Here are answers to questions you might have as you prepare for your upcoming program.
We realize there are many factors to consider when planning a trip right now and that situations around the world are changing almost every day. Our advice? Continue with your program as planned. We continually monitor events that have the potential to affect travel and the security of all our programs, as well as the welfare of our participants. We rely on the U.S. Department of State, our network of local partners, and other sources of information for advice and guidance regarding our programs. Be assured we are prepared to make immediate changes as circumstances warrant. We will, of course, notify all participants with ample time if we need to cancel or change any significant aspects of a program. For the greatest peace of mind, we strongly recommend purchasing Road Scholar’s optional trip protection plan with Cancel for Any Reason coverage which provides financial protection in the event you decide cancel your enrollment.
We are learning that COVID-19 is likely to be an enduring part of our lives moving forward. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are far less likely to become infected, and many are taking extra precautions—such as wearing a mask when in public—to further lower the risk as they carry on with their daily lives. Working with an infectious disease expert, Road Scholar developed a number of safety precautions very early on, the most important of which is requiring all participants and Road Scholar Group Leaders be vaccinated. And we are doing everything we can, as carefully as we can, to serve all of you ready to venture out into the world once again. We will cancel a program if restrictions are imposed that would prevent us from offering a high-quality educational experience. Otherwise, we are doing everything we can to make our lifelong learning experiences available for those who are ready to get back on the road.
If you have a particular program in mind, go to that program’s page on our website and click on the “Travel Information” link. Then on the “Travel Information” page, click on “Health Requirements” to see all the particular health requirements for that program.
Yes. For as long as this is a requirement, for all programs outside of the United States, your Group Leader will help you get a COVID-19 test before your flight home. The cost of this test is not included in the cost of the program and will need to be paid by participants. You can find more information about this requirement and the type of test to take by clicking this link.
Yes. Your Group Leader will facilitate testing prior to your return to the United States in time for you to comply with these new regulations with written proof of negative test to present at the airport.
Road Scholar currently requires all participants and Group Leaders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have one booster shot, if eligible. Please refer to this page for current CDC guidelines on boosters. We will continue to monitor CDC guidance and update our vaccination policy as necessary, and will give our participants ample notice if our policy changes.
Yes. Participants must bring their original vaccination card to the program to demonstrate proof of vaccination which must include recommended boosters for anyone eligible. Participants who are unable to demonstrate proof of vaccination will not be permitted to participate in the program. Several states in America prohibit requiring proof of vaccination, so in these locations we are not allowed to ask participants for proof of vaccination.
Meeting and interacting with your fellow participants is integral to all Road Scholar experiences, and being vaccinated is vital to helping protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from illness. We are guided by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which states that being vaccinated for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases not only protects yourself and those close to you, it helps reduce spread of the disease in communities. For these simple yet crucial reasons, Road Scholar requires all participants and Group Leaders to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and be up-to-date with all required and recommended vaccinations.
Yes. All children attending Grandparent and Family programs will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to their program. Based on the CDC recommendations, children will also be required to have a booster if they are eligible. Please refer to the CDC's page which defines who is currently eligible to receive a booster shot. As recommendations change and eligibility expands to younger children, we will update our policy accordingly. Like adults, children will also be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination on the program, so they or their adult companion must bring the child's original vaccination card to the program.
No, we currently do not require vaccinated participants to submit a negative COVID-19 test result for the majority of our programs. However, some of our program partners may require participants to produce a negative test result. If that is the case, participants will be notified with ample time to be tested prior to departure.
Participants should always travel with their original vaccination card. We also recommend participants scan or photograph their cards and keep a digital copy somewhere that’s easily accessible should they lose or misplace their original card.
Yes. There are digital applications available for smartphones that you can use to upload your vaccination card to create a digital vaccine passport, but we also recommend bringing your vaccination card with you. Many people like to paper clip their vaccine card directly to a page inside their passport.
Even if vaccination may not be required to enter a country, Road Scholar still requires all participants to be fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible. In addition, keep in mind that country vaccine requirements can change at any time, so participants should be prepared to demonstrate proof of vaccination at all times while traveling.
Road Scholar has and will continue to operate programs in the few states in America that prohibit requiring people show proof of vaccination, or prohibit vaccine mandates as a condition of employment. By enrolling in a program with Road Scholar, participants agree that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received all recommended boosters if eligible, and we expect everyone who participates in our programs to comply with our requirement. Participants should be assured knowing that over 99% of Road Scholar participants surveyed have indicated that they are fully vaccinated. If state law prohibits us from requiring participants to show proof of vaccination at program check-in, we will comply with the local law and not ask participants to demonstrate proof in order to participate in the program. Similarly, if a state law bars an employer from discriminating against an individual who refuses to disclose their vaccination status, we will comply with the law and not deny employment to a prospective Group Leaders if they refuse to demonstrate proof.
You will need to bring several of your own face coverings. Hand sanitizer will be available when boarding and disembarking motorcoaches, but we ask you also bring your own supply.
If someone develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the Group Leader will help the participant get tested. While bringing your own testing kits is not required, it is recommended to expedite the process. Anyone displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will not be permitted to join group activities until they test negative or is cleared by a medical professional.
We realize there are many factors to consider when planning a trip right now and that situations around the world are changing almost every day. Our advice? Continue with your program as planned. Road Scholar is consistently monitoring current events and will notify you with ample time if we need to cancel or change any significant aspects of your program.
These days, we understand participants may want more flexibility when planning for the future. We also know travel plans can change at the very last moment. That’s why our optional Road Scholar Trip Protection Plan also includes Cancel for Any Reason coverage, which allows you to cancel your program enrollment for any reason and receive a credit good for future travel with Road Scholar for the full amount of the cancellation fee. When you purchase the Road Scholar Trip Protection Plan, your program investment is protected should you need to cancel your enrollment, whether due to a scheduling conflict, apprehension about recent world events, a sick pet, or any reason not otherwise covered by insurance. Knowing that your program investment is protected gives you peace of mind, and the flexibility and comfort of choosing a time that’s right for you to travel.
Road Scholar has always had participant-friendly transfer and cancellation policies. Despite the current situation, we make it easy for our participants to transfer to a different program. Participants enrolled in most North America programs can transfer to a different program up to 14 days prior to departure without penalty, and participants enrolled in most International programs can transfer to a different program up to 66 days prior to departure without penalty. Some programs have different transfer or cancellation policies, so please refer to our website and catalogs, as well as your enrollment packet for all the details.
Staying healthy is critical to enjoying your program experience, and taking common sense steps to reduce the risk of getting sick will, of course, also reduce the risk of getting COVID. For instance:
Here are answers to questions you may have once your program has started.
Face masks are a simple and effective way to prevent illness. Participants must bring their own face masks to the program and be prepared to wear them in certain locations, settings, or when instructed. To maximize protection against COVID-19 and reduce the risk of transmission, participants are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in public, especially if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission, or have a weakened immune system or an underlying medical condition.
Should a participant become ill during a program, they should immediately notify the Group Leader, who will assist in obtaining medical attention. If a participant develops symptoms of illness such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or experience any other signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or other communicable illnesses, they will be required to immediately self-isolate, both for their health and the health, safety and welfare of the group. The Group Leader will then help the participant get a tested, or contact a local medical professional so he or she can evaluate the participant's symptoms and provide appropriate guidance regarding treatment and care.
As a precaution participants who are ill and having symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will not be permitted to rejoin the program and must remain in self-isolation until either they test negative for COVID-19, or are evaluated by a medical professional who determines their condition is not contagious and clears them to resume group activities, at which time they may return to the group. If a participant tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to remain in isolation and not be permitted to rejoin the group for at least 5 days and testing negative for COVID-19. In additional, we will also follow all applicable guidance and requirements of the local medical and health authorities regarding positive COVID-19 cases.
Please also know that all participants have coverage under our Road Scholar Assurance Plan, which provides 24-hour assistance in the event of a medical emergency during their program and insurance for emergency medical evacuation. Please visit www.roadscholar.org/about/included-insurance for more information about the emergency services and insurance benefits participant have with the Road Scholar Assurance Plan.
In accordance with current CDC guidance, individuals who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations do not need to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, and therefore the program will continue as planned. However effective immediately, in line with current CDC guidance, as a precaution all participants and the Group Leader will be required to wear a face mask for no less than 10 days. In addition to the mask-wearing requirement, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated and boosted individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 be tested 5 days after exposure. While we will not require everyone on the program to test, if you wish to be tested for COVID, your Group Leader will help facilitate it at any time. If anyone else develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we will follow the protocols outlined in the previous FAQ
Because participants and Group Leaders will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have all recommended boosters if eligible, it is unlikely you will be have to isolate or quarantine during your travels. However, should you test positive for COVID during your program, because of your vaccination status you will likely experience only mild symptoms and not require medical attention. If that is the case, you will however be required to isolate for at least 5 days, or longer if required by local regulations. be aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends individuals who test positive isolate and delay travel for 10 days, regardless of symptoms or a negative test taken within the isolation period. The country where you are staying may have its own rules for quarantine and isolation.
If you test positive and are required to isolate, an individual from Road Scholar Headquarters will contact you with detailed information you will need regarding your isolation and eventual departure home. If your isolation period will extend beyond the end of the program, we will help you make accommodation arrangements and provide information and guidance regarding your eventual travel home.
However, please be aware that our ability to provide personal assistance to someone under mandatory isolation is limited, so while we and our in-country program partners will do our best to provide whatever information and assistance we can prior to your return home, you should be prepared to manage certain aspects of your isolation and return home yourself. , such as extending or making new hotel reservations, arranging new flights home, obtaining meals, arranging testing in order to fly home, etc. However, Road Scholar will make sure that you have lodging, access to meals, and arrange your return airfare if you booked your flights through Road Scholar. If you become sick and need medical attention, your Group Leader or the hotel front desk can arrange for you to see a medical professional. LiveTravel Assist, Road Scholar's emergency assistance provider, is on call to provide 24-hour assistance for medical emergencies and arrange emergency evacuation should the need arise.
In addition, you should also be aware that additional expenses incurred due to isolation or quarantine are your responsibility. We therefore strongly recommend Road Scholar’s optional Trip Protection Plan, which provides financial protection in case of program cancellation, interruption or travel delay, as well limited quarantine coverage. Specifically, should COVID-19 cause you to isolate or quarantine, the plan helps reimburse you for additional accommodations, meal and transportation expenses you may incur, as well as reimbursement for missed program days. Please click here to learn more about this and all the other benefits included in Road Scholar’s optional Trip Protection Plan.
If you test positive during your program you will be required to isolate for the duration of time required by the local government. If your program has not ended by this time and you are able to provide a negative rapid test it is possible to re-join the program.
Should a positive COVID-19 test interrupt your program, Road Scholar’s Optional Insurance plan may help reimburse you for additional accommodation, meal and transportation expenses you may incur, as well as reimburse you for missed program days. Please note that coverage for COVID-19-related illness in the Trip Protection Plan is limited, and we recommend reviewing the policy details and contacting Aon Affinity, the plan administrator, if you have specific questions regarding coverage for expenses related to isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19. Please click here to learn more about this and all the other benefits included in Road Scholar’s optional Trip Protection Plan.
* COVID TEST DISCLAIMER: A positive COVID test that was conducted solely by an individual using a self or rapid home test does not qualify as documentation of a covered Sickness under the policy, and therefore there would be no insurance coverage under the plan. In other words, it would be considered a covered sickness only if the positive COVID test was performed by a medical professional (nurse, clinician, doctor, etc.) who could independently verify and provide documentation for the insurance claim that the person who tested positive was in fact the person the test was performed on.
Just as you experience in your everyday life at home, there may be some inconveniences or adjustments we have to make for the foreseeable future in Road Scholar program locations around the world. You may have to wait a little longer at meal time, that museum you were looking forward to may not be accessible during your visit, or there could be other bumps in the road along the way. Please know we are doing our utmost to plan for and manage around these issues, but some may be unavoidable. We have heard from many participants who have returned home from their recent Road Scholar programs. Some have mentioned these kinds of frustrations, but each and every person also says the experience was well worth any shortcomings. Any of the inconveniences they had to cope with were minor in the grand scheme of things, and in the end they were thrilled to be out living their lives again.