Please sign in to post.

Why So Many Open Spots on BOE 21 Day Tours?

Just noticing that all the previously filled 2022 BOE 21 Day Tours now have openings up until the July 17 trip.
We are scheduled on the August 28 - Sept. 17 BOE trip and have been on the fence about whether to reschedule due to the war in Ukraine and renewed covid concerns. We only have a few more days to get a refund on our deposit. Are there a large amount of people dropping out of these Europe tours due to these concerns?

Posted by
16941 posts

I quick scan of all the RS tours on offer, BOE21 is by far the longest. Most all are between 7 and 14 days, with a few 17 day tours. That makes BOE21 not only the most expensive tour, but the biggest investment in time. So it would not surprise me they are not all full. People have only so much money and so much time.

Posted by
6 posts

I had the same question. Seems like the tours outside the 120 days are full, but the earlier dates are open. We cancelled this trip EOY21 for a May departure due to concerns about Coronavirus and our own health. We are now looking to rebook. We may book on your trip since there are some openings...if we can make a quick decision (which we rarely are able to do).

Posted by
93 posts

I can tell you that even the BOE 14 days have openings whereas before they were full. Our BOE14 starting 5/6 has 21 people scheduled plus the guide. Our decision to go has been based on RS weekly tour stats and feedback.

Posted by
1381 posts

I see lots of openings all through the tours.
I think everything filled up really quickly last year when the 2022 tours opened, and everybody was SURE things would be back to normal.

It hasn't quite turned out that way, of course, and there are other life reasons why an idea that sounded good last year is not working out now that 2022 is here.

I'm still going on the 2 tours I signed up for the first day they became available, but there has been a glitch with the first one. I should be on the Southern England tour right now, but tested positive last week. I am now on another one leaving late May.

Posted by
9914 posts

I’ve been in France for about 2 weeks. The war in Ukraine has had zero impact on my travel other than feeling sad over the plight of others. TBH I’ve not turned on the TV and am not missing the nightly news broadcasts.

I suspect Covid is a bigger factor mostly due to the negative test needed to return to the US. When that requirement is dropped I suspect many will feel more comfortable with travel.

The 21 BOE remains one of my all-time favorites and I would not hesitate to take it. Your comfort level may be different from mine, though and each person has to decide for themselves what will work best.

Posted by
1075 posts

We cancelled two RS tours - Munich, Salzburg & Austria (May) and Best of England (September). Two other couples were joining us on these tours, and we all agreed that it would not be fun to travel to Europe this year.

Posted by
1851 posts

We are about to start the Sicily tour this pm and the southern Italy tour in about 2 weeks. Both of our tours are at full capacity per the tour rosters. People are going about their normal lives here in Palermo. Our international flight from DFW to FCO was pretty full especially in coach.

Posted by
16 posts

Could it be that when the BOE21 tours originally opened for booking RS limited capacity to much less than the typical 28 members? Now that vaccines are more widely used and in fact required, perhaps they increased the capacity moving toward 28.

Posted by
5511 posts

I think the test to return to the United States has been the biggest roadblock for many people. They fear either the extra time or extra money that a positive test might involve. Will that still be in effect at the end of August? Who knows?

I have two tours scheduled about the same time as yours and I am going.

Posted by
446 posts

Everyone's been urging travelers to only visit one country due to the variance of the covid policies among them.

Posted by
9914 posts

Everyone's been urging travelers to only visit one country due to the variance of the covid policies among them.

I felt that was the correct advice a few months ago. BUT as things change in Europe I don’t think this is as important now as it was 6 months ago. I’m traveling to France, Belgium and Netherlands and at this point there is not a big issue. I’ve done separate PLFs for France and Belgium and that’s it. On a multi-country tour the guide will make sure everyone knows what they need to have in place.

@Mary…I so agree about people going about their daily lives. Paris has been packed with people, both locals out and about as well as tourists. I’ve not seen lots of tour buses, just one from Spain, but there are lots of families traveling- I’ve heard German, Italian, and Spanish in many places. Probably French families from outside Paris but I’d not be able to detect variations in French accents.

Posted by
446 posts

I felt that was the correct advice a few months ago. BUT as things change in Europe I don’t think this is as important now as it was 6 months ago.

I agree with you that things have changed quickly and I'm sure that change is not done with us yet either.

I recall that we had to request a refund on our deposit by Dec. 31 for our late April tour. Holland looked really bleak at that time so we canceled our reservation. I wasn't willing to gamble that the situation was going to improve quickly enough. I suspect quite a few people felt that same way a few months ago.

Posted by
8839 posts

Two spots on a May tour opened when triple by-pass surgery became a necessity.

Ukraine had nothing to do with it.

Next year, hopefully.

Posted by
9914 posts

Oh, Joe! Covid has sometimes made us forget there are other health issues at play as well. Heal soon. Follow your cardiac rehab instructions. Tell them your goal is European travel!

Posted by
87 posts

Going to England for 3 weeks in Mid May, and taking the RS Berlin, Prague, Vienna in late August. First it was full and now it's saying "sign up" which means at least 7 seats available out of 28 possible. Maybe less is better! This 11 day trip is sandwiched between 39 more travel days, and 8 countries. Just got our second booster. We are going!

Posted by
11440 posts

There is a lot of uncertainty with covid especially since much of Europe is going mask free/test free/vaccine free.

I just finished a two week tour of Greece (non-RS). Fourteen passengers. Seven plus the tour director tested positive on the last day. (Everyone was testing for the return home to the USA.)

Twelve days before my return, I plan to take a self test. If it's positive, I'll immediately get an official test so I can have the ten days prior to my return. That's if the test is still required.

Posted by
111 posts

FrankII “Twelve days before my return, I plan to take a self test. If it's positive, I'll immediately get an official test so I can have the ten days prior to my return. That's if the test is still required.”
This is the best advice I’ve seen. Thanks.

Posted by
5750 posts

This is the best advice I’ve seen.

With all due respect, I'd like to offer additional advice: test yourself frequently.

Tests are cheap (in fact, free for many of us). On the other hand, getting a last-minute surprise extension to your vacation is quite expensive. Do the math.

I was recently in Thailand for about a month. I tested myself often -- every few days during most of the trip, but with increasing frequency as my return flight neared (daily for the last 5 days).

Tests are not 100% accurate (neither is asking yourself if you feel infected), but testing yourself daily will give you a more accurate and reliable picture of your status. I also believe that testing yourself frequently reminds you that there's still a bloody pandemic raging all around you and you damn well better keep taking it seriously, despite all the maskless and chin-diapered fools you see everywhere.

That strategy worked for me. Flight home was blissfully uneventful, I'm just jetlagged and my nose is tired.

Posted by
56 posts

My wife and I have enjoyed one RS tour - Sicily 2017. We originally signed up for a Best of Eastern France Tour departing in June. However, the need to mask on board the bus for hours changed our minds about the experience.
The BOE tour requires extensive bus time. Perhaps travelers are feeling the same way as us.

Posted by
382 posts

We returned home from the Heart of Belgium and Holland on April 12. I was skeptical too about wearing masks all the time, what will Russia do, will I test negative before I head home. They are all valid concerns. I didn’t like wearing masks all the time. (I live in Texas and only wear masks at the Dr’s office). In a lot of the museums, the only people wearing masks were the Rick Steves tour people. The ability to be in Europe is worth a little bit of uncomfortableness. No one even knew there was a war going on in Ukraine. I was nervous about having a negative test. In hindsight, I wish I had brought some of the do-it-yourself tests along. I would have tested along the way. We brought along the Binax Now “proctored” tests and tested in our room the day before we flew home. The test is easy, but you should probably bring 2 tests per person in case you lose internet connection in the middle of the test. Just go! Enjoy! The number of tourists is still low, and who knows if you’ll ever have this opportunity again.