I read Rick’s letter about this years tours. I think that he is well meaning but over optimistic. I think that travel restrictions for US based tourists to be in place for the entire travel season. Sorry to be so pessimistic.
There's no way to know what things will look like 2, 4, 6 or more months from now. It doesn't make sense to cancel a full year's worth of tours at this point but I've no doubt that they'll be cautiously assessing the situation and making decisions day by day, week by week and month by month as necessary.
I would be surprised if travel is restricted for more than 2-3 mo. if that long. The reason is that this restricting of travel and tourism will have a devastating effect on the US and the the worlds economy, much more than the average person realizes, and if the restrictions were to extend for the entire season we would, very likely, experience a economic depression not seen since the 1930's. In a nutshell our economy is based on the premise that everyday we (the people) go out and purchase something (goods or services), when we stop doing this, even for a brief period of time, a domino effect occurs that is self perpetuating and people become panicked and buy even less. The toiletpaper buying is an example of the panic effect, and the downward slide of the stock market.
No one knows the future but I will guess that the travel restrictions will be lifted by May 1st, I may have to eat my words but that's my feelings at this moment in time.
I agree with Kathy and Donald. It is too early to cancel tours from June forward. The Japanese are determined to host the Olympics in July.
May 1 seems too early as the flu is still spreading as of mid-March. June 1 is optimistic.
Now, all of that can change, but for the moment we have to wait and see.
Italy, France and Spain are closed for the travel business for the foreseeable future. Reopening travel destinations will require the local health authorities to give approval. Don't expect that by June, maybe the fall, but starting things up again to receive travelers will not be instantaneous. Plan for 2021.
Planning for 2021 is almost as pointless as trying to foresee the next six to twelve weeks. This thing erupted quickly out of nowhere. By this time next year, there could easily be another, weirder pandemic. Predicting the future is best accomplished reading tea leaves.
Pundits' opinions change by the hour but it is entirely possible that returning to (more or less normal) in most of Europe will occur very quickly once the major threat has passed or contagion has hopefully diminished to the point of reasonable and acceptable risk, much like flu or other community and herd diseases.
Based on precedence 2021 could be worse as the virus gets started earlier in the season. There may not be a vaccine until 2021.
I for one would be surprised if any that believe that they have any insight into how long any travel restrictions, and to the need to alter their plans -- will last, are basing their opinions on anything more then their personal history. Humans by nature are emotional creatures -- as often as not, we form our thoughts based on past experiences -- on examples of what one thinks to be analogous. What happened before is a pattern for today and tomorrow -- seems simple. I read a posting recently where a person dismissed the current "hysteria" out of hand. Not based on any evidence, put comparing the current situation with the y2k scare. For those that have forgotten, there were at least some who panicked, fearing the new century would cause world-wide chaos, as computers were not programmed to allow for a new century. My predication is that among those who foresee the future -- some will be very precise, and some not. Not that those correct are any more intelligent than the others -- it's just if you take several million people throwing a dart in the dark -- a few are bound to hit the bullseye. Most -- are just manufacturing more stress. ----“Never make predictions, especially about the future.” - Yogi Berri -- Who also allegedly said, "I really didn’t say everything I said."
Given the chaos they are being as factually based as possible: following the CDC, WHO, the State Department. I read Rick as cautiously optimistic but reality based.
“Based on precedence 2021 could be worse as the virus gets started earlier in the season. There may not be a vaccine until 2021.”
Let’s hope there is a bit of herd immunity in 2021 to help buy some time for vaccine development and distribution. Hopefully, at a reasonable cost.
My thought is that it will be quite a while before Europe is open for travellers from the USA. Italy etc will eventually flatten out but the USA will have not ... at least for this season.
Sorry but....RS and Company are facing huge challenges and workloads.
I do not think this kind of internet speculation does them any good as people often take rumors, speculation for fact when it isn’t.
RS has been very upfront with their cancellations and date change policies. There is simply no need to harm them with speculation.
RS put out a FB post stating he was in good shape to make it through this crisis. He also said he is keeping his staff on, canceling travel shows, etc. He also spoke of his concern for his guides, hotels and other vendors.
From the tour web page
Are Rick Steves tours still operating? We are canceling all of our
tours with start dates through April 19, 2020, and will provide 100%
refunds within two weeks, in compliance with the law. We will be in
direct contact with all affected tour members to provide more details.
So, I guess I am right in there with the RS travel philosophy as my April 23 trip is still on. If RS cancels, maybe I will too.
Rick Steves tours are IMO the best in Europe. His company operates with a high level of integrity and honesty. They will do the right thing. I loved every RS trip that we went on.
The problem really resides with the travel industry. The Cruise industry in particular should have stopped much earlier than they did . Personally, I would not want to travel outside of my country without travel insurance that covers Covid 19.
I'm so glad that all the virus experts have chimed in on this thread. And to be able to do it without one shred of evidence or fact. Just opinion.
And that's why people are hoarding toilet paper. They listen to armchair quarterbacks rather than the real experts.
Frank II, I suspect the experts here stocked up on toilet paper weeks ago. As for me, I don't understand a bit of this. So I will just do what the Feds say to do and trust they understand it better than the people on this forum. I'm pretty simple minded on the subject.
I have two university degrees and over 60 years of life experience; but none of it in this topic. My feeble understanding is that we have managed to put ourselves in a better situation than most countries, and I like what I hear being planned and set up; but only time will tell. For now, I just keep reshaping my life (and my vacation) around the most current rules and hope for the best.
My feeble understanding is that we have managed to put ourselves in a better situation than most countries, and I like what I hear being planned and set up; but only time will tell. For now, I just keep reshaping my life (and my vacation) around the most current rules and hope for the best.
I hope you're right. We don't have a lot of test kits but should be getting them this week. When other countries got them, the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed. Some think it's not that the number of cases increased, but the number of test kits confirmed them. I hope that doesn't happen here.
I too am following the guidelines of the CDC but I think the governors of each state are doing more than the federal government. And as much as I hate to do it, I think I will be rescheduling my upcoming trips.
Stay home, wash your hands and make the best of it.
Frank II, i guess some are looking for numbers to prove its worse, other like me still looking for optimism.
James writes: i guess some are looking for numbers to prove its worse, other like me still looking for optimism.
Interesting to assume people have an agenda. How about a third category, those who simply want to understand the facts of the situation and then take the appropriate steps depending on how widespread the virus is and how rapidly it is spreading?
Interesting to assume people have an agenda. How about a third
category, those who simply want to understand the facts of the
situation and then take the appropriate steps depending on how
widespread the virus is and how rapidly it is spreading?
You demonstrate why I don’t think lay people will understand the facts. Fact, the CDC says the school closings aren’t productive, Fact, the WHO says broad travel bans aren’t productive. Both statements are based on something not discussed here. They are based on a view of what will provide the best outcome overall; and aren’t just reactions to [legitimate] fear.
If you want to judge me, here is another of my other statements to help you out:
Since none of us know what we are talking about, the run on toilet
paper being perfect evidence of that, I think the best advice is at a
minimum do exactly what the government tells you to do, and at a
maximum do what gives you the most comfort that does not impact your
fellow man. Most of all, pull together, be positive, and leave the
judgmental attitude at home.
Addressing the OP: today RSE extended cancellation of all tours to those beginning up to April 30. In addition there is this:
If you are traveling on a Rick Steves tour with a start date May or June 2020, and you are concerned about your travel, we can transfer you to a different 2020 tour or cancel your booking and offer a credit for a 2021 tour. If you'd like to transfer or cancel, please email us at email@example.com with the subject line "TRANSFER: [your tour code]" or "CANCEL: [your tour code]."
We are in that boat with a tour leaving 6/4. We intend to pay the final deposit and hoping against hope we go. If RSE cancels our tour we will get a refund and hopefully (very hopefully) we can either get a usable credit from United or get our travel insurance to cover the loss.
Here’s that link again, to keep up with Rick Steves Tour news related to coronavirus: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/coronavirus-faq
Just got word that our RS Greece tour, May 27, is canceled and we will receive a refund within 2 weeks.
Sad that our tour is canceled but so happy with the way Rick Steve’s has handled things.
I am booked on a May18 RS Scotland tour. Not cancelled but I’m given the choice to transfer to a future tour. My age and health limit me so I may not feel up to another tour, could I transfer my credit to someone else, say a grandchild? I’m not giving up and my bag is ready to go if all goes well. Just wondering the possibility.
Ray, I believe the traveler is on the cancelled Greece tour scheduled for April 27. We don’t have a May 27 departure on the plan.
Also, if you have a tour booked, remember that you’ll hear any news directly from us. As I’ve seen it recently, the web page gets updated by the end of the day, but those affected are the first to be informed. Let’s be patient.
Deb, if you’re not giving up, then I like that attitude. Remember, if your May tour does have to be cancelled by Rick Steves Europe, then you’ll receive a full refund, not a future credit.
My mistake, so sorry; yes, it is the April 27 Greece tour that has been canceled. Sorry for any confusion ...
Ah, I'm glad to know it's April 27, rather than May 27th. If it was May, I was assuming the cancellation email for my May tour must not be far behind. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed because, well, one can always hope!
Can someone from the RS Tour office answer this question:
If we transfer from our June 3 tour to a tour in September, will the rules for payment apply as if it was a new booking? —meaning, will our $400/person deposit (already paid for the June tour) be fully refundable until 30 days after booking, and final payment due 60 days before departure?
Thanks for everything.
Hi, Stacy. If your deposit is currently nonrefundable, it doesn’t become refundable by moving it. But, yes, your final payment date (not yet paid) does move to match your new tour date.
Just got off the phone with RST. Payment for Italy tour on May 22 originally due on March 22 has been extended for three weeks. Hopefully they will know by then if the tour has to be cancelled.
Nobody know for sure what will happen.
What I will say is that shutting down any nation's economy for much more than a month is not sustainable. A plan to save us from the Corona virus that requires a national or worldwide recession or depression just won't work. The cure will be worse than the disease.
So, we will see what happens after April 30. In the meantime, I am keeping my Fall tour reservations, but I won't be buying airline tickets yet.
All tours with departure dates through May 10 have now been canceled: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/coronavirus-faq
Moving my trip to May 10th!!
Hi, Ray. There’s no official delay of balances due - it’s on very limited terms. Departures scheduled for June could be handled differently than those for May and we won’t address questions until April. Obviously, we hope not to have to cancel them. Please check back on the link April 1 or later for any updates relevant to June tours.
Ray - Yes, they reported their experience, but it does not necessarily apply to everyone, especially for departures scheduled later than May.
Please follow the information that is already posted.
Booked for Ireland in mid-July. Keeping the positivity. I'm also eating Lucky Charms for breakfast every day....lol.