Hooray! Today Europe Re-Opens to Travelers (...Except for Americans)

I just saw this post from Rick Steves Facebook page. While I don't think this forum is the proper place for political discussion I think this deserves a read since it is travel related and many of us follow Rick Steves.

Hooray! Today Europe Re-Opens to Travelers (...Except for Americans)
As of today, the European Union has controlled the coronavirus well enough to open its doors to travelers from a list of countries that have been patient and disciplined in responsibly quelling the outbreak. Nearly all European countries, plus Canada, Japan, Australia, and even China, have qualified. Sadly, a few countries lacking in discipline, national leadership, and an embrace of science are not welcome — including Brazil, Russia, and the USA.
The permitted nations employed strict lockdowns, compulsory use of masks, and a careful and gradual reopening dictated by testing and contact tracing. In the United States, many individuals, mayors, and governors did their best to do the same. But nationally, we've had a patchwork response with virtually no federal leadership and a too-fast reopening driven more by impatience and economic concerns than by public health. And now, as Europe has things under control, in much of the US new cases are surging.
On the same day the EU announced their reopening plans, my tour company cancelled all remaining 2020 departures. We had been hoping that autumn might bring a return of Americans to Europe...but now it's clear that we're not yet ready for that privilege.
We're still dreaming of Europe in 2021. But to make that happen, Americans need to come together and act more conscientiously and collectively to get our outbreak under control. The EU will reconsider which nations are welcome for non-essential visits every two weeks by measuring cases per 100,000 of population. Currently the EU reports 16 cases per 100,000, while rates in the US are 107 per 100,000 (nearly 7 times as high).
Happy travels, Canadians, Australians, Japanese, and Europeans! (And as for Americans...until we take this virus more seriously, we'll have to settle for "visiting" Europe by streaming episodes of my TV show.)

Comments

  • Very well said. Unfortunately it is very correct

  • Agree with both of the above comments.

  • Sad for us, but at least it will help keep the tourist industry there alive so hopefully we'll be able to enjoy next year......

    I too am a fan of Rick Steves and follow the forum on his website. Slightly different focus than here but still interesting.

  • Rick is a gem and we have enjoyed watching reruns of some of his shows.

  • Yep. We've done some Rick Steve tours and they are excellent. He is spot on.

  • Have never done a RS tour but hear good things about them. The toting my bag upstairs part is a little daunting. Just saw he has a new 14 day Scotland tour for 2021. Might be worth it for a longer tour. Wish Tauck had one. One week isn't enough and I'm afraid seasickness wrt the small ship version.

  • Rick Steves considers his tours to be mid range. On the Rick Steves Web Site he compares some of the tour operators and he lists Tauck as high end expensive. We have been to a few Rick Steves seminars since his offices and travel store are within driving distance from us. His tours all look nice but you will be carrying your own bags and you won't be staying at the typical 5 Star hotels that Tauck uses. If we were a bit younger we would probably go on a few of the Rick Steves tours but I think now we have been spoiled with the Tauck tours we have taken.

  • The bags bit is a challenge especially if the hotel doesn't have an elevator. Although I think I could do a 2 week tour with only a carryon and personal item. I would be fine with a more basic hotel and more meals on our own. I've loved the Tauck hotels and eaten great meals but they aren't essential. Have actually considered doing our own Scotland tour with the RS guidebook and a rental car. Maybe take the RS Villages of England ending in Bath, pick up rental car and head north.

  • Claudia - Very adventurous. Would you be so bold, to go it on your own for a tour in some country that doesn't have English as its official language, say someplace like Morocco? I've done it England before, but I want no part of that in a non-English speaking country.

  • edited July 2

    RS Guidebooks are a great source of information even if you are taking a Tauck Tour. The guidebook is spot on with anything regarding logistics and worthwhile sights to visit. I have used the guidebooks many times in the past and used the book on my very first independent tour to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland back in 1999. I only traveled with a backpack and did laundry along the way. Took buses, trains and finally had to rent a car in Scotland when it became difficult and time consuming to travel by bus back then. I know I wouldn't be able to do their tours now because I pulled my back out using the same backpack for a long weekend trip to the beach last year where I had to climb 4 flights of stairs to reach my hotel room. I will stick with luxury accommodations these days like Tauck, I deserve it.

  • No Sam, I'm not so adventurous. The challenge of trying to understand the Scottish accent and driving on the left will be enough. Actually not that worried about the driving as Japan modeled their driving on the British system and I did that for 2 years with a stick shift. But my husband doing the thirty two molar suck will make me nervous. What is a "thirty two molar suck" you wonder? It's the reaction you get from the Japanese if (for example) you ask for something hard to accommodate. They suck in air through their teeth and kind of shake their head. Not sure who came up with the term but my sailors used it regularly.

  • My 18 year old granddaughter and myself are booked on "A Week in London and Paris" beginning June 06, 2021. I was wondering if there will be any other 18-19 year olds on the trip as well. Thanks!

  • It depends if they are still banning Americans from the UK and France I guess. Things may still be bad there and there will probably not be a vaccine by then. If htere is, an 18 year old will likely be at the bottom of the list.

  • Marian, in addition to the covid situation itself, everything with regard to reservations is changing rapidly with those whose tours were canceled this year rebooking for next or trying to decide whether to book something at all. You'll probably have more luck at an answer if you wait til Jan or at least til the tour is showing as full on the website. If you don't get one then, call Tauck and they will tell you. It's not a Bridges tour so it's likely to be mostly or all adults.

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