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Trying not to panic

I'm really trying not to panic. I am booked on a Rick Steves' tour that will be visiting Barcelona, Toledo, and Madrid. It is an 8 day tour, We have added a few extra days on the beginning and the end. Tour dates are March 22 -29. I really wish that we would be given the option of booking this tour at a later date. It just seems like it doesn't make any sense to leave the country right now.
I hate to forfeit all of the money we have put into tour and airfare, but is it worth it????
Please someone from the tour company give me some advice.

Posted by
6061 posts

It wouldn't hurt to call the RS office and see what they could do, although you're really close to the tour date and they probably can't afford too many defectors. What you need is objective advice based on your health status, age, risk profile, etc.... it isn't going to come from the company running the tour (i.e. conflict of interest). Unfortunately this forum is full of panicked people so it's more like an echo chamber at a time when you need some mental distance more than anything. I would say that if you feel a sense of dread and lack of enthusiasm right now (as opposed to a net positive), then perhaps it's better to go another time. Good luck with your decision - try to make it once you've had a chance to breathe and with a clear head.

Posted by
415 posts

OP- No one from RS can give you advice. It isn’t they are mean but it is a huge legal issue. They tell you to cancel, you lose thousands of dollars, and after you read successful tour reports you will scream bloody murder blaming them for your cancellation. The reverse is true if they tell you to go and everything goes south and you end up in some crappy hovel for 3 weeks under a quarantine after 7 tour members get sick. You will blame them for telling you to go.

Your trip and sorry your decision. RS is also running a business with overhead, employees to pay, guides, bus companies, hotels etc all relying on them. Everyone has a hand in the financial game with potential losses. They simply cannot afford to reschedule every tour to every location unless the situation warrants it, and the situation in Spain does not currently warrant it.

Posted by
189 posts

Are you and your fellow travelers under 65?

Do you have any of the underlying diseases that make you more susceptible to a bad coronavirus outcome?

In the absence of this coronavirus issue, would you postpone your travel out of the fear of catching the flu?

If your answers to these questions are Yes, no, and no, why would you postpone your trip?

If your answers are otherwise, then you have a harder decision to make.

Posted by
14 posts

You should be able to get credit from RS tour till 2021. The airlines are charging a fee for full refund. We lost $200 each from Delta when we cancelled our flights last Friday on Delta which I thought wasn't a bad price. So all we are loosing is $200 which is a lot cheaper than if we had gotten the insurance. We were booked on the Best of the Adriatic 14 day tour for thee end of April.
Just saying what we did.

Posted by
16590 posts

Matt, a person might reasonably want to postpone to avoid the risk of becoming infected and then sharing the virus with others back home. It stands to reason that tourist activities are likely to bring one into contact with more people carrying more germs/viruses than staying at home--assuming you don't commute by subway or something like that.

Posted by
415 posts

People need to stop comparing the Coronavirus to the “common” flu. Totally different animal. Something to run away to a cave and hide from- no. But totally different with a much higher fatality rate. Hmm the doctor who first brought it to light, in his thirties, no underlying conditions....must be faking his death to get extra time off from work as he didn’t fit the worry about it- no way he could have caught it......

Again, fear, panic, is a wee bit excessive but look at reality and make an informed decision (take any and all “flu” analysis out of your considerations.

Everything points to Spain being fine but the call is yours.

Posted by
670 posts

WJ, if I can ask, what percentage of your total airfare was the amount you lost to cancel? Hopefully the future holds many more adventures for you!

Posted by
16743 posts

Currently, the World Health Org, Centers for Disease Control, and US State Department do not suggest avoiding travel to Spain, nor avoiding air travel in general. Their advice underlies the special cancellation policies we've set to date, as found at https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/coronavirus-faq.

Posted by
568 posts

Sdross1,
I cannot tell you what to do. I am in the same position with an upcoming trip to France in April. We are in "wait and see" mode right now. I suggest checking the CDC website and the Johns Hopkins website, which gives you a daily count of confirmed cases and deaths. Right now Spain does not have as many cases as some European countries, but that changes daily. Have you called Rick Steves office to find out what their cancellation policies are considering the coronavirus situation? Have you contacted your airline? Maybe you could change your date and they would waive the change fee. Could you change your Rick Steves tour date without paying a penalty?

I would also like to add my 2 cents about the coronavirus versus common flu debate. There are several reasons why the Coronavirus should not be compared to the flu:

1) We have a vaccine for the flu; we DO NOT have a vaccine for coronavirus. I, for one, would certainly feel a lot better if we had a vaccine.

2) Coronavirus is new, and we know very little about it. Contrary to what Trump said, no one knows if the coronavirus will start to decline in April. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, on a special Coronavirus Dateline on Friday, when asked why this virus is so scary, said exactly what I told a friend: we don't know enough about it; we haven't gone through a season/cycle of it yet.

3) It is spreading rapidly; 1000 new cases in a 24-hour period in Italy. We heard the director of the nursing home in Kirkland, WA say today that a few patients had no symptoms, and then in one hour symptoms were so severe they had to be rushed to the hospital.

4) We don't have enough test kits. Yesterday, the Director of same nursing home in Kirkland said they cannot test their own staff because they don't have enough test kits. We are the richest nation on this planet, and we don't have enough test kits? That's a disgrace.

The responses from the White House have been irresponsible, shameful, and dangerous! Telling the American public that the severity of the virus is a hoax perpetrated by Democrats and the media to bring him down, and telling us that we can go to work when we have mild symptoms of the coronavirus is reprehensible!

Posted by
14 posts

Our flights totaled $4350 each because we like the extra leg room on long flights so not even 5%. We will make a date for 2021 for this tour. This would have been our 12th tour with RS.

Posted by
5 posts

I think it's possible the situation in Spain is becoming dire enough that new restrictions may be put into place by the time your trip comes around. The numbers more than doubled overnight and the Spanish health ministry has alluded to a "shock" plan they will unveil in the coming days. Follow the news out of Spain in the next couple of days. I'll bet they are going to consider following Italy's lead, closing sites, schools, and restricting air travel.

https://www.thelocal.es/20200309/spain-mulls-new-measures-as-coronavirus-death-toll-jumps-to-17

We were supposed to be on a plane to Madrid this very moment, but we decided in the last week that the writing on the wall was looking bad, and after we saw the higher numbers and growing alarm in the country today, we're glad we cancelled. Spain isn't going away--we can go another time.

Posted by
1137 posts

We are in our middle 70s and have been in Andalucia for more than two weeks. We're driving to Seville for our last six nights in Spain and plan to return to California as scheduled. Due to lack of testing in the US we don't know how many cases we really have so the low numbers of infections don't reassure me. At the current time I feel the chances of getting infected are about the same everywhere unless you are in a hot zone. We just hope we can return as planned.