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Sad day - cancelled our reservations for this summer

So I’ve been planning this 3 week road trip across Europe for a couple years now, and we just made the call that it’s not going to happen this summer. Just sharing my grief, I guess. This was going to be a trip with my husband, our 15 year old, my sister (a nurse in desperate need of a vacation) and her husband. It was to be my sister and her husband’s first Europe trip, in celebration of his retirement.

Our plan was: 3 weeks in a minivan to include the Dolomites, Venice, Lake Maggiore, Wengen, Colmar and Boppard. We planned to fly into Munich and out of Frankfurt. I had not purchased airfare yet, and only booked fully refundable lodging.

As time dragged on and rules changed, we just can’t see this being the epic trip that we know it COULD be (and will be someday). We would potentially have to test at least five times. That’s five opportunities for the trip to go awry. Despite being triple vaxxed, it’s a very real possibility that one of us would test positive. If that happened mid-trip, it would be a huge challenge to pivot with our group. If it were just the three of us, I think I would be more apt to go for it.

I solace myself with knowing that airfares and car rental rates are absurd right now (2-3 times what we normally pay) so maybe by next summer they will calm down and we’ll save thousands on the trip. And maybe masks will be a thing of the past. I really hate them!

So here I am looking for something else to look forward to and plan. Maybe a road trip to see the beautiful USA.

I know there are many who have made the same sad decision and who share my pain.

Posted by
529 posts

It is a crazy time, that's for sure. That said, I am really hoping that this summer will be a vastly different landscape than it is now as far as Covid.

Can you wait a few months to see what happens before you cancel completely?

Posted by
9537 posts

So sorry you felt you had to cancel. It's so difficult with multi-country and a group of people!

Let me know if you decide you want to do Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. I go frequently and would be happy to give you some advice on lodging, itinerary etc.

You've got all your research done for 2023, though!

Posted by
2235 posts

You have my sympathy. I have canceled three trips so far. It is so disappointing. There are many many beautiful places to visit in the USA. The sooner you start researching and planning that trip, the sooner you will be excited about your new plans. I wish you luck.

Posted by
3889 posts

Maybe plan a shorter epic trip with fewer stops all in one country, and to a country with fewer restrictions. England and Spain come to mind.

Posted by
2404 posts

I agree with jaimeelsabio. Europe is a big place and if this is their first trip you have many countries to choose from. I would look for a Plan B, it’s not too late. I think it is too early to throw in the towel and give up. But, that is your decision. We are going to Europe again, this time to Sicily in April. One country. Last September we visited Croatia only. Looking to visit Spain in September, just waiting to see how the spring pans out. We will go somewhere in September, just haven’t made a final decision.

Posted by
1165 posts

travel4fun - many of us feel your angst (and in fact your trip sounds very much like the next one Id like to take). We (family of 5) decided to not plan a Europe trip for this coming summer (too many obstacles, including $$$ and an ambivalent teenager), but we may take an epic road trip in ... Canada. Montreal is a place I got more interested in when my eldest dd was applying to college last year, and then beyond Montreal you have Nova Scotia, and Quebec, which like Montreal is French speaking but mores than Montreal. And then there's Vermont and/or Maine if you want to extend the trip (or go the other way to Toronto, Northern Michigan, Duluth areas. My first thought was a drive from our house to Montreal and then west across Canada to Vancouver and then home (and Im in NM!) The 'problem' is the middle of Canada (the "bread basket"), that I have less interest in, which is why Im looking at the great lakes are for that segment. I doubt we'll do it all, but thinking about it got my travel juices flowing again.

Posted by
5773 posts

I can empathize with you. We made the decision last week to postpone a trip to Spain next month. For us, it was as much other life needs intervening, but yes, issues around navigating covid played a big role, along with this last surge still going strong.

This despite it being just one countries rules to figure out, and having traveled to Italy in September and to the Netherlands and Belgium in November. Those trips soothed the travel urge some, but it was somewhat tiring dealing with testing, changing daily restrictions, and the unknowns of what might be around the corner. Italy was great, but the last trip did get a bit dragged down by closures of restaurants and shops, odd hours, and while still a pleasant time, we couldn't help but feel we did not fully enjoy the trip as much as we should have.

So we rebooked for September of this year, with hopes things will improve. It is still a bummer, and I feel for you, but agree, a multi-country trip may drain enough joy from the trip to seriously dampen the mood.

Posted by
1916 posts

Condolences- we all here on the Forum feel your pain.

I agree that it's too early to give up entirely- perhaps consider adapting to a shorter trip within one country, and save the extra money and have second trip next year. Would you consider only going to Germany, Italy, or Switzerland? We went to Switzerland Sept, 2021 for two weeks, and had a great time. I think various forms of covid will be around for the rest of our lifetimes, so we try to adapt. Attempting to cross borders adds complications. Also pls consider flying directly into your destination country- last year, SOME [not all] countries required quarantines if you transited through specific countries. We had to cancel the Italy portion of our journey because our flight transited thru Heaththrow on the way to Zurich. At the time , Italy required quarantine of travelers going thru the UK; Switzerland did not; then it all changed again.

Use Google Flights and track flight prices by setting up alerts. I have been tracking Business Class prices and they have been changing daily, but I have been seeing some very good prices. At this point, we are going to Germany [and maybe Austria] late April 2022. Flight prices into/out of Munich and Frankfurt seem to be some of the best .

If you stay in one country and use trains for travel, you can circumvent rental car prices. Train prices seem to remain constant.

Good luck and feel peace with whatever decision you make, and once again, we have all canceled trips, so feel your pain and sympathize with your disappointment.

Posted by
826 posts

Feeling your pain. I cancelled an after Christmas trip to Paris and a late spring trip to London, but did get in two trips to Italy, in October and early December. Have you considered keeping all three weeks on Italy? I felt safer in Italy than I do in Atlanta, Covid wise. There's enough in Italy to keep you busy for much longer than 3 weeks. I would try to do Venice as early as possible and go toward the Dolomites as it gets hotter. So much of what you can do in Italy is outdoors. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Posted by
4810 posts

No advice, just a whole lot of empathy. It is hard to let go of dreams, even if it is just for a little while.

Posted by
5221 posts

Sorry about your plans falling through. You were looking at a lot of Covid-related complexity. Good that you hadn't put down any money though. I share some of your pain, having cancelled a domestic trip this month.

Is it too late to plan a one-country trip, as others have suggested? I don't know where you live, but you might find flights that route you through US airports to Germany or Italy, so you don't have to deal with other European hubs. That's what I'm doing with Ireland in May, since there are no nonstops from here to there.

Or look for something fun in the US or maybe also Canada. Good luck with your planning. But I gotta tell you, I don't think masks will ever be "a thing of the past." Hopefully we won't have to wear them inside everywhere, but I think people will be wearing them in particular situations for the foreseeable future.

Posted by
211 posts

Hi travel4fun....I had a three country trip planned for the first 3 weeks in Dec...and decided to narrow it to just one-France-with everything going on. I am not sorry, and I did not miss Austria and Germany-have been before, but know I will go again. My best friend and I had a wonderful trip, mainly Paris, a train ride to Strausborg, and a few day trips. We were SO GLAD WE WENT...I echo the others in that perhaps change the narrative on what an epic trip can be...and what can become! Yes, we had to test, we had to get the pass, we were checked everywhere we went, but that did not dampen our fun and having our feet on the ground in Europe. Whatever you decide, it will be the right decision...the USA or one country in Europe presents unlimited opportunities!

Posted by
7434 posts

Travel4fun — just writing as others have to sympathize with your disappointment.

I think you could definitely still pull off a one-country trip, as many have mentioned — it makes a big difference in terms of complexity. I also understand if your heart is not into it, though, since you had it set on the trip you had planned.

Posted by
822 posts

Thank you all for your empathy. There won’t be a Plan B trip for the whole group this year. My sister and her husband have an RV and have decided to take a road trip instead. We do plan to take our Europe trip in the future. They have travelled extensively to many tropical places (they are scuba divers), so this Europe trip was mainly going to be visiting some amazing mountains, some ancestral locations, and spending some family time together. This kind of trip is beyond their planning comfort zone. I’m a bit more adventurous, whereas they are happy to fly to an island and stay at one resort for a week or two. They would never do a multi-country trip where they had to figure out lodging, transportation, etc so they said “The next trip you go on, we want to go too!” It’s just gotten beyond my comfort zone at this point, and that’s ok.

Canada is definitely an option, and I’m really considering that. Yellowstone and the Tetons would be wonderful also. I have a million trips I’ve pondered and partially researched. I travelled extensively around all of North America as a kid - tent camping out of a 2 door Chevy Chevette! I know there are spectacularly beautiful places closer to home. The idea of having my own minivan (instead of 20+ hours on a plane) is starting to grow on me!

Posted by
1526 posts

How sad for you. You have my sympathy and empathy. Not only have you cancelled this year’s trip, you put your dreams on hold. Let’s hope that later this year and for sure next year we can all resume our traveling plans. I haven’t given up yet on my September trip; not until RS tours are cancelled (trying to stay positive).

Posted by
124 posts

Yes, sorry about you cancelling your trip.
With 5 possible tests, and all the weird rule changes that they have done and will do, better days are ahead as you plan your future trip.

Posted by
13409 posts

I've traveled a lot in the past 2 years, but Italy and Germany would even test my risk tolerance level "today" and without KC's magic 8 Ball who can guess the future (well, I can guess and its bright and sunny; but that's just a guess).

You did nail the one big change; testing positive; even makes me nervous with the new variant.

I just got back about 10 days ago from an overseas trip and after some high risk encounters along the way I really sweated out the test results.

I have another trip in March and for that I am making sure I have confirmed a place to hide if I test positive but with five people though that could be a mess.

Be hopeful on prices, I bought my March tickets about 2 weeks ago and got one of the best prices of my life so they are still out there.

Posted by
90 posts

It seems as if the tourism sector of Euro travel will take a huge hit this year. Maybe more than last year. Too many changing rules.
OP. If you desire to go to US places like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, you had better make reservations right now. Not ASAP, but right now. We have been doing domestic trips and there is nothing to be had if you do not pounce and commit. In the parks for camping, and in the gateway towns. Everyone is thinking the same thing.
I was prepared mentally for the crowds last year, but not the parking. For which there was often - none. That is, after you actually manage to get into the park.
So I would not sit still for very long on this.

Posted by
13409 posts

Its funny, my favorite destination accommodation rentals were at pre COVID levels in October, November, December.

Posted by
438 posts

As others have said, one complication you have is the number of people. That being said, I echo the whole thought of going anyway and sticking to one country if you can. Summer last year rates plummeted and things reopened and it was easier to navigate. Yes, the added paperwork and testing requirements add another level of stress BUT once you get there most of this will all fall away at least until you have to test to come back. The 3 weeks we spent mostly in Switzerland and Austria were just what we needed. The minute we got to Zurich and then the mountains all this just melted away. Yes we had some hassles but nothing that was so awful that we regretted going. Honestly so many great places to see, especially if you are taking first timers where it is so great to see things through their eyes. I would focus on one country with high vaccination rates and generally very steady rules over the past year (like Switzerland or France, say) and do that. Covid isn’t going to go away anytime soon. My hope is that in the future vaccination and boosters as well as PLFs/declarations and maybe a single test will work for visits. If we’re really lucky it will just be vaccinated/boosted proof and go from there. Good luck!

Posted by
796 posts

Have you been to Glacier National Park in Montana? We visited in September, and it is stunning. The scenery rivals the Alps. It is too late to get lodging inside the park, but I don't think it's too late for lodging outside the park. And keep in mind that if you go during the summer months (up until Labor Day), you have to get an entrance pass for the Going to the Sun Road.

Posted by
82 posts

Why would there be 5 tests?

Currently there may be more testing requirements because it's the peak of the Omicron wave. But it's expected to subside by the end of February.

I think many of the EU countries have rules in place which expire in March.

They will likely loosen up the rules, though maybe they will require boosters and 6 months of validity on boosters by the summer.

Last year, I drove from Austria to Italy and Switzerland to France. There were no testing checks to drive between countries. I don't think there would be testing requirements to fly or take the train between European countries unless you were unvaccinated.

You will likely need to test before returning to the US, or that was the case in 2021.

And you may need to test before boarding the flight to Europe. But other than that, it would be difficult for them to require you to test, unless you're unvaccinated and have to get a digital pass to enter museums and certain other venues.

But it appears they're no longer going to accept negative tests for those passes?

So I still don't see 5 tests.

Posted by
7434 posts

I don't think there would be testing requirements to fly or take the train between European countries unless you were unvaccinated.

Alas -- Italy (at least) does currently require a negative test within the 48 hours of travel even for vaccinated travelers coming from another EU country via train or airplane.

I know, because I did this week before last.

Not to say that this couldn't change, but it's no good assuming without looking at the rules.

(France does NOT currently
require a negative test for travelers from other EU countries.)

Posted by
1820 posts

I wouldn't risk it either but I think by summer things will loosen up.

Posted by
5522 posts

I’m so sorry for the five of you, and hope you’re able to successfully take that trip together before too long. If your road trip(s) innThe US and/or Canada can happen in the meantime, so much the better. Either way, continue to keep yourselves safe. And keep looking ahead to better, more comforting times ahead.

Posted by
133 posts

you wait another year and your teen will be another year older. Another year, ...''

Take the Road trip through America and see the things you've missed on past trips. Assuming you've never done 3-week long road trips with your sister and her husband in the past, consider a test run. A road trip through Europe for 3 weeks ... the stress of finding mid-day meals, navigation, parking, languages on road signs, things to do ... how much conflict could arise?

we are keeping our 2022 plans for now. Only when the mandates ruin daily experiences will we cancel. Vaccine requirements and such when entering a country? Not worried.

Posted by
196 posts

As noted elsewhere, we are 'leaning forward" passports in hand to Italy 30 March for almost 3 weeks. Pretty much have to set the plane on fire to keep us from boarding. Have played enough golf and been to too many beaches.

Posted by
822 posts

I appreciate everyone’s response. I actually have so much peace now in this decision and I’m happily planning a different trip.

Ironically, My husband and I got Covid last week. We are mid-40’s, healthy and triple vaxxed. He was sick for 3 days with what felt like a bad head cold. I’ve been in bed for a week with what has felt like the flu followed by strep throat followed by a bad cold. In all my planning and concern about testing, I always assumed that if any of us tested positive we wouldn’t be “that sick.” We’d just kind of hang out and get on a flight as soon as possible. Now I know that’s not always the case. I’ve been pretty miserable in my own bed, where I can isolate from everyone else, have everything I could possibly need (or can have it easily delivered). I would be an absolute mess if I (or any of my family) had to go through this in a tiny hotel room in a foreign country, coughing and hacking, with my loved ones 2 feet away.

Posted by
78 posts

So sorry----I feel your pain. And you just made me reconsider my May 1 RS tour to France--i am cancelling and think i may not get back my almost $1200 deposit (deposit + SS). I think i could transfer to another RS tour THIS YEAR but not even sure i want to do that at this point. After reading so many comments about travel confusion and the fact of having to wear a mask for 9+ hrs on a plane---------and not being able to have the fun times I usually have in Europe---just not sure i want to risk it. If things lighten up I can always go in Fall on my own. UGH!

Posted by
7434 posts

Travel4fun - I am so sorry you got Covid and sorry that it wasn't lighter for you (but glad it wasn't worse !).

I am glad you feel good about your decision. Hope you feel better soon.

Posted by
9537 posts

Travel4Fun, so very sorry you got Covid. I, too am glad you are good with your decision.

According to Good Morning America, you may now have “super immunity “ if you can believe a morning entertainment show.

Posted by
822 posts

Pam, the idea of super immunity sounds great at this point.

I managed to get reservations at one of the lodges in Yosemite Valley for 2 nights in June (somewhat of a miracle, I suspect). We will make our way down the OR/CA coast in our minivan, stopping at a couple spots in the redwoods, stay a few days in San Francisco and then in Monterey, and then head over to Yosemite. I made a similar trip when I was a kid and LOVED it. My husband and sons have never been to any of these places, and they’re really excited.

Posted by
6847 posts

We were disappointed that on our trip to Berlin & Dresden in October, the only time our vaccination records were checked were going into a restaurant in Berlin. That includes coming back into the U.S. in Atlanta.

Hang back and something may come up. Yep, those mini-vans can be really expensive to rent. For a 3 week or longer trip, it may be cheaper to lease a vehicle in France. That is if you wanted to travel to/from France. See AutoEurope.com.

I personally have no desire to take a group of people to Europe as it places too much pressure on the planner day after day. If I did take a group, it would be to stay in one place, like an Italian agriturismo, and have 2 cars to do day trips out of.

Our local airport doesn't have many flights, and we usually travel from Nashville--the cheapest airport in the Mid South to fly from. But we caught a round trip to London for $607 this week for the end of May. That's half what most flights are running to Europe. The flights to Dublin are also incredibly cheap right now.

Posted by
652 posts

We are thinking of canceling our family trip to Madrid and Sevilla for late June. Not because of Covid but airfare is a fortune from California. I think I’m spoiled after last year’s airfares but I’m finding fares that are 3x what we paid to Paris.

Will look for Plan B. But I don’t expect airfare to come down at this point.

Posted by
198 posts

Sorry to burst some peoples bubble, but any so-called super immunity will only last until the next variant hits (which I hope is never) ... I'm afraid boosters are here to stay until the day when you get a yearly flu/covid jab ... and even then some will catch it, just like the coronavirus that you get with the common cold.

Posted by
959 posts

Hi, Travel4fun. At the end of last week, I finally cancelled two weeks in Venice and Florence starting in the beginning of March. Family health issues precluded me from doing all my diligent planning and without an airline ticket, insurance, and even the new phone I desperately need, the trip began to seem like work and not fun or relaxation.

Because I did not want to disappoint the people I was travelling with, I waited to the last minute to make my decision. My stress grew and grew. When I finally emailed the tour company, they were gracious, and my relief was tremendous.

I have just myself to plan for, but I understand the disappointment. I console myself and have started dreaming by watching videos online. I am a big admirer of Sarah Murdoch. I know she will be in Italy beginning next week, so I will get my daily fix through Facebook and YouTube videos. I also sign up for some Rick Steves' Monday Night Travel shows. And if you want a dose of the Dolomites, check out the skyline webcams of many Dolomite locations. Innichen's market got me through Christmas. Oh, dear, then there are daily walks through Venice.... Oooh, and this week, Fran Glaria Baines posted about his Camino tour!

I hope you regain your travel dreams.

Posted by
133 posts

Oh it hurts just to read this. I'm in the throes of planning and honestly, grief is a fair word for losing something you planned and hoped for.

My sister is a nurse (in need of a vacation!) and I have a 15 year old I'm planning to take to Europe this spring, so I can feel a bit of what you were hoping for and will be missing.

I think it's a lovely attitude to consider seeing some amazing things in the US. The people you take can make a luxury trip miserable and a simple road trip a delight and my wish for you is that maybe airline prices are lower this summer and things clear up or that you have a memorable trip in the US with loved ones. But I am sorry. Nothing will be the same as what you planned and that is not easy.