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Covid while on tour?

I’m signed up for a MyWay tour in September.
I recently got Covid (despite careful masking) while on a group tour in Alaska and was on my own figuring out a plan.
I will be on a MyWay tour in September. If I, or a family member, get Covid, how much help will the guide be able to give me? I’m thinking of help getting to a hotel with a vacancy for 5+ days and a way to get food. What was your experience?

Thank you,
Elaine

Posted by
13814 posts

Check out this section from this website:

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/on-the-road-reports

This weeks posting has this:

While the vast majority (over 90% of our travelers) are not impacted by a positive test, we're focused on minimizing that number and helping those that do have to leave their tour. Believing that eating as a group indoors or in poorly ventilated dining rooms may be needlessly risky, we're working to make meals safer for our upcoming groups. And to support any traveler who needs to leave the tour because of a positive test, we're dedicating more staff to help these travelers with finding accommodations, changing flights, and dealing with their travel insurance company.

Posted by
771 posts

The first thing you would need to do is to contact your travel insurance company so they can help you with arrangements and tell you how to go about filing a claim..

If you don't have travel insurance, Rick has a contract with Travel Guard where they will help you with arrangements at your own expense.

On your Tour Account page, the last item across the top is "Documents." Click on that, and the third item down is the page of information on how to contact Travel Guard. Rick advises you to print this out and carry it with you in your money belt in case of emergencies, COVID-related, or otherwise..

Posted by
4 posts

It’s reassuring that more RS staff will be available to assist tour members with Covid. I do have travel insurance and am currently saving receipts for expenses while isolating here in Anchorage.
As a traveler to Europe where rates of transmission are so high, maybe it behooves me to find doctors, and medication, food delivery and hotels with vacancies at every stop of our tour.?
Overwhelming but things may be better there in September.

Posted by
7549 posts

Elaine, I am a planner, but the idea of finding those resources for every stop on a tour in advance, "just in case", is step beyond where I would go. You, of course, should do whatever makes you feel more comfortable about your trip.

Posted by
2067 posts

We did the My Way Italy this spring. Our guide was accessible every morning, as well as on the bus and we seemed to run into him during the day as well. He gave us his contact info at the first meeting and had all of us take a photo of it in case we needed to reach him. It also appeared that he was in frequent contact with the home office where they are able to coordinate guiding you through the process should you test positive for COVID. . I will also share that because it’s a My Way and you are making your own arrangements, there is little scheduled time together and all our gatherings were outside. Masks on the bus were 100% compliant and people chose to be outdoors when we hit the comfort stops. The seat backs on the bus are high so you’re pretty walled off from one another, especially if everyone is wearing a mask. Our tour group of 25 sailed through without any COVID cases and everyone tested negative to go home. I hope this gives you some peace of mind.

Posted by
3 posts

I just got back from a Best of Germany tour. I had arrived a few days early, and on my 5th day in Germany (day 3 of the tour), I came down with covid symptoms. Here's the timeline and what happened:
* Wake up: scratchy throat. I had a spare rapid test: negative. I let my guide, Stephanie, know; she thanked me, and said that RSE policy was that I double-mask (easy enough), to try and socially distance, and that I test again that evening. Stephanie had extra tests.
* While on the bus, it was easy for me to not be near anyone; same for when we stopped occassionally during the day.
* Upon arriving at the hotel, I took a second test: oops, positive! I immediately let Stephanie know, and went outside to hang outside the hotel to chat when she had a chance, which she did just before dinner. She quickly chatted with the hotel receptionist so that I could order food delivery, and said she'd talk with me more after getting back from dinner.
* My ordered pizza arrived, and I went up to my room to quarantine.
* Later that evening, Stephanie dropped off a few things outside my door: another rapid test to doublecheck (although at this point, I was running a slight fever), my packaged dinner from the restaurant (so thoughtful of them!), and a form that the hotel asked I fill out. Germany policy is that I should stay in place and quarantine for 5 days (going outside is allowed).

Here's where things got a little interesting: we were in the small town of Hanover-Munden, and the hotels were completely booked. The receptionist told Stephanie that the hotel manager would be on site at 6am the next morning, and as Nicholas is fluent in English, he'd be able to help me directly as well.

6am, I let Stephanie know I was awake to answer questions. She thanked me and said she'd get back to me. With tour scheduled to depart at 8:20am, by 7am, I realized that maybe I could help, so I texted Stephanie to ask if I could help with searching via my iPad. She thanked me and said that'd be a big help: they had exhausted the local hotels, and were thinking that a nearby Airbnb would serve me best. At this point, it was easy for me: Nicholas told me about the nearby city of Kassel, which he thought would work better than staying in Hanover-Munden. I told Stephanie that I was all set.

Sure enough: easy enough to find a place in Kassel. Nicholas arranged a taxi ride, and was very helpful in printing out my booking's documents, plus calling the Kassel contact person to let me know when I'd be arriving. Upon arrival, everything was very smooth, and I was settled in.

I had a very mild case (I am double boosted), so walking 1km to a supermarket was very easy. I spent my days of quarantine by walking double-masked around Kassel and avoiding crowds. Post-quarantine, I then relocated to a hotel on the outskirts of Berlin and also saw some outdoor sights of Spandau and Berlin.

I did contact Travel Guard Assistance, but it turned out I didn't need them: they are set up to help out someone who needs a doctor or hospitalization. Me, I needed neither, so after sending a few emails back and forth, I had them close my case.

As published, the RSE office isn't really set up to help out, so I didn't ask them for help. They were very good about answering my questions as they came up (in hindsight, I could've answered them all by more carefully re-reading the tour docs, oops!).

Things that are super helpful:
* a local SIM card for your smartphone. I didn't have that until after I got to Kassel; for future trips, I'll definitely get one upon landing!
* having an iPad in addition to my phone was helpful, but hardly necessary, in searching for places.

Executive summary: will your guide help you? Yes. But, the more you can contribute on your own, the better.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for all the replies and tips. It does sound like the amount of help one can get depends on how busy the tour is. I will keep my fingers crossed that by September, the Covid rate in Germany will be lower. And instead of going to beer halls or other indoor places, we will stick to seeing the scenery and eating outdoors. I think that’s the best we can do in these times.
E

Posted by
12613 posts

@Dave - Thanks so much for your post. It so good to know the guide and the hotel manager were helpful in finding you a place to stay! Hope you are feeling better by now.