 608-4217
Fax: (425) 771-0833