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Mask Requirements on Rick Steves tour

I am looking to book an available RS tour in late April to the Netherlands. I know that we will have to wear a mask on public transportation and inside buildings, but will we have to wear them on the bus? This is a deal breaker for my travel partner. Thanks.

Posted by
183 posts

I believe the current answer is yes you need to wear masks on the bus but I would ask the RS office directly.

Posted by
7557 posts

I think only RS tours can answer your question. Here is a quote from the tour expectations document. You have to be willing to wear a mask if asked.

"Agree to follow all safety precautions and health directives set by your guide, RSE, or local officials to help safeguard your health and wellbeing as well as that of your fellow tour members, RSE staff, and RSE tour partners. These precautions may include but not be limited to the following:

Maintaining proper social distancing.
Use of face masks (covering your nose and mouth).
Regular temperature checks.
Proper handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer.
Quarantining if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 (or other contagious illness), and/or being seen by a health professional as a condition of  continuing on  with the tour."

Posted by
10322 posts

Will I need to wear a mask in Europe?

Many places in Europe require everyone to wear a mask while indoors or on public transportation. Further, some countries (such as Germany) specify that it must be a medical-grade mask rather than a cloth mask. The European term for this type of mask — which you might see on signs — is "FFP2." This is comparable to the N95, KN95, or KF94 masks that are readily available in the US. (You do not need to actually have "FFP2" marked on your mask, as long as it's of a similar grade.) Surgical masks are also typically accepted. If heading to Europe, don't count on using cloth masks — instead, bring along (or buy there) better-quality masks.

I have not checked, but I would expect that the tour buses would be subject to the rules that apply to 'public transportation' in the country in which they are traveling.

Posted by
412 posts

I am booked on the April 30th Belgium/Holland tour. The email that we received for the Rick Steves office states:
Most places in Europe require everyone to wear a face mask while indoors and on public transportation and some are currently requiring masks outdoors as well. Some countries specify that your mask must be medical grade (FFP2 in Europe and N95, KN95or KF94 in the US), so we suggest you bring both medical grade and disposable surgical masks (not cloth masks). On tour expect to wear them at all times except when eating or drinking, and while in you hotel room.

It might be a deal breaker for me too. The closer I get to my trip, the more I question whether I want to live in a mask for over 2 weeks. I live in Texas and we don’t wear masks except to the Doctor or Dentist. If we don’t go, we will lose our $800 deposit ($400 per person). I’ve got 2 more weeks to make up my mind before I pay the balance of my tour. It’s a tough decision.

Posted by
144 posts

Don't you have to wear masks for the flight over to Europe?. For me, that's going to be the tough part. Not the few days we will be on a bus for few hours. You should chart how long you will be on a bus each day. It's probably not that much.

You get used to it. I'm going to the theater tonight and masks are required. Went to the Orchestra last week. Masks required.

Most of my friends work in settings where they wear masks all day long, so I've learned not to complain, or I get a giant eye roll from them. lol!

Posted by
10322 posts

If we don’t go, we will lose our $800 deposit ($400 per person). I’ve got 2 more weeks to make up my mind before I pay the balance of my tour. It’s a tough decision.

Suggest you contact the RS office and see if you can 'roll over' the deposit to next year.

Posted by
25 posts

The following is from an email I received on January 13 regarding my May BOE tour-
All participants on a Rick Steves tour — guides, drivers, and tour members — must be fully vaccinated and boosted.
• Masks will be worn whenever we're indoors: in museums, in public spaces of hotels, and on the bus. And sometimes we'll wear masks outdoors, depending on local requirements.
• Tours will be smaller than usual. That means each person (or couple) gets their own row of seats on the bus. And we will not be rotating seats but keeping our same seat day after day.
• We will do our best to dine in well-ventilated spaces, outdoors when possible.
• We'll support our tour members in meeting whatever standards of safety are required by the European countries we'll be visiting.

We established these procedures based on Europe's high standards for public health. For example, admission to hotels, restaurants, museums, and historic sites is generally limited to people with proof of vaccination. Masks are required for most indoor sights. Tests are easily accessible. As a tour company, we embrace Europe's science-driven, common-sense approach to keeping everyone safe and healthy.

On my recent trips, I had to show my CDC card to prove my vaccination, I wore masks more frequently than I might back home, and I had to test before flying back to the US. Those specifics will be in flux in the coming months. But I expect some version of this will be the "new normal" for quite some time to come. And, in the event we find it necessary to cancel a tour departure because of COVID, we will promptly refund all payments and deposits.

We so appreciate your patience, flexibility, and support. On behalf of all hundred of us here at Rick Steves' Europe and our wonderful guides awaiting your arrival in Europe, we thank you for trusting us to turn your European travel dreams into smooth, affordable, and safe reality.

Thanks so much!

Rick Steves

Posted by
1202 posts

As other's have mentioned the flight would be your longest time wearing it, and you do get used to it. I wear it all day for my job, and I do so willingly, as I work with 200 students/staff every day. Maybe check the itinerary for how much you would actually be wearing it before deciding.

Posted by
7557 posts

I wanted to share a bit about my experience with masking in a group travel situation. I went on a cruise in January with very similar masking expectations. You were required to wear your mask unless you were in your stateroom, the pool, outdoors socially distanced, or sitting and actively eating/drinking. This was 8 days.

I'm pretty comfortable with wearing a mask and for me, it was non-issue. Choice of travel with mask or no travel at all..... Travel with mask wins. My travel day was particularly long flying to the cruise. I live in the Seattle area and it left from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I determined I had worn my mask 17 hours straight except for 2 short breaks to eat. It did seem a bit long, but when I arrived in Puerto Rico it was worth it all.

I think it gets down to a personal choice for each individual. Which will bother you more, mask or not traveling? The answer will be different for different people and I can respect either choice. The one choice I can't respect are those who go into a group travel situation knowing the expectations and then choose not to follow them.

Posted by
2068 posts

Not sure this helps, but the bus has to stop every 2 hours, so I would assume if you’re outdoors that you can take off your mask for a respite.