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COVID Delta Variant: Albergue bunks or private rooms?

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Backagain

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Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo (2017)
Frances (2020)
How comfortable are you sleeping in a room with strangers now that the delta variant is here? I'm walking with a friend who always prefers albergues and I'm wondering about whether a private room might be a better choice. We're both vaccinated.

would you sleep in an albergue now, or would you choose a more private option for covid safety?
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
My wife and I have walked three caminos and will walk our fourth beginning mid-Sept. During our first Camino Frances, we mostly stayed in municipal albergues, but stayed in a "nicer" private albergue once per week. Second camino we walked with my brother and his wife and it was a hybrid, staying in several municipal albergues (Burgos, Astorga, Azofra) and several private albergues in "quad rooms" - two bunk beds and a private bath. Last CF my wife and I stayed in private albergues / casa rurales every night with advance reservations. For our upcoming camino, we are staying in private rooms every night. Yes, this provides more covid safety, but we would have done the same if there was no pandemic. It allows us the flexibility to walk at a relaxed pace, not worrying about an available bed at our destination. We don't need to carry sleeping bags, silk liners, travel towels. And we enjoy the privacy of our own room and bathroom, security of our "kits". We go to bed and get up in the morning when it suits us; not having lights turned on or rustling of bags in the dark at night or early morning. If uncertain, why not look for a middle ground, sleeping some nights in municipal albergues, some in private rooms? For our first camino, I was able to coax my wife to walk the camino with me by agreeing to stay in a private room once per week (three locations were paradors), and this convinced her to come. And we enjoyed the occasional luxury of very nice room with private bath once per week! Bob
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
How comfortable are you sleeping in a room with strangers now that the delta variant is here? I'm walking with a friend who always prefers albergues and I'm wondering about whether a private room might be a better choice. We're both vaccinated.

would you sleep in an albergue now, or would you choose a more private option for covid safety?
Your ‘aving a giraffe right? I would not, at present, get on a bus, train or rapid transit, let alone get on a ‘plane and breathe that lovely recycled air. I would not choose to stand in a confined line of total strangers for however many hours it takes to get through Border Control ( Heathrow’s current record is 6 hours, but give them two flights at once and they’ll smash that). Frankly, I’d not be worried about private/ public sleeping arrangements. I’d just be focused on holding my breath until I got home again 😉
 

drm2127

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Your ‘aving a giraffe right? I would not, at present, get on a bus, train or rapid transit, let alone get on a ‘plane and breathe that lovely recycled air. I would not choose to stand in a confined line of total strangers for however many hours it takes to get through Border Control ( Heathrow’s current record is 6 hours, but give them two flights at once and they’ll smash that). Frankly, I’d not be worried about private/ public sleeping arrangements. I’d just be focused on holding my breath until I got home again 😉
OP can wear an N95 at any of the places you’ve mentioned but sleeping is another story. I am struggling with the same question and leaving in less than 2 weeks.
 
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BookGirl305

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Ingles (after Covid)
same dilemma. My challenge was going to be to try a communal situation- my natural inclination is solitude. I am 99% sure I won't be staying in any albergues on this 1 week trip, unless that is the only option. I am also not opposed to taking a taxi over to the highway and grabbing a room at an Ibis if there is nothing directly on the path that night with a private room. I would like to use the local folks on the path, but if everyone else does and they are sold out, I'll hit the highway for a hotel. I believe I will save the albergue experiment for another section another year. Now, the question is to take or not take a sleeping quilt anyway, just in case? On one hand, I lose the weight in my pack. On the other hand, if the room is cold or I end up in an albergue, I will wish I had it.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
Spain looks to be going the way of the UK, I probably stay in private rooms, or even sleep rough when there is a pinch on places to stay, I have a bivvy bag and rollmat.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
How comfortable are you sleeping in a room with strangers now that the delta variant is here? I'm walking with a friend who always prefers albergues and I'm wondering about whether a private room might be a better choice. We're both vaccinated.

would you sleep in an albergue now, or would you choose a more private option for covid safety?

As I thought on your concern about what style of lodging to choose, my question is this: which choice would allow you to relax and enjoy the Camino more?

There is no clear answer as to the medical issues surrounding Delta, such as how effective current vaccines are, how widespread it might become, overall rate of transmission, etc. There are no assurances that can be offered.

So given that there may be no information about Delta sufficient to make a definitive call, I am left to decide what would make my Camino less stressful for me. Also, there are alburgues which do offer private rooms as well as dormitory style sleeping chambers.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
I guess I'm 'aving a giraffe, although my knowledge of the dialect prevents me from knowing if this is a biological catastrophe, or simply a matter of adding hot sauce to taste......

Its about risk, and whether or not you trust your vaccine. If you are fully vaccinated, then you are in a good position to 'ave a flutter (see, I speak some of the language!) with exposure to the virus. Its a risk. Get used to it. The virus is not going away any time soon, if ever, and we will all be exposed to it at some point. We are going to have to learn to live with the virus, the strategy being that vaccination will turn Covid from a lethal event to an inconvenient one. You can stay home with zero risk, or takes your chances. I choose the latter at this moment, because the science says I'm very likely to get away with it. If the odds change, public health authorities (my daughter is one of them) will take the dice out of your hands, and order new measures to reduce transmission. I respect the rules. A year ago walking through Spain was not legal, and was clearly a foolish thing to do. Vaccination changes this. Right now, the math suggests that this is a reasonably safe thing to do. Those of you waiting for the virus to vanish are likely to have a very long wait.
 
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I was happy that I am double vaccinated and thought of the fact that, if I did catch C19 in one of its many forms, I would just feel unwell for a couple of days and then get on with life. Two of our friends, same age as me, recieved both their vaccines on the same day as we did. About a month ago they were tested positive for C19 D- variant. They were severely affected for two weeks, hacking painful coughing, sharp pains in their chests, severe sickness and diorrhea. A couple down from them were exactly the same. None needed to be taken into hospital.

Now if I was on camino and developed C19, I'd be fairly certain I wouldn't be hospitalised, but may just be wondering about where could I recuperate for a fortnight before I was allowed get home, walking on would not be an option, who would allow me under their roof?

Tinca is correct, I am now way too worried to consider a pilgrimage this year. His use of rhyming slang may not be understood by all, but surely you catch his drift.

I do realise we'll have to learn to live with C19 as we do with influenza but I'm not sure now is the moment to embrace it deliberately, I don't want to either catch it or unwittingly spread it. Dormitories are not the best place to keep ourselves or others safe.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I don't expect the virus to vanish, but I'll feel better about traveling when it recedes from pandemic or epidemic levels.
I kinda agree with this one, I am prepared to live with the risk to me but feel uncomfortable with my risk to others. If I get to go from the UK at the end of August I'm taking enough LFt ( antigen tests) with me to test myself every 2/3 days, hopefully I don't get it, but if I do then the test will give me a heads up and I can start self isolating wherever I am and not be a potential threat to the places I pass through, it's not perfect and hopefully my skill level will take the % accuracy of the antigen test up to 80/90%, LFt tests are better at picking up high viral loads, if I had that then I would definitely be a risk for the places I visit.
I'm picking quieter routes to walk, so it may be outside of the flight, Santiago itself and other transport then my only social contact will be in Cafes, and hotels, and that can be managed to minimise risk.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I personally just could not enjoy walking the Camino right now. Not in communal quarters or even private ones. The specter of a virus hanging over everything. Bus, plane, train. Crowds. Airports, stations. I'm remaining optimistic for next year, but let's be honest, just how much different will the situation be in ten months from now?
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
Now if I was on camino and developed C19, I'd be fairly certain I wouldn't be hospitalised, but may just be wondering about where could I recuperate for a fortnight before I was allowed get home, walking on would not be an option, who would allow me under their roof?
This is a very good point, and one I have considered. The realty is that self isolation will be in a hotel or Air BnB with access to room service. An expensive prospect, and one that I must plan for and accept if needs be.

I kinda agree with this one, I am prepared to live with the risk to me but feel uncomfortable with my risk to others.

This is also a key point in the calculus. I personally will not enter Spain as a tourist until they are substantially finished with their vaccination program. The risk to our hosts is simply too high for me to push myself upon them, willing or not.
 
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Isca-camigo

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Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
This is a very good point, and one I have considered. The realty is that self isolation will be in a hotel or Air BnB with access to room service. An expensive prospect, and one that I must plan for and accept if needs be.



This is also a key point in the calculus. I personally will not enter Spain as a tourist until they are substantially finished with their vaccination program. The risk to our hosts is simply too high for me to push myself upon them, willing or not.
Their vaccination program is probably close to passing the US and will probably surpass the UK before the end of July, unless it plateaus on 1st doses like the above two and Israel have done, so I feel comfortable with that side especially as I will go late August when at least 60-70% of Spanish adults will have had 2 jabs of Pfizer and Moderna + my partner who lives with me is Spanish and she goes home in 10 days time, and this could be a permanent stay this time, for me a choice of having two lives is coming up, maybe one in the UK for 3 months, then a month in Spain, and repeat and so on, I definitely don't see my time in Spain as a vacation but a big part of my future, my hopefully upcoming Camino is just one part of it.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I am thinking that as September rolls around all the young (40 or less) folks will be back at work or school and vaccinated. The below 40 crowd seem to be the ones less likely to vaccinate and more likely now to be carriers. I will do my best to avoid groups of younger people (sadly). Now that may sound biased, but from my standpoint it protects me and them. If they don't give it to me (I am fully vaccinated), then I won't spread it. I like the thought of antigen testing myself and will look into that. If I am home in Maine, I avoid large groups, mask when I feel at risk, and am careful about washing hands and using sanitizer. Once again, us old folks only have so many more years to Camino, 2020 is gone if we give up on 2021 will we in 2022 also? So when do we move on? I like the vaccination rates in Spain. By September, they should be in good shape and I am making plans to be there.
 

CalgaryLynn

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I was happy that I am double vaccinated and thought of the fact that, if I did catch C19 in one of its many forms, I would just feel unwell for a couple of days and then get on with life. Two of our friends, same age as me, recieved both their vaccines on the same day as we did. About a month ago they were tested positive for C19 D- variant. They were severely affected for two weeks, hacking painful coughing, sharp pains in their chests, severe sickness and diorrhea. A couple down from them were exactly the same. None needed to be taken into hospital.

Now if I was on camino and developed C19, I'd be fairly certain I wouldn't be hospitalised, but may just be wondering about where could I recuperate for a fortnight before I was allowed get home, walking on would not be an option, who would allow me under their roof?

Tinca is correct, I am now way too worried to consider a pilgrimage this year. His use of rhyming slang may not be understood by all, but surely you catch his drift.

I do realise we'll have to learn to live with C19 as we do with influenza but I'm not sure now is the moment to embrace it deliberately, I don't want to either catch it or unwittingly spread it. Dormitories are not the best place to keep ourselves or others safe.
Is it necessary for you and your friend to stay together overnight? If I was travelling with a friend and felt as you do, I would get private rooms and if your friend wants to overnight in albergues, he/she can. You meet for breakfast in the morning and everyone is happy. PS - I am Caminoing in September and will be staying in private accommodations.
 
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Is it necessary for you and your friend to stay together overnight? If I was travelling with a friend and felt as you do, I would get private rooms and if your friend wants to overnight in albergues, he/she can. You meet for breakfast in the morning and everyone is happy. PS - I am Caminoing in September and will be staying in private accommodations.
You may have replied to the wrongperson, I never mentioned travelling with a friend. My point was that even vaccinated C19 can cause you to be very ill for quite a while albeit without much risk of hospitalisation, I'm not sure many establishments would want to accept you as a guest in those circumstances. You become an obvious and fairly easily spotted suoerspreader having caused damage to many others during the incubation period.
 

jerbear

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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
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pepi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
No recommendation, speaking only for myself: I have booked private rooms in all stages for my upcoming CF at the end of August. Since it's my 6th, I've stayed in almost all the booked albergues with private rooms, the hostals, casas rurales, hotels, etc. before and look forward to meeting my hosts again.
Covid-19 is not the primary reason, but certainly a factor, as is an added penchant for more comfort at a certain age (77). The decision was all the easier because I had experienced basic albergue-Caminos to the fullest in the years before.
Now that one reads daily of the rapid expansion of Delta and even a new Lambda, I am glad of the decision and can well understand that others are considering the same.

A Buen Camino to all.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
For my October Camino, I plan on staying in private albergues or hostals for improved isolation and safety. I am also hoping that the way from Toulouse to Logrono and later, the Invierno- will be lightly populated.
We shall see… a lot can change in 2 1/2 months.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
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I sleep wherever I can, without the luxury of such choices.

A cheaper workaround for those who are worried would be to sleep in those villages that other pilgrims tend not to stay in.

But I think one might be careful not to take the worst scare stories as if they were the norm ; the worst cases of viral pneumonia from the flu can be just as bad. On average, the Indian/Delta is more contagious but less virulent than the other variants, and current pressure on hospitals is reportedly more from medical personnel on some **much-needed** summer holidays than anything else.

As to those who might feel themselves to be a bit more vulnerable -- the 2021 Holy Year remains extended to end of 2022, and basic Camino advice remains applicable here : Go at your own pace, it's not a race. May 2022 onwards might be a good target date for the more worried pilgrims.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago 2014
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Your ‘aving a giraffe right? I would not, at present, get on a bus, train or rapid transit, let alone get on a ‘plane and breathe that lovely recycled air. I would not choose to stand in a confined line of total strangers for however many hours it takes to get through Border Control ( Heathrow’s current record is 6 hours, but give them two flights at once and they’ll smash that). Frankly, I’d not be worried about private/ public sleeping arrangements. I’d just be focused on holding my breath until I got home again 😉
Air on a plane is totally recycled with fresh air about every 3 minutes. The bus and train would be a problem unless all the windows could open.
 
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tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
How comfortable are you sleeping in a room with strangers now that the delta variant is here? I'm walking with a friend who always prefers albergues and I'm wondering about whether a private room might be a better choice. We're both vaccinated.

would you sleep in an albergue now, or would you choose a more private option for covid safety?
Would not bother me at all. I am fully vaccinated so what was the point of getting jabbed if I am still going to be hiding behind the sofa in case it gets me. Of course, that's easy for me to say as I won't be going this year. I may not be worried but my family is so for their sake, I would be very selfish going. Currently more concerned about catching the flu. Almost died from that back in the 70s when I was 21. Spent 3 months in hospital
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
less virulent than the other variants, and current pressure on hospitals is reportedly more from medical personnel on some **much-needed** summer holidays than anything else
Not true. Really.
There are people dying everywhere right now.
And hospitals in places where this are surging are maxing out.

This variant is extremely contagious. And an albergue dorm is a perfect incubator.
If I were out there right now, I'd be under a church porch outside rather than in a communal dorm.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
In order for me to stay home, The CDC would have to indicate that with masking, and being vaccinated, it is unsafe to get on an airplane.

No way, would I stay at any common room albergues. In fact, we have decided not to stay in private rooms at albergues.

Rather, I have picked establishments, hotels, a pension or two, a few rural houses, that all show rooms with large windows and private baths. Ventilation is important. I am hoping that proprietors will require vaccination cards or antigen testing to enter.
Not true. Really.
There are people dying everywhere right now.
And hospitals in places where this are surging are maxing out.

This variant is extremely contagious. And an albergue dorm is a perfect incubator.
If I were out there right now, I'd be under a church porch outside rather than in a communal dorm.
I agree @VNwalking …the variant is very contagious. Study out of Yale to support your statement!

Here is what is being said now by epidemiologists. .
If your not fully vaccinated, your likely going to catch this variant, unless you really mitigate against it. Wear masks, distance appropriately, etc. But even then, your chances are 50-60 higher of getting it! And the Delta virus is more severe for unvaccinated persons then the original variant.

So with regards to staying in a common room in an albergue:

If you are not vaccinated, you need to do a reality check, “ You are unprotected! The risk factor is quite high! Don’t do it!

If you are vaccinated, the odds are you will not get a serious case of infection, but may be infected and need to remain in quarantine before returning home.

So my advice, do not stay in a common room overnight!
 

CalgaryLynn

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
You may have replied to the wrongperson, I never mentioned travelling with a friend. My point was that even vaccinated C19 can cause you to be very ill for quite a while albeit without much risk of hospitalisation, I'm not sure many establishments would want to accept you as a guest in those circumstances. You become an obvious and fairly easily spotted suoerspreader having caused damage to many others during the incubation period.
Yes, I did. Meant to respond to OP.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Ok, here is a heads-up I just posted on another thread. The topic of this thread is “albergue bunks or private rooms.”

We will delete:

  1. Statements bordering on misinformation according to public health guidance.
  2. Opinion/comments for/against/about vaccines and variant transmissibility.
  3. Covid-focused opinion and rationalization of going or not going on the camino
  4. Other covid-related debates that have been thoroughly exhausted on the forum
We do think it’s important, for prospective and current walkers, to hear about what’s actually happening on the camino. But that kind of information seems like an opening for the spiral into the four topics noted above.

We know covid is going to be with us and the camino for a long time to come, but we simply cannot keep having these debates. PLEASE limit your posts to factual and pertinent information.


I am going to close this thread because it too has wandered off topic and because I think the issue of sleeping in albergues has been fully aired (no pun intended).

We are trying very hard to walk a line that may be impossible to chart. And if you are sensing that the moderators are getting weary about these endless back and forth disagreements, you are right.
 
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