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Travel and Endemicity

I feel that the virus situation should allow for safe and fun travel before returning to Europe. The current surge in cases is worrisome, but in order to plan for 2022 travel, I need to assume that things will be much better in the spring. Further, I would like to see evidence of virus endemicity, a point where COVID cases are lower and fairly stable (except perhaps for a cool weather spike).

The problem is that endemicity may not be apparent for awhile, thus making planning difficult for 2022.

It would be sad to cancel plans for 2022, but I may also feel a sense of relief due to not worrying about all the virus unknowns.

Posted by
7468 posts

I sure wish Covid was no longer in the equation when assessing risks for traveling. But in the meantime, I’m moving forward with plans to take the RS Best of the Adriatic tour in June, and I’m really hoping my daughter & I can finally take our postponed trip to Italy in September. My husband is planning to meet me in Italy (least risk) or hopefully, Nice or Barcelona for 10 days after our daughter flies home.

This year I cancelled my September solo trip to Italy since I wanted to stay in several small towns, and it felt too much like a project plan vs. a vacation. But a friend invited me to Puerto Vallarta for a week in her timeshare, and that vacation, although very different from my norm, was a wonderful feeling of traveling again.

Being retired, I’m ready to make up for lost time!

Posted by
280 posts

I know what you mean about not being sure how to plan. I am also supposed to take the Adriatic tour, beginning on June 14, with another couple, and have been watching the growing number of cases in area with an equally growing concern. We have until the end of December to change our mind without penalty, but there's no way of knowing what the situation will be like next Spring. We've been duped before by things seeming to improve and then a nasty variant hits. I'm really eager to begin traveling again, would love to go to Italy . . . but it's confusing when you know that despite how you feel, you are considered "elderly" and in a risky category!

Posted by
5164 posts

Lois, I'm there with you, somewhat amazed that I also fall into the "elderly" classification. What happened? Where did the years go?

Posted by
768 posts

I'm sure my post will not be received well but I'm becoming even more pessimistic about the 3 tours we reserved. First, being Michigan residents makes it more difficult for us to even avoid having covid when our first tour begins. It's sad how we squandered the good position we were in months ago. Second, our first tour in April starts in the Netherlands and my primary interest is art which will make indoor activities most important. I really don't consider daily testing something I want to do for an extended period and that may not even be enough at the Rijksmuseum. Third, we unwisely chose tours that cover too many countries. There are so many concerns now that I too feel that canceling will simply be a relief. You may be in luck if you are waitlisted for April.

Posted by
15721 posts

Whether or not you feel it is safe to travel is a personal decision.

I'm currently traveling in the UK. Before this I was in France. I will be in Europe until early January. I'm already planning my return trip to Europe from April to June.

The one thing I have learned is that you have to be more flexible with your plans as they may change during your trip.

Personally, I think my chances of catching covid are no higher in Europe than they are in the US.

While most people don't wear masks here, I do. I still wash my hands often and I try my best to social distance. But it's my opinion that Covid is not going away anytime soon and we have to get on with our lives. Adjustments have to be made but we also have to learn to live with it.

Unless the government calls for a lockdown, I'm getting on with my life. It may be with a mask on but if that is the price I have to pay to be able to travel, so be it.

YMMV

Posted by
997 posts

It is hard to know what travel for 2022 will hold, but I am starting to make plans for Fall 2022 for a trip back to Europe, likely Italy. I have been venturing out domestically, made a brief trip to Canada and find travel overall more stressful. As others have said, flexibility is key and patience. While I hope things will be more like traveling in the past, regardless it will be a different experience.

Looking forward to reading about everyones plans for 2022 on the forum as inspiration.

Sandy

Posted by
8656 posts

I think if one waits for things to be back to "normal", there will be a long wait. I've taken 3 trips so far. I went to Colorado (Rocky Mountain National Park) for a week, took a week cruise to Alaska, and spent a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Interestingly, the one I felt "safest" on was the cruise. Anyone old enough to be vaccinated had to show proof of vaccination and everyone had to show a negative covid test to board the cruise. Masks were required in many indoor settings. Lower passenger numbers and social distancing were in place.

Colorado shocked me because of the lack of mask wearing. (For context, I am from the Seattle area where covid protocols are quite strict) I realized that covid protocols are regional here in the United States and that one probably experiences the same in traveling through Europe. One area is more strict than others. As Frank mentioned above, there was nothing to keep me from wearing my mask when I felt it was appropriate and I did.

North Carolina was interesting. I spent a few days in Virginia where protocols were less rigorous than home. Then I went to North Carolina which seemed to have no protocols left in place at all and people talked about "when there had been covid." Fortunately, I had been to Colorado previously so I just kept on doing my normal practices and didn't let it bother me too much.

Whether it is here in the US or in Europe, a traveler will find a variety of protocols or lack of protocols in place. Each traveler will need to decide how he/she feels about visiting places that may deal with this issue differently than they are used to and the risk associated with it.

Posted by
6113 posts

Although vaccination rates are now higher, it was summer when many of the European restrictions were lifted, not Spring.

Everyone has their comfort levels. I returned to the U.K. last week from Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, where infection levels were low, so I felt safe. I wouldn’t travel 40 miles into London by public transport where no one is wearing masks and eat out there.

Posted by
280 posts

Interesting that Carol felt safest on her cruise! A friend and I (half of the couple on our hoped-for Adriatic trip) had planned a girl trip cruise to Alaska last June. Needless to say, we cancelled in early March just before any payments were due, so fortunately there were no financial consequences. But I've wondered if that trip will ever happen! I haven't taken cruises before, and the idea of a huge ship was daunting enough before Covid. I guess if everyone is vaccinated, but still . . ..

Posted by
4308 posts

Unless the government calls for a lockdown, I'm getting on with my
life. It may be with a mask on but if that is the price I have to pay
to be able to travel, so be it.

My feelings as well. My life is getting back to normal. I'll be leaving for a football game in a few minutes that will be attended by 25,000 others. I play hockey twice a week and go malls and restaurants weekly. We'll be spending a week in San Diego County in February and it's full steam ahead with plans for Scotland in June. All of the above are done with the knowledge and hope that we're all doing what is asked of us to stay safe. I have no fear of the virus as long as I'm careful. It's with relief that I've made the decision to move forward and make travel plans.

Posted by
2716 posts

Early on i stated in this forum, about the time we were starting to prohibit travelers from entering the US, that this virus would spread dramatically and other countries would bar Americans from entering. I got slammed by a few folks. Turns out that was the least of it. I never saw the disease and death, the closing of our country, the incredible impact on the entire world. Who could see that coming? Fast forward we have imperfect but incredibly effective vaccines, antibody infusions that can stop people from having to be hospitalized, and, soon pills that will prevent severe disease. I am more optimistic than I have been since this began. I have booked a trip to Spain in late 2022 and a 50th wedding anniversary cruise to Northern Europe in 2023. I’m insured to the hilt, triple vaccinated, and looking forward to whatever boosters I need to get to stay safe. I will probably wear a mask indoors indefinitely and avoid crowded indoor situations if others are not masked. I hope I won’t need to cancel but I’m prepared to do that if need be. I am in favor of increasing marginalization of those who refuse vaccines. I know this will raise the hackles of civil libertarians but I want to travel knowing the folks around me are vaccinated. The science that has been applied to controlling COVID and saving lives has been amazing. Big Pharma, which gets it’s share of grief about a lot of things, has really stepped up to the plate as has our Federal government. I always felt the science would save us, and it will.

Posted by
95 posts

After watching Rick's talk on last Monday Night Travels and his recent announcement of requiring all tour members to be vaccinated, I am looking forward to our back to back tours to Portugal and Turkey next April. I know masking will be required and having your CDC card available a must. I am sure this will take a lot more flexibility than our past trips but I am more than willing to give it a go to be back in Europe in 2022.

Posted by
492 posts

Only you can judge when the time to travel is right for you, and there's no real right or wrong answer when it comes to someone's own comfort level with things.

In my case, the factors that go in to how willing I am to go on a trip are...

  • Will I be able to do enough of what I want to do? Will sights, attractions, restaurants, museums and the like be open? Will there be restrictions or curfews that'd leave a trip involving little more than sitting around in an overseas hotel room, looking out my window upon a city I can't do much of anything in?
    • Does it seem the place I'm traveling to can accommodate me, and I won't be a burden upon it? Even with vaccination and testing, I could unwittingly catch and pass covid on to others. Can their hospitals accommodate me, and the people I might infect?
    • Am I comfortable with the prospect of having to wait it out in a hotel for an extra few days or week if I get a positive test?

Notice how I'm accepting the fact that risk is inherent to anything I do, and my calculus is more about accepting what could come with getting covid than avoiding it entirely. It's the same at home, really - since summer 2021 (that point at which I was fully vaccinated, my partner was fully vaccinated, and vaccination was available to all adults in our community) we've gone to the movies a few times; we've taken a couple domestic trips; we've gone to a wedding and some parties; we're back at work, in-person, as usual; we went to a convention with thousands of other people (where masks and vaccines were required); we've dined in an restaurants.

We still make it a point to wear masks, have each gotten our boosters, and there are some places we still choose to avoid. For instance, we live in Nevada and we avoid casinos because they're full of people drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes (maskless, of course); we switched gyms because our old one was simply not enforcing any mask requirements at all; we try to avoid peak times at restaurants or movies, stick to places with reserved seating, and so on. We have a bunch of the Abbott at-home lateral flow antigen tests at home, so we can give ourselves a quick test before or after a trip or party, or even if we're just feeling a bit under the weather or have a sore throat or something (they're $25/kit at CVS and Walgreens).

At a certain point, though, it became apparent we were no longer striving for being entirely free of covid, and were more looking at the prospect of having to live (smartly, and as carefully as possible) with it. It also became apparent we might get stuck being held hostage, so to speak, by the unvaccinated, and we didn't want that. We acknowledge risk exists, accept that for what it is, manage it best we can, and proceed with living and embracing life and enjoying ourselves.

Posted by
594 posts

I was really surprised to hear Rick and Cameron Hewitt say they feel masks will be gone one year from now on Monday Night Travel the other night. We are signed up for Sicily and Southern Italy tours in April/May and have no qualms about going, just hope the winter Covid flourishes have subsided by then.

Posted by
3363 posts

As others have stated, I believe covid will be around for a long time. I have and will continue to live my life and travel, albeit it looks a bit different and a bit more stressful now, like Frank, I will jump through whatever hoops I need to to travel.

Posted by
1103 posts

We have decided to cancel our May 2022 RS Munich-Salzburg-Vienna tour. Our friends who were joining us also felt it was advisable to cancel. The situation might be better by May, but there are just too many uncertainties.

We may also cancel the Best of England tour scheduled for September 2022.

I do feel less stressed having made this decision.

Posted by
280 posts

I'm debating what to do about a late June Adriatic tour. RIght now, cases are rising in Croatia, haven't heard much about the other countries, but of course it's alarming. And while that's true now, who knows what will be the case six months from now. But a first decision needs to be made by the end of December to avoid risking the deposit. So many uncertainties now, makes a rational decision difficult.

Posted by
8656 posts

Bob, I am sorry to hear about your trip cancellations, but I know everyone must do what works out to right for them on risk. It must be very disappointing to you but perhaps a bit of relief as well.

Posted by
496 posts

Interesting perception of risk. I am beyond happy this week - and probably in a better mental place than I've been all year. My partner has got approval for travel insurance for a trip next year which includes USA - he has heart issues and this was by no means a given. The price is huge - but we can take a cruise and go through the Panama Canal and across the Atlantic - that's huger!

And now NZ has annouced dates for opening the border - which means that airlines will start coming back and I have a chance of getting a flight to the US to join said cruise!

I am totally ready to travel again. Yes paying US$130 for a test for each country is annoying. Yes having to fill more forms in at borders is irritating - but compared to be locked down for over 18 months - its freedom.