Please sign in to post.

Am I the only one...

Am I the only one who checks the Rick Steves website daily (at least) to see if dates and prices are posted for the 2021 tours?

My husband noted the other day the sudden onslaught of 2021 calendars in our mail, and asked if it wasn't too early for people to need next year's calendar. Ummmm, no. I'm ready to pounce as soon as the tour dates are announced, and of course, if I book a tour, we'll have to start thinking about days in Europe before and after the tour... Thinking about scheduling food and wine tours, thinking about sights that may need reservations, thinking about airline tickets...

I'm hoping to pretty much recreate the trip we had planned for this year: 4 or 5 days in Rome, followed by the RS Best of South Italy tour, followed by a couple of days in Naples, 4 or 5 days in Siena, then 4 or 5 days in Bologna. Day trips to Ravenna and Parma, perhaps. Lucca always a possibility, if we have time.

Too early? I think not!

Posted by
1118 posts

Not too early. I saw an airfare for next June that seriously tempted me. So far I've resisted...

Posted by
5184 posts

Jane, I think somewhere in the messaging from RSE, it was said they weren't likely to post anything like dates etc., until after this Summer. I think thats pretty optimistic in itself, as pretty much everything on the ground will have to be done over, and any planning is likely to be overtaken by events. Even with a reduced schedule, they will have to re-establish contracts with hotels and restaurants that might not be re-opening, or find new ones, all in an unstable environment dependent on things out of their control.

But I understand the desire.

Posted by
991 posts

I’m checking for dates too, right before I look at the number of new COVID cases and the latest new on a vaccine. Current plan is Paris and Heart of France after a week in London in Fall 2021. But that tour plan can change...
🥂Here’s to a safe, effective vaccine soon!

Posted by
1211 posts

Not every day but weekly for the most part. I just have zero confidence in making future plans until we see how COVID-19 and a truly effective vaccine work out. Patience in this regard is a virtue.

Posted by
1563 posts

I haven’t checked because I know it will be awhile and since I check this forum daily, I know someone on here will announce it.
Waiting is so hard......we are hoping to do the tour we had scheduled for this year, Paris & HOF. I hope they use same hotels because ours did not give a refund, but a credit to use for future stay. I plan to sign up for the first tour!

Posted by
501 posts

I love reading about folks planning furniture trips- as long as they are not spending money (they may not get back). Don’t want to burst any bubbles ....but....seriously? RS, if they even have tours in 2021 (about 75% odds they won’t) is months and months away from any such announcements. Organized bus tours full of Americans will be the last thing going- Rick has clearly stated he is not jumping immediately back in. Europe has to open FULLY without any restrictions for US individual travelers well before RS considers group tours.

Until that full reopening happens (and boy will there be lots of threads once that happens ) there is not a snowball’s chance in heck of his posting dates and taking $$ reservations. I’m not sure most folks understand the economics of this. RS had to cancel 24,000 tour members. Almost all paid their $400 deposit by credit card. That is close to $10,000,000. RS has to pay bank fees of approx 1- 3% on that money. Banks do not return those fees (depends upon the charge service provider RS is using). The merchant loses. Thus RS not only had to refund $10,000,000 but he had to dig into his own pocket and paid out probably over $250,000 - a 1/4 million bucks- in bank fees while earning zero income and paying salaries. Business actually lose money on returns. They give all the money back and still pay a percentage to the bank in cc fees. RS is not about to start collecting deposits until it is absolutely certain the tour season will occur.

Dream, plan, research, discuss and dream some more but try to keep a little bit of a grasp on reality. Do not expect 2021 tour dates and bookings opening this summer.

Posted by
1211 posts

Solid post, Bob.

If we're lucky and an "effective" vaccine is distributed to everyone by early 2021, then maybe international travel later in the year becomes practicable. An optimist would hope for travel by the summer or fall of 2021. It's possible.

Posted by
1619 posts

Unfortunately, I agree with Bob, I think maybe late 2021 for RS tours but more likely it will be 2022. I check the forum daily for interesting topics but not for dates. He said late summer. He may announce they will not run until a later date in 2021. Or, even 2022. Rick is a prudent guy and I believe he won’t risk our health or his business. Until a vaccine is widely available and the US gets the virus under control and Europe lets us back in, the bus tours can’t run.

On another note, I have been dreaming of the Loire and South of France tour simply because it will focus on fun. I’m very interested in the artists of Southern France and would spend a few days exploring the area around Nice. After the sheer drudgery of surviving this Pandemic, I want fun! Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for being healthy and still working.

Posted by
806 posts

I'm not checking dates or anything, but I am reading, researching, and generally planning our next trip. Hopefully, I'll get to actually enact those plans next summer. If not, the following summer.

Posted by
1571 posts

Like everyone else we cancelled trips for this year (London/Dublin 3 weeks and Croatia/Paris 2 months). Saying it is a disappointment is an understatement. Also, just like most people on this forum, we have been listening and following the guidelines to help get this pandemic under control. I just retired July 1, and as soon as my husband is called back to work, he too will retire. That said, we are grateful we still have money coming in and are healthy. While we were in Croatia we were looking to go on the RS Turkey tour as there were still some spots available. It would have been our first tour with Rick. The point I am trying to get to is right now I am in a funk and even thinking about planning a trip, any trip, is beyond my mental state. I don’t believe we are going anywhere till there is a vaccine. We will definitely be in the group that takes it once available, but when that will be is anyone’s guess. My husband keeps a positive attitude, reminding me all we have to be grateful for, and I know that, but that travel part of my brain keeps creeping to the forefront. Anyway, thanks for “listening”.

Posted by
1563 posts

Onefastbob, while I think your post is maybe what will happen, truly no one knows and while you say you don’t want to burst any bubbles, it seems you actually do☹️.

Posted by
974 posts

We will not consider taking a RS tour until the fall of 2022 at the earliest, assuming there is an effective vaccine. I am also contemplating the possibility that RS bus tours as we knew them are a thing of the past.

Posted by
9 posts

You are NOT alone in your enthusiasm and optimism. I share it! With the great announcements this week on promising treatments and also multiple vaccine candidates strongly moving along in the clinical trial process, I am now full-speed ahead researching tours for Spring 2021! Such a relief to see science is cornering this virus. Do not let these negative people and their doom & gloom posts get you down. If the 'bubble busters' on these forums are correct and RS does not have tours in 2021 - other tour companies surely will! Less tourists will make it even better for those of us who do travel! Their loss - our gain. There is a silver lining in every dark cloud.

Posted by
981 posts

I have found that my trip planning starts about a year in advance, especially because we mostly do AirBnb, and the best ones get reserved fast so 9 mo to year is when I book. I book lodging before the flights, then kinda back into everything. BUT of course you have to know what is closed which days, how to juggle the time...sooooo fun!!!

Posted by
2356 posts

If the 'bubble busters' on these forums are correct and RS does not have tours in 2021 - other tour companies surely will!

I suppose. But RSE is my litmus test. If they are not going it would be for good reason, so I won’t either. As for other tour companies, yes, they are out there. But some of them did not handle this catastrophe well (see OAT) and hung many folks out to dry. As for “doom and gloom”- well to paraphrase Dr. Fauci, I’m not an alarmist but a realist. We will be very, very lucky to get an effective and safe vaccine by 2021. The treatments being investigated need a long time to sort out. We are very grateful for our many RS tours and other independent adventures in Europe. It may be those memories and scrapbooks will be all we have when it comes to Europe. Being in our 70’s we are focused on staying well. We are not risk takers, so we won’t be on those first flights. Our travel priorities have changed-we want to spend more time with our grandchildren.

Posted by
4104 posts

Thanks, everyone for your comments. ALpine, special thanks to you for sharing my optimism.

Diveloonie and Horsewoofie, we did the Paris and Heart of France last May, and had a wonderful time. We followed it up with the Best of Eastern France, a wonderful combination.

Letizia, I agree: the planning is a major part of the fun. And thanks to the rest of you for your observations.

I have made a conscious decision to be hopeful and optimistic. That does not mean I don't live in the real world; of course I do. But being optimistic about the future adds joy to my life; being optimistic means I have things to look forward to, no matter how grim the numbers or how steep the curve in the morning paper.

Our local travel group met last Saturday (we met outside in a breezy park, we sat at least 6 feet apart, and we all wore masks.) We had a great time talking about travel experiences, including what trips we plan to take as soon as it is safe.

So I'm still checking the tour list daily, and I'm dusting off the itinerary I had planned for this year. I'm making a few changes to it, but keeping 75% of it, or more. No, I have not yet booked anything or paid any deposits. In fact, I'm still waiting for the last refund from our aborted 2020 trip.

I intend to stay cheerful, and encourage the rest of you to do the same. And now if you'll excuse me, it's time to go feed the unicorns.

Posted by
787 posts

Well... had to think about if I should reply. But I feel I need to defend Jane. I do feel like Jane’s enthusiasm was bursted!🙁. Some of us just get excited about our trips and I too wonder when trips will be posted. Yes.... website does say at end of summer but one can hope sooner. We both are positive, half full glass. kinda gals. It’s like when you were a little girl/boy at Christmas and you were so excited about what Santa Claus was going to bring you for the next morning. That’s my take on what she was anticipating.

Sure, we don’t know what the future holds. She is not stupid about this situation. Don’t rain on her parade or burst her bubble.

Yes, we all know the sacrifices, costs, etc RS has been dealt with.

I work for a small business in Tulsa. Our events have been cancelled or postponed for 2020. also. So those credit card fees has hurt us too. I think or at least hope most of us understand what RS is going thru.

Sorry .... I just felt the need to response this time.

Stay strong, safe, healthy and nice to all!

Kim

Posted by
6921 posts

My 2 centimes: Europeans are traveling. Everyone I know in Europe is free to travel and they are doing it within Europe. Just got a photo today from Parisian friends on the beach in the Basque country.

So what is keeping Americans out? Outbreak numbers. The other day France had 419 while the US had 70,000; adjusted for population it would be 2,000 vs 70,000. Lower those numbers and Americans can travel to Europe. Think of what's needed to lower the numbers to the level Europe has done, and that gives you a potential timeline. We have work to do.

Next question: how long after that will companies be willing to assume potential liability?

My 2-cent conclusion: you'll be able to travel on your own before there's group travel.

Posted by
2035 posts

Jane - I too am hoping against hope that we can travel in Europe in 2021 like we did in 2019.

I'm also starting to look at Naples. Do you have a hotel in mind, or are you going to stick with whatever RS picks for the tour?

Posted by
4104 posts

Estimated Prophet, when we first booked the South Italy tour, the RS hotel in Naples was the Grand Hotel Oriente. After checking it out, I chose to have us move to the Hotel Piazza Bellini after the tour. It's significantly less expensive, centrally located, and highly recommended on this Forum.

When our May tour was cancelled, we tried rebooking on a later tour. (3 times, actually!) The one we ended up on (which was, of course, also cancelled) stayed at the Hotel Palazzo Turchini in Naples. I decided that time to stay there; again, it was quite a bit cheaper than the earlier RS choice, and the location near the train station would have been convenient for our subsequent journey to Siena.

I really liked the looks of the Bellini, and will keep it in mind for the next time we're in Naples, whether it be on a RS tour or not. The Turchini also looked interesting.

Posted by
723 posts

Bets, this is the conclusion I am gradually coming to. Europeans are traveling in Europe. I don’t have the virus and if I were already in Europe, I could travel safely. At some point in the future, we’ll be allowed back in (sooner rather than later would be nice but that part may not happen).

And it just seems to make sense that I will be able to go on my own sooner than a travel company can put together all the pieces for groups. Which suits me fine since I am still at the stage of preferring my own plan and doing my own planning (for now).

Jane, I am like you - consciously making the decision to stay positive but practical. I won’t be waiting on nor signing up for a tour but at some point in the future I WILL be buying airline tickets. :)

Posted by
2035 posts

Thanks Jane. I will probably end up choosing the Hotel Piazza Bellini for the reasons you mention, plus its proximity to the Museum of Archeology.

Someone on this Forum recommended a free online French history course offered by Yale. Through that connection I found an amazing Roman Architecture course - and now I'm obsessed!

Posted by
3317 posts

I've become obsessed with a reboot of the 14 Day Ireland tour in May that was canceled. But in 2021 or 2022 it would be as close to Halloween as possible so that I could celebrate my favorite holiday there, where Halloween actually began.

Of course there are no future dates listed online. Does anyone know when the tour closest to Halloween has been scheduled in the past?

And yes, Jane, it's never too early to scheme on a trip no matter where we might want to go.

Posted by
4104 posts

EP, we've been watching a couple of the Great Courses offerings. The one we're looking at now is "Understanding the World's Greatest Structures." We've also enjoyed "The Guide to Essential Italy" (twice for that one, so far,) and "Understanding Greek and Roman Technology." Great insights into the engineering and architecture of the time.

I think I'll take these to our next Travel Group meeting; they're well worth the time it takes to watch them.

Lo, glad to see you're talking about traveling again. We really did plan to go to New Mexico and Arizona this summer, and stop off to see you on the way, but that's looking less and less likely. NM is requiring a 14 day quarantine, and I suspect my sister in Phoenix's doctor husband will veto any visits there.

Posted by
2340 posts

The fairly reasonable but optimistic timeline is a vaccine approved and rolled out late this year. People getting it in early 2021. Then US - Europe travel opens back up ONCE enough people take the vaccine or cases reduce significantly some other way. So this may be allowed sometime in summer or fall 2021?

Now, will RS start tours as soon as it’s legal? I’d bet that they’d need to do a lot of research on what’s open, what has gone out of business, what local regulations are in place. Will they need to send American RS employees to check it out/find new venues? Or do they have people in Europe who can do that legwork? How long is this “research” phase, then do they have to redo itineraries if some things are still not ready at that time?

I have no idea how it works but I’m sure it’s not just getting a bunch of people on a plane once it’s allowed.

So my completely speculative guess (disclaimer - just speculation, I know nothing for sure because there is no way to see the future):
Individual tourists US - Europe by September/October 2021. Maybe earlier if there’s some sort of proof that you got vaccinated that you can show immigration?

Tours MAYBE in time for Christmas, but I’d bet on a 2022 New Years re-start.
Just a guess, I am not a fortune teller!

Posted by
1571 posts

Thanks Mike. After reading the positive posts by our upbeat and optimistic fellow travels I am actually feeling better. I was always a “glass half full” gal and need to get back to myself. At the start of this pandemic, I was taking some Walks of Italy Virtual tours and researching my Paris trip. Time to take a few more, maybe some online classes, maybe get another guidebook for reading/researching. Time to take back my life and not give in! Thank you all...

Posted by
2489 posts

Yes, I do check this site. Obviously, and I always have an idea of future trip possibilities, some with RS, some independent.

If the 'bubble busters' on these forums are correct and RS does not have tours in 2021 - other tour companies surely will!

I just read through the responses and I don't see any negativity in these posts. (shrugging shoulders, palms up) I've always considered myself a glass half full kind of person, so instead of being sad about my lost trips...yes, until a vaccine is developed...I think of the wonderful trips I've had over the decades and how fortunate I have been. 2022 is only about 18 months away, if we in fact have a vaccine and it has been distributed, that's not a terribly long wait for most people.
My glass is full of the the trips I've already taken, and the hope that more will come. And it is also full because of everything else in my life. I find good comes out of even the darkest hours. In the meantime, that travel door is closed so I'm looking towards all my open windows for what I can enjoy now. There is a lot to do outside those window.

My glass is full of many joys, not just one glass half full of travel. That would be sad.

Posted by
1271 posts

We've never stopped thinking and planning, but instead of dealing with details, we're stuck at big picture ideas. Like you, we're hoping to recreate this year's plans next year, right down to the same dates in Scotland and England. No RS tours next year, but I think we've put together enough big picture ideas to last us a few years. RS tours in Sicily and Greece, on our own in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Northern France, Switzerland, Greek islands, and I'll never say no to repeat trips to London.

Posted by
1468 posts

We are definitely planning to go as soon as RS starts up again. He’s demonstrated caution when necessary ( I remember them canceling Turkey tours when they felt it wasn’t safe), so we feel comfortable respecting his judgment. One thing this has taught us is not to take for granted the ability to travel. It think we’ll be looking at more back-to-back tours in the future.

In the meantime, I’m taking out my collection of RS catalogs to see how his itineraries have changed over the years. I also started following “France with Vero”, who is also “A French Girl in Seattle” and a RS Guide. She’s traveling all over France this summer and going to areas we’re not familiar with and aren’t necessarily on the RS radar. It’s been fun to learn about new areas to consider.

Posted by
1619 posts

Jane,
I do feel sad about no travel this year but I will be ready as soon as I feel comfortable. I trust RS to be prudent about running his bus tours so when he posts itineraries for either 2021 or 2022, I will sign up. I’m thinking of the Loire and the South of France Tour because it seems more like a purely fun trip. I especially want to explore the area around Nice where many French artists lived and painted. I will do Poland at another time, it’s a more serious tour with a lot of painful history. After living through this Pandemic, I’m seeking a lighthearted trip.

I agree with others that I likely will do 2 tours when they come back but one in spring and one in fall. I can’t take enough days in one block for back to back tours.
I definitely will never take travel for granted after this, not that I did. But in December 2019 when I went on the RS Munich Salzburg Vienna tour I never dreamed that would be the last trip for me. I was thinking of so many places on my list with high hopes.
I’m grateful for all the traveling I’ve done and I love looking at my photos!

Posted by
4104 posts

Judy B, we're looking at Loire to the South of France for the second year we get to travel again; it had been tentatively scheduled for 2021... We'll probably combine it with the Belgium and Holland tour. We've done that one before (2012, I think) and it was probably my husbands favorite. Well, after the 21 day Best of Europe.

Patty and Wray, we do appreciate the traveling we've been able to do. Of course we disappointed about this year, and yes, we're making plans for next year. And if we can't travel then? We'll be fine. A little sadder, but fine. We've traveled to Europe many times - the first time for me was in 1968, a study trip to the Soviet Union, with a "meet the group" session in Helsinki, and a "summarize and evaluate " session in Amsterdam, about 10 or 11 weeks later.

We've been taking RS tours since 2009, at least one tour a year. Many wonderful experiences, wonderful memories, and some great friends with whom we're still in touch.

Allan, I do love your posts.

Life is good.

Posted by
284 posts

I agree with JudyB. I will not take travel for granted. Especially since none of knows for certain how much traveling time we have left.

I had knee surgery in the summer of 2019. A few months before that I visited Eastern/Central Europe on my own. I limped about the various countries, usually in pain by the end of the day. In the Fall of 2019 I remember telling friends that I should have delayed the trip until then, my knee being so much better. I ended up planning a 4 week road trip in the USA starting in April 2020 and a few weeks in Spain with my daughter for October. Needless to say both got blown away. I'm keeping the powder dry (saving my money) and waiting for a vaccine/treatment.

Posted by
21 posts

I, too, check daily. The process of planning a trip makes me so happy!

Your trip sounds fantastic... you're my kind of traveler! Hoping to do the Eastern Europe tour in Oct 2021 for my 50th!

Posted by
246 posts

Am I the only one who is feeling tick,tick,tick?? I'm a pretty healthy 68 year old but as I see the numbers fly by,2021,2022, it's making me nervous.😬😬trying so hard not to be a negative nancy. I LOVE to travel and love Rick Steves travel philosophy but am trying to keep reality in mind too.

Posted by
4104 posts

Chriss, yes, we understand. As someone posted on another thread, we don't have that many "next years" left.

Stan and I are both very healthy, but we're old enough (70s) that a simple fall could be a major problem. And of course, even healthy people get sick. And who knows what lies ahead... I'm older now than my mother was when she had breast cancer. I'm about the age she was when she fell and broke her hip. Those two events made a big difference in her quality of life.

Stan's dad had a fatal heart attack in his 60s. Stan's mother died of cancer when she was just a year older than Stan is now. So yes, we are aware of the tick, tick, tick.

But for now I insist on being optimistic. I insist on believing that we will travel again, and be able to participate fully in whatever tour or activity we choose.

I choose to look forward to wonderful travels, as long as we are able.

Posted by
246 posts

I will agree! Mind over matter. Was reading about a 70 year old who did a B and B HIKE. Did it for ten years! Isn't it hard waiting though?!!! Best to all. I do believe there are no coincidences.. ONWARD!!😘

Posted by
4104 posts

Chriss, my 70th birthday fell during a RS tour. Another tour member had a birthday the following day - her 81st! This lady was better traveled than anyone else on the tour; her favorite country is Mongolia. She is still traveling the world, mostly on birding tours. A true inspiration.

Keep on traveling!

Posted by
246 posts

👍👍thanks for making me smile... and feel hopeful!!

Posted by
464 posts

I hope you all have delightful trips. My dear wife has decreed I am not going much of anywhere, domestic or Europe, till we have an effective vaccine and a reasonable expectation of herd immunity or a solid confidence in therapies. I’m guessing i’m getting on airplane until at least spring 2022.