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I've decided I won't be traveling to Europe this year

Surprisingly, the decision being in my hands really lifted my spirits.

I had become increasing concerned that the Rick Steves tour I hoped to do in September wouldn't happen. It would have been my 7th.

I decided to see if there was something US based that would appeal, and found a tour of the western National Parks that sounds perfect. I signed up and have felt so much better about this year. Still not vaccinated, but hope to be soon, and hopefully I will be able to do the 2 RS tours I had planned for 2020 in 2022.

Posted by
1907 posts

I felt the same way after deciding to stick close to home this year. No more stress about wondering if it might happen. This year we'll travel in our own backyard and have booked places in Banff and Jasper.

Posted by
10020 posts

Congratulations on your decisions. I'm sure you're going to have a great time as both the U.S. and Canada have some beautiful sights to see. I hope more people on this board, and in general, decide to "stay home" this year.

That way, when I do go to Europe later this year (hopefully), it will be a lot less crowded. LOL

Posted by
12545 posts

Its an excellent decision. As the COVID situation is much better in the US, traveling in the US is much safer.

Posted by
2486 posts

Always will be an individual decision...unless it’s not. With the evolving and uncertain COVID variant situation who knows if Europe will even be an option for tours or individual travel come fall. I’m fully vaccinated and still not at ease spending a long time in a crowded airplane, so we will drive to CO to see family and that’s probably it for 2021. And, if I do get critically ill (hopefully less likely, thank you Moderna) I want to be in the US. For domestic travel I’d avoid states prematurely lifting restrictions and would not dine indoors in restaurants.

Posted by
4645 posts

Well, this went south fast. So to speak.

Liz, have a wonderful trip. Allan, you too.

Posted by
540 posts

YEP!! We've done the same. I'm a nurse and got vaccinated in Dec., but the EU is so behind on vaccinating and I think IF they open their borders this year, I don't want to be around 10s of 1000s of people who may not have been vaccinated. WE personally don't want all the restrictions and regulations that will definitely be in effect the first year or so. But everyone must make that individual decision.

Remember that being vaccinated, we can still get and transmit COVID to others = as it's a mRNA vaccine, so it's a protein replica of the virus, meaning IF we get COVID, the protein replica with 'recognize' the COVID virus and attach to it, making us LESS sick and Covid won't kill us - but we can still get it and pass it to others.

We usually go to Europe every other December for the Xmas Markets, we do a River Cruise for a week and then travel another 7-10 days on our own. We canceled for this Dec and rebooked for Dec 2022 - when we notified our hotels in Germany & Austria, even they said we made the right decision to cancel and reschedule for 2022.

We have booked a trip to Jackson Hole Wyoming instead and can't wait to go there!!

Posted by
1833 posts

Liz, you made the right decision for you. I’m with Frank, still hoping for Europe later this year, got both my jabs, I’m ready to go whenever borders are open. If they don’t, then I have a long weekend planned in Chicago ( a city I have wanted to visit, but have not been to) and some time at our future retirement home in Palm Springs.

Posted by
1019 posts

I was in no way suggesting that my decision is the right, or only decision. I don't think any country has managed to find the exactly right way to handle this virus, including the US.

I just wanted to share that making it my decision, instead of waiting to hear if the September tour would go, unexpectedly improved my mental state. I really needed that.

Posted by
108 posts

We opted out of 2021 travel for Europe also and it was an easy decision. The conversations now are very similar to March of last year, wait until summer, wait till fall, etc.

Posted by
12545 posts

LIZinPA, sorry if I came across wrong. Its a great idea. Enjoy and G-d bless.

Posted by
8397 posts

Liz, have a wonderful time on your Parks tour! If you decide to spend more time in the west, particularly Yellowstone, I'm happy to help you plan your non-tour days!

Posted by
6746 posts

What company is running a National Parks group tour and when? (I have to admit, I'm very surprised any company has tours right now or scheduled in the next few months)

Posted by
686 posts

Agnes, Tauck has national parks tours but as with all your companies it a bit of wait and see.

I get the mental freedom not to worry about the "will we won't we this year" on Europe. I've got some other factors to consider so need to remain on hold for the moment. I have a whole decision flow chart that looks like a computer program. We have 2 tours booked and I'm 99% sure one I'll cancel so that helps a bit.

Posted by
6742 posts

Me too. I haven’t written to the property I booked in Italy yet but should do it soon. I don’t feel comfortable traveling internationally yet except for , perhaps, Canada when they allow us in.

Posted by
8397 posts

Winter trips to Yellowstone are awesome! Glad you went pre-pandemic!

The itinerary looks good BUT I'd be sure to ask what their alternate plans are if the Navajo Reservation doesn't open it's lands and you are unable to do Antelope Canyon. I've seen some chatter on the Trip Advisor AZ forum that this might happen in May but you'd just want to be sure what the back up plan is if by some chance it is closed.

What a fun time you'll have...I've wanted to do the Narrows hike but have never been there at a good time.

Posted by
12594 posts

Oooh Liz! I'm jumping up and down with Pam about your terrific parks tour! While we haven't been fortunate enough to do Death Valley, Sequoia, Kings Canyon or Yosemite yet, we have done Zion (including the Narrows), Bryce and the Grand Canyon multiple times, as well as Lower Antelope and Horseshoe Bend. If there are any insights on those areas I might be able to help you with, give a shout? You're going to have a wonderful time!

Editing to add: in addition to Pam's info on Antelope/Navajo Nation closures, The Narrows hike isn't a given if it's raining in the park or upstream. Same with Upper/Lower Antelope so your tour guide probably has a Plan B in the back pocket should they need it. Both were closed for a time to flooding last we were at Zion and Page.

Posted by
3833 posts

I agree, Liz, that it’s nice to not have your plans continually undecided. Last year I was planning to take our 40-year old daughter for her first time to Europe. For 2021, even losing the hotel vouchers, I think it’s best for her initial experience for us personally to delay until 2022.

Our vacations this year will be focused on having our family come stay with us, and us going to see them. We have lots of missed time together to catch up.

Posted by
1136 posts

Liz, I know what you mean about making a decision and having peace of mind as a result. I had airline tickets to Scotland in June for what I hoped would be my cancelled trip from 2020. But at some point it just didn’t feel right and cancelling did. No money lost and, like you, I am doing a 3 week national parks trip instead - this year to Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, & Mt Rushmore. (thank you, Pam for Yellowstone consulting - ha!) I know Glacier may not be fully opened, but I have made my peace with Covid travel in that you can never see and do it all (Covid or no Covid), but seeing something is better than seeing nothing.

In October I had 2 weeks independent in several of the parks you’ll be visiting and they are magnificent! Antelope Canyon is still on my bucket list but was closed last year. You are going to have an amazing trip!

We all have to find our balance between our love of Europe and safety. I do have 2 Europe trips floating out in the time between September and December. I am not concerned about them and there will come a time when I know for myself whether or not it is good to go or good to stay home. Again, they will be easy to cancel or to finish planning. In a future trip, I am also looking forward to the California parks you will see!

Posted by
1019 posts

Thanks, all!
I haven't traveled out west very often, but nearly every time I have, wildfire has required itinerary adjustments. I'm excited to see whatever places are open and available.

Posted by
1683 posts

What company is running a National Parks group tour and when? (I have to admit, I'm very surprised any company has tours right now or scheduled in the next few months)

Agnes is spot on. We are still booked for Iceland in July, but I can push it to 2022 if necessary. Way to early to cancel.

Posted by
1683 posts

"We find that the viral load is reduced fourfold for infections occurring 12-28 days after the first dose of vaccine," the study concluded. "These reduced viral loads hint to lower infectiousness, further contributing to vaccine impact on virus spread."

According to Mike Weekes, an infectious disease specialist at Cambridge University and co-leader of the study, the results suggest the risk of developing asymptomatic Covid-19 is four times less among health care workers who have been vaccinated for at least 12 days.

https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2021/03/04/vaccine-transmission#:~:text=%22We%20find%20that%20the%20viral,vaccine%20impact%20on%20virus%20spread.%22

Posted by
12545 posts

BigMikeWestByGodVirginia; you are applying narrow scientific theory to an issue with implications that span multiple scientific fields while being manipulated by politics. Science aside, borders will open when politicians want them to open. France might stay closed until 2022, and Spain might open in 3 weeks.... who knows. My bet is that Greece, Spain, Portugal, the Balkans, and most of Eastern European countries (except for Hungary) will be open for the summer under some sort of rationalized restrictions like PCR tests or Vaccines or both. But the West may take a bit longer, if at all this year. But its all just my wild a ..... guessing. Interesting to see it all play out.

Posted by
189 posts

LIZ in PA, glad you made your decision and are lifted by it. Being "betwixt and between" is like psychological MIA.
My husband and I are still thinking about going to France and either England or Spain. We have made no plans and have paid no money, however. We are only in the first week of the third month of the year, so much can happen. The vaccine deliveries are beginning to pick up speed in the US and hopefully the rest of the world will be able to follow with COVAX, especially. If progress starts slowing, we're thinking about New Mexico and Arizona in September. They have to be behaving themselves, though, or no tourist money from us. It's been decades since I've been. Those two states would provide the change of scenery and history that I crave and which drive me to visit Europe. We live in the Northeast--no pueblos, deserts, etc. We also have life passes to the national parks which were one of the best ideas ever to hit this country. The only hitch is flying which we would do simply because the drive is long and unappealing to me. At some point, we would have to eat and drink. . . We've both had our vaccines and are awaiting news from the Johns Hopkins study about my husband's antibodies, hoping he has them. It is never a dull moment with him as he has had a heart transplant less than a year ago. I hope everyone here who does tour the US comes back to tell us how it was.

Posted by
6 posts

Lindy - I live near Phoenix. Be aware that Arizona will be hotter than blazes in September. Even October can be unbearable. You won’t want to be outside, even in the early mornings. Plus our governor just lifted any occupancy restrictions, so that means people will be dining indoors in crowded restaurants. I was just in Scottsdale today and restaurants and stores were jammed. While our vaccination rollout has been pretty good, I suspect we will be having high rates of infection again. That said, in good weather, this is a great place to visit. Hope you make it here sometime.

Posted by
677 posts

wife will not let me travel out of the immediate area till at least 2022, Europe is a pipe dream for 2023. Not to get political but with the relaxations in some states, Europe may just keep the door shut for Americans for years.

Posted by
4769 posts

Good strategy, Liz, for fun travel and mental health too! That looks like a great tour, especially with a small group.

I hesitate to second-guess an Arizonan about the weather there, but you'll be at much higher elevations than Phoenix and should have cooler temperatures. Hopefully this trip will whet your appetite for the Southwest -- places like Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Chaco, Santa Fe, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and on and on.

Posted by
6570 posts

We're retired and part if the high risk group for COVID. And we've been hanging low for 11 months--not going anywhere except to our camper in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We've been vaccinated however.
We may fly out to Vegas and take in Bryce Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon.
This is the time of the year we're usually getting ready to head over across The Water.

Heck, I'm still fighting with a flight consolidator/agent trying to get my money back on last year's European flight--they've been sitting on the $ since August. Future airfares will only be purchased direct with airlines.
My wife's had foot surgery, and is down for a few months anyway. We still have many travel years remaining, however.

Posted by
8397 posts

For those of you thinking about independent trips to the big Western parks...be aware that visitation numbers were huge last year and are expected to be very high again this year. This may be true for Eastern parks as well...it’s just that my main knowledge is about Yellowstone and other western ones.

So...you would want to get on lodging reservations (from the official concessioner of the park - not one of the shonky 3rd party vendors that charge for booking) ASAP.

Back to Liz’s main topic, lol....

Posted by
12352 posts

Looks like a nice tour. Looks like you are on your own for many dinners---you might ask here for suggestions. Springdale, where you willmstay for Zion, has a number of good choices. At the Grand Canyon ( South Rim), we thinkmit is worth it to dine at historic El Tovar. Make reservations ahead!

Late September should be a good time to hike the Narrows--water is not too high or cold, and the chance of rain is pretty low. We loved that hike----we did it as part of a trip I led for some Brit friends for a Grand Canyon rim-to -rim hike, with an overnight at Phantom Rnch. Zion was an add-on after the Grand Canyon. I wasn't leading hikes at Zion; people were on their own until we met for dinner. Most of the Brits wanted to do Angel's Landing and that is not for me. The following day my husband and I wanted to hike to Observation Point in the morning, and then we headed up into the Narrows after lunch. The Brits all started earlier and we met them as they were coming back downstream. And we had a big water fight, that had us all laughing with joy.

Posted by
13 posts

We also decided not to even try planning any international trips in 2021. Instead we are going a 3 month road trip out west visiting South Dakota, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Colorado, New Mexico, a month in San Antonio and finishing in New Orleans.

It is going to cost a lot between motels, National Park cabins and Airbnb’s- but we will be seeing new areas and doing mainly outdoor activities. Everything is refundable but I don’t anticipate having to cancel since we will be fully vaccinated within the month.

Starting to plan a few trips for 2022 but still worried that part of Asia might not be open by February/March 2022 - so hard to get too excited about that trip.

I’m more optimistic about a couple of Europe trips I’m planning for later in 2022.

Posted by
4408 posts

Instead we are going a 3 month road trip out west visiting South Dakota, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Colorado, New Mexico, a month in San Antonio and finishing in New Orleans.

Apart from New Orleans that sounds like my dream trip. One of my favourite holidays was a trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone staying in a Homeaway rental in Driggs, Idaho. It was a bit of a drive every day and we split it with a night at West Yellowstone to enable more time for the park on that day but park accommodation was booked up way in advance and so was Jackson Hole. The other problem for us Brits is getting there. We had to fly to Chicago, then fly on to Salt Lake City where we had a week booked at a resort in Park City before embarking on what was for me, a very long drive to Driggs.

I will return to Yellowstone at one point, it's simply an amazing place, but it's just working out the logistics. Flying into Cody, Bozeman or Jackson Hole often requires two or more connections from an initial flight from the UK and trying to hit the sweet spot in layover times is incredibly difficult. I think the best option is to wait for the kids to fly the nest or when they no longer want to come on holiday with us and fly into a major hub and work our way to the parks we want to see over a period of weeks just as you are planning. Fancy a swap?

Posted by
1019 posts

Note that this thread is in the RS tour section, and the original poster (that would be me) gets notified when people post on this thread

It might make sense to post elsewhere with US trip plans and ideas.