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Posted by
601 posts

An even better response directly from Rick is his comments on Tour News called Weathering The Storm. Check it out.

Posted by
992 posts

I think another forum user posted this previously? I read it someplace. Definitely not a way to travel.
We are still in the first wave and not in the second wave of this virus.

Posted by
10325 posts

Here's the latest from The First Traveler:

"For the first summer in 30 years, Rick Steves is home instead of savoring Europe. It's an adjustment. He doesn't know what's next for travel after the pandemic any more than the rest of us do, he told the Washington Post in an interview."

Posted by
1609 posts

However long I have to wait, I’m socking away more money in my travel account until it’s safe to travel. That’s the silver lining I see!

Posted by
21 posts

Right, socking it away will keep you busy for while.

Health experts think that this virus will change our way of life. Things will never be the same. . .maybe wearing mask will be the norm-even if it seems it had reached its summit.
They also predict that it will take not just weeks or months (if ever) for people to be  comfortable  hob-nobbing at the risk getting ill.

Yes, you see younger crowds in big events like this past July 4th and majority of them came down positive.

As a side note:

The latest news about the hard-hit cruise industry is moth balling and eventually selling some of their ships for junk to be dismantled for scrap.

Last week Carnival announced six to be dismantled. . ..today they announced a total of thirteen ships bound for the junk heap.
Even the largest jet liner A380 from Airbus is discontinuing its manufacture.
Those that are still flying  are having their seats removed  for conversion to cargo planes.

Good luck on your effort socking money away. . .and I hope you will be rewarded for this-- and be healthy  enough to reap those rewards.

Posted by
10325 posts

This is just my personal opinion, but I think it's helpful--even if you don't want to hear it, or you emotionally just can't believe--to read posts like Rob's (post immediately above).

Nobody knows what's going to happen to travel in the future, so it's helpful to have Rob's post instead of the sugar-coated comments.

Posted by
1609 posts

Rob Brent,
Thanks for your good wishes. I see this as a time to reflect on my priorities - I know travel is one of mine as soon as it’s safe and I’m healthy!

Posted by
21 posts

It's not my intent to have my post come out being a discomfiture for an otherwise serene atmosphere.
I think its also important (as Kent's comment) that sugar-coating a comment is not being honest. 
Travel is not always walking in a red carpet lined with fragrant bed of roses. Some excitement and some disappointments come with the package.

These nuances in my opinion is what makes traveling a diverse  educational experience.

We encounter good food, beautiful scenery,  nice hotel rooms complete with luxurious amenities. . .but we also encounter pickpockets and annoying panhandlers. . . and sometimes we feel lucky not being victimized by muggers.  And talk about a drunken slob seated next to you on a train in St. Petersburg reeking of vodka.
We don't live in a perfect world.

That's what makes traveling a needed respite from  boring every day life-- living in a big city.

You know what I'm talking about If you've been in Barcelona, Romania or Budapest.
At the La Rambla in Barcelona, I was stopped by a Guardia Civil  and questioned where I was going.
I later found out that one side of the La Rambla is where ritzy stores are located --like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills while the other side is where street walkers and  undesirables are plying their trade whatever they are.

They are all a part of gaining a well rounded travel experience.
And I don't abhor reminiscing them.

Posted by
6443 posts

Last week Carnival announced six to be dismantled. . ..today they announced a total of thirteen ships bound for the junk heap.

The 13 ships coming out of service represent 9% of their capacity. 16 new ships remain on order, with deliveries being pushed back

https://thepointsguy.com/news/carnival-cruise-ships-sold-scrapped/

Asked by an analyst whether the ships leaving the Carnival Corporation fleets would be scrapped or sold to entities that might reuse them, Donald suggested that *most appeared headed for reuse*, though a few would be “recycled.”

While the cruise industry has had better days, it does not appear to be headed for ( immediate) extinction.

I agree that 'sugar coating it' is not helpful, but one does need to keep perspective and look at the whole picture.

The a380 was in hospice care before covid, and just got pushed closer to its end a bit earlier than expected.

Posted by
8715 posts

Here's the latest from The Boss:

I didn't know Bruce Springsteen had commented on travel.

Posted by
35 posts

My prediction is that group tours will not be popular for a very long time. Independent travel by car will increase for European travel just as it is increasing for domestic travel. People will be wary of public transport like buses and trains. With independent travel if a museum or restaurant is too crowded for my comfort, I can just leave. Can't do that if I'm on a group tour. I've written off this entire year for European travel. Maybe next year.

Posted by
5166 posts

grogman, there've been a lot of predictions like that, but human behavior is too erratic to predict. The choice you posit for most travelers won't be between a tour group and independent travel, but whether to travel at all. Some potential travelers may prefer to go with a group where there is some level of protection. Contrary to predictions, the cruise industry, for example, is reporting big increases in bookings for 2021-22*.


  • No I cant provide a reference other than I read it in my newsfeed this weekend, and I'm too lazy to google it.
Posted by
1194 posts

grogman, I'm all for outside activities in groups as it's fairly easy to socially distance, but I admit some concern for being confined in a tube like a bus for hours as it seems like a petri dish for viruses. I guess if everyone wears masks diligently then it might be OK.

Anyway, Go Vaccine!

Frank II: Springsteen, aka "The Boss," has frequently commented on his travels, even joking about getting paid where the rest of us proles have to pay a lot of money. His thing is heading to local beaches, primarily. He said it's much better without any body guards as that only attracts attention, and drives himself with maybe a friend and his wife as the only company.

Posted by
57 posts

I'm with Steve on this one.

5 hours masked on an airplane only to have to maintain social distance when I get there?
What's the point?
I have too many memories of great conversations in broken Portuguese amid crowded wine bars and only slightly better Spanish over shared tapas. Not to mention a pint or two (or three) in a pub that was serving before my country existed.

To me, THAT is the point of travel. If it is just to see "sights", I will just download a virtual museum tour.

See everyone when/if a vaccine delivers us from this new world we live in.

Until then, .......

Dennis and Elinore

Posted by
671 posts

Everyone travels for different reasons. One poster just said he travels for the conversations with people he meets at bars/pubs in various places. Rick pushes that kind of experience a lot in his videos. Others want to see 'famous' sites/museums. Personally, I just like to 'be' there. Not that I haven't enjoyed a conversation or two with locals/other travelers, and I certainly enjoy seeing the major sites, but I'm perfectly happy to just wander around old towns, view beautiful scenery, enjoy local food (especially markets/street food). I can easily go a whole day (or weeks) without being in a crowd, a line, or even talking to anyone. So when someone says 'what's the point of going if you have to social distance' - well I see a lot of point in that. If I have to wear a mask to take public transportation, and not pack in elbow to elbow to view something or have a drink, I'm fine with that.

I don't think any kind of travel will be safe until there is a vaccine, but there is no reason (that I've read) to believe there won't be one within the next year.

Posted by
2514 posts

From Stan:

Contrary to predictions, the cruise industry, for example, is
reporting big increases in bookings for 2021-22*.

I just wanted to point out that a large percentage of those bookings are cruisers who are moving their current reservations to ones that are further in the future, in the hope that they will actually sail. However there is no disputing the number of posters on Cruise Critic that are positively chomping at the bit to getting back at sea as soon as possible.

Posted by
8715 posts

Big Mike....you missed the point. Someone posted referring to Rick Steves as "The Boss:. He's not the boss. (When you have to explain it.......)

I'm glad to hear so many people are going to wait until the virus is gone/there is a vaccine/there is no more social distancing, etc. I'll probably be going sooner than all of that which means many of the sights I want to see won't be as crowded.

Will I have to make some changes? Sure. I'll bring masks. I'll check out distancing at restaurants more or get food to go. Perhaps it may mean renting a place with a kitchen and doing some cooking. (I like going into supermarkets anyway to see what the locals buy.) I might stay in more chain hotels since they are issuing cleanliness guidelines that must be adhered to. Smaller, individually owned hotels may be hurting for money and many not want to spend the extra amount to truly disinfect a room.

Tours will be fine. People will want to travel. And many of those inclined to take tours like the idea of someone else doing all the work. All they have to do is show up and be led around.

And in terms of Covid-19, it seems that much of Europe is doing better than we are in the USA. I'm hunkering down in a college town that hasn't seen students since the end of March. However, they are scheduled to return in less than a month and the town is very concerned. They believe the virus will increase drastically.

The decision to travel or not travel is up to the individual.

Posted by
461 posts

The decision to travel or not travel is up to the individual. <<

I wish. In my case it’s up to my dear wife!

Posted by
1447 posts

Phizer hopeful FDA will approve a vaccine in October.

Unfortunately, I believe this is - to put it mildly - wishful thinking. From today, we are probably 16-24 months away from a widely accessible vaccine (unless you are part of the American nomenklatura).

Consider this: We are now six months into this, and despite supposedly everyone "pulling out all the stops" we have managed to perform a paltry 40 Million tests. Population of the US is roughly 325,000,000. So after six months, the "richest," "greatest" country on earth could only manufacture 40M tests.

In October, best case scenario someone rushes a vaccine. Then, with billions of people around the world competing for machines, ingredients, even glass for the vaccine vials etc, the US is going to miraculously sprout the infrastructure to manufacture several hundred million doses, distribute them, and get people vaccinated?

Yeah, probably not. Probably what is really going to happen is that will take 16-24 months, and meanwhile, the same suspects currently howling about masks and "freedom" will start howling about microchips and government mandated vaccinations and DNA collection. And every single 1:1,000,000 adverse vaccine reaction will be trumpeted in breathless detail on State Media and on Facebook to continue the decades-long agenda of undermining scientific expertise at all costs.

Posted by
1447 posts

The decision to travel or not travel is up to the individual

Is it? Last time I checked I can go to Europe as the spouse of an EU national, most people don't have that option.

Posted by
10325 posts

Yep, no American citizen is going to the EU until the EU says you can go.
So it's not really up to you.

Posted by
21 posts

  Isit? Last time I checked I can go to Europe as the spouse of an EU national, most people don't have that option.....

....

Not so fast.

Even EU nationals are required to go through a 14-day quarantine  if they've been  out of the Euro  Zone (Schengen) areas for two weeks or more.

More so when coming from the US.

Posted by
8715 posts

I wrote the decision to travel is up to the individual. I did not write the decision to travel to the EU is up to the individual.

There are many places, including some in Europe, that are open to Americans. And even when there was no virus there were places not open to Americans.

If you decide it's safe to travel, that is your decision. Whether or not your primary destination is open to you is a separate issue. If it''s closed, and you still want to travel, you can pick a secondary destination that is open.

Posted by
2334 posts

I think all the predictions of extreme, permanent changes resulting from this are overlooking history and human nature. In 6months-4 years (optimistic vs pessimistic scenarios) we will have a vaccine and better treatments. Once that happens, if not sooner, most people will be jumping back to normal life. Some changes? Sure. But...people are already unwisely doing things like crowding bars and going to Disneyworld and it’s only been under 6months, with cases spiking. Once there’s treatment or vaccine this will just increase.

The 1918 pandemic was awful. It ended without a vaccine and people were back to partying in the roaring 20s. This has happened with most (all?) other epidemics through history. For better or worse, human memory is short.

With regard to travel, it’s the economic effects that may change the most. Can people afford to go, if they have reduced income or if fares rise significantly? The cost of flights in the future is an economic question I am unprepared to answer. Lower supply, higher cost? Lower demand, reduced cost to entice people? Both before settling in to some sort of new equilibrium?

Posted by
13 posts

In reply to Ufkak's statement above that it will probably be 16-24 months, I'd say it depends.
I have spent around 25 years in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, and I have 2 experiences that are relevant here.
The first is that in a previous job I was doing some contract work at a major plant expansion. This project took a bit under 2 years to go from bulldozers in a field to call the FDA to inspect the plant. So for this type of project, the timeline suggested is valid.
However, that is not the case for all projects. First the legally required disclaimer: Although I am employed by Beckman Coulter, Inc, the following is my personal opinion based on publicly-available facts, and is neither an official statement, nor a prediction by the company. Now that that is out of the way, I can state that recently Beckman Coulter announced a plan to ship 20,000 tests a week for an antibody test that did not even exist 6 months ago. Therefore, for a new product that uses existing technology and production plants, it can be much faster than the 16-24 month timeline.

Posted by
21 posts

It all depends of course.

Viral infections have been a part of human existence that date back 3000 BC.

The 1918 pandemic ran its course.  Just like the black  plague in 1300 that killed  a third of the European continent's inhabitants--they didn't have vaccine that the virus ran rampant that no one knew how to stop it.
This Covid-19 is a novel virus that humanity has never experienced before.
The mechanism deployed in successfully using to rein-in a virus, will not work as demonstrated by trials like hydroxychloroquine that ended in a  splat.
It was largely taken as a  snake oil that can cure everything that is peddled by a traveling salesman wearing ten-gallon hat. LOL

Clinical trials could last two years or more before being tested on volunteer humans. Would you consent to being injected by something that no one knows whether or not you'll develop immunity?

Those that were infected mostly died while some who survived developed immunity by natural process. The human body is a complicated machine. . .some people have their virus-fighting DNA makeup that can fight off deadly virus far efficiently and some are more predisposed to virus attack.

So, twenty five years in the pharmaceutical industry is no panacea in handling this Covid-19 pandemic.
I hope you're right because I'm getting tired of being couped-up at home for almost five months.

Posted by
2514 posts

Brent: "Just like the black plague in 1300 that killed a third of the European continent's inhabitants--they didn't have vaccine that the virus ran rampant that no one knew how to stop it."

Actually, the plague is caused by a bacteria, not a virus, is still present in its bubonic form in many areas, and is easily cured today with readily available antibiotics.

I doubt that many reputable scientists thought that hydroxychloroquine was likely to be an effective treatment or preventative for COVID 19. However both Remdesivir and dexomethasone are showing promise as a treatment to lessen the severity in those with severe illness due to the disease.

"Clinical trials could last two years or more before being tested on volunteer humans. "

Perhaps you've missed the recent news articles, but there are multiple tests involving human volunteers that have already begun by several different agencies working on their own vaccine efforts. And at least here in Canada, they've had far more volunteers than can even be used.

Posted by
13 posts

In response to Rob Brent "So, twenty five years in the pharmaceutical industry is no panacea in handling this Covid-19 pandemic.
I hope you're right because I'm getting tired of being couped-up at home for almost five months."
Well, the statement about my experience was intended to show that I have some perspective from my past. I did not intend to state that I have any inside info not available to the general public.
As for the timeline, I have sometimes been accused of being an optimist. Nobody has ever used the verse from South Pacific "only a cockeyed optimist" in reference to me, but that might be more a reflection of their knowledge of old musicals. :)
I do not state that it will be shorter, only that it could be, and I too hope that is the case.

Posted by
21 posts

C Jean says:
Actually, the plague is caused by a bacteria, not a virus, is still present in its bubonic form in many areas, and is easily cured today with readily available antibiotics.
.........

Pretty slick.

If you parse that paragraph that refers to the black plague. . .I did not  specifically state that bubonic plague is a virus.

I was referring to the 1918 pandemic which was a virus. It's the first sentence in that paragraph.
It was a virus in 1918 which you purposely omitted in your response.