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Hotel rooms

For anyone unlucky enough to get Covid on tour, can you still stay in the hotel rooms reserved for you in different towns? I know you won't be part of the tour but if you can get yourself to next spot,can you stay in the reserved rooms? We are on the Christmas markets tour and I can't imagine trying to find a place to stay at that time. I guess I should check with tour office! Just be pro active or paranoid!🫠

Posted by
385 posts

I would check with RS offices, not sure what the current policy is. Our experience in Sicily in spring 2023 was that you are immediately dropped from the tour, and no longer have access to the tour hotels - unless you choose to make your own reservations.

The policy at the time was that you would be refunded most of your tour costs, so it makes sense that your rooms would not be available. This may have changed, but you should check.

We were able to stay at the Palermo hotel for a few more nights, at our expense, but that was it and only because they had rooms until the weekend - after that, they were booked. Tour guide and hotel front desk were helpful in this situation.

Adding - if you are testing positive for COVID, you aren't going to go much of anywhere for a bit. I would hope.

Posted by
113 posts

I’m on the Sicily tour right now and so far 3 have got Covid and I think more have it yet to be disclosed! You are immediately dropped and of the hotel will or can accommodate you, it’s possible to stay at your own expense but the RS office are notified and connect with you to help figure out. I’m

Posted by
256 posts

You should email this question to the RS tour office for official response. I will say that on our RS tour in France in 2022, several travelers who tested positive for Covid and were dropped from the tour showed up at the subsequent tour hotels. They arranged their own transportation and, I assume, paid for their rooms that had been reserved for the RS tour. Although they were not included in tour activities, we saw them at breakfast and sometimes at tourist sites around town. Hope you get an answer for your Christmas market tour and hope that protocols change for 2024.

Posted by
7464 posts

Chriss, I agree that all of your subsequent reservations are released because you are no longer part of the tour.

This is my personal opinion, but I would feel very uncomfortable if I was on a tour, someone had Covid, and they showed up at one of the next two hotels (paying themselves) and were in the breakfast room eating with the tour members.

Posted by
338 posts

Chriss, we found ourselves in that situation on our tour (with four days remaining) in Ireland last month. Even if we had even mild symptoms, we would never have followed along where the tour would be staying, and I’m sure that the rooms reserved for us for the remaining time were released. But FYI, and in our case…this was our experience: I think that so much depends on the hotel’s flexibility…RS uses so many smaller hotels, even B&B’s, and often they are expecting another tour a few days later. We were so fortunate that our guide and the front desk made sure we could stay on, and we were able to remain in our same (huge) room for the next five days. By the time we left, we felt like locals in little Westport! The RS team was available if we would have needed them, but we moved to plan B (changed our travels that were following the tour, flew home earlier than planned), We were numbers 8 and 9 to leave the tour…it’s still out there, unfortunately.

Posted by
864 posts

We were on the Portugal tour last April when I came down with Covid. It was made very plain by the guide that we were immediately dropped from the tour and on our own. Finding a hotel room, transportation, medical help/advice, was our responsibility. But it will not hurt to check with the tour office, the people in the office have always gone out of their way to help us and may have suggestions for you to ease your anxiety.

Posted by
8648 posts

Chriss, I had Covid in September. I was fortunately at home. My doctor told me that the current protocol was to isolate for 5 days from the onset of symptoms and mask up for a few days after that. I realize that different countries may have different protocols, but I think you will want to first of all check with your doctor for his/her recommendations.

Posted by
311 posts

Thanks all! Sure adds a bit of bother! Especially for someone who will be worrying the whole trip 🙄 Glad only 8 days .

Posted by
7464 posts

Chriss, worrying about the trip is definitely not the way to anticipate and enjoy your Christmas market trip!

Do yourself a favor and think through and write down your Plan B. Look up train routes to see how you would move between locations. Hallstatt is probably a bus to connect. Munich, Salzburg and Vienna are well-connected by trains. Look on Booking.com to see generally what area of each city you would want to stay and the style of options available. I usually filter on 8+ ratings, within 1/2 mile, and private bathroom to start.

I had a complete Plan B written down when I was going to take my solo independent trip to Italy in 2022 while we still had to test negative to fly back to the US, plus long quarantine required in Italy. I also did it for the RS Adriatic tour. Knowing ahead of time just relieved any need during those trips to waste precious vacation time down the “what if” trail.

Posted by
14280 posts

I'll add that I think it's important to see what the rules are for Coronavirus in the countries you are visiting. I tried to look for Germany but came up with nothing so maybe you will have better luck.

When I was traveling in UK this spring and Summer the tour guide said the current UK rules did not require any kind of quarantine/isolation and that the locals were just to mask if they felt sick and go on with life as normal. They are treating it as if it were like a cold or any other respiratory virus. If they use the same approach in Germany and Austria that might mean that if you didn't feel ill you could mask and still go to the Christmas Markets.

I've done a lot of Road Scholar tours in the past as well as Rick's and will say that from the chat on the FB pages from people who have done the tours that people are staying away from the group for 5 days and then rejoining if they test negative.

I would suggest you take some N95 masks with you. I don't know if they are hard to find but some people I traveled with said the Covid 19 tests were elusive in some situations in UK. I didn't have any trouble finding them at a pharmacy but others did. I've not traveled to Germany in years so not sure what is available now...but better to be prepared.

Additionally on both my trips in April/May and in August I was nearly the ONLY person on the flights over and back who masked and was one of the very few on public transit. I realized when walking around one of the smaller cities in England and saw some people giving me 2nd looks that only the ill were masking and that no one was masking for protection.

Posted by
311 posts

Thanks Jean and Pam. Plan Bs are good to have for your mental health! I really wanted to take a longer trip but am now very glad we aren't traveling too far or for many days😊

Posted by
11516 posts

Through September, we had a small increase in the percentage of Covid cases on tour, moving up to 3% from 2.3%. Like in the US, many EU countries are seeing more Covid cases this fall, so it's important to maintain our health and safety measures while on tour.
https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/on-the-road-reports

To move the 'year to date' average that much indicates a significant spike in cases.

I suspect once you are booted from the tour your rooms are cancelled, so are back on the 'open market'.

Only the RS office can verify what happens.

Posted by
39 posts

I lived this in August! My sister and I were on the 8 day Scotland tour in high season. Festival season and tattoo were on in Edinburgh. We met up with the group for day 1 intro and supper in Inverness. Went back to the room and my throat was feeling just slightly off so I did a test just to be safe and came back positive. We notified our tour guide immediately. We were only allowed to stay in our hotel room for that night and had to check out the next morning with literally almost no hotel rooms anywhere. In the moment it felt like a nightmare but I tried not to panic.

RS Tours did offer to help us search for a place to stay but I had done so much research before trip. I was able to hop online and book a room at another hotel to hunker down in for a few days until I got over the worst of the sick. Price was the real factor, we paid an extreme cost for these rooms to book them day of. I was very thankful to have credit cards/emergency funds to pivot to alternative plans. RS Tours gave us the refund for 7 days within two weeks of arriving home. Within a couple days my tests were coming back negative. I kept masking and we were able to book a rental car and carry on down the coast by ourselves seeing some sites we wouldn't have been able to see on the tour, but obviously we missed out on all the tour experiences. Eventually we made it to Edinburgh, returned our car, and got to see the Tattoo show and catch our original flights home. Thankfully I had what sounds like a very mild case of covid, staying up to date on vaccinations was probably beneficial.

Posted by
14280 posts

@Excited Traveler - I'm so sorry you got Covid but appreciate your sharing your story.

The 2 key points to me that you make are:

  • "RS Tours did offer to help us search for a place to stay but I had done so much research before trip. I was able to hop online and book a room at another hotel to hunker down in for a few days until I got over the worst of the sick."

  • "Price was the real factor, we paid an extreme cost for these rooms to book them day of. I was very thankful to have credit cards/emergency funds to pivot to alternative plans."

Both are critical to me for a successful outcome!