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When will you begin planning for summer travel to France in 2021?

Like many of us, my husband and I had to cancel our summer 2020 travel plans due to COVID. We were to have celebrated our 50th anniversary in Avignon and Paris in early June with our two grown children and their partners. We want very much to make it happen in 2021 but as you know, there are restrictions and variables to consider.

I bet there are many on this forum who are also hankering to get back to Europe this summer. Have many of you gone ahead and made flight and airbnb/hotel reservations already (with the assumption that these reservations have no-penalty cancellation policies, of course)? Because of our age (71 years) we've been closely following the vaccine rollout here in the US and France because we heard that 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated before it would be relatively safe. We're hoping that by late spring/May, both countries will have accomplished this, which is cutting it awfully close planning-wise. Even if we waited until early spring/March to finalize our travel plans, it would be a mad, last minute scramble.

I know that no one has a crystal ball. I'm just wondering how many of us out there are making flexible travel plans for summer now. And if you know of any airlines, hotels, apartment agencies, etc offering a no penalties for cancellations policy, that would be terrific.

We prefer to travel to France in June when the weather is milder but we'd definitely do a July trip although we understand that we'd most likely have to give up Avignon due to the high temperatures.

Happy travels to everyone and thank you for your thoughts and advice in advance.

Posted by
5625 posts

I hope you had a tres Joyeux Anniversaire this June, even if it was France-less. This should make the one in France that much sweeter. But we’re planning on Italy for 2021, and have booked our flights over and back, but not for until late September. Vaccine roll-out and immunization assurance mean we’re figuring on needing another 3 months, beyond June.

You may get your shots sooner than we, so your timeframe could be earlier. We got our tickets a month ago, and British Airways has already cancelled/changed our scheduled connecting flight in London, so now we’re looking at a 9-hour holdover at Heathrow, rather than the original 80 minutes before we can leave for Bologna. And we’ll be getting to Italy way after dinner, instead of mid-afternoon. But we’ll hopefully get that trip, and hope you get yours, too.

Posted by
7616 posts

The French prime minister said last week that the French hope to begin vaccinations for the general public in “late spring.”

If that timeline holds true, I would guess it will be late summer or early fall before the bulk of the general population in France is vaccinated.

Posted by
53 posts

Funny you post these thoughts as they are exactly what we are wondering. We also cancelled our planned trip to France for early summer 2020. We are choosing to feel optimistic about life returning to whatever a new normal may look like. We are both nurses and had our first COVID vaccines. The next is in 3 weeks. Possibly this skews us to be optimistic despite things feeling very bleak right now. Some airlines have very flexible change policies in place these days-even on economy airfares. We took the leap and bought tickets for mid-July to visit our family in Haute Savoie with a jaunt into Provence. We also booked flexible lodging just in case.

Kind regards and let's hope for an end to this madness.

Posted by
21086 posts

I'm calculating on the basis of double-dose vaccines only since we don't yet have a single-dose option approved for the US. (J&J is now starting a two-dose trial, which makes me wonder about the efficacy of the J&J single dose vaccine.) It will take about 460 million vaccine doses to reach 70% of the US population (which would be 229.7 million people). I haven't seen anything to make me think we'll be at that point by May. If both AstraZeneca and J&J come through, we may own that much vaccine by then (though I'll be surprised), but getting all those doses into people's arms so fast seems very unlikely.

I'm really not expecting a problem with the testing on children, but we won't start vaccinating kids under 16 until that happens, so that's another hurdle that must be cleared. Over 60 million Americans (of 328.5 million) are under 15; I couldn't immediately find stats for those under 16. Given the confirmed anti-vaxxers and folks who won't be taking the vaccine for medical reasons, I don't think we could reach 70% without including some of the under-16s--certainly not by the middle of 2021 (I do hope some of the naysayers will eventually come around).

I haven't given up on being able to head to Europe in May or June, but I'm hoping we don't (and Europe doesn't) have to be 70% vaccinated for that to happen. However, I'm by no means confident enough at this point to spend time making reservations. My itinerary will vary, depending on when I can start my trip.

Your position is different since you're not so uncertain about your destinations, though I agree the heat in southern France is something of a concern. You can, if you want, design one, single itinerary and assume you can pull it off. You can choose lodgings that do not require you to prepay (and risk an argument if you must cancel). The downside to doing that is that you have multiple other people involved in this trip. Is their time off from work flexible enough that they can hover over the calendar and hope? How much uncertainty about activity and sight availability can you--and they--tolerate in the period leading up to your departure?

I think the odds for fall are a lot better than for May/June. However, it may still be right for you to proceed with your reservations.

Posted by
759 posts

Adrienne, I hate to ruin your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but I’m afraid your obtaining vastly incorrect information. Yes, 70% is the generally accepted number to bring this to an end. Travel will probably open well before then. HOWVER it can also unhappen (aka England-France/EU issues this past week) as areas have flair-ups that put stress on local medical providers. And just because travel is available it doesn’t mean all museums etc are open. I, personally, am hoping for a trip in October (I badly miss the Louvre, I spend days, not hours, there).

So back to reality. Reaching 70% population vaccination by or in May is a fantasy. It is factually and physically impossible. Production facilities simply cannot produce the vaccine (and syringes, needles, etc) in that timeline. France has previously listed their expected vaccine arrival expectations (operative word being expectation) and they hope to receive enough vaccine by the end of JUNE to inoculate 25% of their population. Yes, you read that correctly- 25%. The US should be ahead of that at 50%... but in light of anti-vaxers etc everyone who wants the vaccine in the US should be able to get it in the June-July timeframe.

Posted by
7196 posts

Plan the trip on paper but I would not buy the plane ticket or reserve a hotel more than a couple of months in advance

Posted by
8412 posts

I have no crystal ball about vaccines, herd immunity, etc. But, last summer border openings-closings were partially based on reproduction rate in the traveler's country of residence, which is why Canadians were allowed into France but US people weren't. Another large factor in France is the percentage of ICU bed occupancy. Vaccination of individuals is one factor only.

FYI Avignon has the huge theater festival in July, so housing is tight to impossible. As of this moment, it's scheduled for July 5-25th, a spark of hope for all of us.

Posted by
601 posts

Ditto what onefastbob said up above.

We are hoping to do a Danube River Cruise and the Christmas Markets through Tauck (which we typically do every other year) and even they are telling us they 'hope' things are running by the Fall.

I don't foresee International Summer Travel happening. And we are not sure we will even be going in Nov/Dec. We would typically buy our flights for Nov/Dec about 8-10 months out, but our Travel Agent at AAA is already telling us to wait till the Summer to even be considering purchasing our flights for Nov/Dec.

We have already booked our hotels, as we know the best ones near the Markets fill up so fast, but they are 100% refundable. We are holding off on flights and train tickets until the Summer for sure.

Can you change to Sept/Oct? That MAY BE a go????

Posted by
5558 posts

We have rescheduled our May 2020 Eurotunnel trip to France for May 2021, as that was the latest the tickets would be valid. We think the chances of this happening are 50% at best.

The BBC this week have suggested that it will be August before herd immunity kicks in here in the U.K. or October if the new variant is more severe. I can’t see that France would be much different, given that they haven’t started vaccinating yet.

Transatlantic travel is likely to lag travel within Europe.

Posted by
8412 posts

The biggest hindrance is the closed restaurants and cafés even if intra-European borders are open, as they are now. It’s not the lack of food, but it’s very difficult to find a toilet when you need it when you venture away from your home base. This automatically limits how long and how far people can go on excursions.

Posted by
7616 posts

Onefastbob made the point I was trying to get at much more clearly.

It’s one thing when people in the U.S. are vaccinated; it’s another issue as to when enough people in the European “receiving” countries are vaccinated.

Everything doesn’t * depend on *just** the vaccination rate in the States.

Posted by
9736 posts

I don't travel in the summer anyway (not very heat tolerant and besides June is my Yellowstone time, lol!!) so the earliest I'm planning is mid-end of September. I've got a Road Scholar tour booked for SW France that starts in early Oct. I booked it because until 12/31 Road Scholar is offering to refund the full deposit if you cancel 90+ out from the travel date. I am doing London/Paris/Colmar in late Nov and early Dec on my own so will start booking hotels for that one that I can cancel. I never booked non-refundable hotel rates anyway so this is no different than how I did things before.

I'm not booking airfare until June or so and I don't care how much it costs. Well, I "do" care but I'm not booking on points, will book Economy Comfort, and am flexible on days so hopefully I won't get too hosed.

Because of Road Scholar's current "offer" I've also booked a garden tour of England for May 2022. I NEVER book this far out but went ahead because of the refund offer. They may well extend the offer of deposits returned for cancellations 90 days out since the previous deadline for this was Oct 31 and they extended to Dec 31 in early Nov.

Even if I were a summer traveler, I'd probably not feel confident on International travel before September. Part of my thought on this is Rick's tours - he's not potentially starting until August, if then!

Posted by
2917 posts

While it is fun to think about and tentatively plan a trip, it is not necessary to book more than a couple of weeks out...4 weeks to save a little money on airlines...but that might be a thing of the past and last minute is fine, in my experience. I'd rather pay more when it is safe than guess and have the hassle of starting over. Frankly, I have enjoyed last minute trips greatly. Have fun planning your trip, but wait until you see all advantages of travel are coming to fruition or at least your interests, everyone's safety and logistics. For countries to get things up and running so that ALL are safe seems unlikely to be quick, even after herd immunity. Plus, new businesses will need to be established, etc. I think Bets comment about the bathrooms points to only one of the issues of signing up quickly for a trip soon:

it’s very difficult to find a toilet when you need it when you venture away from your home base.

Also, while one might be able to travel, advisories may be against it. I know a few people are traveling because they can rather than because they should and like to brag about it. Most on here seem to be more responsible. So best to wait and see, IMO. Last minute reserving is fun. (My opinion, which is worth nothing I know and I hope I'm wrong, is that it is going to be a long time before most international travel is worth it whether it be health wise or enjoyment wise. And I mean worth it for society as a whole, not my individual wants.) But I digress...so plan your trip in detail for when you know you can travel appropriately so all you have to do is push a few buttons on your computer to finally make reservations, when you know it is an appropriate time to travel.

Posted by
234 posts

Thank you everyone from everywhere for taking the time to advise. I am heartened by the generous advice and spirited love of travel by this forum so Bob, you didn't ruin my Christmas Day but thank you for the consideration. The data, timelines and logistics around the vaccine that Bob and others point out are hair-raising. I had read that France was to begin vaccinations soon after Christmas but I hadn't heard that the general population would have to wait until spring. I guess all we can do at this point is wait and see about possible developments around the production and distribution of the vaccine both here and abroad. It is miraculous that we already have two vaccines on hand in less than a year so hopefully we'll see unexpected progress in other areas as well.

I wish I could consider postponing our trip until September/October but I teach at our local community college so summer is the only time I can travel. Since it's Christmas and I'm on winter break for a few weeks, I think I'll treat myself to planning a late summer trip to Paris and maybe Amsterdam instead of Avignon but I'll hold off on making reservations until spring when we'll have a clearer picture of the situation. Thanks again and I hope everyone gets to make their trips to Italy and France as soon as it is possible. Stay safe and take good care. All the best for a happy and hopeful New Year.

Posted by
2020 posts

I have a refundable plane ticket using miles booked for late August/early September. I have five nights booked in a Marriott using her points in Paris and that’s all I’m going to do for several more months. Everything is refundable and if I can’t travel while I’ll be disappointed, I’ll just reschedule for 2022

Posted by
7 posts

We rebooked our 2020 trip to Paris and London for June 2021. We can make changes to our hotels and air fare without a fee. We’re now looking to move it to August. How is the temperature in August and September.

Posted by
234 posts

Thank you, Wray for letting us know about Road Scholar and for the reminder about how fun last minute travel planning can be. I suspect that many of us will be happily booking flights and accommodations as soon as we get the green light. I remember now a trip to Greece a few summers back where we were able to find a wonderful Rick Steves forum-suggested apartment overlooking the caldera in Santorini at the last minute that is ordinarily booked months in advance. The airfare wasn't the greatest but that Greek island trip is one of our most memorable.

Mimi, I've only been to Paris and London in June and July but I suspect Paris will be warm, tho' typically not as hot as July. Paris is also somewhat deserted in August while the Parisians take off on their usual summer holiday but some people actually like Paris in August because it isn't as crowded, although some of the shops, cafes and restaurants will be closed. September would be a good bet and also give you that extra month of wiggle room during these COVID times.

Posted by
9736 posts

Regarding August weather...I'll just add that I unfortunately hit a heat wave in Paris in 2016 in the 3rd week and thought I would croak. Temps were 97F in the afternoon so by 3PM I was back in my airconditioned hotel room with a tub of gelato from Amorino until dinner. To be fair, it was also a heat wave thru Northern Europe as I headed to Trier to pick up Rick's GAS tour that started on about Aug 27 and it was still hot has heck in Trier and Baden-Baden. I'm now a bit gun-shy of travel until into Sept due to this but I'm retired so no restriction on having to travel in summer months.

Posted by
21086 posts

In cities as far north as Paris and London, super-hot weather is quite unusual. It's just not unusual enough that you can be assured of not encountering it during the summer. Brittany (like Normandy) is famously cool and overcast, but the heatwave caught up with me there with two days around 88F in late June 2019. And I'm pretty sure that heat wave stuck around Paris longer than two days.

One thing that's super helpful--at which I, unfortunately, fail--is getting out of your lodgings early in the morning if the day's going to be really hot. I know this is true, despite not being a morning person, because I occasionally have an early train to catch. Even in Spain it's likely to be pleasant at 8 AM, 8:30, 9, 9:30 on the hottest summer days. Those are great times to do some of your outdoor sightseeing. The sun sets late in the summer, so you may also have some not-awful hours in the early evening, even on very hot days.

Another tip is to travel with something you can dampen and put around your neck to provide evaporative cooling. I like my Kool Tie, which is available on line--as are competing products. Some people object to the weight of a Kool Tie full of water-swollen beads; they could substitute a dampened bandana. (Test the bandana before your trip, though; I bought a red-and-black bandana whose colors ran badly when I soaked it in water.)

Finally, you should have a wide-brimmed, vented hat.

Posted by
1078 posts

I am planning a trip to France for June (July if need be) 2021 but have not booked a thing yet. It's all planned out so that if I need to move fast I can, but I'm not making reservations yet at all. I have to travel in summer, I'm a teacher, but really want to travel summer 2021 if I can as my 2020 France trip was cancelled. If we can't though I'll switch our plans around and do a National Parks trip this coming summer instead.

Posted by
21731 posts

We are booked to Paris the last week of Sept. Hopefully we will work a month in between mid-Sep to mid-Oct. Will see what happens.

Posted by
2 posts

Just want to say thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts. I've finally convinced my work-a-holic husband that we need a real vacation when all this is over (usually we're traveling to see family or attend work functions)... I'm hoping so hard for early September in Nice but I hadn't even considered the pace of vaccinations in France. We're both fairly young and healthy so we'll be pretty far down on the list in US as well. We'll see, I guess! With best wishes of good health to everyone!

Posted by
122 posts

My sister and I had a 2 week trip planned for this past October to Switzerland and Paris that we rescheduled for June 2021. I just got my first covid vaccine this past Saturday. I am hoping (fingers crossed) that we will be able to go in June. If all else fails, we will try again for October 2021. I have our flights on Delta (which are fully refundable) and the 2 AirBnB's are both fully refundable.

Posted by
1105 posts

No summer trip plan for Europe, hoping to reschedule & execute our 2020 Nov/Dec Christmas Markets trip to same time frame of 2021. Amsterdam, Germany & France.
Good Luck to All.

Posted by
901 posts

I see no problem with booking refundable hotels now, esp if they’re from online websites where reserving and canceling is a click of the mouse. I’d hold off on flights and activities though. The exception to that is if flights are booked with miles So that if you have to cancel the miles are just redeposited as opposed to a cash fare which may stick you with a credit that may be difficult to use.

Posted by
234 posts

Thank you all for your thoughts on how you're approaching planning for summer travel and for the great recommendations on airlines, accommodations and travel organizations offering refund polices that make planning less stressful. And thanks also to acraven for terrific ideas on how to stay cool should we be lucky enough to make it to France in midsummer.

I'm attaching an article from a newsletter that we subscribe to that might be of interest. I was relieved to hear that France has access to more than enough vaccines for their 67 million population but I was dismayed that only 40% intend to get vaccinated. Let's hope that those numbers rise as they are here in the US. Take good care and all the best for the new year.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20201230/explained-how-france-plans-its-covid-19-vaccine-rollout

Posted by
658 posts

"Begin planning?" I started planning right after I returned in June 2019. I am always planning, but I have been continually adjusting the dates. Currently hopefully optimistic that I can make it the first week of June for the D-day anniversary.

Posted by
1822 posts

Well, at the risk of being the pessimist here, I don't think any of you are going anywhere for certain this year.
France has only vaccinated 1,000 people as of yesterday; Christmas market stall holders have gone out of business in some towns; the infection rate in the US is through the roof and still rising at an absolutely alarming rate; there are new virus variants coming to light as well as the first one (another from S. Africa)…….I know everyone wants to plan, book and go, but should we not all do the kind thing for our fellow man: stay home in our own towns for now and let all countries around the world deal with the virus till it can be subdued.
JMHO....you don't have to like it.

Posted by
1120 posts

I am all booked to spend a summer in the Loire Valley. I had to cancel three trips to France last year and I imagine I will have to cancel all of my trips this year too. I am at the mercy of the academic calendar so if travel doesn’t happen until fall I will have to wait until Christmas. It’s already been so damn long. Sure, you can come on here and show off how much of a virtue signaler you can be, but let’s be serious. Most of us live for our travels and Lord knows how much longer we have left anyway. I think of my friends that are of advanced age but have very little time left to be in good enough health to travel and how much this year… Or these few years… Will eat into that precious time. Amazing how nobody cares about anyone getting sick while at work but God forbid they get sick when they’re living.

Posted by
8412 posts

Adrienne, When you asked your question on the 25th, I thought you’d have a chance of coming to France in June. Two days after you posted, they started vaccinating people, a tiny trickle, 350 in the first week. I know a lot of people in the States are complaining about the roll out, but in France, with the vaccine sitting in the freezer waiting, they are only now starting to think about how to inoculate people. When the President got furious at the slow roll out, they managed to do 10,000 people today. So, we’ll see. At this rate, it’s going to be a long time.

Posted by
2020 posts

So here’s a question, how long can the economy ofvsome of these places that depend heavily on tourism survive. What’s going to happen to people?

I’m really curious I know there is a tendency to say no travel until this is completely under control but if you really think about that we could be looking at several years or maybe never. So are you prepared to never leave your town again or never leave your home again for some of you?

I don’t know what the answer is but I know that waiting until this is fully under control may not actually be an option. we may have to figure out a way to live with this risk to a certain extent. It may never be fully under control

Posted by
759 posts

How long can some tourist based economies survive ? Unknown and fairly irrelevant. Sadly this has been a common refrain since last summer- Europe (you name the country) must open because they need the tourists. Well that didn’t happen. These countries are making decisions based upon medical facts— what can their medical systems handle and what risk do visitors from (you name the country) bring to our country? The US really fails on that last one and won’t change anytime soon. Am I damn tired of the pandemic—you bet. But that is also irrelevant as it is what it is.

Fully under control also has means different things to different people. My brain screams for relief found at the British Museum and V & A in London, the Louvre and d’Orsey in Paris. But do I want to go under threat of a virus, have very limited access and be required to wear a mask during my visit-No. Now if France would let me in (I’ll quarantine) and then rent me the Louvre for the day (solo visitor)...I’ll transfer the funds and book the flight immediately. But I also know they won’t do it. I can care less about food-except as a source of energy for my body. But to many time spent at a traditional French restaurant or street side Cafe is a very important part of their experience—so their open from that aspect is much different then mine.

Will I plan a trip now? No. I don’t really plan much beyond booking a flight and hotel- so that takes like 5 minutes. For others they like to research and plan every detail- I think that is wonderful and they should be doing so. I do caution, don’t spend money though. Too many people found out the hard way last summer that fully refundable isn’t as refundable as they may think. My employee’s would tell you I’m also a soft/hard guy. First innocent mistake-fine. Life happens. Failing to learn from that mistake, don’t expect empathy or much forgiveness. Travelers have had 9 months of in their face reality. Openings and reclosings. Book and spend money now if you want; just don’t come back and cry like a baby if you lose it. This pandemic is far from over and more than a few people seem to be missing that fact. Have a positive outlook on life but be realistic at the same time.

Posted by
6872 posts

I’m really curious I know there is a tendency to say no travel until
this is completely under control but if you really think about that we
could be looking at several years or maybe never. So are you prepared
to never leave your town again or never leave your home again for some
of you?

I recalibrate my expectations in small (say every 3-6 months or so) time increments and based on all the available information I have at that time. I expect information will evolve over time, but not at the same rate (just like I wasn't expecting a vaccine breakthrough this fast, followed by a slump in the implementation piece). I expect a lot of steps forward and retreats and fast starts and then lulls, and to train myself to be flexible enough to accommodate and make peace with all possibilities. The question of "never" leaving my city or home again is a moot one for me right now - I don't have to make that choice. I take it one day/ month/ recalibration period at a time, and I try not to psych myself out just to cause stress. All I know now is that I'm totally mentally prepared not to travel this year, I'm OK with it, and I'm sure I can make my life meaningful doing other things. I also am confident that no economy is going to come back until the virus is under control, so travel isn't enough to move the needle sharply...there are too many other facets of the economy that have to come back to life.

I agree with the post above - Europe isn't that desperate for American tourists. I suspect they will open their travel with Southeast Asia and China way before us. There is also a lot of EU internal travel that can occur to pump up their economies, just as domestic travel will be more likely for us in the near term than any international travel. Some countries should transition from an over reliance on tourism and diversify their economies, but that will be a hard and painful slog but probably better/ more sustainable in the long term. Germany is a good example of a country that has it together on the vaccination front and they are not overly reliant on tourism. But their economy will still contract because they rely a lot on high-value exports and the global economy, which will all suffer a major downturn (some countries worse than others).

Posted by
8412 posts

Except for a few pockets such as Venice and Bruges, Europe doesn't depend on outside tourism. With long vacations, the Europeans pivoted away from distant travel and filled their own spaces for the most part. Hotels in cities suffered because people wanted to get out of large cities, but for the most part, European economies don't depend on outside tourism. Carol's question applies a to resort islands and targeted sectors where everyone depends on tourism, not not Europe in general.

Posted by
234 posts

Bets, I agree that a June trip is highly unlikely now, especially with how slowly the vaccines are rolling out both here and in France. And with 60% of French citizens apparently unwilling to be vaccinated, I can't imagine when it will be safe enough for me personally to travel to France at my age, even after I receive the vaccine and booster.

I think in the end, each of us will have to decide what risks we are willing to take when travel restrictions to France are lifted. I know that I won't get on a plane unless I'm vaccinated and I'll need to do further research and keep up with the latest information about immunity. I read recently that some airlines had been considering requiring proof of covid vaccination before flying in the future. That would be ideal for oldsters like myself but I doubt that will happen unless fliers demand it, which most won't given how many millions risked flying to visit family during the recent holidays.

I appreciate the thoughtful, interesting and often fascinating responses on this discussion thread. Wanderlust is surely good for the brain.

Posted by
8412 posts

Adrienne, Vaccinations are speeding up now, big centers will be set up this month and the percentage of people who say they will be vaccinated is increasing, just like in the States. Don't give up hope.

Posted by
27 posts

Adrianne, at your age you might want to consider herd immunity, but as everyone has said, that will be a long way off, especially in France. But I myself am higher-risk and have barely left my home since March 2020 (did not see any family or friends for the holidays, have not been inside a restaurant or gym, canceled dental and doctor appointments etc.). and am still considering a trip to Europe, including France in late summer 2021. I will not travel until weeks after I am fully vaccinated (hoping that happens by May, but might not be until July the way things are going). But, I am clear-eyed about it and fully expect to be wearing a mask, taking most meals outside (where possible), and needing to book ahead for what I expect will be limited capacity openings at the sites. I do not expect heard immunity at that time (July/August), but if I am no longer a risk to others and take precautions to protect myself (distancing, masking and hand washing/disinfecting are going to be with us for a long time), I plan to go if they will have me (vaccine passport in hand). Businesses need people to come back and we can help make that happen, but to our Georgian friends, we cannot “just live” with the virus because it kills people and, even more than that, it hospitalizes and causes permanent harm to the organs of many more than it kills and hospitals cannot keep up, so we do need to be at least personally vaccinated and even then still take precautions to make this happen in a responsible and sustainable way. I think individual travel will realistically be able to start to make a comeback well before group travel or heard immunity, and it will be a slow ramp up rather than an on/off switch, and we will need to be flexible in our thinking about what our dream trips look like and even where they might be to for the next year or so. I did book my flights already but am using points, and I will be wearing a mask and visor for the entire flight whether or not we are required to do so. Restaurants are a major part of my reason for this trip (Lyon!), so I hope they find a way to safely open, at least outdoors, by late summer.

Posted by
234 posts

Bets, thanks for the update on the vaccine rollout in France. Great news all around. I'm going to hold out until mid-July before I give up on this summer trip, even if I have to do last minute scrambling for flights and accommodations for a shortened trip in August before I go back to teaching. I suspect though that we'll have a pretty good idea by late spring, especially with two more vaccines on the verge of being approved (Astra-Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson) and Biden ready to ramp up production on this side of the pond at least.
Heather, I agree with you that getting the vaccine (and booster) along with continuing to take all the necessary precautions during flights and while in France will make it safer for those of us who are higher risk to travel. I'm excited for you that you already have your flights booked with air miles. I hope we all get to be in France this year. I'll be happy just to wake up early in the mornings in Paris before it gets too warm and wander around the city, maybe take in a food tour or so. Night time strolls after the sun goes down are wonderful, too. Day trips by train can wait another year. Lyon sounds terrific. I hope you have many memorable meals there. Safe travels everyone.

Posted by
751 posts

I'm hoping that by the fall (Sept/Oct) travel may be possible again, but I'm not making any real plans yet. At this point given the pace of vaccine rollout the summer seems unlikely, but I'd be happy to be wrong!

Posted by
658 posts

Just bought my ticket for early June this morning. Hope springs eternal, and the D-day anniversary only along comes once a year.

Posted by
173 posts

I'm gonna be honest and say I'll be shocked if there's any real opportunity to travel internationally before the fall. I'm a physician and that's been my answer when my patients ask me "when are we gonna get back to normal." The saddest part about that question, of course, is that it's never gonna be "normal" as it was before. We are not going back to January 2020. They'll be things like vaccine passports, ect in the future.

As for when I might plan for future travels abroad, I'm probably not even remotely looking until we get into the early summer months. By fall.. we may be at the the start of a broader opening, but even then, I'll be surprised if we'll be out of our masks. Herd immunity will not be achieved by then.

We'll see what the Biden Admin does but right now, the vaccine rollout has been too slow, the supply is still limited, and then there is the wild card factor of how many people will actually choose to get it. I've had many patients who are eager, which is encouraging, but there are plenty whom I'll be likely having long conversations with. And these issues are not limited to the United States. Those issues will play out in Europe and other regions as well. We don't beat this virus until enough people get the thing, and it's gonna be a while yet.

[And just to put my money where my mouth is... I am a fully COVID-19 vaccinated member of the Pfizer Club. Received my second dose this past week. I've never been more happy to get a shot in my entire life.]

Posted by
1120 posts

Glad you got your vaccine. As a teacher, I am disgusted that we don’t seem to be any closer to being vaccinated yet we are expected to teach in person.

Posted by
8299 posts

PharmerPhil, i think June is realistic.
My son, his girlfriend, his best friend and his wife (the latter 3 in the medical field) just bought plane tickets and are going in June. I’d be going too if i didn’t have other obligations.

Posted by
658 posts

Susan. I hope you and I are both right, but I honestly don't know. I just don't want to wait until then to find out I can go, but all that are available are last-minute, high-priced airfares. But I am optimistic. I actually have two other European trips I would like to do later this year due to pieces of art that will be only exhibited for a limited time, in limited places. Hope springs eternal...

Posted by
8299 posts

PharmerPhil, i very much hope you get to go, i love that you try to go every year to honor all those brave people.

Posted by
7616 posts

My brain screams for relief found at the British Museum and V & A in London, the Louvre and d’Orsey in Paris. But do I want to go under threat of a virus, have very limited access and be required to wear a mask during my visit-No.

It’s funny that you mention this, onefastbob.

Since late October, even those of us who live across the river from the Orsay or along the same metro line as the Louvre haven’t been able to visit either (or anything else). I certainly miss them too.

When announcing the second shutdown, in late October, the government had laid out projections for a possible re-opening of museums in mid-December. When that didn’t happen, they said maybe January 7. We’re now halfway through January with no date mentioned any more.

(And forget restaurants, they won’t be reopened until sometime much later than museums are able to re-open for locals.)

Posted by
1078 posts

Alexander, I hear you. Luckily teachers are included in the next vaccination group here in WI. Not sure when that group will actually get vaccinated though. I'm hoping for June, but we can make it work July or August if we have to.

Posted by
191 posts

I think people, especially Americans, thinking of traveling overseas by the summer are being way overly optimistic. We can talk about the serious Covid issues in the U.K., China, etc. but no country in the world has a worse Covid issue than the U.S. We are heading towards 500,000 dead from Covid by the summer. And the vaccine supply is rapidly drying up all over the country as more and more people are being added to the priority list. What countries are even going to let Americans in? Maybe those who have gotten the vaccine but we are still gathering info on the effectiveness of the vaccine and you will certainly need proof of vaccination. And anyway, I am not interested in visiting a city like Paris, as Kim describes it (thank you again, Kim, for your insights!) just to wander the streets for a week or two. I am thinking Christmas in Paris at the earliest if there is some semblance of herd immunity here and the city has reopened enough.

Posted by
751 posts

According to the EU itself

Once authorised, when will vaccines be available in the EU?

In line with the EU vaccine strategy agreed with Member States, once authorised and produced, each vaccine will be available to Member States at the same time and at the same conditions.

The distribution will start progressively. This means that in the first few months, there will not be enough doses available to vaccinate all adults. The first doses will go to the priority groups identified by Member States (e.g. healthcare professionals, persons over 60 years of age). Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated during the course of 2021.
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_2467

A bit more optimistic is this news announcement

Outlining its plans today, the Commission has also set vaccination targets for its 27 Member States.
By March 2021, countries should have vaccinated a minimum of 80% of health and social care professionals and people over 80 years old. By summer 2021, vaccination should cover 70% of the adult population. But the Commission acknowledges that, in order to meet these objectives, the supply of vaccines will need to be ramped up.
https://www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2021/01/19/EU-pledges-to-ramp-up-COVID-19-vaccine-production-sets-vaccination-targets

So if we're lucky Europe may reopen by late summer, but it may take all of 2021 before they vaccinate enough people to lift travel restrictions

Posted by
2590 posts

Be a realist, don't make plans before the late fall/early winter

Posted by
27759 posts

I'm glad to see this post restored to its full and vibrant life

Posted by
5625 posts

Still looking forward to our planned trip this fall (departing USA on the equinox, so it just falls in the fall), and in addition to the flight reservations made back in December, we’ve now booked one week’s lodging out of a 5-week timeframe. We’ll see what develops as more planning continues.

Posted by
26 posts

The vague timelines do not give me comfort. "By summer 2021, vaccination should cover 70% of the adult population. "

By Summer means.....beginning, middle or end? That is a long window. September 20 could also be considered "Summer"

Posted by
21086 posts

That is why I think vaccine delivery schedules are important. You can't administer what you don't have. That applies in Europe just as much as it does in the US and Canada. This week it was announced that the newest Pfizer and Moderna contracts call for US deliveries (600 million doses total) to be completed by the end of July. If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, we'll reach 600 million doses earlier than that, and of course J&J is a single-dose vaccine.

But it's not that simple. We have the issue of vaccine-hesitancy to address, and the impact of mutations to investigate.

Assuming the available vaccines are at least somewhat effective against mutations (waiting for revised vaccines would really slow things down), it will help if some children are vaccinated. It was announced this week that Oxford University has started a trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine in children aged 6 to 17. The article doesn't indicate when results are expected.

You can monitor the progress of vaccine roll-outs here: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=latest&country=ALB~AND~AUT~BLR~BEL~BIH~BGR~HRV~CYP~CZE~DNK~EST~FIN~FRA~DEU~GRC~HUN~ISL~IRL~ITA~OWIDKOS~LVA~LIE~LTU~LUX~MLT~MDA~MCO~MNE~NLD~MKD~NOR~POL~PRT~ROU~RUS~SMR~SRB~SVK~SVN~ESP~SWE~CHE~UKR~GBR~VAT~USA~CAN&region=World&vaccinationsMetric=true&interval=total&perCapita=true&smoothing=0&pickerMetric=totalvaccinationsperhundred&pickerSort=desc

I've set up the bar chart to show the major countries in Europe, the US and Canada. You can add others via the check-boxes on the left.

Posted by
234 posts

Cyn, a lot of progress can happen in 7 months so I hope you'll be on your way to Italy in September. Thank you to acraven for the terrific graph. I've forwarded it to friends who got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week. They had to cancel a trip to London last year and are setting their sights on traveling there in late fall. They'll be pleased to see that England looks pretty good numbers-wise on the graph.

Posted by
27759 posts

to elaborate on Adrienne's comment on England's numbers being fairly good -

we are progressing through the population from oldest to youngest, and including front line medical workers and some care home workers. We've done over 90's for both doses, and over 80's, and have just this weekend nearly completed the over 70's, both just the first dose with the second in 12 weeks.

We have just started over 65's.

At the moment the government hope that everybody will be offered a first dose by September.

We still have 13,000 new covid cases daily and around 1,000 deaths a day.

Perhaps this helps fill out the graph numbers....

Posted by
663 posts

We have accommodations for the month of September reserved in Provence. No flights yet although I am starting to watch... We are only booking what could be cancelled.

Posted by
13564 posts

The UKs speed in vaccinating is absolutely amazing. No major industrialized nation has done better I think. You guys should pat yourselves on the back. As bad as you COVID numbers are, imagine where they would be if you had done less. Well done guys. You may be the first to truly get a handle on this. But we are closing on you!!! I love a good race, for a good cause.

Posted by
234 posts

Thank you Nigel for providing further clarity with the additional stats. I agree with James E that England is doing an impressive job with getting folks vaccinated. Here in San Francisco, two of our newly opened mass vaccination sites will be closed for a week because of supply issues which I suspect will be a common problem across the country. But once vaccine production and distribution gets rolling, we'll be able to get up to speed. CaliMom I'm excited for you and your family. Fingers crossed.

Posted by
2012 posts

By Summer means.....beginning, middle or end?

The French government has stated that all adults should be vaccinated by the end of summer. One assumes that is the end of August, but the projection depends greatly upon the availability of vaccine. One further assumes that younger people will be vaccinated starting early fall.

A fear of variants has resulted in France’s recent border lockdown. French citizens cannot leave the country without meeting a very narrow set of parameters and each exception requires official documentation as justification. Resident foreign nationals may leave France but may not return without qualifying under the same rigid requirements. Museums, cafés, restaurants, and many businesses including many hotels remain closed.

Anything could happen, but the idea that France is going to open up completely and allow tourism in as little as 4 or 5 months might be wildly optimistic. I do not see international tourism returning until everyone is vaccinated, the fear of variants is diminished, and infection rates and deaths approach near zero.

Hopefully that will happen this year. I am not planning travel until 2022.

Posted by
270 posts

At what risk is the UK going to meet the goal of vaccinating every adult by the summer? they are delaying the 2nd doses by 12 weeks, its a big gamble, if it pays off great, it it just allows variants to spread its a nightmare. Dr. Fauci said he does not recommend waiting longer than the 3/4 weeks for 1st and 2nd dose.

Posted by
270 posts

Ok, assuming it ends up working out. That is only the UK, the rest of Western Europe is so far behind, if the UK finishes up in September with 1st doses, how much longer till the rest of Western Europe catches up? The variants will only get worse, not better. We will need new vaccines that have been reformulated and its repeat and rinse with booster doses.

So... at some point society is going to learn to accept this virus and take the risks. In 5-10 years the same people to die from this will be the same ones dying from the flu pre-covid. That's after years of boosters giving our immune systems a fighting chance.

I'm not trying to be a negative Nancy, I just don't want people to think the vaccines are a silver bullet bc they are not, the virus has already shown it has ways to evade antibody recognition. In Manussu? Brazil people were reinfected with 2nd strain that had mutation that allowed it to avoid being recognized by antibodies gained from initial covid infection. Does that sound familiar?

It's the same reason we get colds and flus over and over again. That being said, I've never gotten the flu in my life. We are going on 1 year living during this pandemic which is now becoming ENDEMIC.

Posted by
353 posts

I have the same desires and concerns for travel as you, Adrienne. My husband and I are looking at the possibility of traveling to France and Andalusia in September 2021. We are both in our early/mid 70s. Adding to the age conundrum is that my husband had a heart transplant in June 2020! We will both have had our second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in one week. There is no knowing how Americans, the French and Spanish will behave between now and September. We do not trust that simply because we have been vaccinated that that alone will keep us safe even if wearing masks. We want to be able to be mask-free to dine in restaurants, visit museums, etc. SOOOO, what to do? We will use frequent flyer miles that we can easily cancel as the time to departure becomes closer without losing much more than $25. We had to cancel a trip to France and England in 2019 due to my husband's original heart just four days before we were to have left! We did not have trip insurance--this time, we will. I am not sure that that will truly "insure" us against all costs with lodging. I am especially leery of VRBO since I had a bad experience with their original HomeAway in 2019 (see my post in this travel forum, ("What HomeAway doesn't tell you. . .") So, you might want to thoroughly check into all the aspects of trip insurance--anyone on this thread have experience with canceling lodging reservations while having trip insurance? I know we will examine it closely. I expected to have to pay for the lodging with such little notice of cancelation, however, I was also charged for the cleaning and damage fees! If I go with VRBO and take out their insurance, I will make certain that those are also covered. There are at least two more concerns with scheduling trips to France now for September: we will have been fully vaccinated for seven months by that time. Will we need boosters? No one knows since the research has not been conducted that far in advance. We buy tickets to museums, events, etc. in advance because we do not want to stand in long lines. Which will be refunded and which will not if we have to cancel? I know from experience that some do refund while others do not and some give a year's voucher. We would just have to "eat" the ones that do not or the trip insurance might kick in. Fortunately, my husband is a part of a Johns Hopkins study in which he sent in a blood sample before the first Pfizer dose, will send in a second blood sample before the second dose, etc. and will know about his antibodies. Still, I have been spending full days online searching for the Best flats, the Best restaurants, the Best flights, etc., and having a ball. The US has done much to fight the covid battle and get vaccines out and has a plan that, with some kinks, seems to be working and getting better all the time. This new administration gives me great hope. Now, if people would just behave themselves. . .

Posted by
1 posts

Unfortunately, I've had way too much experience with having to cancel planned trips due to health reasons. We have always purchased travel insurance from a 3rd party vendor (usually Allianz). I've also run into the issue with both VRBO and Airbnb where I've had to cancel and still been hit with having to pay fees, etc. As long as I had my insurance policy purchased within 14 days of the first payment for a covered trip (in the past, this was usually our flights), I've been able to recover 100% of my nonrefundable costs. With your husband's heart surgery, Lindy, I suspect that would fall under the pre-existing condition clause of most if not all travel insurance policies so make sure to read all of the policy rules and if you have questions or concerns, call the insurance company directly. In my case, with my pre-existing condition(s), I'm still covered as long as I take the policy out 3 months in advance of the trip. Letting them know your situation will allow you to make sure you are covered in any case. Also be aware that many policies have strict rules concerning Covid-19 coverage now, so that's another area that you need to be aware of. Personally, I don't recommend the policies sold by the hotel/Airbnb/Vrbo/Airlines, etc. I prefer to get the broader coverage directly from the insurer, but it is not cheap. My husband is in his 60s and I'm in my late 50's and our usual trip coverage runs us between $300-400 per 1 week trip (cost of trip estimated to be $6-7k for non-refundable expenses). I wouldn't dream of traveling internationally without the extra insurance especially the medical coverage. We had to cancel three trips last year and I ended up having surgery in June 2020 as well when my cancer came back for the 3rd time in so many years. I desperately want to start traveling again while I'm still relatively healthy, but like many others, I don't see that happening anytime soon. Hope I'm wrong!

Posted by
353 posts

Thank you, SusanR, for your thorough response. Yes, my husband has researched trip insurance and health insurance for our trips. Once bitten, twice shy with VRBO. As you stated, it is wise not to be insured through them. So glad you were able to get all of your money back! I'm sure the recurrence of cancer was devastating, but you're still looking forward to traveling--(insert big smiley face here!) Even if France and Spain are open, we will be even more stringent since both countries have dropped the ball (as has the US) a few times. Vaccines and herd immunity are high on our list of variables.

Posted by
1066 posts

We were supposed to go to Europe in September 2020. For us, Europe has to be both safe and fun for us to return. I am hoping for 2022. By later this year, the trends should be more clear, and we may feel comfortable booking a trip for 2022.

Posted by
234 posts

Lindy I hope you and your husband make it to France and Spain in the Fall, although I'm thinking that maybe going mask-free and dining indoors might not be an option even with your 2nd Pfizer shot and any additional booster that could be necessary given the variants. If dining in and going to museums are a priority for you both, then perhaps postponing your trip to 2022 as Bob suggests might work better all around. Thanks to Susan for the great information about travel insurance, especially for us traveling oldsters. The $300 per week of travel is totally worth the comprehensive coverage and peace of mind. I checked the Allianz website and sure enough, it clearly states that their insurance will not cover any losses due to COVID so using air miles and making sure that flights and lodgings and other travel related items are fully refundable should be a priority. We'll get through this, everyone. Things change every day it seems. The stats today look very good with declining infections and hospitalizations with spring around the corner and more and more people getting vaccinated. Things are heading in the right direction.

Posted by
498 posts

Thanks, acraven for the link to a chart for vaccinations in Europe. Very useful. Regarding the OP, I won't begin planning for summer travel to France in 2021 because I cannot imagine that it will be enjoyable, nevermind safe. I had been planning since Nov 2019 a trip to France for Fall 2020. It's a hard pill to swallow but I finally had to realize that this was a nonstarter. At least I was able to get my airline points, auto reservation and hotel reservations refunded. No refunds for the approximately €1500 I paid for a nonrefundable apartment in Paris. But the owner is a very reasonable person who has offered those booking with him the same number of days at a later time. So then I thought, well, maybe spring 2021. Don't think so. So then I started thinking about this coming Fall, 2021. But I just cannot convince myself that things will be okay by then. And yes, Bets makes an excellent point: if the restaurants, cafés and bars are closed where, oh where can I find a place to pee? Oh, and the museums are also closed? Not a good scenario. For me, half the pleasure of Paris is walking around and listening to the quiet, civilized sound of the French having dinner. Or a café. Or a a glass of wine. And France actually letting travelers from the US in is only the beginning. I would also have to feel it was highly unlikely that my husband or I would contract the virus. And that was safe to sit in a café without my mask, etc., etc., etc. So now I'm hoping to plan a trip for spring of 2022. Hopefully the airlines will extend their policy of fully refundable dollars/points so I can book flights, maybe in June for the following May.

Posted by
21086 posts

Looking at it purely from the ability-to-travel standpoint, I think for many destinations it may not matter whether one completes the vaccination cycle in February or in May/June, or perhaps even later. As has been noted, most European countries are vaccinating more slowly than the US at this point, and I think many will want to see both their own infection rate and ours come down a lot before they admit US tourists. For the purpose of lowering the US infection rate, any arm is a useful target. It may take getting about all the willing adults vaccinated to get the US rate low enough to be acceptable to much of Europe.

Still, it is a nerve-racking time for people who are at elevated risk of serious illness for reasons of medical history or employment.

Posted by
8412 posts

Kay is being realistic. You might be seeing better stats in the States, but they aren’t moving much in Western Europe, but then they haven’t been as elevated as the US. However, several countries are currently in lockdown or have curfews. Our European friends posting here are dragging under the weight of these ongoing restrictions.

However, the French companies with which we sometimes travel have tours ready to go for the late summer. Some are filling. The French are eager. But, these could be canceled at the last minute, which happened to us in November when we were locked down with only a few days notice.

Posted by
353 posts

This is some hopeful, preliminary news. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/scotland-vaccinations-lead-to-sharp-drop-in-hospitalizations/. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/22/scotland-covid-vaccination-drive-linked-to-big-drop-in-hospital-admissions. No, it's not about France, but at this point, any country that is doing what it needs to do and with excellent results will affect other developed countries. Can France be far behind?

Posted by
13564 posts

It sort of makes sense. If 85% of hospitalizations are people over 65, and if you got those people vaccinated then ..... I think some loose sight of the fact that nearly 400,000 of our 460,000 deaths are in that age group. And of that age group, in the US there are only about 60 million individuals. Thats 120 million vaccine doses. Seems more attainable than 320 million people or 640 million doses.

Posted by
270 posts

120mil doses avg 1.5mil a day is 80 days, lets say 3 months, assuming avg doesn't increase,which it will. So that puts us at Memorial Day.

Posted by
2020 posts

Well, I had a frequent flyer ticket booked for early summer 2021. This week I canceled it. Realistically that’s not happening as far as I can tell.

I do have another ticket booked for the fall. But I can cancel it if I need to also. I’m not overly optimistic about the fall trip either

Posted by
720 posts

Husband and I both have had covid and vaccines. We missed 2 international trips last year.....May 2020 to the Dordogne and September 2020 to Switzerland. We are both 68 and ready to travel again! I think we will be required to have a vaccine passport before we travel anywhere internationally this year....we have planned the Dordogne trip for May 2021 hoping it will happen and the Switzerland trip for September 2021. Maybe we are just being optimistic but I do feel like the minute things take a turn that travel will get VERY BUSY.......and we want to be ready. The places we rescheduled were not hesitant at all to take our reservations....I think they are as ready as we are to return to normalcy.

Posted by
13564 posts

Jane, I think you nailed it. The whole vaccine passport thing baffles me though. The same people saying that vaccinated people are still carriers are also advocating for passports? But you might be right. Maybe some countries are just looking for a way to rationalize bringing their economies back.

France this year? Who knows. Open in May or closed for another year; neither would surprise me for an EU country. It's so political and like with the vaccine distribution you have a central macro power making decisions best done at the micro level. It might be another fiasco. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. If you are doing Switzerland for the mountains and the nature. There are some similar experiences in places that are open now.

The beauty of booking now is the rates for hotels are down, airlines are booking and almost everyone is offering fully refundable reservations; or better pay when you arrive reservations. So with a tad of common sense and a little reading of fine print, why not go ahead and start booking?

Posted by
720 posts

Thank you James! At my age I am just ready to get moving and quit sitting around waiting......I do know of an instance of a friend from Atlanta that traveled to England last October to antique shop for her business......she was ready to quarantine for the 14 days and all.....no one met her at the plane on arrival, no problem at customs, no one documented where she was staying and she freely shopped and moved around the country for her 2 week shopping trip......so how are 70+ “officers” going to meet every airplane and follow these travelers around????? Do not get me wrong......I do not want anyone to be as sick as my husband was with this awful virus......that would never be my intention....just ready to move on with life........

Posted by
13564 posts

Jane, I don't blame you. I'm a stickler for "legal" so no place that has requirements that I am not willing to comply with is on my list. I imagine you are the same. I am in the final stages of booking my April trip to the Alps (Dinaric Alps). Compliance is a 72 hour prior PCR test.

Posted by
8412 posts

It's so political and like with the vaccine distribution you have a central macro power making decisions best done at the micro level. It might be another fiasco. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

And your opinions are formed by? Do you have any information or all opinion?

Some background facts: in early January, when the rollout was just starting, Pfizer announced they were closing their production for at least two weeks the second half of January in order to make improvements. This surprise announcement stopped all deliveries to the EU. Next, the EU discovered shipments that had been promised to the EU had been shipped to Great Britain, followed by a kerfuffle. Then--according to the French 8pm news-- some in the British government proposed that vaccine produced in Great Britain could not be sent over to the Continent despite previous contracts; perhaps our British contributors can bring us up-to-date on if that proposal ever made it out of the box. It must be said that the vaccine shipments were sent during the bleakest moments of the recent crisis in England.

Present solutions: at this time three other vaccines are being examined for approval, as well as the Russian vaccine.

Meanwhile, people in Europe are waiting, their movements are restricted, caseloads are not descending, their governments are waiting for doses, but I just read

" Will be interesting to see how it plays out.. "

I see nothing interesting considering what the people are going through in Europe and around the world. It's not a spectator sport.

Posted by
1256 posts

"Can France be far behind?"

In vaccination terms - yes.

The underlying problem is that the EU made a dog's breakfast of procurement, putting themselves behind in the queue, and so supplies have been slow to arrive. However, even within this general constraint, there are notable differences in the efficiency of roll-out between EU member states. This week France's daily jab-rate is not much better than Bulgaria's and is some way behind, for example, Denmark and Malta.

However, hopefully, lessons are being learnt and things will pick up in the next few months. Hungary, for example, is now approving and buying its own vaccines instead of waiting for the EU.

Posted by
13564 posts

Nick, you actually hit on what I was thinking. Hungary will take advantage of anything the EU can do for them, then buck the system. They have purchased the Russian vaccine to add to the EU distribution. They bucked the system on closures too; closing borders within the EU when the EU said not to. An independent bunch those guys. Again, watching how things unfold is interesting and informative.

Then there us Israel, the UK and the US. 1,2 and 3 in vaccination rates. Probably a lesson there.

Posted by
2012 posts

The EU asked member states to allow them to negotiate the delivery of Covid vaccine to preclude member nations bidding against one another and unnecessarily raising prices. Hungary contacted Russia for deliveries of their Sputnik V vaccine, but the EU never negotiated with the Russians for vaccine deliveries. EU member states were always free to use resources outside of those available in the west or outside of those with whom Brussels was negotiating. It seems disingenuous to label Hungary´s efforts as bucking the system because they were not. Hungary´s efforts are completely within EU parameters. They simply were hedging their bets by using an alternate supply chain.

Posted by
6872 posts

Then there us Israel, the UK and the US. 1,2 and 3 in vaccination
rates.

You forgot the UAE, which should be 1 or 2

Also, it's not clear that the EU has even approved the Sputnik vaccine; a report from Reuters suggests otherwise.
https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-russia-vaccine-eu/confusion-over-russias-eu-vaccine-approval-bid-could-be-result-of-misdirected-application-idUSL8N2KP2XU

It seems disingenuous to label Hungary´s efforts as bucking the system
because they were not. Hungary´s efforts are completely within EU
parameters.

I doubt it...see above Reuter's article.

An independent bunch those guys.

Yeah, one can say that über nationalists with authoritarian streaks are "independent". They certainly don't play well with others.

Posted by
663 posts

We booked flights to Paris for September, being the optimists at heart that we are! With the U.S. airlines offering flexibility and credits, we took advantage of a good fare we saw. Fingers crossed! If not, we will opt for a month in DC :) and enjoy Pierre Charles L'Enfant's vision, and of course, our wonderful Smithsonians.

Posted by
140 posts

I almost booked airfare for September myself. Roundtrip to CDG was almost half price to what it usually is. With the uncertain future right now, I didn't. What kind of flexibility and credits are you speaking of?

Posted by
2012 posts

I would agree that planning for September introduces risk.

That bet is that in little more than 5 months from now, France will evolve from where it is today, having restaurants/cafés, museums, and most hotels closed, a 12-hour stay-at-home curfew (from 6pm to 6am), all large retail closed, and weekend curfews in effect in some areas; to reversing all that, completely reopening the country, and reopen all international borders which have been closed for a year.

It could happen; but I would not book anything that is not fully refundable until 2022.

Posted by
663 posts

Hi trblee, United Airlines allows you to cancel or change your flights for no fee. If you cancel one of their Basic Fare flights, you will receive a full credit to put toward another flight at a later date. There also is a level which you can get a full refund.

Posted by
8412 posts

I agree with Tocard.

To put it in perspective: the US date to open vaccination registration to everyone regardless of age is May. The French date is September. This is not taking into consideration the possible complications or delays due to new strains.

Posted by
140 posts

Thank you CaliMom, I wish that I had grabbed them tickets now. They were 600 dollars for round trip from North Carolina. The price is back up to 1100 dollars now.

Posted by
7616 posts

Also, it's not clear that the EU has even approved the Sputnik vaccine;

Indeed, they have not.

Posted by
140 posts

I booked travel to France for October 2021 today. Got a good price on airfare, so I jumped on it. If we can't travel for whatever the reason, we'll just exchange the tickets for another trip. Maybe Alaska or Hawaii. I live in North Carolina, USA.

Posted by
21 posts

We have made plans to travel to Europe on a River Cruise with a pre-trip to Belgium for 3 weeks and a 12 day tour of France. I receive my second shot this Friday. Many in the younger generation will not be vaccinated but it is important for Seniors. Every booking we have made has a guarantee due to the Pandemic. We land in Brussels on Sept 13 and out of Paris on Oct 14th. We are prepared to make any changes we need to do according to the situation. I know the Fall will be less crowded this year and common sense goes along way. We will use our Masks and 1st class on the trains and avoid crowds as much as possible. We can't be locked down forever and not plan for the future. If you want to see how individual countries are actually doing go on the John Hopkins website and you will see the stats. I wish everyone safe travels and hope for the best.

Bruce

Posted by
747 posts

No one from the USA is going anywhere in Europe till at least 2023. One forth of our population says that they will not get vaccinated. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/03/poll-1-4-americans-will-refuse-covid-19-vaccine

2022 is going to be an international reckoning of who can travel, and from where. We have nothing in place as to verification of Vac on a national level in the USA. So that card you got, from your county, that says you've been vaccinated is worth approximately nothing to the country you are attempting to fly into. 2021 is already off the table. 2022, will be the most confusing year. Most likely, many starts and stops depending on the way the Co-Vid variants play out and how effective the various vaccines really are. This will probably be worked out by 2023, but still, all travelers will still need to wear a mask in public. Travel in 2021, even late 2021, is fueled by unicorns and other magical thinking.

Posted by
423 posts

Adrienne, sending you Happy Belated 50th Anniversary. What a wonderful milestone. I too like everyone else had to postpone my trip to Paris. I was scheduled October 2020. I pushed it to early May 2021 when Air France cancelled my outbound flight in October. Of course by the end of 2020, I knew that May 2021 trip would not happen. I have an airbnb apartment that I can push out and Air France gave me a travel voucher so I used it for the May trip and have just cancelled May and pushed it to September this year. I am fairly certain that that trip won't happen, but since there are no change fees, I will keep pushing the trip out until I can actually travel. I guess this is my way of keeping hope for travel in the future. Each push I make, I add more days and have upgraded my seat on Air France. Since I'm not spending money on travel I can expand to enjoy an epic trip once we are free.

Meanwhile, I have started to zoom in with Rick Steves on Monday nights to enjoy him and his past travels. It really keeps my joy of travel alive.

Cheers.

Posted by
234 posts

Gela, thank you for the good wishes. I really like your thinking regarding adding more days to your future trip and upgrading your seat on Air France with the savings from not traveling last year and (most likely) this year. I have no doubt that you will have an epic adventure. Thank you for the tip about Rick Zooming on Mondays. I wasn’t aware of it and will definitely check it out.

Since a trip to France is highly unlikely this year, I began exploring an anniversary trip to Greece this summer when it was recently announced that Greece was planning on opening up to travelers outside of the EU in mid-June. But apparently their COVID numbers are increasing and even though my husband and I are both fully vaccinated, I’m afraid a celebratory trip in Europe will have to wait another year when it’s safe for everyone all around. Meanwhile, watching The Durrells in Corfu on Amazon has been a delightful distraction. Take good care so we can travel next year.

Posted by
13564 posts

Francis, the unicorn and I start our first of three 2021 trips to Europe in mid-May. Other magical beasts are available if you would like to join us.

Posted by
27759 posts

Unfortunately President Macron of France has just announced a strengthening of the French Lockdown - French schools are now closing for at least three weeks as part of further French restrictions due to the virus.

Posted by
962 posts

When will you begin planning for summer travel to France in 2021.......in 2022 :(

Posted by
1120 posts

Et comme ca....it seems official that a 2021 trip will be hors de question.

Posted by
292 posts

Aargh! 'Delayed gratification'. Something that none of us is very good at! Adrienne, sounds like a great trip that you'll be having, once the pandemic is conquered.
I am done. the end.

Posted by
353 posts

Once most have received their covid vaccine, we will need to know how long the antibodies/protection from covid last. Pfizer just announced that after six months, those who have been vaccinated are still protected. However, if we need to vaccinate every year, we will need most to participate yet again. Fortunately, we should have plenty of vaccines by then hopefully for the world. We won't be planning any European vacations until 2022 and the data re: herd immunity are in.