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When will 2021 tours be posted?

I'm very frustrated trying to plan travel. Even in the US there are problems with having to self quarantine if you fly into a different state. Then you have to look at each state's rules for phasing back in. So, I'm going to start thinking about 2021. It seems like the new tours are listed in July, but hopefully it is early in the month. For right now, I think I will have to drive cross country. The rules are ridiculous. I can drive into New Mexico with no problem, but if I fly, I have to self-quarantine for 14 days. It's a crazy world out there.

Posted by
7820 posts

Janet, to be honest, I don’t know if there will be 2021 tours. There are so many moving pieces in every country that to set definite plans is probably fairly difficult at this point. I am sure that as soon as Rick Steves feels he can offer quality tours in a safe manner, they will be posted prominently on his website.

Posted by
7046 posts

It's a crazy world out there.

Every state, under its own leadership, decides how to protect its population based on local conditions. Flights bring passengers from outside the normal driving range, including major metropolitan hotspots (NY, NJ, IL, MI, LA, etc). If it wasn't for jet airplanes and our modern travel patterns, COVID wouldn't have spread worldwide across all continents (except for Antarctica). The quarantine requirements sound sensible to me, hardly crazy (Texas has its own select requirements). I know you're frustrated, but keep in mind that we're experiencing a global pandemic, and things aren't going to work as smoothly as we would like under normal conditions (40 million people just lost their jobs - that's a major deal). I guess the question is, with all this uncertainty, why do you feel compelled to do "do something" right now (planning, driving across the country, etc.)? It may be a recipe for more frustration.

I can imagine that it's also very challenging for Rick to see the future right now, even next year. I would just wait and give the company the space and time it needs to work this out.

Posted by
6165 posts

Janet, you could always work on plans for whatever trips you want to take, even put together itineraries, just leaving the dates blank for now. Look up flights, hotels, tours, attractions etc. on the internet and put a hypothetical trip together. Then, when that trip becomes possible, pick your dates, make your reservations, and fill in the blanks. You could have several trips like that "on the shelf" for future use, including domestic and overseas. Of course you'd have to check and update when the time comes, but they say the planning is half the fun, right?

Posted by
3499 posts

I expect the tour listing of 2021 to be later than what has been seen in the past few years from RS. I don't have any inside information, it just seems to make sense to me given we don't know if there will be a second round of the virus or not. And because of restrictions in Europe, any 2021 tours will most likely be for later in 2021 and there will be fewer of them.

But why the drive to plan something right now? Tours will become available when RS feels they can provide them safely for all participants and will have enough attractions open to make the stops worthwhile. There is also the quarantine issue you mention for local travel. It also exists for international travel as well as other requirements right now for testing which no one knows when will end.

Just be patient and they will come.

Posted by
800 posts

Any tour has its own "Supply Chain" of hotels, buses, tour guides, attractions, restaurants. Tours in 2019 built upon decades of established relationships and successful previous years' experiences and plans. That experience is now mostly out the window. Rick's recent comments reported in the Seattle Times about possibly not having any income for his business for up to two years may well reflect the fact that before he can sell any tours he has to be able to plan each of them in detail in a new travel world.

Posted by
6113 posts

No one on this forum can answer your question about tour availability dates unless the webmaster responds. What has happened in previous years won’t necessarily follow this year.

You say you are frustrated, but you can’t be as frustrated as travel companies themselves who probably have to reinvent the wheel for some tours as hotels etc may have gone out of business or significantly increased their prices. Yesterday, the largest coach (bus) tour operator in the U.K. went bust, cancelling 64,000 holidays across the U.K. and Europe. Many other businesses are struggling and may not survive. It’s too early to tell what will happen when restrictions are lifted.

Your holiday insurance isn’t likely to cover any future Covid related cancellations, so I would want to ensure that either the tour had a decent chance of actually running and that there’s no risk that the tour operator would fold.

We will have to see if there is a second spike in the winter. A 14 day quarantine on arrival may become the new norm for the next year or two for intercontinental travel.

Your rules aren’t ridiculous by the way - they are trying to keep you safe. Most countries with your levels of infection would still be in full lockdown mode. If you drive, you are on your own but if you fly, you are exposed to the germs of hundreds of others, so are at more risk.

Posted by
14132 posts

As stated, no one can know for certain what is happening with 2021 tours except the folks at RS.

I expect, having worked in the tour industry, that 2021 tours have basically been planned but with the uncertainty of whether or not the suppliers will be there next year, a tour company has to have a wait and see attitude.

Posted by
4079 posts

Trying to plan travel right now to anywhere other than your own state is just asking to be unhappy. We cancelled a trip out west in July because at least 2 of the states would require us to quarantine for 14 days. We are in the process of planning a trip to Charleston in Dec-we think our chances of being able to get in are good there and we only have to drive through GA to get there. The thing that is frustrating to me is the lack of common sense middle ground; states are either mostly open or mostly closed. And I have trouble believing that Panama City FL really wouldn't rent to people from AL.

If I were Rick, I would wait until Jan to post 2021 tours, and see if there's a vaccine available by then.

Posted by
1259 posts

Just me, of course:
I will be watching for the announcements from Rick Steves but for intellectual curiosity only. At this point, I cannot imagine enjoying a normally relaxing RS-styled trip to Europe until 2022.
My wife isn’t letting me go ANYWHERE until at least 2021 so I am not even planning to PLAN any trips from Idaho—not by car, not by plane. I need to get to Colorado to see family. I wish to get to Northern California and Oregon to see friends. I would like to go to New York and Washington DC to see the sites and the sights.
Meantime, all of my one-bag travel stuff is getting dusty and musty. Time to shake everything out and hang it all in the spring sunshine.

Posted by
216 posts


You just gave us a laugh! My poor husband is stuck in the house with me only to have a kitchen pass on Fridays to venture out for essentials. My carry on bad and 311 is still packed for our Scotland trip we just missed! We live in Florida and it’s hotter than hades so those clothes just need to be hung up. We canceled everything and ate hopefully going in 2021...

Posted by
206 posts

For me personally, the anticipation is half the fun. I wouldn't want to begin planning a trip and getting my hopes up knowing that I may not even be allowed to travel next year.

And even if I was allowed to travel next year:
-do I want to constantly have to worry about a virus, social distancing, masks, hand washing, etc.?
-do I know for sure that what is included in the tours, or what I want to do on my own, will be open at that time?

When dates come out, I'll definitely be excited, and am curious to see how different 2021 itineraries are compared to 2020. Even if they are, I'm sure they'll stress the disclaimer that itineraries can change as they go.

If I do get out to Europe in 2021, I'll probably go independently and do something easy with the kids, then possibly consider a tour for 2022.

Or who knows, maybe we'll get a vaccine and all will be ok.

Point is, we just don't know.

Posted by
9118 posts

even if I was allowed to travel next year:
-do I want to constantly have to worry about a virus, social distancing, masks, hand washing, etc.?

Just musing here, of course, but it seems to me that a year or so out, the risk will be about the same no matter where one goes. That is to say — if next year, one would need to wear a mask, social distance, do frequent hand washing etc in Europe, I am guessing one would need to do the same in the States.

This is pure conjecture, of course! But it seems to me there will be some risk everywhere and surely sensible people will agree on what the necessary continued precautions are (maybe I am completely off base on this) — whether they are masks all the time or masks not necessary, etc etc

Posted by
206 posts

The risk may be the same, though hopefully we're closer to a vaccine.

Maybe 'worry' was a bit of a stronger word than I was intending (though one certainly could worry in general): I meant that if the protocols in place are so extensive that it detracted from my enjoyment of what I came to see, I'd rather wait. Plus, if I were to come down with the virus, I'd rather catch it here than abroad.

Posted by
8197 posts

I'll turn it around, and ask the question of potential tourers: what information, accommodations or assurances will you want from RSE before you feel comfortable signing up for a tour?

I got that kind of survey from our Major League Baseball team about attending games at our stadium, and expect similar questions from other businesses.

Posted by
3499 posts

if the protocols in place are so extensive that it detracted from my enjoyment of what I came to see, I'd rather wait

That is one reason they exist -- to keep people away for now who don't have a critical need to be there. The restrictions will not be permanent.

There are other fatal viruses out there that we still have not found vaccines for. They have not gone away, but they are isolated enough and we have discovered ways to prevent the spread of them or found treatments for them so that we don't even think about them in most situations. This one will get there one day.

Posted by
416 posts

Thanks for all of your replies. I don't necessarily think that I would be going to Europe next year. I just like to read the itineraries and dream. I was scheduled to attend the Passion Play at Oberammergau in September and visit Germany, Italy and Switzerland. That has been pushed back to 2022. I have seen 2021 tours listed for other tour companies, so I was just curious about what the forum gurus thought about the 2021 tours.

Right now I'm "planning" a driving tour to look at Fall foliage. I have done some research and taken lots of notes, but whether I go on the trip will be determined by the virus and each states' reaction to it. I would like to help out all the businesses that have been impacted by Covid-19. The travel industry and restaurants have probably been the hardest hit. So, I would like to drive around America and help as many business owners as I can.

I am always in planning mode. If I see beautiful landscape pictures on tv, I google it to see if that is a place I would like to visit. I guess I am a dreamer, and travel is what I dream about. We have all had to put our dreams on hold. I am blessed to live in Texas where we can at least get our hair cut and go to a restaurant. We still have the virus, but the death rate is very low and our hospitals are not being overwhelmed. I guess I will look at all the RS tour scrapbooks and dream some more and pray for a vaccine.