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Other tour company policies

So, had friends just return from England, wales, Scotland trip with a tour bus full of 34 people. No masks, no testing, no stress to return ( all Canadians), no problems….We are booked on a RS tour this Fall, and frankly, Im very concerned about being bumped off if I test positive on a mandatory test. We r double vac, double boosted but after reading many travel sites, it seems the consensus is to just let things take it’s course and keep on travelling.. at the risk of likely many opinions , what do people feel about just travelling and letting the dice roll, as it were?

Posted by
1823 posts

Just letting the dice roll is not something I’d want to do nor would I want our tour mates to do that either. I am glad RS requires testing, even though it is not foolproof. Nor would I want a Covid positive person to continue on the tour. Just letting the dice roll would only contribute to more variants.
Just my .02$!

Posted by
7144 posts

Judy, what was unique about your friends’ tour is that it took place in the UK where self-isolation is not required. Many countries still require several days isolation when testing positive. One would have to leave the tour to follow the rules of the host country.

Posted by
74 posts

I think that RS only requires a test within 24 hours of the start of the tour. I don’t believe there is mandatory periodic testing during the tour other than that first one. But I agree with you, especially if you are asymptomatic. We have to start treating Covid like the cold/flu it has evolved into. If you were having cold symptoms you wouldn’t be kicked off a tour. If you are having no symptoms at all, you certainly wouldn’t be tested to see if you really might be sick underneath your feeling of wellness! A perfectly fitted medical grade mask provides some protection for the person wearing it, regardless or whether or not their neighbor is also wearing a perfectly fitted medical grade mask. That’s why prior to the pandemic, medical personnel wore masks but never insisted that patients wear one. Trained to wear a mask correctly, the medical staff knew that they would be protected from their germ-spewing patients who were not wearing masks. So that’s why I think masks should be a matter of choice and not required on Rick Steves tours or anywhere else.

Posted by
4994 posts

I think the RS policy is very fair. You test on day 1. If you are positive, he refunds the cost of the tour. The policy is clear. He is trying to reduce the risk to tour participants. I think it is a fair and responsible way to run tours.

I am taking a RS tour in the fall. I debated whether to risk it. I don’t see much of a risk. If I test positive, I will be bummed, but I am fully prepared to spend a week in a hotel isolating if need be.

Posted by
187 posts

I took a non-RS tour of Ireland in June. 32 people. No testing or mask requirement. The return to US test requirement ended the day I left for my trip so no stress re return. I saw very few masks being worn in Ireland and everything seemed to be open/operating without restrictions. At home, up to that point, I had still been taking precautions but honestly I liked the “learning to live with it” attitude I felt while there. I have missed going to Europe these last two years and I don’t know how many more years I will travel. Now that we have vaccines, boosters and therapeutics I think maybe it is time to just get on with it.

Posted by
6113 posts

I always travel independently and that will continue. I have just returned from a 7 week trip to France, but I took my own car and didn’t stay in hotels or B&Bs. There was less evidence of mask wearing and hand sanitising in France than in the U.K.

Would I get on a train today for the 50 minute ride into London or get on a bus to travel the 9 miles into Tunbridge Wells? No way. Far too risky. I haven’t had Covid. I am fully vaccinated and boosted. I don’t want it.

Each person will have their own risk level of acceptance, but Covid isn’t going away, so if you want to travel, you must weigh up what works for you.

Posted by
170 posts

I think the RS policy is a good one and hope they stick with it for now.

Posted by
3755 posts

As someone who had the common cold version of Covid, I agree with treating it like a cold EXCEPT there are still people who are getting really sick and having long Covid. I think everyone needs to take the precautions they are comfortable with. I haven't worn a mask(except on the Tube, while people were boarding my flights, and in restaurant after testing positive) since early 2021 and as far as I know, I didn't get it until I went to England. I haven't had the second booster, but plan to get it a year after the previous one(Nov), when hopefully there will be a version that provides better protection against Omicron.

Posted by
1547 posts

I am glad Rick asks for masking and a test before joining. However, I am also a person who follows CDC guidance and still wears a mask when I go out to grocery shop, etc. I wish our culture encouraged masks when you get a cold. I can't tell you how many trips over the pond started with a cold caught on the plane or before or after in the airport. I remember a river cruise where one guy who never covered his mouth when he coughed infected at least half of the other passengers. I mask up not only to protect me, but protect others. We need more thoughtfulness and caring for others in this stressful world. I applaud RS tours for trying to protect his clients as much as possible. I am looking forward to tour #8 in September.

Posted by
1259 posts

No masks, no testing, no stress to return ( all Canadians), no problems….We are booked on a RS tour this Fall, and frankly, Im very concerned about being bumped off if I test positive on a mandatory test.

You should be concerned and you should have plans in place for that possibility.

I'd say your friends were simply fortunate more than stress-free. What exactly would you want or expect to happen if you're sitting next to someone who exhibits rapidly advancing symptoms that might or might not be the covid? Would you want them to be tested? To wear a mask? If they tested positive for the covid, what you expect or wish to happen next that might allow you to enjoy the rest of your tour?

This fall, the USA/Euro covid situation could be completely different; might be yet another highly contagious and far more serious strain, might have moved on to less virulent strains. If you want less enforcement and fewer precautions, you have plenty of time to cancel RS and book with another tour company.

Posted by
22604 posts

......what do people feel about just travelling and letting the dice roll, as it were?........ You asked ! I think it indicated a very self centered, self absorbed, uncaring individual who would willingly exposure other individuals. It is not your common cold.

Posted by
292 posts

Well it does seem as though it is still a mixed opinion on the subject and yes, I did ask , just to start a dialogue if anything. And Frank - I hope your comments on uncaring and selfishness did not apply directly to me. It was rather harsh if so, but as all the other comments indicate it is an interesting and still volatile subject.

Posted by
2091 posts

“What if you test positive 2 or more days into the tour? Any refund?”

RS gives you a prorated refund based on the number of days that you are not on the tour. I don’t know about other tour companies as far as refunds go but that it was trip insurance is for.

Posted by
22604 posts

Why should there be? It is your risk. Expenses would have been incurred for you.

Posted by
116 posts

I think the most important thing is that people signed up for a RS tour with a certain understanding and expectation of protocols - risks and obligations they were comfortable with. Therefore, I do not think that should change, and RS guides are doing the job they need to for everyone in the group. Having said that, I think, in general, policies haven't been able to keep up with changing circumstances; and things can change again (increase in BA5 variant cases). I personally applaud RS for developing the protocols and minimizing risks so that people did feel comfortable traveling again! Happy traveling!

Posted by
3240 posts

but as all the other comments indicate it is an interesting and still
volatile subject.

I agree, it is an interesting and volatile subject. We spent 17 days in Scotland in June and for the month prior to the trip and right through it we felt we were rolling the dice simply by being there as our trip could have been interrupted at any time if one of us felt unwell, but at least we had control of the situation and could make the cqll for ourselves if we could continue.

For almost a year we had been waiting for the 2023 RS tours to be released with full intention of taking the Sicily tour, but have now decided that until the testing policies change, we have no intention of booking. Rolling the dice by agreeing to mandatory testing isn't for me.