On tour Covid testing



  • BSP51 - My doctor recommended wearing masks and said they really help people, especially N95. I just followed his advice.

  • @BSP51 : there is controversy about masking and severity of disease. There are published studies that show the size of inoculum (how much virus you inhale) might determine how severe a case you get. This is true for other respiratory diseases. Masks help prevent disease and may reduce the severity if you are infected. But, if you are in a closed space (like a bus) with an infected person (like us) and that person is not masking and coughing, your mask can only do so much. The fact that Tauck did not require masking on the bus (and we had long bus rides) was disappointing and I believe the reason we contracted COVID.

  • A couple of questions for those who want required masking...

    1) Do you see there being an end to this risk of covid, and if not, are you prepared to mask for the rest of your lives?
    2) Given that most vaxxed/boosted individuals supposedly only have non life-threatening and often faily mild symptoms, do you see this as being as necessary as it was pre-vaccine?

    Please don't get me wrong...I am not a Covid denier or even a covid minimizer. I am just curious about the mindsets of those who think there should be mask mandates on tours.

  • 1). I will mask wherever necessary. I think Covid will be like the common cold. How many people do you know who can say they never had a cold. The more people I talk to the more people I have found that have had Covid. I think that people who have not had Covid may be in the minority.

    2). Our trip to Ireland in August was ended on day one when I got Covid. I posted about this earlier and you can search for that post if you like.

    I got Coved despite being fully vaccinated and boosted as well as wearing a mask in all the crowded places. We travelled in August and in hindsight I don’t know what I was thinking since August is the busiest travel month. We traveled from Seattle to Dublin via Newark. The airports were all packed. Hardly anyone was masked. We were able to use the United Polaris lounge in Newark and it was packed. It took us over 20 minutes before we could find a seat. Hardly anyone was masked. Three aircraft arrived in Dublin at the same time as ours. Customs at Dublin was packed with wall to wall people. It took over an hour to get through Customs. Hardly anyone was wearing a mask. I got Covid at one of these places.

    I personally would not have a problem if vaccines were required for travel. I am probably in the minority on this thinking however.

    Next Monday we are off to Amsterdam for a Rhine cruise. I will wear a mask.

  • If there is one place I don’t want to get sick, it’s on vacation. It’s downright annoying when you can actually see that people likely have Covid on a bus during a Tauck tour. I would be up for masks on a bus and separate seating for those who want it when eating meals. It would be easy to request if you wanted to eat in a social distance kind of way just like when you request twin or King size beds. To be honest, I think that would be sufficient on a tour. We are
    Earning nore about Covid everyday and it’s clear that you do have to be in an enclosed space for a reasonable amount of time to increase your risk of getting Covid.
    Thank goodness that there is no testing to get back into the US. We only took one tour during that testing requirement time, it’s stressful, it was a big fly in the ointment to risk being stuck in another country. And as it turns out, a massive hassle to get back money from the insurance companies from what people are reported here on the forum. For us, we might have missed the opportunities to go on some of our tour choices forever, but especially my husband felt it was the right decision for us and we are doing the best to make up for it until we can’t for whatever future comes our way.
    A reminder, some people continue to get very sick from Covid and die. Still around 400 people a day. Apparently most are unvaccinated Republicans. I’m not being political, it’s a fact.

  • edited October 2022

    On our Canada trip last month, Canada still had their silly random testing law in place. For those not aware, you had to register your trip on their ArriveCan app. Then, within 15 minutes of clearing customs, some people will (supposedly) randomly receive an email telling them they have been selected, and you have 24 hours to take a test at one of their testing sites. Very stressful, and sure enough, my wife was selected.

    We got her tested...a ridiculously difficult ordeal with an absurdly onerous form to fill out on their website (on her phone), and then more paperwork at the testing facility. We received no results back for three whole days...despite receiving multiple emails each day telling us they have no record of her being tested. We ignored those emails, and finally, on day three (and in our second hotel of the tour) we logged into the site and saw she tested negative. The whole thing was ridiculous and pointless given the amount of time until her results.

    It turns out she was the only one on our tour who was selected, and our TD seemed like she wasn't even aware of the whole random testing thing, which was strange.

    Anyway, bottom line, 12 of 22 people on our tour tested positive after the trip, and my wife wasn't one of them.

    I can certainly understand where higher risk individuals want to be more careful, but for me, I prefer to take my chances (even after being sick for a few days after our trip).

  • British maybe you can find a Democrat only tour

  • Smiling Sam
    " . . . . I brought a Bluetooth transmitter with me on my recent Egypt tour with the plan to use them as you described with my iBuds. I had tested it at home and it worked great. That said I never took the time to go through the pairing/testing process on the tour. I should have asked the TD if I could test it with the Whiperer transmitter in a pre-excursion period, when I wouldn’t have been in rush to do it during a live excursion.

    I used my Bluetooth XMTR successfully with my Bose- still do, everyday when watching TV and on tour with my el Cheapo earbuds- fyi I misspoke above, I lost my buds on the flight during J&E, not the Bluetooth XMTR or my Bose. Some sources claim Apple "AirPods" only work with Apple Bluetooth devices like an iPhone, iPad, etc. While that is not true, pairing is done differently and involves the charging case.

  • milmil
    edited October 2022

    My iMac is working great! Love the sound...image etc... IT'S ORANGE and no covid, I put a monitor shield. :)

  • (mil that was very funny)
    I’m glad the issue of masking has come around again (I feel your pain about the hearing aids btw). As I mentioned, my husband and I got Covid last month on the last day of a long European tour. I was curious and looked at the masking guidelines for the WHO and was surprised to see that they said there was no proof that masking helped people who were NOT sick! To me, this is like saying there is no proof that water causes drowning. The reason why there is no proof is that it would be near impossible to do this kind of research in a real-world setting. In more controlled settings, masking is definitely helpful to prevent catching a respiratory virus, and the higher grade (N95), the better, worn correctly of course. We have members in our family who work in the medical field and use N95 every day and never got Covid until they recently traveled. Masks are especially critical for Covid, which is mainly transmitted by droplet and aerosolized particles that linger in the air. More “mundane” colds and flus are also largely transmitted by surface contact, which makes masking less reliable for transmission.
    As I’ve said before, masking requirements went away not because Covid is gone, or “safe”, but because the hospitals are not full. I agree that Covid is not a walk in the park for some people, and you would be surprised how many people on group tours have heart disease, diabetes or other underlying conditions like recent chemotherapy that make it even more risky. What are these people supposed to do, just sit at home for the rest of their lives? Shouldn’t we at least be looking out for them a little bit? When did we stop caring about others? BTW, everyone knows that flying increases your risk of blood clots, but did you also know that your risk of blood clots is a LOT higher when you have Covid, and the risk does not go away right away once you get better?

    I certainly wish masking would come back at the very least for public transportation, certainly in airports, and on the plane when the ventilation systems are off, such as boarding and deplaning. Then please put on a mask if you have anything that does not feel usual, sneezing, itchy throat, headache…people know what to do. Please put on the mask and sit a meter away. Let’s open some windows whenever possible. The naysayers will once again say “there is no proof”, but I say “Let us at least try” for goodness’ sake.

  • Riley boy, I m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I don’t really understand the system

    Wan, yes, it’s the lack of caring about anyone else on tours, that’s what surprised me, as did the downright defiance of not wearing masks when Tauck did ask for it.
    So many have hidden serious health problems. On our Alaska tour, there were at least three insulin dependent diabetics. We have so many friends who have cancer, still on therapy, others who are immunocompromised, they have things like rare autoimmune diseases and MS. All of us who are with them put on masks amd never complain. Even in our exercise class, we are the only two people with masks apart from a lady who told us she has leukemia, she wears a mask. It’s quite tough doing vigorous exercise. but we think about her and protecting ourselves now that we have tours coming up every couple of months. We have looked forward to them since booking before the Pandemic and they are expensive.
    How hard is it really to wear a mask at the airport and on a plane, and sit apart at meals.

  • milmil
    edited October 2022

    Wan, HI!
    I was waiting on your reply- Uff! Big relieve...happy to hear you thought it was funny. :) Please, don't take me too seriously, I'm like that... crazy and always trying to put out fires...
    Now, I have to say... I have done 2 trips since 2021. Thanks god no Covid. - both trips were land trips not cruises- both to places where they did require full Vax. (4) shots, also masks and they had sanitized dispensers everywhere. .
    I wore the mask on the bus and on the planes- outside while in tour the first 4 days too or keep a little distance.
    To wear or not the mask is everyone's call, but it sure makes a difference when you feel safe while on tour...and even thought a mask is not a cure, it protects both ends- because that's something no one thinks about, the mask it's protecting you first and then the others.
    So, if we all could try to be our best, be responsible and care for others... we might be able to keep traveling...
    Just my opinion...
    Have a great week everyone. Be friendly. Keep happy :)

  • edited October 2022

    A lot of irony here. Masks Masks Masks. When the pandemic started we wore masks … Fauci said don’t wear masks, our nurse friend said, you don’t need to wear a mask. We were among the first mask people. We have done six trips since the pandemic started. Actually, we were on the Wind Surf when it started. So we have done trips where it was ‘masks everywhere’ except eating, to our last trip on the Rhine where we were in five countries, and you rarely saw people wearing masks except on the tram in Heidelberg where they were required. What I’ve read a lot on the forum is, “We wore masks, and we got covid anyway.”. I don’t remember anyone saying, “We wish we wore masks because we did not and we got covid.” Thousands of health care workers who wear masks all the time have gotten covid. In my view it is a personal choice, except where required by local authorities. There were six of us on our last trip, and two wore masks all the time except when eating. We ate together most of the time, and our two mask wearers got covid, and the rest of us did not. I am certainly not arguing the masks cause covid, but there are clearly other factors that make masks appear to be mostly irrelevant. I’m going to my dermatologist tomorrow, and I will be wearing a mask, but he is working on my face so I will be maskless while he is working on my basal cell. It is nearly impossible to stay in the ‘bubble’.

  • Hi Sealord, I have really enjoyed your commentary on various tours and cruises on this forum. Thank you.
    We have indeed learned a lot since the start of the pandemic. It is still easy to get Covid on tour even with a mask because you do have to eat sometimes, and that is where you also depend on other people, especially if you are eating in a group or traveling using public transport. And you are correct: a lot of health care workers have gotten Covid but some of them have had to be drowning in a sea of coughing people who can't breathe and maybe did not always pay attention to their masking situation, plus they have kids and family just like everyone. And lastly you have uncovered the best way to avoiding Covid: Don't take the test. It would make sense that the people masking are the ones who brought the test kits with them. We got Covid on our tour departure date. At that point no one besides us knew we had Covid, and if I hadn't notified the group later, probably no one would have said anything and it would look like no one got Covid.
    I know my ideas are not popular and will never happen. I can only hope that one day soon this stupid virus will mutate itself into a form that either everyone can live with or that there will be a safe medication easily available and transportable that will be effective to use if we do get it.

  • …same thing when you go to the dentist or to the ear, nose and throat doctor, and even to the eye doctor. It’s difficult to wear a mask to these appointments.

  • I'm no biologist, but my understanding is that viruses tend to become less virulent over time. By being less virulent, the people they infect are more likely to spread the virus. Hopefully, that will happen with Covid and we'll just live with it the same way we live with the flu.

  • That is unfortunately not necessarily true Mike. What if you are the one who gets Covid and it mutates in your body and it’s a bad one. While it is true that a virus wants to spread and spread itself and that causing a lethal copy of itself does not do it’s long term survival any good, it still doesn’t mean that some of the mutations out there are bad ones for the virus and the person.
    We will be taking testing kits with us and will use them if we have symptoms. As it goes right now, I feel more and more inclined to not care less about anyone I travel with if I get Covid, after all I will never be seeing them again but I do want to protect people I know and love at home. Is that a terrible thing? It’s what I feel most other people I’m traveling with are doing. Every man for himself. That sure is just awful.

  • I love when people cite comments made about Covid during it's first couple of months in 2020, when little was known, and PPE was in very short supply. Yes...a well fitting, high quality mask worn consistently is safer than no mask...obviously. And yes, people who are high risk (and I think it's safe to assume this forum is comprised of an older crowd, who, by definition are somewhat higher risk) should do whatever makes them feel comfortable. And yes we should always try to be respectful and if we are in a place of business that requests masks, we should comply.

    Perhaps there should be tours with mandatory masking for those who prefer that...but given that Covid is here to stay and it will be a part of our lives forever (most likely), there are many who choose to accept the risk that comes with travel. It shouldn't be deemed selfish to prefer to accept those risks and IMO those people shouldn't be guilted or required to wear them. I'm sorry if that sounds selfish. But not that sorry. ;)

  • I m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I don’t really understand the system

    British. Funny you mentioned this. On my recent holiday to Greece my travel mates included someone from Scotland who is a healthcare worker in the UK and one friend who is Canadian, lives in Boston, has lived and worked in the UK and France and is returning to the UK to work next year.

    My Canadian friend majored in Political Science and has a pretty good grasp of the USA political system; however, I am totally confused by the political systems in the UK, Canada and Europe. We always have quite engaging (friendly) discussions on politics....if you could see my WhatsApp...

  • I understand that people wish to accept the risk of Covid for themselves. But please understand that by accepting the risk of Covid for yourself, you accept the risk of Covid for everyone else around you.
    At the very least, if you get symptoms please put on a mask and keep a distance, at least until we can sort out the treatments while abroad.
    A normally functioning society needs at least a few rules.

  • Did you ever foresee a day where anyone could described themselves as a Masker!

  • Cathy, I did not miss that you are a masker.

  • What I did not foresee is so many stupid and selfish people unwilling to adapt for the public good. For the most part, these are the same people who continue to have blind loyalty to a treasonous sociopath who wouldn't admit the truth if it hit him in the face.

    I had the opportunity to be the 5th flag on rileyboy's idiotic post and make it go poof, but I chose not to, so it remains there for all to see - at least for now.

  • BKMD...while I share what you expressed politically 100%, I don't agree with terming those who are over mask wearing as being stupid/selfish. Could it be said that those who may be high risk and decide to travel in group settings with the expectations that those without the same risk factors should cater to them are the ones who are being stupid/selfish?

  • I love all these points of view, so much to think about.

  • rssherms - the thing is wearing a mask is only part of it. The coughing individual without a mask is spewing infectious virus particles into the air. Just about everything we do had a risk/reward ratio. As already said, travelling is an individual choice. However, there are ways to reduce, but not eliminate risk.

  • Time for a reboot here.
    I think we are just talking about how to make a GROUP tour safer and more pleasant for the WHOLE GROUP. By accepting the fact that it is a GROUP tour we all have to live with terms and conditions that apply to the WHOLE GROUP. We are looking for a compromise that everyone can live with. Fortunately most of us are no longer dying of Covid or other viruses but at the very least there is some amount of disability, inconvenience, cost, and missing out on at least part of a really great trip. I would say by signing up for a GROUP trip you accept that you have a certain level of responsibility for the WHOLE group and in fact if you traveled in this past year, you signed a TRAVEL WELL PLEDGE and pledged to do exactly that.

  • Tauck has never kept their promise and neither have most travelers , this document is meaningless.
    Also, on our last tour, the Tauck tour director NEVER wore a mask unless we were in places where they were required. So that’s out of date too.

  • That was my point, British. The document is well intentioned and supports my point about responsibility to group travel especially this part:
    "By joining a Tauck journey, it's important that every guest assumes personal responsibility for their own health to help protect the well-being of their fellow travelers, the Tauck staff, our supplier partners and the places we visit."

    However, as you say, it is definitely being ignored and not enforced and thus should be removed OR made more clear and specific and enforced. I actually asked Tauck to send out a survey to find out which way their guests wanted to go. Of course it will never happen and likely they will just continue to attract people who prefer to act independently, unless by some miniscule chance there is a silent majority out there who feels that a GROUP tour requires more personal responsibility. In any case, I urge you all to contact Tauck yourself and express your opinion. I believe in democracy and know I have other choices. I submit this respectfully and thank you all.

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