After my husband got Covid right before our Paris & HOF tour, I have been watching these reports. I so appreciate the transparency of the RS organization. It looks like the last OTR report is now posted with the tour season coming to an end. We are hopeful to take a RS tour next fall ( signed up for Berlin, Prague & Vienna), but after our experience in Paris (scrambling to find hotels the week before Easter), we will not take the tour if testing is still in place. Here’s hoping!🤞🏻🤞🏻
I agree. We've decided not to even consider a tour for 2023. A few weeks ago after something I wrote in this forum, a phone conversation with someone in the Tours Dept at RS was arranged. I was told that they are still evaluating next year's protocols but it's likely too late to change them for the tours in early 2023. I suspect any changes to be made will be done with enough advance warning so people still have time to cancel without penalty.
My wife and I are registered for two RS tours in May, 2023. I have told the tour department that we and many many other 2023 travelers need to know the 2023 Covid protocols BEFORE our deposits become non refundable in December, 2022. We will cancel if testing and masking is still required, as will many others I have contacted.
We're registered for one tour in February, and two more in September. Our deposit for the first tour is refundable through November 30, so we're hoping the 2023 protocols will be posted by then,
I suspect, however, that we will stay on the tour even if testing is still required. The February tour is a city tour, so if we had to leave the tour, at least we wouldn't be stranded as the tour left town without us.
“It’s good to keep in mind that travelling as part of a group requires some concessions and is not for everyone.” Rick Steves Oct 2022.
I for one am happy to see that the RS organization has put and has stated that in 2023, will continue to put their travelers’ health and safety first.
I hope this doesn't stir up a hornets nest, but I don't understand why taking a very simple test one time before a tour starts and wearing a lightweight mask on a bus is such a big deal that folks would cancel the tour if it is still required. The test is only required before the tour starts. Just one test. The guides have to test several times during the tour. There are still countries that require a mask on public transportation, so we need to bring a few masks with us anyway.
I understand the stress the OP had to find a hotel in Paris. I hope the RS office was helping them. But the flip side of the coin is if they hadn't tested and went on the tour without wearing masks on the bus, how many more people would have become infected? Even with testing and masking, there were a couple of RS tours where half the guests had to leave during the tours. Because of vaccines we're less likely to have a severe case of covid, but I don't know how vulnerable the person sitting in front of me on a bus may be. If wearing a mask while we're on the bus keeps us healthy so we can all enjoy the entire tour, it's a small sacrifice.
We recently returned from a RS tour and one couple from the tour list didn't join the tour. Anything could have happened, but it is also possible they tested positive. I felt bad for the couple as I'm sure it was very disappointing and disrupting, but I was very grateful that testing and masking on the bus was required. We returned home happy and healthy.
cpiechtravel-I totally get there are two sides to this issue. For us, the risk of getting Covid before a tour starts and then not being able to do the tour and having to scramble, not worth it to us. RS was not able to help us in Paris, the time difference and their TravelGuard helpline, was not helpful. We were on our own to scramble to find hotels. Not doing that again!
I hope that testing is not still in place in the fall! But what a no-win situation for tour operators.
I was on three RS tours this year & I'm booked for two next year. I have no problem with testing or masking if it is required. I'll also carry my own luggage and not be a "grump". If you don't like the rules for RS tours, there are plenty of other tour companies or cruise lines. And if you decide to cancel that makes room for someone on the waitlist.
I don’t understand the problem with testing beforehand. It is disappointing to me that there are those who would rather expose others on a tour to Covid than to act responsibly and not join a tour because they are covid positive. Personally, If things loosen I would rather everyone tests and if allowed to travel on the tour (I hope not) then at least others on the tour would know who to avoid.
Wray, you must live in disappointment because the virus has spread with people doing just that. Not staying home if positive!
My husband had no symptoms and we would never have known he was Covid positive if he had not had to test before the tour. I stayed with him 24/7 and never got it.
@Simpgolf, the deposits you paid for your May 2023 tours do not become non-refundable in December of 2022. That may have been the rule in the past, but not for tours in 2022 or 2023. The tour conditions for tours departing from 1/1/23 through 12/31/23 state that the deposit is refundable up to 120 days prior to the start of the tour.
Vickie, for my tour starting April 30, the deposit is refundable through December 31. But there are many tours starting earlier in April and some in March. Those RS travelers deserve to know the 2023 Covid protocols very soon so they can opt out if desired. While my personal preference is that masking and testing be eliminated, I recognize that whatever decision is made will disappoint some people. But this issue is important and should be addressed very soon.
We successfully and happily completed the RS Sicily tour last month and had no problem with testing and masking. Our tour lost one couple early on due to Covid, and, as I understand it, they were well taken care of in Palermo with assistance from Rick's team in Seattle. We've signed up for the Paris and HOF tour in late April and plan to attend, regardless of the testing requirement. We will be fully vaxxed and boosted and taking the usual precautions.