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I just got an email saying all travelers on Rick Steves tours for 2022 must be vaccinated!

Guides and drivers as well!

Way to go!! :)

I’ve tried to paste part of the email below for anyone not signed up for a tour who wants to read the specifics. I tried to put it in italics but it’s not working so here:

*However, we have already made one very important policy decision: Proof of a COVID-19 vaccination will be required to participate in any 2022 Rick Steves tour.

Traveling in Europe, it's clear that Europeans expect everyone (especially visitors) to be vaccinated in order to fully participate in society — including many of the experiences that we promise on our tours. In many places, you simply can't eat inside a restaurant or enter a museum without a vaccination card. More than that, we believe that vaccines are key to keeping everyone — both our fellow travelers and our European friends — safe and healthy. While there are no guarantees, sharing a bus or a restaurant table with people who are vaccinated brings peace of mind in stressful times.

In addition to tour members, we'll require that our guides and bus drivers be fully vaccinated. And, of course, we'll expect our groups to follow the health and safety directives set by Rick Steves' Europe and local officials. To ensure everyone on the bus is on the same page, we'll be asking you to sign our updated Health and Safety Pledge prior to joining your tour. (In a few days, you'll receive an email with a link for signing the updated pledge.)

We understand that returning to international travel may feel like a big leap of faith. But there are many months between now and when our first tours depart next spring. And the one thing we know for sure — beyond the assurance that your tour buddies will be fully vaccinated — is that things will change, then change again, before we start up those buses. However, it's clear to me that Europeans are on the right track. And as vaccination rates rise on both sides of the Atlantic, and we all get a little more comfortable with the "new normal," I believe we can look forward to a fun and travel-filled 2022.

I also want to remind you that we remain committed to having straightforward refund policies. Remember: Should your plans change, for any reason, we'll return 100 percent of your tour deposit until December 31, 2021.

In summary: COVID vaccines will be required of guides, drivers, and tour members on our 2022 tours. We're committed to putting health and safety first while providing tour members with the full Rick Steves travel experience. It's our hope and reasonable expectation that the COVID-19 situation will continue to improve between now and next spring, and that our tour groups will be back in Europe — safely and happily — in 2022.

We look forward to traveling with you next year!*

Posted by
116 posts

I just received the same email. Glad to see this decision has been made!

Posted by
737 posts

We got it, too. We have not traveled internationally this year, but it seems from reading the numerous trip reports, that it would be almost impossible for them to run a tour with unvaccinated tour members. Too many places in Europe require proof of vaccination. So yeah!

Posted by
441 posts

Excellent news! Looking forward to information on how to upload our vaccination proof to our tour account.

Posted by
9914 posts

Yes, just hit my in box as well.

I liked the first segment you copied .... that it's clear that Europeans expect everyone to be vaccinated to participate in society. I know I felt that on my recent Road Scholar tour and I expect you felt the same.

I'm happy he's keeping people updated even though he does not have all the answers yet.

Posted by
1666 posts

Best news I’ve received all month! Rick et al made the right decision putting everyone’s welfare and health first.

I agree that, from the trip reports this summer/fall, if someone isn’t vaccinated their trip will be spent first in quarantine then not enjoying restaurants, museums and sites. Our anti-vaxxer neighbor finally gave in, got his jab so he can go to Poland without quarantining. His dual citizenship didn’t help with the quarantine rule.

Posted by
1851 posts

Finally. This is a good decision. Another tour company we will be traveling with to Costa Rica has the same policy regarding participants, guides and drivers.

Posted by
5701 posts

Vaccinations obviously help, but most of the people that have caught Covid recently that I know of have been double vaccinated and one has spent time in intensive care due to breathing difficulties (55 years old and no underlying health conditions). Vaccination rates in the U.K. are high, but infection rates have rocketed.

Hopefully travel can resume next year, but it’s far from certain.

Posted by
367 posts

I just got this as well and am very relieved, and pleased, that this will be the policy. It just makes sense. It also shows consideration for others as well as protecting yourself.

Posted by
2987 posts

Excellent news! Good to know that everyone on all the tours will be fully vaccinated!
Very smart of them to make this rule.
Kudos to them for keeping everyone safe!

Posted by
21849 posts

That is smart. Who wants to take a chance?

Posted by
5262 posts

Not surprising, but welcome news. I look forward to Ireland in the spring.

Posted by
83 posts

I also received the email from RS today. So reassuring to know that Rick Steve’s Tours and company have our backs! This only solidifies why we chose RS. Thumbs up!

Posted by
5512 posts

I was quite happy to receive this email as well. I recently went on a cruise where vaccination was required and even a pre-trip covid test. I didn't mind. It gave me a great deal more confidence about travel to have those requirements in place.

Posted by
60 posts

I was very happy to hear that everyone on the tours will be fully vaccinated!! I really wasn’t surprised. Thanks RSE for easing some worries for eager travelers!!

Posted by
139 posts

I was on a tour in September, not in Europe but in New England, and in addition to vaccination being required, our temperature was checked every other day before getting on the bus, masking was required on the bus and the tour director wiped down the hand rails on a regular basis. I even noticed that when the bus was parked for awhile, like when we took a walking tour in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, the driver had opened all the windows for fresh air circulation. I took a COVID test (not required) before I went and after I returned home which was negative. I was happy to see tour companies figuring this out and will hopefully return to Europe next year.

Posted by
8839 posts

Now the question is what will be the definition of 'vaccinated' 6-8 months from now.

Will a booster within the past 'x' number of months be required?

Posted by
4592 posts

Great news and not unexpected!

I’m not signed up for a RS for 2022, but now I’ll be checking occasionally to see if any tours open up. So ready to travel a couple of times in 2022!

Posted by
287 posts

Will a booster within the past 'x' number of months be required?

I have to believe this will be the case.

Posted by
5512 posts

Jean, I think if you are interested you should not just "wait" and look, but "waitlist". I do think that there will be significant movement by January 1st, but those on the waitlists will get first priority.

Posted by
768 posts

Looking forward to information on how to upload our vaccination proof
to our tour account.

As far as the current plan, you will not need to upload vaccination proof to us (Rick Steves Europe). You will be required to have proof of vaccination with you on your trip. I don't have granular specifics for you at this time, but expect to have to show the guide upon starting the tour, and be able to show proof to enter any particular place the tour goes.

I believe tour members will have more details in a few days in a separate email. Thanks for your patience there.

Posted by
385 posts

RS Tours has made the right decision. It's also good for business.

Posted by
726 posts

I assumed Rick would do the right thing regarding vaccinations. Way to go, Rick and staff.

Posted by
726 posts

"Vaccinations obviously help, but most of the people that have caught Covid recently that I know of have been double vaccinated and one has spent time in intensive care due to breathing difficulties (55 years old and no underlying health conditions)."

I don't think this is supported by the data. The unvaccinated continue to make up a huge proportion of those hospitalized with COVID.

Posted by
768 posts

Thank you for the latest comments, but please keep this thread about the subject of the new requirement for our tours. Debating details of the pandemic tend to lead to off-topic arguments that do not further the intent of the discussion. This request is in keeping with our rules for discussing the pandemic in this forum (see the addendum to our Community Guidelines).

Posted by
87 posts

While this decision is expected, it is neither right nor wrong, just practical. Unvaccinated travelers in Europe will face numerous obstacles which could impact the tour experience. I’m sure the vast majority of RS tour participants are already vaccinated so this new policy will have little impact on tour attendance.

Posted by
2051 posts

I feel sure anyone who signed up for a tour expected this and was prepared for it to happen.

Posted by
1810 posts

Expected it, but so nice to have it confirmed in writing.

Posted by
3713 posts

Me, too, Diane.

I'm eligible for the Moderna booster and will get it shortly so that my vaccination status will be completely current prior to signing the "updated Health and Safety Pledge" the link to which RS tours will be emailing us in a few days.

If I need to get another booster in six months, before my tour leaves in late July, I'll gladly do that, too. Whatever makes travel safer and protects me and those around me is what I'll do.

Posted by
494 posts

I have not received the email.
My trip isn't until Sept 2022. I received my vaccinations here, in the Netherlands. So far they haven't offered a booster. I expect they will get around to it.
At any rate, Good News!

Posted by
737 posts

Jean,

I agree with Carol Now Retired to go ahead and sign up for a tour that interests you. I spoke with a friend on Monday who had just recently put himself on a waitlist. He was called with a few days and told he had a spot if he confirmed within 24 hours. So there is movement even before the end of the year.

Posted by
519 posts

Kateja, what tour are you scheduled for in September? The reason I'm asking is that we're signed up for a Best of Southern Italy tour in September (09/19/22 start date) and neither I nor my traveling partner received yesterday's email. We also didn't receive the "thank you" email sent last spring to everyone who signed up for a 2022 tour. I only knew about both of these bulk emails through this forum.
We did receive confirmation of our tour reservation and after we made the deposit we received the notice to go in and update our tour accounts, which we did. I also get the monthly Travel News. My suspicion is that somehow we were left off of the master list of everyone signed up for a 2022 tour, and the only (but important) emails we aren't getting are those sent to the master list of 2022 tour attendees.
I did send an email to RS last evening (after a brief moment of panic....but my tour account is active and showing our upcoming tour, so I'm pretty sure the problem isn't with our place on the tour but that we somehow aren't on a mailing list). Anyway, Kateja, on the off chance that perhaps our entire tour group was left off the master list, I thought I'd check to see if perhaps we're on the same tour.
Has anyone else signed up for a tour not received the bulk emails??
Thanks!

Posted by
1305 posts

Ruth, I didn't get an email either. Hope it will come today, maybe they send out in batches. I am so happy they have made this decision though.

Posted by
447 posts

It's great that Rick announced the vaccination requirement. There really isn't an alternative though.

Anyone interested in the tours should really get on the wait lists. It's very possible that cancellations will occur. For instance in our situation we signed up for a handful of tours when they first became available. The pandemic situation seemed so hopeful in May before the delta variation wreaked havoc. We were much more enthusiastic at that time than we are now. The predictions of variants in the near foreseeable future seem to make rapid change a very real possibility. Our first tour to the Netherlands is only a little more than 5 months away and I'm not sure we really can deal with so much uncertainty remaining. Neither of us is particularly interested in testing every day (well...at least every day that we would like to eat). The brief period of unmasking earlier this year falsely raised our spirits and a month's worth of masking in nearly every waking hour doesn't seem that appealing to me. I'm not at all anti-masking but I do dread a nose rubbed raw. There may be openings on tours we booked if we instead decide to stick to isolated domestic travel destinations.

Posted by
28 posts

Great news.

Need to check with travel insurance company for COVID endorsement.

Posted by
93 posts

The email from Rick Steves’ Europe was most welcome. Thank you! We had been hoping for this approach and feel much better about traveling in a group.

Posted by
772 posts

Has anyone else signed up for a tour not received the bulk emails??

I'm signed up for a tour next June, confirmed and all. I have not received this email either.

Posted by
2051 posts

Yes (signed up for two, one in early May and the other in late June. And no, have not received bulk email, either. I sent an email to the tour department and I will share any answer I get.

Posted by
768 posts

For the few of you that actively have a seat on a Rick Steves 2022 tour, but didn't receive the email yesterday, it's important to get this fixed to ensure you receive other critical email communications for your tour. There are a number of potential causes. Here are some troubleshooting steps:

Please first check your junkmail/spam folders and Gmail users should check their Promotions tab. If you do see it, be sure to designate the email (and the sender) as 'not spam'!
If you still don't see it, ensure that we have the right email address for you (and that you're checking the right email account!). Whatever email address you use to log into your Rick Steves Account should be the email address to which you would receive our emails.

While this does not fix every problem, it can help to add tour@email.ricksteves.com to the safelist (aka 'allowlist' or some places still refer to a 'whitelist') in your email account. The way to do this differs for every email service, so please google "allow email address gmail" (and replace "gmail" with the name of your email service e.g. hotmail, aol, comcast, etc) for those instructions.

If you still are having trouble with receiving emails, please check in with our Tour Sales staff directly. 425-608-4217 or tour@ricksteves.com

Posted by
519 posts

Hi Webmaster -- I didn't receive yesterday's email. I followed the steps you outlined above. I verified my email address was correct in my tour account, checked my junk mail, and checked my gmail settings to ensure the ricksteves address wasn't blocked. Honestly, I didn't think any of these were the problems, because I do receive specific tour updates (forms to sign, etc) as well as the RS monthly newsletter at that same gmail account. I think maybe somehow some of us were not included on a master list of everyone on a RS tour for 2022 and are not getting bulk emails sent to everyone signed up for a tour? Following your advice, I just called the RS Tour Office to let them know about this, and they said they would investigate. But I wanted to let you know that there may be more to the problem than incorrect email addresses or blocked senders. Thanks!

Posted by
2051 posts

Webmaster. Ditto what Ruth said. Nothing in junk, none of your addresses are blocked. In the past, I have always received your emails, tour news, promotions, etc and have all correct addresses in my tour account. Nothing has been blocked and I can’t see a problem. I know these updates will be important so……What next? Call your office?
Andi

Posted by
16 posts

I never got the email either.

I have added the tour email address to my contacts.

Funny, because I did get the email that gave alumni an early shot at signing up for tours.

Posted by
2051 posts

I spoke with a helpful young man at the tour office just a while ago. He said they weren’t aware of an issue until folks began calling/emailing in response to your post, Valerie, so thank you for that! He said they were working on a fix.

Posted by
2 posts

Luckily I read the forum every now and then, saw this thread. I'm signed up for a tour next summer and did not receive the email. I called and they said this has happened to some people, as noted above, and they would pass my info on to the tech department. About 10 minutes later they sent me the email.

Posted by
2051 posts

Got mine, too. Glad they got it sorted out as they indicated there would be documents reflecting changes sent out at some point.

Posted by
1851 posts

We just received the email to sign the new Covid-19 health and safety pledge and have now signed them. We have signed up for additional tours and it looks like signing that one pledge covers the additional tours as well. Do I have this correct?

Posted by
257 posts

My situation is same as Ruth's. I contacted the office by email yesterday with detail explanation similar to Ruth's and received a generic email back to check my settings. I responded asking them to please look into the issue as described. I was glad to see later postings on this thread that I'm not the only one with missing communications. Today I received the email referring to email sent previously (the one not received) so maybe the problem is solved.

Posted by
1581 posts

Mary… I think that is the case! One and done. I have two tours scheduled and I signed one then the second one was checked off as done.