COVID-19 and travel: updates and FAQs
Well into our 2022 season in Italy and Europe, we continue to thank our travelers for the continued support since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We survived a 2020 season in which we learned how to plan for and safely run a bicycle tour in Covid times, followed by a successful 2021 season, which saw Italian travelers come out of “lockdown” in late May, and our first non-European travelers arrive in July. As difficult as it has been for us and the travel industry in general, today we remain convinced that we have all emerged from this experience stronger, as a company and as individuals. From our headquarters in Faenza (north-central Italy), a region that was deeply affected by the pandemic since early in 2020, we continue to believe in travel as a force for good – the human and cultural connections that it can create are as important today as ever!
What have we been up to since 2020? As the pandemic began and travel restrictions set in, we never stopped working. Initially only in our home region supporting Italian travelers through our Italian-language brand Pedaliamo In Italia, followed by some European travelers on tours or renting our bikes and equipment. We spent countless hours and effort understanding how to operate a tour safely in times of Coronavirus. It certainly helps that bicycle travel is an outdoor activity, and has been one of the safest ways to get out and pass the time after months of lockdown. We also took this chance to rediscover our backyard, right here in our wonderful Romagna region in Italy. Much like the rest of the world, as restrictions eased Italians decided to get out and discover the wonder and beauty that lies around every corner of their country – we are proud and happy to have helped them to get out and explore.
The second half of 2021 saw the return of travelers from the USA (the first since 2019!) – at first intrepid travelers on “covid-free flights”, followed by vaccinated travelers able to comply with requirements for entering Europe on regular flights. Today, vaccination campaigns move forward and as more people travel internationally again, we continue to stay up to date on safe practices, for our guests and staff. As long as it is safe to travel, our flexible booking and cancellation options aim to provide peace of mind to travelers considering tour in 2022 and beyond.
Are you planning your travels to Italy or Europe and have questions? Read on below for answers!
We hope this information will help you make a decision you are comfortable with as you embark on your dream cycling vacation in Europe. Please feel free to contact us with your questions – we will be happy to help you understand what is needed and how you can safely travel in Europe, and return home refreshed!
See you on the road!
The Cycle Europe team
2022 Travel and Terms FAQs
Last updated 11 May, 2022
For 2022, we have kept our new, more flexible booking and cancellation terms, hoping to facilitate travel decisions in uncertain times. If you are considering booking a Tour package or Rentals service with Cycle Europe, please read through these FAQs and our latest Terms and Conditions. If you still have any questions, please drop us a line using our contact form above or email inquiries(at)cycleeurope.com – we’ll be happy to reply!
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have closely monitored the situation in Italy (our headquarters country), and wherever we operate in Europe. We have analyzed everything we do, and how we do it, with the aim of creating a safe environment on our tours and with our rentals services, by creating, communicating and maintaining safety measures and protocols. Among other things, our office and field staff (from our Director of Tours down to our Tour Managers, garage staff and bike mechanics, and on-the-ground partners) now follow internal guidelines and safety policies related to Covid-19. Cycle Europe has also been actively involved with leading travel industry associations in this aspect – for example, co-owner Monica Price was a founding member of Active Italy in 2020 (a new network of active travel tour operators); and we continue our decades-long involvement in the Adventure Travel Trade Association, one of the most reputable collection of the leading active travel operators throughout the world, where co-owner Maria Elena Price sits on the board of directors. Through both relationships, we have interacted with and mutually learned from a number of leading active travel tour operators in Italy, Europe and around the world.
In the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented the following safety measures for our tours (please note many or most of these measures apply to our Guided Group tours only; where applicable to Self-Guided tours, this is explicitly indicated below).
- Follow local mask mandates. All travelers and tour leaders must wear an appropriate mask or face covering when required.
- Wash hands frequently for at lest 20 seconds with water and soap, or in absence of facilities, use sanitizer.
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from people outside of our “tour bubble”.
- Depending on the level of community spread in the destination region, we may request that travelers take a COVID-19 rapid self-test before joining the group. In such cases, we will provide test kits at your tour’s Day 1 or meeting hotel. We implemented this strategy for our European tours in September and October 2021, and having received overwhelmingly positive feedback from travelers, we will continue this strategy based on regional numbers
These safety measures are based on and will continue to be based on the guidelines of the government authority where the tour takes place (for example, the Italian Health Ministry), as well as the World Health Organization and the US Center for Disease Control. Doing so allowed us to be informed and to have run a successful 2020 tour season.
On tour, you can expect the following safety measures to be in place:
- We encourage everyone not sharing rooms to observe social distancing standards throughout the tour.
- We are observing and implementing official national and local COVID-19 prevention regulations throughout the course of the tour.
- We may require travelers to be masked during our tour briefings and other group gatherings, although that may not be necessary if we are outside.
- Tour briefings and group gatherings will be held outside or in well-ventilated areas only.
- When entering towns and cities where it is evident that larger crowds might be encountered, we will follow all local regulations which might mean wearing masks.
- We will provide hand sanitizer and recommend you also bring your own to take along.
- In shuttles provided by Cycle Europe, we require that hand sanitizer be used before and that masks be worn throughout the ride. Windows will be left open to allow for ventilation when possible during the ride.
- When entering sites or establishments, we will comply with local official health and safety recommendations.
- We will arrange group meals only at restaurants adhering to current COVID-19 regulations. If participants attend restaurants for meals on their own, we encourage that mask, sanitizing and distancing rules be followed.
- Only accommodations and hotels adhering to current COVID-19 regulations will be used on our tours.
- We ask that you take your helmet, water bottles and bike rear packs to your room with you
In the event that someone on tour gets sick, you can expect the following:
- On our Guided Tours, we will have rapid-antigen tests available on tour, and if your test result is positive we will ask you and your travel companion (roommate) to isolate while we verify the results; on Self-Guided Tours, we will provide telephone and/or in-person assistance and support. This process may depend on local public health regulations in your destination, and could include further testing with the local public health authorities. We will support you in the necessary steps to manage recovery and isolation. This includes logistics for lodging and transportation. You will be responsible for any extra expenses resulting from needing to isolate or take additional tests. If medical assistance is needed, we will follow our standard medical protocols on tour and support you in seeing a professional and getting a doctor, if on a Guided Tour; on Self-Guided Tours, our office staff may need to support you remotely via telephone, or with the assistance of hotel staff.
- We highly recommend you purchase Travel Insurance as most plans cover medical assistance for Covid and some plans also cover trip delay coverage including quarantine or isolation due to Covid. Please check with us if you have questions or need recommendations for travel insurance.
- If a tour participant on your trip tests positive, we will monitor anyone who has had close contact with them and provide tests for self-testing or will recommend testing with the local public health authorities. We will ask those who were in close contact with the person who tested positive, to refrain from group activities until we can determine that they are not infected.
Yes – we amended our terms and conditions (T&Cs) as the pandemic began to unfold and restrict travel in March 2020, aiming to provide flexible options to travelers in uncertain times. In 2022, we decided to continue offering our flexible T&Cs even if travel restrictions are lifted, for the rest of the year 2022 or until further notice.
What makes our terms more flexible? Final tour payment date is much closer to the tour start date to allow for any last-moment changes in travel plans (90 days in previous years, now reduced to 30 days before tour start). If a cancellation, rebooking, or refund is necessary, our cancellation options are also much more flexible – please see a summary below, or for the full details see our updated Terms and Conditions webpage.
Up to 30 days before tour start, you can request a postponement or rebooking and receive 100% Money on Account credit, without fees. If you prefer a refund, we now allow for as little as 45 days cancellation notice for a full refund minus a small booking fee (€50 per person). Please note that as of 2022, these terms now apply to cancellations in any condition – even if government authorities are not prohibiting or limiting travel, we will still honor these flexible cancellation terms for customers who need to make changes after booking 2022 travel with us. Some exceptions may apply – please see our detailed Terms and Conditions webpage.
In addition, Cycle Europe has always recommended our travelers consider travel insurance as a means to protect their purchase against unforeseen circumstances – more so since the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact your insurance provider directly with questions before purchasing a policy and make sure you know what the policy covers in case you contract COVID-19 before or during your trip. If you need suggestions or advice, please let us know and we will be happy to help.
Because we have permanently amended our T&Cs to account for COVID-19 conditions and/or possible travel restrictions, if we are forced to cancel a tour due to safety or travel restrictions (both in the country or location of the tour, as well as between our customers’ country and the location of the tour), we will offer our customers the possibility of 100% credit on file for future use (aka Money on Account or MOA), and/or abide by local legislation dictating what to do (Cycle Europe, as part of the Bikes Plus Srl group, is a legally established Italian travel agency).
Money on Account (MOA) refers to credit given by Cycle Europe to customers who cancelled a tour and requested that funds be kept on account for future use. As of 2020, our amended terms eliminated fees for customers to take MOA in most cases (prior to this amendment, a penalty fee was assessed for cancelling a tour, the amount depending on the number of days before tour or rental cancellation by the customer). Through our current terms, if Cycle Europe cancels a Tour or Rental we will provide 100% MOA to customers; if a customer cancels a Tour up to 30 days before tour start, or a Rental up to 14 days before rental start, we provide 100% MOA to be used within the following two calendar years, without fees or penalties, as well as other flexible ways to use the MOA.
Anyone who cancelled a 2020 tour or rental and took MOA currently has until December 31, 2023 to use, or transfer, their credit.
If a customer with MOA from a 2020 cancelled tour or rental books a 2022 departure and has to cancel again due to COVID-19 issues or travel restrictions, or if Cycle Europe has to cancel due to COVID-19 issues, we will extend the MOA for another two years.
Please see detailed terms in the MOA section of our Terms and Conditions page.
Covid regulations are changing fast, and generally becoming increasingly similar in the various European countries where we operate. We provide the information below as reference, but we advise our travelers to consult the official information of the government or travel authorities to understand the requirements that apply specifically to each case (which will depend on country of origin, where you are travelling, vaccination status, etc.). Use the website viaggiaresicuri.it to find out the requirements for entry to Italy – just answer a few questions to learn useful information on the validity of your COVID-19 green pass.
Italy entry requirements
For detailed current information, we recommend the website of the Italian National Tourism agency (click the link for complete, detailed information in English language). Currently and valid until 31 May, 2022, the current regulations apply:
To enter or re-enter Italy from any foreign country, you need to show the EU Digital COVID Certificate or – for non-EU citizens – an equivalent green COVID-19 certification issued by your country’s health authorities, certifying one of the following: completed vaccination cycle with a vaccine recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA); full recovery from COVID-19; negative molecular or antigenic test.
Travel within Italy and the EU Digital Covid Certificate (Green Pass)
Green Pass Effective from May 1, 2022, it is no longer mandatory to show a Green Pass to access businesses and services in Italy. Therefore, free access to local and national public transportation, bars and restaurants, shops, museums, theaters, cinemas, stadiums, gyms, spas, etc. However, a Green Pass is still mandatory to enter Italy from a foreign country.
Use of masks The use of FFP2 masks remains mandatory in the following locations:
- ships and ferries used for interregional transport services
- High Speed, Intercity, Intercity Night, and Interregional Trains
- buses connecting more than two regions
- buses/coaches used for chartered services with driver
- local and regional public transport
- indoor performances in theatres, cinemas, concert halls, entertainment venues and live music
- indoor sports events
However, the use of the mask in all indoor environments and in all cases of crowded outdoor events is highly recommended.
Exit requirements and re-entering your country from Italy
Italy has no exit requirements.
United States re-entry requirement: a negative COVID-19 test is required within one day prior to re-entry. See the CDC website for full details. The Cycle Europe staff will help you locate and make an appointment for a test at a pharmacy or testing clinic that is convenient at the end of your tour.
Canada re-entry requirements: Fully vaccinated travelers may be exempt from certain quarantine and testing requirements on return to Canada. For full details, see the Government of Canada’s guidance for COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada. This guidance includes determining if you are fully vaccinated, pre-entry and arrival testing requirements , and developing a quarantine plan (in case of symptoms developing or a positive test).
Cycle Europe offers bikes tours in Portugal, France, Croatia and other European countries, operating there directly or in conjunction with on the ground partners.
Please consult the guidelines and requirements for EU Digital COVID Certificate in this official EU webpage.
For detailed information on the requirements to enter, travel within and exit from European countries, please visit the official EU page https://reopen.europa.eu/en.
Our staff will also be happy to help you understand the requirements that apply to you, based on your country of origin or transit, and the country of your tour – please contact us and we will be happy to help.