I, like many, are watching COVID numbers rise in European countries (and of course the U.S.). I have plans to travel to Europe in August but COVID fears on top of the European airport chaos are making me reconsider my travel plans. I know COVID is here to stay, it will evolve, etc.. I have managed to escape it so far but newer variants are more easily transmissible plus the added worry of being stuck somewhere. The airport situation isn't helping. Is anyone considering changing their travel plans for the same reasons? Or have done so? I realize it's a personal decision and up to your risk tolerance for all of these factors, but just wondering if others are on the fence, too.
Yes, I have cancelled my RS tour late August as well as my SLOW TRAVEL tour& independent travel in Italy in October. Covid numbers with a much more infectious variant are rising rapidly in my area as well as in Europe--and yes, by October it might be different. And yes, we MIGHT have a new specific booster by then--but I am going nuts predicting the future. But as another poster on here shared--I too just don't want to travel having to mask, distance, only eat outdoors etc and have a very different travel experience than in the past--FOR ME. And the airport situation is crazy too--i want a relaxing vacation not a stressed out one. So I'll stay home and do only domestic travels this year.
We just canceled our fall RS tour Best of VFR due to increased cases of Covid. We are mid 60s vaccinated and boosted and have some risk factors. We pondered going and risking being anti social by not joining in group meals but that kinda defeats the purpose of going with a group of potential new friends, lol. There’s no way of avoiding bus travel with the tour, again kinda taking away the fun. It was a difficult decision but we are opting for a group tour next year. Wonderful as always RSE has put our deposit towards a tour of our choice for 2023-2024. RSE is a Top Notch organization. Here’s the NOT so funny part…we are both quarantined right now because somehow we got Covid! It’s true that we don’t mask while running into the store for apples and creamer anymore, a 10 minute shop. We haven’t attended any fabulous parties, weddings, or group events. Can’t even blame the grandkids for this bug! What’s the world coming to? It would seem that we have made the right decision for us. There is no way that we would have been able to travel feeling this ill. Next year. Next year.
Happy Friday, Tumbleweed. My wife, my MIL, and myself are headed to NW Italy and the French Alps next week - part of the time staying with family. Though we are concerned with the numbers, we are still going. Our trip does not include any large cities or urban areas. Nor are we using any public transport aside from 2 nonstop flights. We are definitely taking precautions on the trip as best as we can. We have our stock of N95 masks and standard surgical masks along with a supply of hand gel. I concur COVID is here to stay in some shape or form. Unless governmental restrictions are put in place again.......In the end, it's a personal choice for all of us to make. I'm just hoping that regulations for travel don't change in the midst of our travels. Happily, we do have somewhere to stay if we become ill and need to stay longer to recover.
The 3 of us are fully vaccinated and double boosted. That said, I just recovered from a bout of COVID that I got at the end of a road trip to Yellowstone during early June. I don't know which variant that I had. But I suspect that is was BA4 or 5 since all of our contact with other people was very casual and not prolonged. Everything we read is that BA4/5 is very contagious and is more adept at evading vaccines. We did not use masks in the brief times we were indoors. Nor did we use hand gel very often. Happily, my symptoms were relatively mild - though the fatigue and persistent cough were annoying. Crazy thing about it is that my wife never was ill despite being in the car together for hours on end. She took 4 home tests that were constantly negative. I suspect her response to the vaccine was better than mind.
Welcome to the world of travel in the COVID era.
I was scheduled to take the Portugal tour last April, but cancelled because of Covid anxiety. I signed up again for the 2023 tour and hope that things settle down. Very frustrating.
Actually, I'm the opposite. I returned to the US a couple off weeks ago and planned to lay low over the summer an return to Europe in October.
But I've changed my mind. I'm now planning a return to Europe next month.
Mask wearing by others isn't common either here or there. I can choose to wear a mask in either place. I have decided no group tours (see below) and I may do more dining in my hotel room than in restaurants. (So I'm choosing areas not known for their cuisine.)
I believe my odds of getting Covid are pretty much the same here in the U.S. and in Europe. If I get sick, I won't be the only person my accomodations have had to deal with and I can either get room service or have food delivered.
As you said, it's a personal decision and everyone has to do what's right for them. I personally hope more and more people stay home. This way, it may be less crowded over there.
One note......I took a small group tour in April (not RS). We were required to be vaccinated and boosted. We were required to wear a mask when with the group except when eating. (The local laws required masks indoors.) At the end of the tour, 50% of the passengers and the tour director tested positive. I was thinking of taking a 4 day mini-tour in a 16 passenger van in August but changed my mind. I'll do it on my own.
Yup, just canceled my Best of Barcelona and Madrid tour for November. I also scheduled a Cultural Wonders of Mexico tour in place of that tour, but am now thinking of canceling that as well. I’m just not ready for international travel this year, not with this new variant.
Fingers crossed that things settle down by October 2023 for my Best of South Italy Rick Steves tour.
I have a quick (five day) trip to Denmark planned for late August and I am not thinking of cancelling. I am going solo, staying in an Air BnB. I feel like I will have greater control over my exposure than I would traveling with a tour or with other people. When I travel solo I usually pick up groceries and eat in, or grab something to eat that I can eat on a park bench. I don't mind wearing a mask when I'm indoors or on public transportation regardless of what others are doing. I have not had my second booster yet; I was holding out for something more specific to current variants, but I think I am going to schedule my second booster so I'm up to date before this trip. I am in my fifties and don't have any risk factors. I can't wait to go!
Heck, I've probably cancelled more trips in the past two years than I've taken in the past ten. I've lost count. I book and cancel trips routinely now, it's no big deal (of course, I only book things that are fully refundable). That's my New Normal.
I traveled internationally this past spring, and decided months ago not to do any trips this summer. The summer is beautiful where I live (the one brief part of the year where it's nice outside, and we hate to miss that). Although I make exceptions, I generally do not enjoy traveling to much of Europe during the mid-summer, it's simply way too crowded and often far too hot for my tastes -- nothing to do with COVID, it's more about my priorities.
The airport melt-downs, excessive crowding and other late-stage-pandemic features were not hard to predict earlier this year (and not to always be Debbie Downer, but check your calendar, it's still early in the summer, and I suspect those things may get even worse, I usually figure late-July to end of August is the busiest time). "Shoulder season" has always been the sweet spot for me, it's only more so right now.
We'll see about my potential Fall trip, maybe I'll take it, maybe it'll go back on the shelf. The new normal.
Travel is a risk proposition right now. I have a month in September in which I have planned back to back RS Tours. I have mentally prepared myself for the possibility that things simply won't go as I originally planned and that I might get covid and my trip disrupted. I've kept that in mind in my planning and packing. I bought extra trip insurance, will pack extra meds, tests and have arranged that things will be taken care of at home.
I'm moving forward because there is another possibility as well. The other possibility is that my trip will go as planned, or at least close to it. The other possibility is that I will have a great time and see some places that I am looking forward to seeing.
I'll let everyone know which version of my trip I actually ended up having afterwards.
We canceled a trip due to one of my kids testing positive the week we were supposed to fly. With things being so booked up this summer and prices high, we have not rebooked. I wish we could travel in the off season, but my work schedule won’t allow it.
In December 2021 we cancelled a RS tour scheduled for May - Munich, Salzburg & Vienna. In April we cancelled the Best of England tour set for September. We were trying to make up for not traveling to Europe in 2020 or 2021, and taking into account that we might not have many good travel years left. When we booked these tours in May 2021, I felt a sense of euphoria at the prospect of traveling again. This excitement was gradually replaced by a growing feeling of dread as the reality of the travel environment revealed itself. At the time we cancelled the testing policy for return to the US was still in effect. Even though that requirement has been lifted, it still seems like it would be stressful to worry about testing positive and having to leave a tour. On our last RS tour (Village Italy ) a number of tour members got sick with some kind of bug. The camaraderie associated with the RS experience is one of the best things about these tours, but the bus travel and group meals might be problematic given the current COVID situation. It would also be challenging to deal with the quarantine/isolation rules imposed by different countries. On top of everything else, there have been many challenging issues with air travel. We have travelled independently in the past, but our preferred travel method now is to take a RS tour and add time on our own before and after. European travel just does not seem like it would be fun right now - therefore, we have not signed up for any 2023 tours. We are waiting until there is evidence of endemicity with respect to the virus, being a situation where case levels are lower and less volatile.
We have been going on road trips this year instead of traveling to Europe. For the fall we were thinking of where we could go in a days' drive that would feel like Europe, and decided on Quebec City.
I began traveling in the US back in September including taking a cruise and spending a week in the Midwest. I am currently on a tour in Europe. This will be followed a couple weeks later with a month long tour to Iceland and Denmark.
Yes - I’m concerned about Covid, am taking precautions and masking as appropriate. But I’m also engaging and enjoying independent and group travel/tours.
It seems that it can attack anywhere and without warning. I’m not letting it take control.
As I mentioned on other threads we have been wavering for over a year. The trip ( Oct 2020) was to be my retirement gift to myself and we were really looking forward to it, but cancelled. Then we thought about 2021 but wanted to see how vaccines and boosters helped travelers.
Our home location is not one that most have been wearing masks for the past year, so when I had to wear one for several dr visits, I realized how much they would detract from comfort while traveling. I would want to wear one as much as possible to avoid getting sick, so while I want to see Italy, I want to be comfortable as well.
I have experience getting sick ( in India) while traveling and it is no fun.
At this point I just don’t want to travel as much, I am not even going anywhere in the US.
We haven't cancelled any trips to Europe because we haven't planned any. We've both lived in Europe, have returned many times, (guided and independent trips), and love to travel. But, to us, it's simply not worth the hassle just now. And that's coming from two people who are pretty flexable, laid back, and "go with the flow" type people.
The increases in covid cases, the problems with the airlines, the different regulations between various countries (that are subject to change at any time), the possibility of having to quarantine somewhere, and simply not knowing what to expect, are just too many downsides. Perhaps when things return to some degree of stabilty, we'll pack the bags again. Until then we'll just do some road trips here in the U.S.
Don't mean to rain any anyone's parade, just offering our point of view. As the OP stated "...it's a personal decision and up to your risk tolerance..."
We’ve been to Europe twice post-COVID - Sept. 2021 and April/May 2022. We fly out to Italy in early October.
No plans to change - we follow whatever rules apply when we head out - we’ve done the French COVID pass + mask trip, the test-to-enter-Portugal + mask trip. We’ve flown 10+ hours in a mask.
It’s all okay with us - we’ve still had fantastic trips. I stay on top of the rules and we do the best we can with whatever parameters there are.
Our last international trip ended in late January 2020. In normal times we would have taken a minimum of two more international trips by now. We are immunocompromised so are waiting for better situations as far as COVID; we do want to end up in an Asian or European hospital. This is a very difficult choice for us to make. We primarily travel independently.
My son flew to Minneapolis from Seattle a few week ago for my dad's funeral. He was extremely careful and wore a mask most of the time he was here. He is fully vaccinated. When he returned to Seattle he came down with COVID about 4-5 days of his return. Since no one in our immediate family (his siblings and parents) that he spent the most time with, got COVID, it seems likely he got it on the plane home where he was wearing a N95 type mask for the entire trip. This new strain is extremely contagious and it seems people are having more significant symptoms. Incidentally, at least 20 people at the funeral got COVID symptoms within days of the funeral. That would have horrified my dad, but these are strange times.
Some might say this would make me more cautious, and I am. I am masking again when I'm out in public, we are being selective where we go. However, I'm done cancelling trips. I will be extremely cautious. I feel I'm just as likely to contract COVID at home, maybe more, than in Europe. When we went to Poland last fall, we ate only outdoors even though sometimes the temps in the evening were 55 F. We purchased 1st class train tickets and avoided local public transportation like buses. There were some museums we opted out of.
We also managed to avoid COVID on our recent, spring trip to Sicily. At the beginning of our flight it was announced that the court had ruled that masks cannot be mandatory for flights. People cheered. About 1/3, including my husband and I, kept our masks on. We were fairly cautious in Sicily and wore a mask indoors and in any crowded places outdoors.
We are planing a trip to France and Spain mid fall. We'll go unless something dramatically changes. We will probably do all the same things we did in Poland. Mask as much as possible, eat outside, avoid congested spaces. We won't be doing any tours. We are renting a car thus we won't be on trains and buses. We will mask on the plane and are hoping our AirFrance flights require masks. We are 50+ so we had 2nd boosters in April. We are hoping that we can get another booster before the trip, but that seems unlikely given below 50 has not been boosted, yet.
I think if I had a tour or cruise planned, I would cancel. I think a tour just increases the odds of catching COVID plus a person can't control the behavior of others. Additionally, we travel modestly. A tour or cruise would be much more expensive thus feels like more of a loss should we have to bow out during the tour.
Oh, I expect to still go places. I'm just not going to Europe – this summer. Too hot, too crowded, too many airports with "airmageddon" troubles. I wish success and good times to everyone who braves summer travel this year. I'm staying home and slicing onions.
I canceled our October RS Best of Spain, not because a concern about COVID but rather because of the company policy regarding boosters. We had the initial two shots in December 2020, deferred first booster last Fall and got the bug over New Year’s. I see no rationale to getting any more jabs for this disease unless they develop a nasal vaccine. I have booked a tour for next Spring to Greece with RS, hoping for a change in the policy.
We will travel to Italy this fall instead of Spain because I’m more comfortable with travel in Italy but want to have more handholding for Spain.
Nope. Everyone is different and has to do what is right for them and their mindset and physical condition.
However I have traveled to Greece in July 2021, Croatia Sept. 2021, Paris & Prague Dec. 2021, Barcelona Mar. 2022, Dubai & Jordan Apr. 2022, and am currently spending 5 weeks in Scotland and England (a week and a half into this trip right now). I did come down with a very light case of Covid a couple of months ago - but it was while I was home in the U.S. Go figure. So unless something different happens or comes along (I mean, I could break a leg or have a heart attack), I aim to continue heading to Europe while I can.
However all my travel is independent. Although I did take a Rabbies day trip last week, I am not interested in a tour.
If you want to cancel, then cancel. We went on our BOEE trip in June and had a marvelous time. They lifted the testing requirement to come back to the US 2 days before we left and that meant less anxiety for us. On the way there Lufthansa required masks for everyone, on the way home United did not but a 1/3 of us were wearing them. There were no masking requirements anywhere in Europe so it was up to us. We were required to wear them on the RS bus and all of us did so without complaint. I'm done letting it stop me from travel. I am vaccinated, will wear my mask when I am required or feel I need to, but otherwise plan on traveling.
I did a solo independent 24-day trip to Italy in June, staying in 11 locations - almost all of them non-touristy. I modified my usual plans of taking some cooking classes and instead did some private outdoor art classes. I purposely planned more activities being outside, and I rode lots of Regionale trains where you can choose where to sit. I had a fantastic time and so good to be back!
My adult daughter & I have a trip planned for late August for two weeks in Italy. It’s our postponed 2020 trip, and she has never been to Europe. I will admit that I’d feel better right now with the Covid numbers if we were headed to the less crowded locations, but being her first trip, we will be in V/F/R and some smaller locations. During June, I spent three days in Venice, and I definitely noticed the sound of people coughing compared to my other locations.
We traveled to Costa Rica in January after 2 1/2 years with no travel and, you guessed it, my
husband got covid. Luckily his case was really mild. Undeterred, we went on two back to back RS tours to Italy in April/May and came away unscathed. We are now scheduled for two more RS back to back tours in August/September and a three week trip to Antarctica in Nov/Dec. Am I concerned? Of course, but as someone pointed out we are older and our travel timeline is significantly reduced. We will do everything we can to avoid getting sick but that is the risk we are taking. I very recently had a health scare that would have ended my travel days forever. Luckily, my medical test was negative and I have bought some more time. At that health scare, I realized more than ever that my time on this earth is limited. None of us are getting out of this life alive. I am going to travel, drink the wine, eat the chocolate and take that flightseeing helicopter in Antarctica.
I booked two trips for this fall with frequent flier miles with the intention of taking one. I cancelled both this past week. It was the right decision for my husband and me but a frustrating one. My husband has a health issue I'm not willing to chance. So far, we're only doing a little travel around our own region. We live in a great area for outdoor activities anyway.
Everyone has to do what they think is best for them. Different people have health issues, work issues, family, etc to work around. I have two RS tours this fall and will be taking them. This is the new normal. I don't think that 2023 is going to magically be back to what it was like in 2019. This is it. This is the world we now live in. Just My Opinion.
We were scheduled for Portugal in October and have cancelled and moved it forward to May, 2023. We're hoping that the vaccines will be more targeted by then and offer more protection. We were fully vaxxed and double boosted, healthy with no underlying conditions and very cautious, but still got nasty versions of Covid in April, wiping us out for about 6 weeks. Just now (mid July) we're beginning to feel normal. We couldn't imagine leaving the tour, being quarantined, and later trying to fly back on a plane feeling so exhausted.
This will be our 5th RS tour - hoping to be able to go this time!
I'm due to fly 20 July (yes, next week) from Seattle to Dublin on British Airways and Aer Lingus via Heathrow. Aren't I lucky?! The only thing that will keep me from going is if BA cancels the flight(s) between SEA and LHR.
When I made my flight reservations back on 24 April, I deliberately scheduled the EI flight 3+ hours after arrival at Heathrow. I figured that would be plenty of time. We'll see. I'll have to go from T5 to T2.
I'm supposed to arrive in DUB at 17:15 on 21 July. I have reservations at a non-tour hotel for 3 nights before the tour starts. If I have to stay a night near LHR and/or fly or take the ferry from Holyhead (Wales) to Dublin I can do that. It wouldn't be the 1st time flight issues made me have to call my 1st hotel, tell them to hold my room and eat the cost of having to pay for 2 rooms in 2 different places on the same night. 🥴
I'm actually more concerned about those logistics, and the related luggage issues, than I am about getting Covid and having to leave the tour. RS Tours has already shown their praiseworthy response to such a situation and I trust their integrity.
I checked the roster for my tour. There are 24 people listed as 2 together and 4 single women. I don’t know about them, but I have the single supplement, so I'll have a private room in every lodging. I hope our group does better than the other Best of Ireland in 14 Days group that has recently been the focus of a discussion on the Forum. They also started with 28 and at last count I've seen, 12 have had to leave the tour.
I'm fully Moderna vaxed with both boosters and will have plenty of tests and KN95 masks along with me. I'm not inclined toward succumbing to peer pressure to go maskless on the tour or anywhere else.
Plus, I have a self-planned 2.5 week trip to Wales scheduled to start with a long travel day from Belfast where the tour ends to Llandudno. Unlike my normal MO, almost all my reservations are very flexible with no cancelation penalties, pay at the lodging, no upfront charges and cancelation deadlines very close to check in day. And at least now, the UK isn't requiring any kind of testing or isolating.
Similar to some others, I'm 76 and I assume that I don't have that many good travel years ahead of me. I originally planned to do this trip in May 2020. Even then I thought it might be my last. I'm not waiting any longer. I always get high-end travelers insurance with extra medical coverage that includes the pre-existing conditions waiver. I'm particularly thankful for that this year.
Travel just seems to involve a lot more luck than before. I'm currently in Spain where COVID numbers are much better than at home in France, so I do not worry too much about that, but there are other issues around, mostly logistical.
Airports are totally hit-or-miss: going through security at CDG took us 5 minutes, yet the next days there were reports of people missing flights due to long waits. I cross my fingers for the return flight from Santiago!
Car rentals are absurdly expensive: the usual international franchises were charging more than €500 per week for an economy model. I went through a local company (with just one office in Santiago) and paid 40% less, but I do end up with a car with almost 100,000 miles on the odometer - it runs fine, but that's a LOT for a rental. Thankfully, it does 45 mpg so gas prices aren't an issue.
Had I wanted to travel by train instead... Well, there is so much pent-up demand that trains are full days or even weeks ahead.
I too have been thinking about this. I’m booked for a Scotland trip in early September with my husband and mother. Supposed to fly from DC to Edinburgh, with a connection in Heathrow. I am kicking myself so much for not paying the extra $ for a direct flight. Right now, the exposure on the flight and airport is my main concern. We are planning to travel independently around Scotland and renting a car after going to Edinburgh. Right now, our inclination is to go and adjust a few more high risk plans (cancel BnB reservation at one place and book private accommodations, forgo group day tour.) We have travel insurance, and all vaccinated/boosted. It’s a hard call though. I’m really hoping Covid numbers come down in the US before the trip. Completely agree that this is a very personal decision that is different for everyone. I feel like I’m in the camp where I have been so careful during this pandemic, but am starting to wonder, is this just the new normal? I am thinking of calling to see if there is any chance I can amend my airline reservation to change it to a direct flight, but don’t have a lot of hope about it.
I agree this is an individual decision for everyone, but after much agonizing we have just canceled our 3 week trip to Italy (including the RS Southern Italy tour) scheduled for September. We have been extremely cautious throughout the pandemic and desperately wanted to return to Europe. I had all of our hotels and several private tours booked. I was really ready to travel. The tipping point for us was the combination of the increase in rates of infection from the newest strains of Covid, even among those fully vaccinated/boosted AND Italy’s mandatory quarantine rules. The idea of being stuck in a small hotel room for 10 days (in the event one of us continued to test positive until we could obtain a recovery letter) was a concern, as was bathe idea of having to quarantine somewhere along the tour route from which it would be difficult to return to a major city. We also felt we’d be increasing our risk level by being part of a tour. In discussing it —which we did extensively— we realized some of our favorite things about RS tours were getting to know fellow tour members and the ways that the tours alleviated so many of the stresses of travel (not having to rely on trains or buses, etc). The stress of having to worry about a chain reaction of positive tests on a tour and the possibility of being left somewhere on the tour route pretty much canceled out the latter, and we suspect Covid concerns might have impacted the former, as well. We did look into keeping our flights (booked pre Russian invasion at a very good price) and traveling solo, but things were already quite booked up, and I just don’t know Italy well enough to pivot like that this late.
Although I realize things may never get back to a pre-Covid normal, nor am I likely to travel in the future with the dollar equal to the euro, there are other factors making my decision a tiny bit easier. The challenges of flight cancellations, super crowded cities, extreme heat, drought, and fires are definitely making me lean towards much more off season travel in the future. Also, three friends who have just returned from separate trips to Europe— and whose daily social media posts had made me feel like such a coward for canceling—have all tested positive upon their return. Another tested positive and had to quarantine while in Ireland. She said in hindsight she would not have made the trip.
I feel profoundly sad about this decision….but it was the right decision for me to make. I wish everyone who does decide to pursue their European adventures this year good health and wonderful experiences.
I've canceled a trip to Italy in October. Covid wasn't a big reason for it though, at least not directly. In the past 2 years I've spent a lot of time enjoying the natural wonders of this country & I am enjoying it immensely. I find with limited funds & limited time, Europe doesn't rate as high for me as it once did. There's still places I want to visit there but they aren't as high a priority as they once were. I've gotten very into wildlife photography in the past 2 years. The list of wildlife I want to see in this country is long.
The other reason I canceled is I have a 14 year old lab. While she still can join me I want to focus on trips that can include her.
I haven't read all the responses but I guess most have said yes because of covid. Anyone's interests also changed?
I would add to this conversation that I have a cousin who has not stopped traveling since covid. He traveled domestically all across the US in 2020 and, as soon as he could, went international. He has not had covid to date. He is vaccinated and had a single booster and refuses to get another shot. He is currently traveling in the UK maskless. He has had good luck - so far.
Hi Tumbleweed. I took my first Steeves trip in May , to Scandenavia. It was a great trip and fortunately when I tested positive , we were in our last city . No getting left behind along the way, like 4 others.
I had another trip planned For Sept. but cancelled it when I got back from Scandenavia. The fact that 15 of us all tested positive at the end , is NOT the biggest reason for cancelling. My Sept. tour was a MY WAY tour so I would not be eating inside and in poorly ventilated places.
The biggest deterrent is airport craziness. I experienced Frankfurt and Stockholm airport insanity and it looked like it would only get worse before it settles down. One of my Sept. flights went through Toronto airport, another nightmare scenario. I have rebooked for next year and as long as airports are almost back to normal, I will head out. I will be more attentive to doing the things I do here to avoid exposure and I will get my head around the possibility of spending more time In Some stop along the way, if I get it and have to quarantine. I think people believe it won’t happen to them …If the Steeves tours continue to have indoor meals in quaint but poorly ventilated settings, I will also get my head around, not joining them, even though those meals would have been covered. Everyone does need to assess their own risks and trade offs. Of course who knows what things will be like next year. Good luck with your decision .
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether to cancel your vacation, and travel is definitely a personal and private choice. It makes me feel better in a way to see I'm not the only one in this boat; I didn't think I was, but nonetheless it helps to see different stories and perspectives. I'm sorry to those who canceled, but I'm sure you made what was the best decision for you; and hope you do get to travel again soon. I would normally travel in shoulder season but since my husband is back in school for the time-being, we are limited to summer and the holiday breaks. Looks like I chose airports poorly, too...Frankfurt! Thanks again!
I decided in 2021 after the vaccine was available that I wouldn't plan any trips for a couple of years because there would be too much pent up demand and prices would skyrocket. I do have plans to meet up with friends in Seoul sometime in the next year or so, but otherwise I'm saving my money or traveling locally.
Mary, I get your point about your cousin, like him, since COVID began I have been to Europe 6 times (8 countries), Mexico twice and Belize once
I looked at my general health and my risk factors and made an informed
I got each jab as it became available (4)
I was prepared to quarantine and incur a few thousand dollars in
additional hotel costs and flight rebooking’s and my employment
situation would not suffer if I got stranded.
I evaluated all the rules and determined if I could still have a trip
worth the effort.
Others may go through the list and decide its best to wait, and I respect that; its all good.
How many times have I had COVID? Don’t know as I’ve only been tested for my return trips to the US.
We leave next Saturday for overnight to Dublin on Aer Lingus and return two weeks later on August 6th. a few days in Dublin, but renting a car for traveling to the south and west of Ireland. My husband, 8 year old daughter, and 83 year old mother (who caught Covid in the dark days of November 2020 and was hospitalized for it). We are all multiple time vaxxed and boosted. We never went anywhere for two years. I didn't see my mother in person for 18 months. Our last international trip was to Amsterdam in November of 2019. I didn't enter a store until May of 2021.
Omicron BA.5 took me by total surprise. I was foolish enough to think it would be traveling in the colder months with everyone inside that would be worse. I went to 4th of July party (yep, this month) and caught COVID from the host. I have been ill/recovering for 8 days now. My kiddo and husband are still negative. Honestly, my biggest fear is for them to catch the new variant in a mostly unmasked airplane.
We bought lots of trip cancellation for any reason insurance/trip interruption for us all and are crossing our fingers. Who knows, I might back out tomorrow.
I feel for everyone who is struggling with all of this
I didn't book a trip for this year because of COVID related restrictions but I did book a RS Italy tour for April of 2023. I was hopeful that COVID (and any restrictions related to it) would be a thing of the past or at the least less severe in nature.
If COVID is still rampant in Europe and old restrictions are enacted again........I'll be canceling that tour too. I am so sad to think that I may be unable to go to Europe next year too.
Robin, Patricia, others....I know...It's frustrating.
Sorry if you have to cancel your trip. I realize it might not be comfortable or feasible for some but I would recommend going independent if you can. Rick's books make it pretty easy to figure out how to do it on your own. I'm planning a trip in December which originally included Italy and France but have since changed it to just Italy to simplify the process of dealing with different requirements for different countries. I found flights on Delta which have only one connection in Atlanta which eliminates a lot of the airport hassle in Europe. As long as I know what the situation is at FCO/Italy and show up early enough, I shouldn't have any airport problems. I'm vaxxed and have one booster but will refrain from another booster because of a pretty serious reaction to it, so as long as they don't bring back vaccine mandates and testing requirements I'll be fine. I actually eliminated going to France for this reason as they require boosters or testing while Italy doesn't. If you are vaxxed and boosted you should be fine as well, again as long as they don't bring back the testing requirement which may or may not be an issue for you if you need to be back promptly for work or something like that. If you are concerned about catching covid while traveling I'd recommend getting paxlovid, either at home if a doctor will give it to you or have a plan in Italy to be able to get it quick if you need. Fingers crossed for us all.
Beautiful Mary. Have fun!
I cancelled my February 2022 trip in December of last year when Omicron exploded. My final payment was due and it seemed foolhardy. I also didn’t want any more money tied up in credits. Come February I regretted having cancelled.
I rebooked for May, went, had a great time and no one got Covid.
That said, my September trip is not a tour. There was a lot of fear on the May trip that someone would test positive causing everyone to have to test.
I won’t cancel September unless some complete disaster happens or a recommendation to avoid non essential travel is put up.
This is not going away and I feel I can’t live my live holed up not doing things. Life is too short.
I just cancelled a trip to London with my granddaughter for next week. Even though I am double vaccinated and boosted I got Covid 3 weeks ago and am still dealing with the cough, fatigue, and dizzy spells. Traveling in Europe in the summer is challenging enough without being compromised by health issues.
I have another trip planned in early September to England and hope to feel stronger by then.
I was in England this past March and Paris in April. Both those trips went very well as there were very few international travelers last spring. Now it seems travel has taken off again and selfishly I wish it wasn’t quite so busy.
I'm so sorry, Jerre. I hope things improve for you.
Nope, haven’t cancelled any trips and wouldn’t consider it based on Covid. Spent last October in France and am spending this coming September in France and England. I don’t do group tours, only independent travel.
My Parents and I recovered from COVID 12 days ago and are leaving on Saturday to London for a 9 night British Isles Cruise where everyone must be vaccinated and boosted plus a negative PCR test. Then were off to Paris for a week,8 days in Prague then Israel for 12 nights.
In February were going to Phuket. We will take the next booster.
I wanna cancel. But can we. I'm past the refund dates. There is no insurance for fear of Covid. I guess, I should have bought cancel for any reason. I do not want to be inconvenience by getting Covid. I've been careful. Masking in crowded public places like the airport, public transportation, crowded stores, etc. We have done 3 domestic trips and I was in the clear until the 3rd trip I got Covid. Yay, me. I was sick for about 6 days with a cough, sinus congestion, and very raspy voice. So, honestly, if I could cancel now I would but I can't. My husband did not get sick. So, I'm sure his turn will be in Europe and 10 days. Who knew this would happen. I would have never booked a trip like this had I known. I would have preferred to travel domestic.
@disneyfreak I am so sorry that you find yourself in this position. Have you tried contacting the tour company or places with non-refundable deposits to see if you can reschedule? Perhaps they will allow this. If they say "no" you aren't any worse off and at least you have tried.
Thanks to Tumbleweed and to all others who have added comments/advise/thoughts. I have a trip scheduled to Puglia for late Sept/early Oct. Flights and accommodations are all made and can be cancelled without penalty. I am traveling solo, planning to use public transportation and have never traveled to the 5 cities that I have scheduled to visit. I've researched a lot and have been very excited to finally start traveling again -- fully vaccinated and not mask-adverse -- have all my covid test kits and Paxlovid tabs. Haven't had Covid at all so far. At 76, I consider myself healthy and travel savvy.
All that being said, when I began to hear about Paxlovid rebound and started imagining that if I DID get Covid while I'm there, I started to have second thoughts. If I stay healthy and all goes well and I don't get Covid --- Great!! But, if I do, then the idea of having to quarantine on my own, in a B&B that may not want me to stay there, feeling like crap, beyond the cancellation date for my next hotels and losing that money --- well, you get the picture.
So, all of your posting have been helpful and I can see all the different ways of looking at this issue. If I was younger, if flights weren't being cancelled left and right, if I was going with another person who could be there if I needed support, if I was staying in one city the whole time and not on and off public transportation traveling from one place to another, if if if....
So, I'm 99% sure I'll cancel the trip for now --- and hope that the future holds safe and fun and happy traveling for us all very soon.
@disneyfreak Yes, I am sorry too this happened to you. I too wonder if you can maybe work something out with your travel arrangements, like rescheduling or some sort of travel credit? So terrible.
No I have not canceled any vacations or travel plans not done 10 to. But I also am wearing at all times when I am on planes, trains , in public places etc. a KN95 or N95 mask. And I am up-to-date on all vaccinations and the boosters. I will do that regardless of what the Covid trends are for the next few years because I know that there’s a large sub group who’s out there going to have Covid but I can’t be bothered to be responsible . I personally know a family that lives near me that the day the restrictions were lifted for testing to come back to United States jumped on a plane home from Rome. 4 people randomly scattered through the plane, all positive, all symptomatic, not one mask between them. Yeah I figure anywhere I go is dangerous including my grocery store and I wear a mask. Because I want to be protected from people who can’t be responsible adults and stay home when they’re sick
I personally don’t think I’m in any more danger in Europe than I am in the United States. And actually maybe less so because they seem to have better vaccination rates than we do.
No, I've cancelled none of my plans. This year, I went on two RS tours (Portugal in March/April and Sicily in June), and am travelling independently to southern France in October 2022. If you are fearful, stay home, but I figured that if I got Covid, I would deal with it. Ironically, I fell down a flight of stairs in a Sicacusa church, and found out upon returning home, I had a tibial plateau fracture. So Covid is merely one issue you may encounter.
@jho1010 You seem like you have weighed your options thoroughly and thoughtfully; and certainly are brave! I know it is not an easy decision. I hope to hear back that you ultimately did go but I would have the same concerns as you if traveling solo. You sound like a spirited and hardy traveler!
@Carol. Sadly I read a recent NPR article quoting people who did almost exactly what you described about the family you know. People desperate to be home or for financial reasons can't stay put. It's terribly sad for them and for the health of the public in general.
I am reading this thread with great interest, since I am due to leave on a group trip to Spain and Portugal the day after Labor Day. When I booked it, I wasn't thinking that it was that close to Labor Day, or I probably would have put it off a bit, so that I was further into Sep.
I have done 2 group trips so far this year. In April, I was in a group of 11 people in Turkey. Turkey had very low transmission rates at that time, and we were largely outdoors. Our little bubble of 11 people was very healthy, and all was well when we tested to fly home at the end of the trip. We were mostly outdoors, and Turkey was not at all crowded in April.
The second trip was to Peru and Ecuador in June. We had a group of 12. Peru and Ecuador had low transmission rates at the time, but one of the group members caught Covid. He thought that he most likely got in on the flights down. Once Covid is introduced to the bubble, it's very difficult to stay Covid free. Of the 12 people, two had already had it recently. That left 10 of us. 8 of those ten had Covid by the end of the trip. One other lady and myself were the only two to escape the infection. Trying to figure out who not to sit with at meals - who might test positive next - was not fun. It definitely impacts the trip a bit - though we still had a good time. I will say that this group was very good about wearing their masks - except at meals, of course.
Now, I've seen it both ways. I really know that I probably should put the next trip off a bit. It's Covid, plus the mess at the airports and people not getting their luggage (my flights go through Amsterdam), the unusually hot weather, fires, etc. On the other hand, everything is all paid for, I have super good deals, and who knows what's coming next. I still don't know what I'll do for sure. (I can cancel up to 24 hours in advance.) However, unless something happens that pushes me further over to not going, I will probably go. I'd feel a lot better if I was totally decided, though.
I feel like on the tours, a real danger time is the long flight over when no one is wearing masks on the planes or in the airports. Once someone in the group contracts Covid, it's really bad news for everyone else in the group. If you can keep it out of the tour group bubble, it works well.
OP here. After much anxiety, worry, and angst, I went ahead with my trip to France with a couple days in Germany. Absolutely no issues with the airports (Dulles/Frankfurt) or luggage. A couple weeks before leaving I checked websites such as FlightAware to see the flight history for my flights. It put my mind at ease to see none had been cancelled and only a few had minor delays. Just a musical chairs scenario with plane seats on the return trip that was ridiculous (but ended up being upgraded so it was ok), and some rental car challenges (but they all worked out). I was lucky in that I had no connections; plus it was independent travel. Wore my mask inside shops and restaurants as feasible, in the airports and on the plane, and in crowded outdoor areas, but mostly ate outdoors. Washed my hands frequently, used hand sanitizer, and wiped down airline seats. I did not wipe down the hotel rooms - which I almost always do! I had decent sleep almost all nights. Been back for 6 days now and no signs or symptoms of COVID, so fingers crossed this continues. Overall it was a lovely time and as usual I am glad I went. Just some positive news to share!
Tumbleweed70 thanks for circling back and reporting. Not enough people do and its helpful to get current feedback.
“ People desperate to be home or for financial reasons can't stay put. It's terribly sad for them and for the health of the public in general”
So the family I know that flew home from Rome was desperate to get home so they could go run around Atlanta. Financially it was not a problem they could’ve stayed in your Rome without it being a financial problem but you know the Italians expected them to stay in a hotel room so they came to Atlanta where no one really cares. They did takeoff work for 10 days because they had Covid and they use that tile to go up to Gatlinburg and go to the mountains. She told everyone how Covid is a good way to extend your PTO days. It’s not said it’s rude
Coming a bit late to this thread. Last spring, I posted here about the possibility of visiting England in July. I was concerned about hot weather and COVID. I had decided not to travel until masks basically disappeared off the face of the earth. LOL Well, in early August, a coworker went to an outdoor concert with another coworker, contracted COVID, and I got it. Then my husband got it. I was pretty angry because I felt we had followed all the rules (vaxxing, boosting, etc.) Now my attitude is kind of "what the hey." I don't have to travel to get COVID; all I have to do is go to work and sit more than 20 feet from a coworker and I'll get it. In short, I am planning to return to England in May 2023.
The only reason I might cancel my RS Ireland tour next Summer is if he's still requiring pre-tour Covid tests and masks on buses for fully vaxed and boosted tour members. Honestly . . .
Well I have read the above posts and get the impression that Covid illness is being addressed by mandating masks on the bus. We just got back from an East coast trip where John got sick with Covid and was completely out of commission for a good 2-3 days. I can’t see wanting to get on a bus with chills, fever and diarrhea wearing a mask, let alone be the other passengers on that bus! Do I assume that Covid illness is permitted on the tour? Masking is the response to a covid positive/ill individual? I just looked into travel insurance and the wording is very vague and open ended.
debandjohn. No, individuals with known Covid are not allowed to participate in the tour. Members are on the honor system to report to their guides if they begin experiencing symptoms and remain away from the group until a test can be taken. Note this is the honor system. Sometimes people have less honor than others....... I was stunned on one tour last summer to discover on the last day that one of the members had simply taken a picture of his wife's negative covid test and never tested pre-tour at all. He bragged about it........ It is amazing how cheap people will give away their personal integrity.
I agree with Carol and will add....
"Masking is the response to a covid positive/ill individual?"
No, currently after the negative test to join the tour, all mask for the continued wellness of themselves and their companions on the tour. As Carol mentions, a Covid+ person is dropped from the tour. The RS office has staff to assist with finding hotels for any isolation that a certain country might have.
This has been posted several times now on the RS Tour Update. IMO it bears repeating
“Despite all tour members agreeing to our health and safety policies prior to joining a tour, we’ve found a very small number think they don’t need to adhere to our policies putting everyone else on the tour at risk. While most eventually accept our masking requirements, a few have been obliged to leave their tour. It’s good to keep in mind that travelling as part of a group requires some concessions and is not for everyone.”
I have it on good authority that all these Covid precautions are under review for 2023. By the end of this year, we should know what will be in store for the next.
I can report on a recent trip to Rome. COVID is a non entity. There were a couple "testing" tents that looked like they hadn't been used in months. About 5% of the population is wearing masks wether in a crowded restaurant, metro or anywhere else including the flight there and back. This in December as people were coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses all over the place. Even in the Vatican Museums where there were a couple ragged signs saying people need to wear masks, nobody was. It is increasingly looking like Italy is simply not testing that much. According to the WHO numbers, Italy has been at a consistent low level of cases since October and I find that very unlikely considering past fluctuations and considering the situation on the ground, again with the people basically living like normal in close quarters with all kinds of noises coming from their heads. If you're afraid of catching covid, stay home. Otherwise, live your life.