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RS required regarding negative Covid test within 48 hours of start of tour

We have 4 April Greece tour and 22 April Paris and Heart of France tour confirmed and airfare secured. RS requiring negative Covid test with in 48 hours before start of tour. Can this be done at home with rapid test provided by US government or should we go to a health clinic and have official documentation? Also does test need to be PCR or is rapid test adequate?

Posted by
9700 posts

For your Paris and Heart of France segment, just walk from your hotel to a nearby pharmacy, plunk down 26Euro for an antigen test and have your results in 15 minutes. They will print out your results for you. Most pharmacies don’t need you to make a reservation.

Are you arriving in France the day the tour starts? Day before?

What hotel in Paris?

Posted by
101 posts

We are arriving to Paris from London on day tour begins and meeting group at Hotel Lenox Montparnasse.. Thank you for posting

Posted by
9700 posts

You may want to “walk”the neighborhood where that hotel is located on google street view. and pick out the pharmacies. Look for a green neon cross. The hotel desk person can also direct you.

It’s probably too late to change plans but I’d consider going to Paris the day before the tour. I’m assuming you’re taking a Eurostar? I’ve had some delays with that train but it was pre-Covid.

Posted by
5141 posts

To answer your question specifically. The rapid test that you received free from the US Government would not meet the criteria for this test. There is a version of a home test that would because it is proctored (telemedicine) and you can do this test anywhere you have internet. This version is the Binax Now Covid -19 Ag Card home test that has a little Rx only icon on the bottom left corner of the box. I've used it twice for travel now and it has been quite convenient.

My plan is to have a couple of these these tests with me as "back up". I believe the other posters when they say tests are readily available, but I am the sort of person who like to plan for the unexpected. This tests are also acceptable to use for return to the US under current requirements.

Posted by
23 posts

Most countries require a current 48 hour test to enter - check your arrival location and have a current test when you fly
As others have said go to the neighborhood pharmacy or government tent sites for your test once settled in your hotel if the prior test is past the time required

Posted by
5259 posts

From the FAQs for tour members on this website: "Given the Omicron variant's transmissability we're currently requiring a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR or antigen) taken within 48 hours of the first day of your tour. Because COVID is constantly changing, we'll notify you by email about specific testing requirements two months prior to your tour's departure. Your airline and/or the countries you're visiting may also require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry."

"Antigen" refers to the rapid test, and I'm sure it will be easy to get one if necessary in Athens and later in Paris. Your hotels will have current information about test locations and costs.

Posted by
101 posts

Thank you for the link to the RS “on the road reporting” page. I found it interesting, helpful and fascinating.

I am glad to know the Gov’t rapid test are not accepted as official. I had heard about the Binax Now Covid tests and glad to know it worked well for someone!! I have looked them up and basically same price as getting locally in France or Greece.

We land to Athens Sat morning and tour starts Monday . I hope to make arrangements to go to Meteora. We just finalized our plans to actually follow through w/ our tour reservations.

Posted by
101 posts

Six Binax test $179 or $30 apiece on the web so same price as getting at pharmacy in Greece or France and eliminate the hassle. Plus need it to renter US Thank you.

Posted by
37 posts

So what happens if one tests positive?

Never mind, I read the fine print and got the answers.

We were about to book a RS tour, but now rethinking due to the testing requirement. While I understand the safety concerns (actually, I don't since everyone on a RS tour is vaccinated, but so be it), I don't have the financial means to have our long-awaited trip ruined, or partially ruined, due to a positive test. So we'll either travel on our own or try another tour company.

Maybe we'll try RS later in the year.

Good luck to all and may all your tests be negative.

Posted by
325 posts

They will tell us a month before our May 8th tour if we need a test to start the tour.

"Be able to present a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR or antigen) taken within 48 hours of the first day of your tour depending on your tour start date. We will notify you by email about specific testing requirements one month prior to the start of your tour. "

Posted by
25 posts

I just got a Covid info email for my May 2 tour. It does not mention a test for tour start. This is the only thing in it regarding the start of tour:

"At your group meeting on the first day of your tour, you and each member in your traveling party will need to present a CDC (or equivalent) vaccination card showing vaccination dates including booster shots with the final dose being at least 14 days prior to your tour departure date. If you haven't yet received your booster dose, please get it as soon as possible"

I'm wondering if they have simply not decided yet and that is why they left the mention of a negative test out of the email. The email goes on to describe you need a negative test to go back to the US, and some other things regarding Passenger Locator forms and such.

Considering that the US so far continues to require a negative test to return, I would actually vote for Rick Steves to keep the negative test to tour requirement. If we're in close quarters with a group of people it's safe to make sure no one is positive beforehand or we might all get stuck in quarantine!

Posted by
5141 posts

There was another thread where lack of information in the email led to confusion,. A RS tours rep came on the thread and clarified tests were still required at this time. I suggest contacting RS tours directly for clarification for your particular tour.

Posted by
515 posts

Covid FAQS on Home page updated March 4:

Will I need a negative COVID-19 test prior to joining a tour?
Maybe. For departures (currently through April 30, 2022) you need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR, antigen, or at home telehealth tests are accepted) taken within 48 hours of the first day of your tour. We may extend testing requirements and will notify you by email 30 days prior to your tour departure if you will need a negative test.

Posted by
37 posts

France has dropped vaccine passports as of March 14. In the event that I test asymptomatic positive before joining a RS tour in France, would I need to quarantine? Are there still quarantine requirements in France for fully vaccinated (or anyone, for that matter)?

I understand that i would not be allowed on the RS tour until I test negative, but would I be required to quarantine under French law?

I ask out of morbid curiosity. Covid: The can of worms that keeps on giving.

Posted by
8612 posts

Will I need a COVID-19 vaccination to join a tour? And what about boosters?

Yes, to participate in a Rick Steves tour we require proof of COVID-19 vaccination (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, one dose of J&J) and all eligible booster doses, with the latest dose being given at least 14 days prior to departure.

Be sure your vaccinations are compliant, in addition to the then current testing requirement.

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/coronavirus-faq

Posted by
43 posts

Since the requirement it to have a negative test result “48 hours before the day of the start of the tour”, then I would imagine that even though the tour started at 5 pm on a particular day, one could have the test 48 hours before 12:01 am the day of the tour. Is that correct? That gives a few more hours leeway.

Posted by
5141 posts

Joe, that actually happened the first week that tours started back up according to the weekly tour report that week. They had a back up guide in place and the tour went as scheduled.

Posted by
9700 posts

I agree with Carol and will add that I've been told by an RS guide that there is always a back up plan in place (even pre-covid). She was subbing in for the guide who was originally assigned to my Best of Paris tour a number of years ago as that guide had had a death in the family and had to be gone for a few days. Guides got sick before Covid and also had family emergencies.

Posted by
515 posts

Joe A…..I believe pre-tour tests will no longer be required starting May.

Posted by
1556 posts

Will I need a negative COVID-19 test prior to joining a tour?
Beginning with our May 2022 tours, we're no longer requiring pre-tour testing, but for departures through April 30, 2022, you need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR, antigen, or at home telehealth tests are accepted) taken within 48 hours of the first day of your tour. We may reinstate testing requirements at any time and will notify you by email 30 days prior to your tour departure if you need to provide a negative test. Please note, the countries you're visiting may require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry, so please make sure to check entry requirements.