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Vaccination Prior to Tour

I am disappointed that Rick Steves Tours is not requiring all tour participants, tour guides and bus drivers to be vaccinated prior to the planned tours.

WEBMASTER EDIT 10/26/21: Rick Steves has announced that vaccinations will be required for 2022 tours. More info is in this forum discussion:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/i-just-got-an-email-saying-all-travelers-on-rick-steves-tours-for-2022-must-be-vaccinated

WEBMASTER EDIT 9/20: You can see my post below for further details, and Rick has posted about this topic directly here: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/covid-tour-note

Posted by
6337 posts

That would surprise me also as even some (don't know about all) cruise lines are requiring vaccinations. But, I suppose if it's not required by RS Tours then prospective participants need to include that info when deciding whether to take a tour or not. Since so many countries are starting to require it for entry, it would seem sensible for RS to make it a requirement. I would assume they have to make sure their participants are allowed into the countries they are touring.

Posted by
149 posts

Would you please provide a link stating that RS Tours does not require the vaccine? Thank you in advance.

Posted by
1006 posts

There are NO RS tours this year.
I am sure there will be decisions made, and announced, about 2022 tours at a later date.

Posted by
9824 posts

I would be surprised if RS didn't require vaccinations. Globus/Cosmos, Tauck and Odysseys Unlimited have already stated that those involved with the tours--passengers, tour directors, and drivers--must be vaccinated.

If you've signed up for an RS tour, you have until Dec. 31 to cancel and get your deposit back.

I wouldn't want to be on a tour bus knowing some people aren't vaccinated.

Posted by
3 posts

if you look under the R.S. Tour page there is a button that says 2022 Tours & COVID Notes. On that page there is a link to Health & Safety Pledge”. This is where Rick Steves tours allows non-vaccinated tour members, tour guides and tour bus drivers to be on the tours.

I feel that anti-vaccination people show poor judgement. I an not comfortable spending 2 weeks with someone that shows poor judgement.

Posted by
2048 posts

I just read my tour notes and it states either COVID vaccine card OR negative test.

We are signed up for several tours in 2022, but will cancel all of them if RS does not require vaccinations, especially for other tour participants.

RS Tours, and especially Rick, are you listening?

Please do the right thing.

Posted by
1259 posts

We did a thread about vaccinations as tours were starting to open up in June. Consensus among posters was everyone needs to be Vaccinated on a tour and that was before Delta variant was such a huge concern.

Although it’s probably against HIPA rules, I would want to know who on my tour is Not Vaccinated so I can avoid them like the plague (no pun intended). The non-vax’d should also be tested daily but unfortunately a test is after the fact and they may have already infected people.

As a disclaimer, my husband and I are fully vaccinated as of March, will get boosters as soon as we are eligible and always wear a mask when out of the house/off our property. I have lost patience, empathy and sympathy for those who refuse to be vaccinated, regardless of their reason.

EDIT: I want to clarify that unlike others I don’t intend to cancel because of non-vaxers. I think most if not all participants will be vaccinated due to the age group of most on the tours. Those who are not vaccinated risk missing out on sightseeing and dining since as of now France and other countries are requiring proof of vaccinations for indoor activities. Of course there’s a good chance thing can change in a year from now or sooner.

Posted by
1961 posts

Hmmmm…We are signed up for a tour. Will cancel if vaccine is not required. I can’t control the world, but I can control who I sit on a bus with for 13 days.

Posted by
4606 posts

How will tours be different post-COVID?

We're still working out the details, which will be made clear to
anyone who travels with us. But, of course, we'll strictly adhere to
all COVID-19 health guidelines (including vaccination requirements) in
any country we travel to.

Will I need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to take a tour?

We strongly recommend all travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19
(and up to date with regular immunizations including the annual flu
shot) before joining a tour. You'll need to be able to present one of
the following: an authentic COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing
date(s) and time(s) of vaccination(s) with the final dose having been
given at least 14 days prior to your tour departure date, OR a
verifiable negative PCR test result for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours
of your tour departure date. However, our tours visit a wide variety
of destinations where the governments, local authorities, and other
entities (hotels, restaurants, sites) may require proof of
vaccination. We'll do our best to keep our tour members informed of
any requirements prior to traveling with us.
**>

> Will I need a negative COVID-19 test prior to departing for my tour?**

You'll need to be able to present either an authentic COVID-19
vaccination certificate or a verifiable negative test result for
COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of your tour departure date. Your
airline and/or the countries you're visiting may have other
requirements. It's up to you to be aware of the rules where you'll be
traveling.

Posted by
1961 posts

I just emailed RS directly to share my concerns and let them know I will cancel if vaccine is not required. I encourage others to let them know as well. The RS company is the ultimate in conscientious behavior - I assume our shared concerns will matter to them.

Posted by
33 posts

A negative test only shows you were negative when it was taken and is dependent on how the swab was done.

There are other tours that are requiring vaccination. 2022 is in some ways, is far in the future and many things can and will change by tour time. Hopefully RS stands up on this one, I will be canceling also if I have to spend 13 days with antivaxers incorrectly wearing a mask.

My guess is vaccines will be required to enter anyplace (museum, restaurant, etc) in Europe by next year.

Posted by
219 posts

I agree that RS should require vaccinations to participate in one of his tours and that testing is not a good substitute. However, there are no Rick Steves tours scheduled before February 13, 2022, and all tours are completely refundable until the end of this year. So I think everyone can just relax a bit and see how Rick Steves’ policies evolve. I have been impressed thus far with how thoughtful Rick and his team has been. I expect this to continue.

Some countries will solve this problem for Rick Steves. For instance, Italy now requires vaccination for entry. I would expect many countries to follow suit.

Posted by
2935 posts

What Renee said. You guys need to take a breath and unclench and stop with the ultimatums. No point in setting policy now for events next year. Too many things can change in the interval.

Posted by
804 posts

Although it’s probably against HIPA rules,

It is not against HIPAA to require vaccination proof for tours, restaurants, employment, etc. HIPPA is generally for the sharing of your health information amongst the healthcare industry without your approval.

As many have said, tours (RS included) should be requiring vaccinations. I am sure when RS tours are ready to sell, he will make a final determination at that time.

Posted by
3 posts

It appears that most of the major European tour companies are requiring vaccines. If R. S. Tours is the only large company not requiring vaccines then by default (not intent) , the company will attract anti-vaxers.

Posted by
1956 posts

What Renee said, take a breath and relax. We are still months away from the earliest tour departures.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. A wise Biblical quote.

Posted by
4998 posts

Policies and regulations could change (and probably will, numerous times) over the coming months, but with places in Europe currently requiring vaccination documentation to get into restaurants, museums, etc., Rick’s tour participants are likely going to have to meet those standards, even if a tour company isn’t requiring it. European destinations could make that decision for Rick, if he hasn’t already.

If regularly testing negative is an adequate alternative, non-vaccinated tour participants will be spending a lot of their time frequently getting tested and obtaining results, missing out on tour activities. Seems like an obvious decision, on everyone’s part. Seems as if it should be put in writing, so there’s no question.

Posted by
921 posts

Thanks for that reminder, Judy. It helps in many contexts and not just RS tours.

Posted by
1961 posts

Well, since I went ahead and emailed RS for clarification, I will share my response here to help everyone when I get it.

I do think that people who are traveling on the early tours - Feb and March - which is only 4/5 months away - are especially in need of clarification so they can make a decision that works for them.

I am on the first Portugal tour - in March - and I would probably buy air for that trip in October. In addition, I will be pairing that trip with other travel or possibly another tour. So I would like to know if I’m actually going to take the RS March Portugal departure. If I’m not, I need time to cobble something different together. I would prefer to sort that all out by December at the latest. Heck, in non-COVID times I would have had it all sorted a year in advance but things need to be more fluid for now.

But difficult times or not, customers booked on tours in Feb and March are certainly within their rights to want to know what the RS plan is for unvaccinated travelers. Informing people this winter would be pretty late.

Posted by
1875 posts

No vaccine no tour may be too specific a policy to state in the terms. What if that kind of policy is illegal in some countries that the tours operate in? It seems to me a safer approach is to state that the tours will abide by all local laws.

Besides, what an I missing? What country is allowing unvaccinated foreigners in anyway?

Posted by
1168 posts

After 18 months of doing the right thing (flu and covid vaccinations, masking, social distancing, etc.), we would certainly like to know the RS policy in this regard so that we may make alternate arrangements if they plan on letting unvaccinated participants on the tour. I have sent an email to the tour department requesting their covid policy ASAP.

Posted by
23 posts

I am vaccinated and I encourage all RS tour participants to do the same, but it makes no difference to me if they are not vaccinated. They may be excluded from many activities and venues, but if the vaccine works as CDC and FDA claim, then I and you are protected from the unvaccinated so let’s all chill and enjoy the tour.

Posted by
319 posts

It's really not too early to consider this issue. I would certainly begin shopping for flights before Dec. 31 if I was scheduled for the first Rick Steves tour February 13, 2022. I would want to be certain at the time of purchase that vaccination is indeed required and that the tour activities aren't going to be hampered and/or delayed by stragglers pursuing constant testing. That might sound a bit harsh but we know that's possible. I will need to arrange flights shortly before Dec. 31 for my early tours. Requirements by countries and/or sites/restaurants may vary over time but I don't want to be involved with any tours that allow non-vaccination. This is non-negotiable with me and my partner. I'd be concerned that the number of tours might need to be reduced if there's a volume of cancellations.

Posted by
5669 posts

In our Rick Steves travel group meetings (by Zoom for many months) the subject of where and when one could get vaccinations was a hot topic -- people were eager to get protected so they could travel. Guess I had forgotten that because we like the same style of travel we don't necessarily agree on vaccination.

Posted by
1956 posts

I have copied below the COVID-19 Health and Safety Pledge I had to sign and submit to Rick Steves when booking my tour in 2022. He wrote this in May 2021 when things were even more uncertain. I would suggest you call the RS office if you are booked on an early tour and ask them for guidance about booking your flights. I wouldn’t worry about Rick Steves putting his customers at risk by allowing unvaccinated people on tours. You can read his clearly written statement here his intentions to put health and safety first.

I hope this allays your fears.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Pledge
To help safeguard your health and wellbeing as well as that of your fellow tour members, RSE staff, and RSE tour partners, we are asking all tour members to agree to the conditions outlined in this COVID-19 Health and Safety Pledge. Please indicate your agreement by checking the box next to each item and signing below.
☐ I agree that if I test positive for COVID-19 during the 14 days prior to my tour departure date, I will notify RSE and acknowledge that I will not be able to join the tour. I understand that standard cancellation terms will apply.
☐ I agree that upon arrival and prior to my joining my tour, I will be able to present one of the following: an authentic COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing date(s) and time(s) of vaccination(s) with the final dose having been given at least 14 days prior to my tour departure date OR a verifiable negative test result for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of my tour departure date.
☐ I understand that I will also need to comply with specific requirements imposed by airlines and/or countries which may differ from the vaccine/testing requirements listed above. It is my responsibility to be aware of and to comply with airline carriers' and countries' requirements and present valid documentation for my flight and/or entry.
☐ I understand there may be some restaurants, museums, transportation providers, etc. that require proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test before I will be allowed to enter. I understand that if I do not have the required proof, I will not be allowed entry and I will not receive a refund for any portion of the tour I miss as a result.
☐ I agree to take personal responsibility for my own health and wellbeing while on tour. If I am asked to attest to my health on tour, I will do so honestly. If I show symptoms of COVID-19 or any other contagious illness, I will notify my guide, quarantine myself, and, if requested by RSE, be seen by a health professional at my own expense as a condition of continuing on the tour. I understand that I will not receive a refund for any portion of the tour I miss while properly managing my health.
☐ I agree to follow all safety precautions and health directives set by my guide, by RSE, or by local officials. I understand that these safety precautions may include maintaining proper social distancing, the use of face masks (covering my nose and mouth), regular temperature checks, proper handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer, etc. If exempt from wearing a face mask or other such requirement due to health impairment or disability, I will carry proof, such as a doctor's note, to show if requested.
☐ I understand that noncompliance with the conditions listed on this COVID-19 Health and Safety Pledge by myself or those traveling with me will result in our party not being able to continue on the tour.
IMPORTANT: Each tour member must  complete, sign, and submit this form prior to participating in this tour. 

Posted by
319 posts

Thanks Judy B - we also signed that pledge for the tours we reserved. I really didn't consider it completely sufficient in May and really should have made my concerns known at that time. This pledge allows people to join the tours who simply supply a negative test. There's a number of reasons why I and my travel partner will probably decide that a negative test alone is not sufficient screening. A logical solution for many of us is that vaccination be required.

Posted by
654 posts

It would be very un Rick-like not to require vaccinations. Things remains dicey for travel in 2022. When I have to make the call at the end of December (deposit refund) for my France trip in May, one of the factors will be whether RS will require tour participants to be vaccinated. A negative test doesn't cut it for me.

Posted by
251 posts

Having just returned from Europe I think the governments over there are going to make the decisions that will apply to the tour groups anyway. In the three weeks we were there, rapid changes were occurring in all countries. Most involving getting their local vaccine passports to do anything including eating both indoors and outdoors, all museums, etc. While a hassle, have to say we felt a lot safer over there knowing just about everywhere we were people were vaccinated. Pretty high compliance rate.

Posted by
804 posts

What Judy B listed above is just business Terms and Conditions to protect RSE. It basically says, the customer is responsible to meet all conditions of airlines, countries, museums, restaurant, etc. and RSE cannot be held responsible. It falls short of mandating a vaccination which the OP suggested they were surprised RSE didn't require.

I agree that if I test positive for COVID-19 during the 14 days prior to my tour departure date, I will notify RSE and acknowledge that I will not be able to join the tour. I understand that standard cancellation terms will apply.

I understand there may be some restaurants, museums, transportation providers, etc. that require proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test before I will be allowed to enter. I understand that if I do not have the required proof, I will not be allowed entry and I will not receive a refund for any portion of the tour I miss as a result.

I agree to take personal responsibility for my own health and wellbeing while on tour. If I am asked to attest to my health on tour, I will do so honestly. If I show symptoms of COVID-19 or any other contagious illness, I will notify my guide, quarantine myself, and, if requested by RSE, be seen by a health professional at my own expense as a condition of continuing on the tour. I understand that I will not receive a refund for any portion of the tour I miss while properly managing my health.

I understand 100% the need for RSE to make these conditions and have each participant sign. It is cancellation/refund protection. I would do the same. However, I agree with the OP about vaccination requirements. It doesn't matter what countries require at the moment because when numbers drop again, so MIGHT POSSIBLY the vaccine requirement.

This is tough business call. If you don't mandate a vaccine you will lose customers. If you do mandate vaccines, you will lose customers. The question is, do you know those numbers?

Posted by
1956 posts

I share your concerns, I don’t want to be around anyone who is not vaccinated. I don’t even attend church at this time because my church leaders do not require masks indoors on church property much less have a requirement to show your CDC Cards or negative test results.
But, I’m confident Rick Steves will come out with a definitive policy regarding vaccination on all his tours. Let’s be patient and let the process play out. I’m sure he’s waiting for more scientific guidance when it becomes available. I’m booked on a tour in May along with two of my friends. We have already paid for our flights and travel insurance. So I have skin in this game.

Posted by
5981 posts

When is the first 2022 tour? February? Lots can and will change between now and then. For all we know, they might have to cancel tours all together again. And with the polices of multiple countries in flux as well. I dont think its good business practice to make future policy based on todays situation, only to change it again.

Posted by
1642 posts

I feel that anti-vaccination people show poor judgement. I an not comfortable spending 2 weeks with someone that shows poor judgement.

How do you feel about people who cannot get the vaccination for health reasons?

So you think they should not be able to travel anywhere? If you are vaccinated, you shouldn't have to worry - practice your safe hygiene, your social distancing, and wear your mask on top of your vaccinations.

Posted by
1295 posts

I would think allowing unvaccinated tour members would be a liability for his company in the end if his customers test positive. Just imagine how that would impact the itinerary. Being vaccinated does not mean one can’t contract the disease while out and about on free time or during tour activities.
I hope the vaccine is a requirement as we are booked on two tours and it would add a bit of security.

Posted by
1642 posts

I'm more concerned about what is happening on the US borders.

If you're vaccinated and you are still afraid, don't go out - not even to supermarkets on your own turf. I would think travel abroad would increase someone's chances then.

Posted by
40 posts

I'm booked for a RS tour next September. I also checked with the office about vaccination requirements. I am uncomfortable with the idea of sitting in a bus with an unvaccinated tour member, here in Canada, as well as in Europe. At least here, I just don't get on a bus. Having a negative test at the beginning of the tour does not ensure that the person is negative the next day, or any day thereafter.
I wish Rick would make a stand on this. I'm hoping he does. If other tour companies can require full vaccination, what is stopping him from doing the same?

Posted by
89 posts

I am in agreement that at least with the current transmission and emergence of variants, I would not travel on a Rick Steves tour unless vaccines were mandated. My husband and I considered booking a tour for next year but read the current RS health policy (referenced by several above) and decided to travel overseas on our own instead. The other consideration for me is that, at least in our neck of the woods, the people who are anti-vaccination often tend to be anti-mask and anti-public health rules. I deal with some of that as part of my work, and it gets exhausting.

Given the current situation, we are trying to be as prudent as possible regarding spending long periods of time in close quarters with people who have chosen to be unvaccinated. That doesn't mean we are just staying home and living in fear, but we are considering our choices when possible.

Posted by
6337 posts

If other tour companies can require full vaccination, what is stopping him from doing the same?

Those other companies are offering tours now, RS is not. If RS were offering tours currently I'm quite certain there would be a vaccination requirement because most, if not all, the countries he would be going to require it.

Posted by
30 posts

It's interesting that all of these posts are from vaccinated individuals. I'd like to hear the viewpoint of someone who is not vaccinated but is registered for a RS tour. What precautions would they think are appropriate protection for themselves and other tour members?

My husband and I are vaccinated and are registered for a RS tour in March.

Posted by
1168 posts

Response from RS company to my email re: vaccinations

Thank you for your email. I can certainly understand your concerns. At this time, we are considering whether we might be able to implement a vaccination requirement for all travelers on our 2022 tours, but this hasn’t yet been determined. With many companies and local governments enacting vaccine mandates, it seems there is now more support for businesses to implement vaccine requirements of their own. I expect that if we decide to require vaccines, we will inform our tour members before the end of the year, so please stay tuned.

It sounds like they are looking for some cover from government mandates. And, of course, they could implement a vaccination requirement. The other companies that I travel with have done so.

Posted by
3429 posts

I feel that the response from RS tours was a reasonable and considered response. They are thinking about what the best policy should be and how it would be implemented.

Throughout this pandemic, I have been impressed with the professionalism of this company. I expect that they will continue to act in a responsible manner.

Posted by
350 posts

Here are my thoughts:

RS tours offer a lot of contact with strangers, errrrr... natives, all over the place - restaurants, museums, archeological sites, tourist sites, gelato stands, etc. etc. etc. That's one of the nice things about the tours and travel in general. Any such place might have multiple contagious people in it who get near you. Why not get vaccinated and protect oneself? Period. Don't trust RS or anybody else since nobody can know for certain there are no Covid virus shedders near you.

I have been traveling in the USA by car. I do my best to not go into crowded places full of people I don't now. But, the reality is that it happens often enough despite my best efforts. I have to assume the same thing will be true in Europe. Being vaccinated, and wearing a properly fitted N95 or Kn95 mask are my main defenses. I also seek outdoor opportunities to eat whenever possible.

The big three defenses for me are:
Vaccination
Ventilation
Masks - N95 or KN95 only

The one I have the least control over is Ventilation, other than go or no-go.

I have a RS tour scheduled for next year. Assuming I decide to go, I will get my 'booster' shot within a few months of going, since I can defend myself at home very well, but will probably be more vulnerable while traveling.

Posted by
654 posts

I have no desire to be on a tour with unvaccinated persons. They just aren't the kind of people I want to be around.

Posted by
684 posts

Hello everyone,

Please see Rick's post on this very subject here: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/covid-tour-note

The short of it is that things are changing rapidly, and it's too soon to establish vaccine policies for next year. Other companies have had to establish their policies sooner because they have already begun operating tours. We will have our vaccine policies for 2022 determined by December.

Please be sure to read Rick's post at my link above. For any remaining concerns, I recommend you contact our Tour Sales department directly at tour@ricksteves.com or 425-608-4217.

As Rick's response is rather critical to this thread, I will make an edit to the OP's post with the link.

Posted by
149 posts

"They may be excluded from many activities and venues, but if the vaccine works as CDC and FDA claim, then I and you are protected from the unvaccinated so let’s all chill and enjoy the tour."
The problem with that line of thinking is that there are breakthrough covid cases which means that for a few days or weeks, those individuals will have flu-like symptoms. No matter how mild, who wants to feel ill while on the tour? As for venues not allowing the unvaccinated in, you could still be seated next to them on the bus, etc. There are individuals who will have a laissez faire approach to travel, just hoping somehow they can slip on into museums, etc. Furthermore, as someone stated, things are fluid which also means that countries can lift their ban at anytime and many are able to self-administer the covid test. Hmmm. What could go wrong?

Posted by
3429 posts

I'm all for giving Rick Steves Tours the time to process and accurately develop a solid policy on this.

On a side note, I am about to take my first cruise ever! I had thought that I would never take a cruise since the single supplements were so high, the boats so full, etc. Turns out that the Oct sailing to Alaska was so inexpensive that a solo traveler could have a balcony stateroom for $800 including port fees. Boats are sailing with reduced capacity to encourage social distancing. When I read that Royal Caribbean required everyone 12 and over to be vaccinated and everyone takes a covid test prior to departure, I realized that this was an option for a vacation that I could afford and probably enjoy. I also felt fairly confident that I would be at no more risk than going to the grocery store (probably less).

I think a similar approach would help give tour participants confidence in their health and safety on the tour. I do feel confident that Rick Steves tours will develop a policy with the safety of tour members in mind.

Posted by
3429 posts

Okay, I admit it. I've reported some of these posts to the webmaster. I totally respect all of the opinions presented here, but the webmaster has made it clear that this is not the place for those discussions. Some of the ways people have expressed their feelings has also been a little harsh. I understand that for many of us this is a "life or death" issue and it is hard not to come with a great deal of emotion. However, this is a travel forum. A place that is meant to be safe for everyone to come and feel welcome and get their questions answers regarding travel.

The original poster received a clear response from the Rick Steves Tour company. If people want to express their opinions to the Rick Steves Tours as they are considering the policy in regard to vaccinations, I urge you to contact the company directly and let them know your feelings. I just don't think the travel forum is the place, especially for name calling.

Posted by
30 posts

I agree, this is a subject that should be discussed as it directly relates to our ability to travel but I also agree that it is probably moot at least in the near future as more and more European countries close their borders to those who refuse to vaccinate. If you choose not to vaccinate, your choice at the moment comes with the consequence of not being able to travel to many European countries.

Posted by
684 posts

I've removed a number of posts and I appreciate Carol's take here. There are other places on the internet to debate aspects of the pandemic (yes, that covers debate over vaccination), and every time it happens here it prevents discussion on the intended travel topic. I'd like to allow for this thread to be about taking a tour and the requirements thereof, though hopefully people have gotten the answer they need regarding our (RSE's) current status from Rick's post.

Posted by
6337 posts

just because the anti-vaxxers don't like...

This sentence is exactly why the other posts were deleted. If that comment isn't shaming, I don't know what is. The point is to have a discussion of various viewpoints and answers to concerns WITHOUT getting snarky toward one point of view. If we can't do that, the whole thread will get deleted and that helps no one.

Posted by
1961 posts

Agreed - and this thread is actually important info so people can make their own informed decision. A lot of people are stating it’s going to be irrelevant as countries will bar unvaccinated. And while that’s true for a lot of places - like France, it’s not true right now for Portugal, where I’m supposed to go in March on the very first RS tour of 2022. I still plan to cancel if the vaccine is not required for tour members. I don’t feel like I will wait until 12/31, which is the cut off RS intimated.

My thought is I will wait until late October/early November as I have other details I would like sorted out by then - like am I pairing with other tour travel. Also, I am trying to meet some people in Lisbon and at some point I’ll need to give them firm travel dates as they are coming in from Africa in the midst of their own separate journey.

And one other note - I’m in France right now and joining a Road Scholar tour in a week or so. Road Scholar, requires the vaccine (along with the few other companies I keep tabs on - Gate One, Odysseys Unlimited and Smartours).

Road Scholar emailed me about a week ago stating that I need to give my tour leader my original CDC card upon arrival to the meeting hotel. I was also required to apply for the French Pass Sanitaire weeks ago.

Posted by
3527 posts

The Webmaster said, "The short of it is that things are changing rapidly, and it's too soon to establish vaccine policies for next year. Other companies have had to establish their policies sooner because they have already begun operating tours. We will have our vaccine policies for 2022 determined by December."

I'm signed up for a tour in the summer of 2022 by which time I will be 76 and still have the pre-existing conditions I have now. I got the Moderna vaccine which is so far turning out to be be most effective. I will get its booster when that is possible.

I have the luxury of waiting for the vaccine policy to be announced in December to decide if I'll cancel or not. Others have much shorter deadlines to make that decision and complete their planning. They apparently will have to do so based on the belief that "it's too soon to establish vaccine policies for next year."

If I was on one of the earliest tours, which start on February 13, 2022, I do not think finding out that I might have to closely associate with others who are not vaccinated in December, 2021 would be very conducive to my trip planning.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm skeptical that a miracle will occur in the next 2-3 months, or indeed at all, that would make it possible to go completely back to an unvaccinated, free range kind of travel.

I was confirmed for my tour on June 1st, 2021. I did my COVID-19 Health and Safety Pledge the same day. This was almost 4 weeks before the Delta variant dramatically began to spike cases in the US.

Now the World Health Organization says that it is the dominant variant worldwide, out competing and replacing all others because it's the most transmissible.

I don't think that the COVID-19 Health and Safety Pledge that I did on June 1st has changed since I did mine. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

I definitely do not think that it's too soon to have a strong vaccine mandate and set of Covid protocols for tour members. I'd be much happier to see such a strong mandate relaxed if a miracle does occur than to see a wishy-washy one that could impede the progress of a tour, cost vaccinated tour members extra money and time or even be the root cause for breakthrough infections for them.

Posted by
3429 posts

I thought Lo’s entry was well written. It focused on the travel aspects and the importance of having this information for decision making. Well done, Lo.

Posted by
18 posts

I just read on the daily posting from Smarter Travel that Croatia and Austria will consider fully vaccinated people those whose last vaccination is less than 270 days old. Sounds like they want people to have a booster.

Posted by
1875 posts

The need for boosters is a good point. What if RS had already mandated that you must be double vaxed, but then in a few months it's required that you also have to have a booster? Seems to me that since there's no rush, he's made a smart choice to wait as long as possible so his requirements aren't constantly changing.

Posted by
1956 posts

Thank you, Allan, for providing a bit of reason to this post.

Posted by
149 posts

"What if RS had already mandated that you must be double vaxed, but then in a few months it's required that you also have to have a booster? " As new knowledge comes about, changes must be made. We cannot say that because we know X and Y might then be known, we shouldn't address X. It just isn't logical.

Posted by
89 posts

Wow, stepped away from this thread for a few days and missed a lot. I just wanted to thank Valerie and Lo for their thoughtful posts about the planning impact of the RS delay in announcing if they are changing/keeping the current vaccination policy. At this point, I suspect there will be people who feel unhappy whichever way RS goes on this, but as my husband likes to say, "Bad news doesn't get better with age." We are RS tour veterans who think highly of the company; but I am surprised at the timing and how this is being handled.

Posted by
684 posts

We cannot say that because we know X and Y might then be known, we
shouldn't address X. It just isn't logical.

With respect, there are some misunderstandings as to what's happening here. X can change. There is also a misunderstanding that X can be addressed right now the way you expect it can be addressed. Note that X must be addressed in this specific country as it relates to government rules and regulations (which differ significantly from other countries in which other travel companies -- ones previously cited in this thread -- operate), and navigating that is incredibly complicated right now, especially as court cases are being processed around the legalities of various requirements. It's a different situation for each industry, too. Like Rick said, "the honest truth is that we don't, and can't, know the specifics yet." The overall point is that this situation is very complicated, and we as a company are working on navigating these waters.

We sincerely appreciate that for some it would be beneficial to have a resolution now, especially for those who have a tour date earlier in the 2022 year. We ask for your patience at this time, and at some level with the evolving nature of the pandemic, there is a greater need for flexibility in planning than past years. We're trying to allow for that flexibility as much as possible via our refund policy.

On a separate note, unfortunately some have continued to try and use this thread as a place to instigate side topics about the pandemic. I'm locking this thread in order to preserve the intended focus of this discussion.