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When will you feel comfortable to travel?

As people who love to travel, we are all concerned about Covid. Many are making plans, while others would not even consider traveling now.

Let's face it. Covid isn't going away anytime soon. For those who are putting off travel, what would it take for you to finally say, I''m going?

(This is not meant to be a thread of arguments or put downs. I'm truly interested to hear when some people will think it's safe.)

Posted by
2652 posts

when i don't have to do test before i depart to get into a country, don't have to do test whilst I am in any country and don't have to have test before i return or once I have been home.

Posted by
14278 posts

For myself it's a moving target.

  • I spent a month in France in Sept/Oct. I only partially felt safe before I left, felt great there thanks to support and encouragement of forum friends, felt relief at the end when I tested negative and was then shocked when Omicron popped up a week or so after I got back. That made me realize that I'd indeed hit a very sweet spot for travel but didn't really realize it ahead of time.

  • I've got a trip to Hawaii planned soon and I do not feel good about the plane ride. Will be OK there as we will spend a lot of time outside, not sure about restaurants.

  • April means a planned Road Scholar tour to Belgium and the Netherlands. I can't believe this will actually go forward but Road Scholar is very poor compared to Rick in giving out information or being proactive on the possibility of cancellation. I don't feel this will go forward. I will probably go to France for a couple of weeks on my own and I feel good about this.

  • I've got my annual trip to Yellowstone in June for a few weeks and feel great about that. I know what I am doing there and can be outside all the time.

  • The Fall brings a Rick tour to Italy and I'm not sure about this. Thanks to Rick's generous cancellation policy right now I am not even going to think about it for a few months.

I think masks on airlines and in crowds are here for the short haul. Masking will not stop me from traveling. I will continue to wear N95s for the duration of my flights and international trips.

What might stop me is the inability to get a timely pre-travel covid test locally....

What about you Frank?

Posted by
8654 posts

I want to say I'll feel comfortable when I can trust the majority of people around me to be taking the same level of precautions as I am. But that would be wishful thinking, home and abroad.

Its the consequence of a positive test keeping me from coming home on schedule, that has the greatest deterrent effect. Too many secondary impacts from a significant delay in return.

As far as learning to live with it, well, it could get better, get worse, or stay the same.

Posted by
1696 posts

I already did travel--to Amsterdam and Italy in November. I felt comfortable because, at the time, we were double-vaxxed, the airlines were starting to require proof of vaccination while travelling, case numbers were decreasing, and children 5-12 were starting to get immunized, which, I thought, would be the beginning of the end of the pandemic stage of the virus. Omicron was not yet heard of. It just started to hit the news on the last couple of days of our trip. Had things been the way they are today, we would have cancelled.

I am in the process of booking another trip for May, as we have more credits from 2020 to use. I am now triple-vaxxed, and I am hoping that the Omicron wave will have settled down by then. If it hasn't, or if we are into a 6th wave, I will cancel. But I'm not getting any younger, and I am cautious. For instance, a few people on my flight home in November were not masking, so I kept my KN95 mask on the entire time and did not eat or drink. On our trip, we wore masks inside even when others weren't (e.g. some places in Amsterdam), and we ate outdoors or in our room, unless the restaurant was not busy. If that's what I need to do, then that's what I will do.

I don't mind the forms and the tests. It makes me feel a bit safer travelling. If countries drop these requirements prematurely, then I probably won't feel comfortable to travel.

Posted by
739 posts

I traveled to Egypt and Turkey last fall -- before Omicron. I budgeted and planned for plenty of Covid tests, and was diligent about wearing masks, especially on planes and in airports. Everything went well.

I am headed back to Turkey in May. Without going into details, let's just say that it's not a leisure/vacation trip. Nothing short of a total shutdown would stop me from going. For a leisure trip, I might be more hesitant. Maybe. I'm not sure.

Overall, I am willing to deal with masks, tests and social distancing, and I am willing to accept a certain amount of risk and disruption. I don't think we are going back to a pre-Covid world anytime soon, if ever.

Posted by
8647 posts

I felt comfortable enough last week to go on a Caribbean Cruise. Tested before I left for the cruise line, same test to enter Puerto Rico. No test required to return home, but I tested yesterday when I returned and was still negative. I felt comfortable because I knew effective protocols were in place and were enforced on the cruise line. The "trickiest" parts were in the airports before and between flights.

All passengers on the cruise had to be vaccinated, test negative prior to embarkation, wear masks when inside (except staterooms or when eating/drinking in dining facility) and did a responsible job of social distancing. This was possible because so many people are feeling cautious right now that the cruise went with just 1300 passengers, about 42% of its capacity. I do have to applaud my fellow cruisers. People just complied with the protocols and made it work for all of us.

The biggest obstacle that I see for most people is the aspect of the unknown relating to if you test positive and can't either complete your trip or return back to your home as scheduled. I considered the impact if I had to isolate for awhile and decided that I could do it so it didn't stop me.

Posted by
160 posts

For outside the US, when I can return to the States without testing. We just cancelled our RS trip scheduled for June. We had been so looking forward to it, but we have a barn full of horses and a house full of dogs and farm sitters are expensive and not easy to come by. We couldn’t risk testing positive and not being able to get back to care for our animals on schedule. We will be vacationing in the States this year. And yes, we are beginning to get excited about that trip now.

Posted by
4478 posts

I'm comfortable going to places that have remained open to vaccinated travelers, preferably without any arrival testing. I would not go to the Netherlands and hope Italy will drop the current requirement to have a booster within 6mo. Have vaccine and booster, will travel(I hope). We have a Rabbies tour scheduled in England for May.

Posted by
842 posts

I went to Italy in November and felt fine about it. Had the booster and there was no omicron. I felt as safe as I could have been. Plus Italy had only vax and test requirement. The flight from US was all such people.
Today, back up from there. We are now not so much feeling protected.
I think the first thing has to happen is that entry requirements to any country have to be not so restrictive that it becomes onerous to meet them. That is step one.
So, that, “I’m going” attitude is dependent mostly on that. Then I will evaluate the other conditions in whatever country I decide.
There are places to go now with no requirements, like Mexico. However, that means that anyone, vaxxed or not, compliant or not, can go. And since this may be their only outlet for travel, you can imagine who is on those flights.
So a country with no requirements, to me, is not as good as a country that at least demands a vax to enter.

Posted by
10359 posts

Stan's distrust is unwarranted in France, Italy, Germany, Austria. I can't vouch for other countries. (I want to say I'll feel comfortable when I can trust the majority of people around me to be taking the same level of precautions as I am. But that would be wishful thinking, home and abroad. )

In these countries, it's exactly as Carol now retired describes on her cruise.

It's hard to imagine until you've experienced these countries, but most people will be more comfortable in these countries than in much of the US.

Maybe the anti-viral drug developed by Pfizer will be the game-changer.

Posted by
1625 posts

Because I have been to Europe a few times and I know what it feels like to NOT travel during a pandemic I would feel like I was not getting the full experience I love and expect if I did go during the pandemic.

Maybe if I had never been to Europe and did not know any difference I would be happy with a visit during the pandemic.

I have no problem feeling safe while traveling but rules, shutdowns, lockdowns, testing requirements, reservation requirements, opening/closings can change daily, due to staff shortages due to illness or supply chain issues, that I don't feel I can really plan anything with confidence. Europe is not cheap and my vacation time is precious, so no we have no plans. IF..and I say IF we do it may be Paris for a week and that is it. But when I say that I think, how nice it would be to take a train to Nice ...then maybe a train to Italy.

Posted by
27432 posts

When the weather warms up (not before late April if I go to Italy), the virus calms down and my vaccination status allows me to travel. (I was boosted in early November, so I may have a problem in May.) I'm cautiously optimistic about a much lower Omicron infection rate by April/May, but another variant could cause problems.

I'm OK with testing to cross borders (as a retiree, I'm not concerned about testing positive prior to my planned return), but I'm not willing to test over and over again to go inside museums, etc., so I won't travel somewhere if I can't either use my CDC card or convert it to a pass. I'd prefer to resurrect my roughed-out 2020 itinerary to multiple countries in northern Europe, but I think that would be too much border crossing this year, so I may just spend 85 or so days in Italy and some additional time outside the Schengen Zone.

I've just done a test run--a week inside an arena at a figure skating competition, totaling over 50 hours indoors over seven days. Vaccination and masks were required in the arena except when eating/drinking, but the situation outside the arena (including in my hotel) wasn't good, which is what I expected in Nashville. I decided to go, even knowing I'd be surrounded by the virus. I wanted to test the efficacy of my vaccination/booster and N95 masks. I emerged from the experience uninfected, which suggests I may not be highly susceptible at this time (thank you, Moderna); that makes me a bit more comfortable about traveling to Europe, though I expect yet another booster is going to be necessary.

Posted by
2252 posts

I too feel like it is a moving target.

We went to Iceland and the Alaskan bush several months ago. We are supposed to head back to Iceland in a couple of weeks. I am not looking forward to the airport or the plane as there are always people who think the mask mandates do not apply to them. I will be double masked though.

The biggest hurdle for me right now is the testing. So many asymptomatic people are testing positive, so that is a bit unnerving. Also, just finding acceptable testing here is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I have a few options, but am not holding my breath on them. Trying to make sure we have backups!

Once in Iceland, we are feeling ok about it for the most part. We plan on doing takeout/delivery for meals. We are also hoping that the weather is decent enough for us to rent car and go off by ourselves and not have to rely on bus tours.

Right now I would only want to do one country at a time as the requirements keep changing and it is easier to navigate the logistics with just one.

Posted by
1603 posts

We didn't put off travel. We went to France in October. We booked very last minute as we watched numbers and restrictions. I just got to the point where I thought "if not now, when?". I believe testing will be in place for a long time to come, and if I'm right, I'm glad testing isn't the thing keeping me from going.

As far as feeling safe over there, I felt no more safe nor less safe than at home. The flight wasn't ideal - I was jammed up to strangers for the whole time. But I work with the public every day, including vulnerable people sleeping in congregate settings (people experiencing homelessness). The middle class people with adequate housing on my flight may be a better bet than the people at work.

We bought insurance for the first time, and paid extra for refundable hotel. We don't usually buy insurance because I always think they'll find a way out of covering us anyway, if we made a claim. But it was something to cling to. And we intentionally booked a one-country holiday, which we have done again for 2022. Fewer complications.

Of course this was before omicron. On balance, though, I think I took the plunge once, and will definitely do so again.

Posted by
1457 posts

Like Stan, it's the obligations at-home that keep me from traveling internationally. I can address those obligations while quarantined or isolated within the continental US. I can't if I'm overseas.

Posted by
201 posts

We will be taking the RS Athens and the Heart of Greece tour in early March--2 years to the day that we left New Orleans on a Disney Panama Canal cruise that ended up being much altered due to the onset of the Covid pandemic. We have been diligent in distancing, masking, sanitizing and vaccinating/boosting and are generally healthy. We also feel that we may be safer in Europe than we are here, where no one masks and the vaccination rate is low.

It's likely that Covid restrictions will be around for a long while. We are not willing to put our retirement travel plans on hold for what may be years.

Posted by
582 posts

Mainly, when testing and vaccine requirements settle down and remain mostly stable.
Ideally, I want my vaccination status to be enough to get into European countries and enable me to return to the US without testing.

I understand the value of testing and am willing to do so to go to the countries I want to visit, but am concerned if I test positive in order to return home. I’m retired, so time isn’t an issue, but the cost to stay behind could be. I’m also concerned about the timely availably of tests and their results here in the US right now, but hopefully that will improve.

I’m fine with wearing masks anywhere. I’m actually less concerned with getting sick while I’m in Europe or on the plane. I know I’ll wear my mask, will socially distance, etc.

I still plan to travel to France and/or Italy sometime this year. I will definitely get travel insurance, make my plane reservations much closer to the time of departure than I usually do, and do testing if required.

Posted by
347 posts

I will be "ready to go" when I can visualize myself enjoying what I like to do when I travel to Europe.

For now, the idea of being in Italy masked inside and outside is a buzz-kill, not because I won't enjoy the sites, but because I don't think talking to strangers will be as easy and enjoyable as it would be unmasked. I travel solo and for long periods, so it is important to me to be able to engage with others every day when I am out and about. Because of this I've already cut one month of my planned Italy trip and am about to cancel the second month. I am keeping my month in England. By May the weather will be warmish there and I will be outside more. I also won't have the language barrier (so, I think) in England. And I have a week's tour scheduled, so that deposit is playing a part, somewhat.

I also don't want to get sick (for any reason) and add to the strain on another country's health care system.

I will reschedule Italy for September and October. Going north mostly, so hope it is not as crowded as I suspect other areas will be. The upside: I will do at least the 2 months originally planned, most of the planning is already done and my sister will be able to join me for part of the trip. I can also get some major contractor-driven projects done in March and April when I won't be traveling.

Testing, vaccination certificates etc are just another logistic to get through.

Posted by
256 posts

I’m with Nick. The ever changing and frequently illogical Covid rules are much more problematic to me than the disease. Clearly different people have very different levels of risk, fear and personal priorities. After two years of experience, I hope that governments will stop imposing shut downs, border closures, quarantine, testing requirements and other “one size fits all” measures and instead allow each person to mitigate and manage Covid based on their individual situation. Those at higher risk, actual or perceived, should protect themselves. Those with symptomatic illness, Covid or other disease, should not travel. Vaccine requirements for travel are appropriate, but periodic testing rules, like the 48 hour before tour start requirement RS recently implemented for early spring tours, add far too much uncertainty and has likely caused many to cancel upcoming tours. So to answer the question posed, I will feel comfortable traveling to Europe when Covid protocols are stable and reasonable so that I and my fellow travelers can enjoy the tour without worry.

Posted by
1696 posts

I definitely felt more comfortable in Italy than at home. We have a lot of spreadnecks where I am, and they get so aggressive and nasty that workers are reluctant to enforce the safety precautions.

In Italy, although I had heard about some protests, people were really good about wearing masks, and if they forgot, workers had no problem telling them to put on their mascherina.

Posted by
2921 posts

I'm trying to stay positive that I will travel in September. I have 2 weeks independent travel planned on both sides of a RS tour. I also have a contingent itinerary planned, leaving out London before going to France, if the entry requirements stay as is or become more difficult.

The constantly changing rules for each country are nearly impossible to keep up with. I appreciate all on the forum who keep us informed. I've chosen to ignore rules until a couple months prior to my trip because who knows what they will be then. As someone who is 2-shot vax'd, 1 shot boosted, planning on getting 1 if not 2 more boosters before mid-August and wears a mask when I leave home, I think the testing has become overkill. But it's their country, their rules whether I like them or not.

I admit that the possibility of quarantine could be a deterrent to my trip; the added cost and time will not be manageable. My lifetime is dwindling so time is running out to put off traveling again.

Posted by
4305 posts

We have a lot of spreadnecks where I am, and they get so aggressive
and nasty that workers are reluctant to enforce the safety

Spreadnecks; I love that word BB😂. There's a Tim Horton's on 58th AVE where I like to take a break from work where the spreadnecks like to gather for their daily meeting and act shocked and outraged when they can't get served.

But to the topic; I cancelled a Trip last week to San Diego scheduled for February because of perceived challenges I'll have getting back into Canada. For me it's our federal government's decisions based on polls that has me nervous. As a Dr from WHO mentioned on the radio last week; there is too much political theatre with decisions our elected members are making.

Having said that I booked flights to Scotland in June and England in September. Purely on optimism.

Posted by
6378 posts

I've decided to be optimistic about travel in late spring and early summer. We have 2 Rick Steves tours booked, and about 2 extra weeks (before, in between, and after) on our own, in France and Italy. We've booked flights, hotels, a day with a private guide, and a wine tour. None of the hotels required a deposit; we have paid for the wine tour (fully refundable) and the flights.

I realized I was stressing myself out worrying and wondering about booking flights, hotels, tours, etc. To what end? So I just decided "This trip is going to happen." And of course I know that maybe it won't, but I'm acting as though it will.

I do occasionally think about what we will do if either of the RS tours cancels; I think we'd still go, and shuffle the schedule around, probably eliminating one of the countries from our itinerary. Maybe.

We are both fully vaccinated, with one booster each. I've checked into getting a second booster, which we will need if Italy keeps its current rules; so far we can't get another one, but our pet pharmacist is checking into it. Horsewoofie, how are you planning to get reboosted? Do the rules vary by state? I'll travel to another state to get reboosted, if necessary.

Posted by
29 posts

I just returned from a joyful 2 week trip to Florence, Milan, Lyon, and Paris. There were a number of things that made me feel comfortable--in no particular order.

  1. I traveled solo for maximum control over my decision making rather than a tour.

  2. I spent a lot of time reading the details of my insurance policy--the first policy I looked at was Allianz which I have used in the past. I found that even their "any reason" terms included exceptions for travel to Level 4 countries. I then found that USAA had no such exceptions (except for pre-knowledge of war conditions which did not apply) and included their "bed rest" option ($13 for the option) which would have paid up to $4,000 for quarantine bed and board expenses.

  3. I prepared any paperwork that even appeared to be required. For example, I was finding conflicting information about whether or not a dPLF was required for France. Did anyone ask for it? No. Did I have it if necessary? Yes. BTW have anything that might be requested handy--you never know when it will be requested as you transfer from city to city.

  4. As France and Italy continued to tighten their access restrictions, I took comfort and pleasure in their approaches. I live where the motto is often "you can't tell me what to do", so I looked at tightening of covid requirements to do anything as benefits to my trip safety. I found in each city that locals were actively involved in keeping the world safe for themselves and any tourists who would venture to visit them--mask wearing and checking of either CDC records (Italy) or my Pass Sanitaire (France) were done regularly and without fuss.

  5. I thought it might be possible that France would close to US citizens before I got there, so I took my Rome and Tuscany RS guides as back up for my second week. I also had a good idea of what I would be able to do if quarantined and how to get food delivered.

  6. My plane ticket was fully refundable and my hotels were fully cancelable up to the day before arrival.

  7. I reviewed the RS Forum (a fountain of wonderful information--thank you to all of you) and the US Embassy sites for France and Italy regularly--every day during December, and multiple times a day the last week of December and as my trip progressed. You don't have to read the whole embassy site every time--they date stamp the site when they've made a change. They give you the local sites you need to review if necessary.

  8. When I had trouble finding a rapid PCR test for my flight to Italy (I would have had to take a rapid antigen test sitting at the airport to meet the arrival time requirement) I finally called the Billings Airport Delta desk--They knew exactly which pharmacy was doing rapid PCR testing locally and I made my arrangements and was good to go.

  9. I soothed the hypochondriac in me by taking enough rapid antigen tests with me to take one every other day. At the time, the iHealth tests were 2 for $14. I think they are now 2 for $20. They have emergency approval and come in a very small package. I know this isn't for everyone--but regular testing made me comfortable throughout the trip. I did the BinaxNow proctored test to come home and went to a pharmacy in Milan to take my rapid antigen for my flight to France (15 euros).

  10. I walked everywhere in the 4 cities (except for the cab I took to the philharmonic in Paris). I ate at a restaurant for either lunch or dinner each day--all of the staff was fully masked and I felt comfortable with the distancing--it helps to be a 7pm eater--you beat any rush. I was only uncomfortable in one museum with a too crowded special exhibition and I left.

  11. Use hotels with highly recommended staff!!! You want helpful, helpful, helpful. My favorite go to in Paris--Hotel Signature Saint Germain! They are exceptional!!

As a result of the above, I had an amazing and safe trip. I hope more of us find a way back to traveling!

Posted by
6670 posts

I'm an optimist like Jane, but hopefully realistic also. Last summer, vaccinated, I flew to New England and back, spending time with vaccinated friends in a rural setting. In October, newly boosted, I went to Berlin for ten days, lucky to fit that trip between Covid waves. But this month we cancelled a road trip to southern California because of Omicron risks en route.

I'm signed up for a RS tour of Ireland in May, just passed the deposit-return deadline, bought flights. The working assumption is that Omicron will be in the rear view mirror by then. Glad to see Ireland has dropped its testing requirement for vaccinated arrivers, because right now it's hard to get a rapid test here without symptoms. I had no problem testing in Berlin and don't expect to in Ireland before flying home, but the US has lagged behind on that score.

I bought insurance for the Berlin trip and I will for Ireland, in case of getting sick overseas. I'm trusting RS to make the right decision about the May trip so that I neither lose my payment nor run an unreasonable risk of infection. But life doesn't get any longer, and every day we make hopefully reasonable choices about risk and reward.

Posted by
9888 posts

Well, I first traveled trans-Atlantic three weeks after my second Pfizer shot (I.e. one week after the two-week waiting period). That was in May, from France to the U.S. and back.

In August I traveled to Norway; in October I went for a weekend away in the Loire Valley; in December I went back home to the States for Christmas (OK and CA); and the first weekend of January I flew to Rome for my birthday.

But I still haven't made any plans to travel to London or elsewhere in the UK because the parameters for travel between France and the UK have been so volatile. I need to plan in advance for my London trips in order to get a cheap Eurostar ticket, and with not knowing a few months ahead whether one will be able to travel or not, I can't make plans. When things open up — like they did on Friday, I imagine it is way too expensive (for me) to look at tickets.

I gave up late November on going to Amsterdam in early January for my birthday, because I could see the direction that was going.

Oh and I guess I did my first travel back in that lull of summer 2020 — we went to Turin and Lago di Garda in August, which was fine.

Posted by
2921 posts

Jane, I’m judging booster time frame by analysts predicting a 2nd booster 6 months following the 1st (not talking original 2-shot vaccine here). I also know that a doctor can order boosters for you in whatever timeframe they deem necessary. I agree that different states may have different rules and attitudes (read between the lines here so I stay apolitical).

Posted by
1808 posts

Uncle Gus said it best for me as well........when I don't have to test before I depart to get into a country, don't have to do test whilst I am in any country and don't have to have a test before I return or once I have been home.

Also, I hate masks. I wear them when appropriate, but I find them a royal PITA.

Posted by
6113 posts

I should be away at the moment, in the Canary Islands, but we cancelled as we weren’t happy getting on a plane for 4 hours when people aren’t tested beforehand and 1 in 15 people supposedly have Covid in England. I will be comfortable travelling when infection rates at home and at my destination drop significantly.

The only people that I have heard of in the past 2 months that have caught Covid are all double vaccinated and boosted, which doesn’t give me much comfort, as some have needed hospitalisation.

Posted by
2768 posts

I have a trip planned for March that I may or may not take. The deciding factor will be the case levels at home and at my destination. I don’t need nor expect 0 cases, but something significantly less than right now. I don’t have a set number, just…not in the middle of a huge wave. I feel like we will have cases for a very long time, so it’s a matter of hunkering down in times of surges (now, where I am!) and taking advantage of lower levels of virus to do things you enjoy, safely.

I’m actually pretty optimistic for this March trip, but if this past few years has taught me anything it’s that predictions don’t often hold. So we will see!

I traveled in the US (by plane) in June and November/December, and felt ok. This was pre-omicron wave, but also in some cases to places with very little precautions or safety, and probably low vaccine rates. Honestly I feel like I’d be safer in much of Europe!

Posted by
2127 posts

(Edited to correct typo in my post):
Frank, good question. Interesting answers from other posters.

It will be a multi-stage gradual process for me:

Step One: Feel comfortable going into Costco at a time other than early senior hour on Tu/Th.
(Did so ONCE outside those hours, and I was shocked at the number of UNmasked customers and the crowds.)
Step Two: Feel comfortable doing my normal in-person grocery shopping (have been doing curb-side pick-up for 99% of it for the last two years).
Step Three: Feel comfortable gathering with friends (did it once in June last year/patio dinner at our home)in such a way that we would be 2-3 three feet away from each other without masks, attending a wedding or even a baby shower with the acceptance that all might not be vaccinated or some could be asymptomatic vaccinated carriers.
Step Four: Feel comfortable dining INSIDE a restaurant. That will be a biggie when that level of comfort arrives.
Step Five: Feel comfortable enough to take my mask off on a plane to eat/drink QUICKLY.
Step Six: A 70 or greater percent of vaccination (and a relatively low case count) among the population to wherever I might consider traveling.

What will help to move me along the various steps? A much higher percentage of individuals being vaccinated and a reduction in the number of new variants that pop up, (realizing variants will likely always continue to pop up). Sadly in my state of Tennessee, the vaccination percentage is only about 50%. State legislature and Governor have outlawed required blanket mask mandates (except in medical facilities that accept Fed insurances, Fed buildings, etc. and individual venues can choose to enforce mandates) and very sadly, if you were to visit Tennessee, for the most part, and for the majority of the public at large, mask wearing would be the exception...and a good number of people think wearing a mask UNDER one's nose counts. So, it could be a really long time locally. Currently about (edited to correct typo) 1 of every 30-35 residents in TN (Nashville area...maybe worse in some rural areas) are assumed to have active covid, and respected medical advisors have recently reminded (on local news) that anytime one is out and about (especially inside) among the public, you can pretty much expect that you WILL be exposed to someone with covid. Yep, so being vaccinated, wearing an N-95, etc.and keeping distance is prudent.

OK, one could argue other countries are safer.....yep, maybe. But, for me (and that is what your question asks), it will be comfort with the 6 steps listed above.

We made international travel a huge priority for many years, visited all 7 continents (Europe multiple times), along with Greenland, Iceland, and New Zealand (two of which are technically separate continental shelves, if I recall correctly). We always reminded ourselves to travel while we could, because we never knew what the future would bring (well, duh, little did we know it would be such a yucky whopper of a darn global pandemic...I mean really!!!!).

Places we would still like to visit include Egypt, Jordan, India, more parts of South America, more parts of Africa, etc. Every so often, I check vaccination percentages for some of those places, and I am not comfortable....far from it. So, until then, we are thankful we traveled as much as we did when we did. And, how I hope a level of comfort is achieved, as there is still so much to see.

I need to seriously acknowledge that MANY....well, MOST, people that are traveling (and practicing precautions) are doing so successfully and without major setbacks (other some changing rules in various places, some airline cancellations, weather issues, etc.). So, to those of you who HAVE achieved your comfort level, be safe, be cautious, and Godspeed to you!!! We never know what the future will bring; that sure has been proven!!

Posted by
2127 posts

P.S. to my last post. A HUGE encouragement to travel with great freedom will be WHEN scientists come up with an easy over-the-counter (or even RX prescription) treatment that is readily available and is at least 75% effective for just about any covid variant.

When we traveled, we always had a Z-pack (antibiotics) and a few other prescriptions (intestinal) in our bag that we almost never used, and how I would love the day that we could put the covid tablets in the bag and just GO!!!

I have faith that day will come; the scientists are amazing people, and I am thankful for their knowledge/talent.

Posted by
15703 posts

Someone asked when I will travel. Well, I already have. Mid October to early January. I did have to shuffle some things around, and laid low when Omicron hit, but I was out there.

I have another international trip starting in early April. Unless most European countries don't allow me in, or a new variant resistant to the vaccinations occur, I plan to go. I don't mind pre-testing, testing on arrival, getting a pass to get into restaurants and museums, or wearing a mask. In fact, I feel safer the more that are required.

I'm dually vaccinated. I got boosted (boostered?) earlier this month and I continue to wear masks indoors. (Better masks on planes, trains and buses.) In fact, I feel strange if I walk out the door without my mask on.

I can't predict what will happen in the future but I doubt Covid is going away anytime soon. I have to learn to live with it and take whatever precautions I can. My plans are flexible, I have the luxury of extending my stay if testing requires it, and I take it day by day. I spend more to be safe and almost everything I book is refundable.

Nothing about travel today is written in stone. It is written in pencil. Rules change daily so travel plans sometimes have to be erased and written over again.

Welcome to the world of 2022.

By the way, I was considering a quick trip up "north" to try for the Northern Lights in February but my storage unit is in serious need of decluttering so I'm going to do that instead. The lights will have to wait.

Posted by
4351 posts

BB, spreadnecks…. I am laughing. I may or may not be related to some - they just aren’t in Canada. Lol!

I just decided I am comfortable most of the time now. Am I confident I won’t either test positive at some point or be inconvenienced? Not at all. I am just looking for a balanced approach. I think there are easier and harder times to travel and am staying home January and February (both from Europe and church). I think governments (many) are figuring out what works for their economic and healthcare situations, as far as entrance requirements. I can deal with masks - as long as people are wearing them. I adjusted 2021 travel to countries that seemed reliably open - and they were. It’s Spain for me in March and, while things can change on a dime, it doesn’t appear that it will. Processes may change, but I think the country will be open. There are countries I won’t put on my agenda this year, just because their regulations were more of a moving target in 2021. I will just go somewhere else.

But I realize my situation may not be like everyone’s. I won’t be personally inconvenienced by a quarantine and extended stay. I am ready to be sick by myself (been close enough to that situation to not be worried). I am in good health, with no extenuating physical ailments. My house is fine, I am retired, and I have insurance for as much as possible. Testing is a hassle but if it will work out time-wise and restriction-wise, I don’t mind doing it.

I do know people fully vaccinated and boostered who have caught Covid - but they are not the ones in my local hospital in ICU. At this point I have made the decision to be thoughtful but not worried, confident but not careless, and enjoy traveling as safely as I am able without fear.

Posted by
1199 posts

I already travelled, to Italy, last October.

I also just cancelled a trip to Rome. The difference for me, like others have mentioned upthread, is the testing. I keep my eye on the test-positivity rates. Just recently it was a bit over 20% both where I live and in Rome. Having to test twice, I didn't like the probability of testing positive at least once, but especially on the return. I can't afford to be away from work for some unknown extra time, and my work can't be done remotely. Once the test positivity rates go back down (or the testing is no more--not holding my breath) I'll go back.

Posted by
492 posts

I'm comfortable now!

I'm willing to accept the additional logistical hurdles that come with planning a trip in this day and age, along with the inherent risk involved in any activity where we're exposed to other people and out and about in public.

Indeed, whatever risk I'm exposed to is less a factor to me than whatever risk I might expose to others, but I feel comfortable enough with our being at a point in the pandemic we're able to minimize that so long as we keep ourselves vaccinated/boosted as advised and able, and dutifully wear our masks.

I'm reminded of travel in years passed - I lived in Egypt for a number of years, when tourists were being targeted in an attempt to destabilize the regime; I suspect most all of us can easily recall the months after 9/11, when it was presumed travel brought with it considerable risk and we had to wait things out until things calmed down (as well as 7/7, and countless other weeks and months and even periods of years depending on where you're from).

I don't think we can pretend covid doesn't exist, or doesn't bring with it real considerations and the risk of real inconvenience (or even health risks). But I'm at the point where it's a factor I consider like crowds, price, and the weather, or all the other precautions one must take when traveling to a place that might be a bit less stabile politically or where yellow fever or dysentery are a thing - and that includes gauging comfort level when visiting places in my own hometown on certain nights of the week.

Posted by
1103 posts

I would like to see evidence of virus endemicity - a state where COVID is still with us, but at a much lower level without devastating spikes. Endemicity will be accompanied by reduced testing, isolation and quarantine requirements.

The test protocol for returning to the USA was bothering me until I heard about testing to enter European countries and to join a RS tour. It would be unpleasant and incredibly boring to tack on quarantine time at the end of the trip, but even worse to not be able to join a tour. It may be possible to insure the costs of having to interrupt a trip due to a positive COVID test, but you would have to buy such coverage at the time you make your first deposit, since the plan would cover interruptions for any reason (IFAR). IFAR insurance would typically only reimburse 75% of covered expenses, and would cost around 10-12% of the trip cost. It is also possible that coverage would be voided if you travel to a country with a Level 4 CDC alert (i.e Do not Travel).

We have cancelled our May RS tour, but are keeping our options open for a September trip (RS Best of England).

Posted by
3262 posts

I agree with everything Maggie (TN) listed. I won't reiterate as she was clear in her response. I, too, have traveled a lot, not waiting for 'someday', so I don't feel like I'm missing the boat, although I want to get back on the boat at some point.

Also, I think Becky said she travels solo and part of traveling solo is talking to many people, which I think is tremendously hindered by masks. I often travel solo, so this is a big factor.

So I will travel when Maggie's and Becky's listed concerns have lessened, AND, most importantly, when my 2 year old grandson, whom I babysit twice a week, can be/is fully vaccinated. And when my T1D daughter is less exposed to all those who don't care/don't get vaxxed. So for now, I'll just enjoy where I live's fairly new to me and lovely so no great loss...and hope I can at least travel to the UK before I lose my evoucher (9/23), but if not, C'est la vie.

Posted by
466 posts

Somebody up thread wrote that they decided in the fall "if not now, when?" That is the attitude I am adopting and I wish I had thought that last fall. I was kind of operating under the assumption that the pandemic was winding down and winter/spring would be wide open for travel.
I went to Iceland last August and felt very comfortable doing so.
I was supposed to go to Florence for four days in early December but had to cancel due to a death in the family.
I rescheduled Florence for the end of this month but cancelled due to Omicron - the number are too high right now for me to feel comfortable.
I am supposed to go to Berlin in five weeks. And London mid-March.
My husband and I are scheduled for Best of Istanbul in October (too far away to even worry about right now).

My ONLY concern about international travel is having to test negative to come home. I am vaxxed and boosted. But I know or know of other vaxxed and boosted folks who were asymptomatic and still tested positive.
I'm not worried about being sick. I don't mind masking if it means I can travel. I don't mind having to show my vaccine card. I am a flexible traveler and if one sight I want to see is closed, I am happy to find something else.
If I were quarantined abroad, I could at least work. I would travel with my laptop in anticipation of this. The family at home could get along without me for an additional ten days or whatever. But the claustrophobia of being stuck in a hotel room would be the worst part of it all.
At some point - very soon, I hope - the case numbers will begin to fall and I'll reach my "if not now, when?" moment.

Posted by
39 posts

I am not one that is putting off travel unless of course a new and more severe variant rears its ugly head. I am booked for a tour in June and fingers crossed everything works out. I have been on five RS tours and every tour has someone or several people that get sick or has some sort of incident health wise. My husband developed a horrible cough on one tour. On our Eastern Europe tour, about half the group took turns getting some virus. I got it at the end of the tour. It was miserable but I made it through! I have seen antibiotics passed around on a couple of tours. In October I went to Hawaii with all five of my siblings and their spouses. Out of a group of 13 of us, one ended up in the hospital for three days with severe food poisoning. One brother in law's gout flared up so bad he could not walk for two days. As for myself, I was great until the plane ride home. I was in such pain and went straight to the ER with pain so bad. A kidney stone. Yay...Surgery that night. The trip was so fun that we don't even talk about the problems. lol.
I have learned that any travel has risk. I am willing to take those risks. I think if you are uncomfortable with traveling right now then definitely stay put for now. It is such an individual choice.

Posted by
594 posts

I am comfortable traveling now and have been all along. We took a Yellowstone/Grand Teton trip in the fall of 2020 but it was by car and we always masked even though Idaho and Wyoming were not. (Not everyone went without, just the majority.)September/October 2021 we flew to the East Coast and had a 16 day road trip to PA and upstate New York, hotels and restaurants galore. We are both vaxxed and boosted and retired. My husband is wanting to cancel our 2 RS tours (both in Italy) due to the testing and testing and then testing again. But it may be a moot point as Italy won’t let me in if they keep the 60 day rule as it will be over 60 days from my booster date in April. So… I’ll go if they’ll let me in to museums, hotels and restaurants!

Posted by
5 posts

We leave this Friday for Italy. Going to take a chance. Visiting Venice Florence and Rome. We've made plans for if we test positive. I've been told that covid isn't going anywhere anytime soon we need to learn to live with. Masking, hygiene. I had covid last January I respect the virus but I know tomorrow isn't promised to any of us. The world and life is beautiful we want to enjoy what we can before we can't. So we decided to give it a go. Our flight is only about 6.5hrs, then 1.75hr going to try to keep our masks on. So no snacking or drinks on the plane. Hope to avoid crowds. Plan for social distancing. We even thought about takeout to our room for meals we will see. We're flying from Jfk to Amsterdam to Venice.

Posted by
39 posts

Enjoy your trip. I admire your outlook. Safe travels :)

Posted by
9888 posts

When I think back on the travels that I have done, the most nerve-wracking were the internal U.S. flights.

To fly from France to the U.S. in May - all had to have a negative test and mask during whole flight.

To fly from U.S. to France in May -- all had to have a negative test and mask during whole flight.

To fly to and from Norway in August: all had to show proof of vaccination.

To fly from France to the U.S. in December: all passengers had to prove vaccination and have proof of a negative test.

To fly from U.S. to France in December: all passengers had to prove vaccination and have proof of a negative test

To fly from France to Italy in January: all passengers had to prove vaccination and have proof of a negative test (and wear FFP2 masks, not just surgical masks).

To fly from Italy to France in January: all passengers had to have proof of vaccination (and again, wear FFP2 masks).

Now here's the thing.

Flying from Tulsa to LA in December (four-hour direct flight): no requirement for any passenger to be vaxxed or to have proof of a negative test. Who knows what the percentage was of people on that plane who were unvaxxed, but given it was an Oklahoma-originating flight, probably pretty high.

Flying from LA back to Tulsa in December (three-hour direct flight): no requirement for any passenger to be vaxxed or to have proof of a negative test. Who knows what the percentage was of people on that plane who were unvaxxed, but given it was an Oklahoma-destination flight, probably pretty high.

All of which is to say : I feel a LOT safer traveling between the U.S. and Europe, and within Europe, given the standards that have been put in place, than I felt traveling within the United States.

Of course my flights home to Tulsa alsoexpose me to non-vaxxed, non-tested fellow passengers on the legs between Atlanta and Tulsa.

It boggles the mind that we fly around the United States, closed up with people for hours on end, with absolutely ZERO requirements. (Yes I know airplanes circulate the air much better than most places).

I still find it a miracle my parents and I didn't come down with Omicron during those flights between Tulsa and LA.

Posted by
2252 posts

Kim, I agree as well. My husband has done a lot of traveling between Seattle and MN/TX. As you say, I am much more comfortable with our flying to Iceland than I am with him doing his business travel. He flies to TX for the week before our Iceland trip and has already said he will be double masking and then doing room service and hibernating as much as possible when he isn't in the hospital working. We need to do our tests 2-3 days after he arrives home, so I am anxious about that.

Posted by
18827 posts

My home state has been life back to normal for quite a long time now so it's easy to get a bit lax in COVID decision making.

With the previous strain and when I had more confidence in the vaccine I traveled quite a bit; 5 separate international trips since COVID began.

I am still not overly concerned about dying from COVID to a point that would make me stay home, but the new strain is sneaky and presents new issues of a higher likelihood of messing up a trip at the beginning, middle or end.

But I will continue on (March, June and September) and I will continue choosing destinations (even multiple countries) that have exhibited consistency and a lack of complications in their entrance policies (that narrows the field down to about a dozen location ... fortunately many of the interest me).

I am also confirming in advance quarantine accommodations and pizza delivery at the end of each country stay.

Posted by
4478 posts

I am in agreement with TravelMom. Staying at home (for a year) was really getting to me last Feb. Since getting vaccinated, I have gone back to living the life that was normal before Covid. The exception is that I won't go to classes inside the gym right now and I won't take a trip that goes to more than one country. My husband has resumed his pre-Covid travel schedule and has 3 trips to Europe scheduled the next 4 months. He already went to Switzerland(as easiest way to enter Germany), Germany and Barcelona in Nov.

Posted by
18827 posts

Nick there are still a few countries you can enter with just a vaccination certificate. Many more with that and an antigen test. Sometimes it depends on if you are flying in or driving in or if you are coming from the US or from another country. Me avoiding a simple boarder crossing requiring only a 15 minute antigen test is sort of like me saying I dont want to know if I am positive so I will stay in one country so I dont find out. But, yes, each border that requires a test is a risk but with a little flexibility I can just spend a few more days till I pass a test. Frank II keeps saying its about flexibility and that is true. I am also of the mind that I just dont want to deal with a bunch of paperwork so for now I am avoiding the places that want QR codes and have pre-approvals and anything else that I can not complete on line in 10 minutes. Oh, and I am avoiding the countries that seem to be revising the rules ever 30 days. My upcoming next 3 trips all involve 2 or 3 countries. We will see what the future brings.

Posted by
7 posts

When we don’t have to do testing to get back into the US. As I’m not retired I can’t take the risk of being trapped in another country for N days.

Had to cancel my BOE 21 day tour for this year due to current uncertainty. Maybe next year will pan out.

Posted by
497 posts

We went to Switzerland/Austria/Paris late last summer, early Fall. We threaded the needle pretty well on testing since we were vaccinated. At that time, we did not have to test to get into any of those three countries, just proof of vaccination and in Paris we were on our return to the US and there for three days which of course coincided with the-then-return to US test requirements AND the every three day test for the pass Sanitaire in France. We felt very safe there, spent much of the trip outdoors. Wore KN95s everywhere. Only places where we felt really vulnerable were some trains where we know at least one person must’ve had Covid and kept taking her mask off. Also another train trip where someone else was also sick and kept taking mask off. But we tested negative after that so learned to trust our vaccines. Now we have been boosted as well.
Now I am planning a trip to England and the CTA in May/June with my brother and nephew. For me I was disappointed that the Uk stopped the pre-departure testing and kept the day 0-2 testing. Largely because my brother and nephew both work and are on a fixed timeframe. For me, no big deal, have the time and would have the insurance. Just the hassle. But for them, would be less worrisome to have a pre-departure test. Who wants to spend all the time and money getting over there and THEN test positive on the 0-2 day test? Then have to quarantine and then find a doc to get OK for travel to return. Very concerning for them because they work. We are thus all planning to test ourselves before leaving, if they decide to go.
Anyway we make a final decision on whether or not they feel OK taking the risk of not being able to get back, and also a ruined portion of the trip if they test positive on either of the 0-2 or return test. I will go either way. Really learned to trust our vaccines and now our boosters, masks, good behavior, etc. With omicron peaking hoping again this might be another good window between waves when weather is warming and people can get outside again.

Another point, as others have mentioned: I used to travel 200k per year for business, all parts of the world. I have been VERY sick on occasion, twice hospital type sick. I was in Asia during the original SARS. So I have been using masks quite frequently which before Covid drew stares everywhere but Asia where they are routinely worn and have been for years. I also learned that local health care can be obtained and that your hotel is your best friend in this regard. Stuff happens. So I feel OK traveling now but onLy due to the fact I have been vaxxed and boosted.