Nine Travel Tips We Learned From Our Rick Steves Q&A

In preparation for his special "Rick Steves' European Travel Tips and Tricks," host Rick Steves stopped by KCET to participate in a Facebook Live session where he answered viewer questions about his illustrious travel career and offered his observations on traveling through Europe. Read his recommendations and thoughts below, and make sure to tune in on Saturday, December 30 at 5:00 p.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. to watch "Rick Steves' European Travel Tips and Tricks."


Salzburg, Austria is a great place for hostel stays

When not being used for students during the school year, dormitories in the school year serve as hostels for tourists. Though they are not as cheap as some would expect (they can run about $30 a night), there is a kitchen for cooking so you can save by grocery shopping instead of eating in a restaurant. Check hostels.com for a list of accommodations, prices and to book a reservation.

Should women be worried about traveling to Europe alone?

It depends on the woman, but plenty of European women travel alone. Some women might not feel safe going out after dark in Seattle, and this would be the case in some urban areas of European cities after dark. Europe feels safer and is safer than urban places in America. There is very low violent crime. You’re not likely to get knifed or mugged. But there is a lot of purse snatching and pickpocketing, so be vigilant with your personal belongings. Also, there are con artists who prey on tourists. Be careful about whom you trust. Don’t go anywhere with someone you just met.

For a transformational travel experience…

Go on a hike along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It is a month long trek from St Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and gives you time to contemplate life and meet other travelers who are hiking to the same place.

Number 1 tip for first time travelers to Europe

Don’t try to see everything on one trip. Americans have the shortest vacation times in the world so there is no time for waiting in lines on their trips. Rick’s new book helps travelers navigate the best experiences with minimal waiting times and minimal money. Also, pack light!

Travel as a political act

When we travel, we get out of our comfort zone. Rick encourages people to travel thoughtfully. Americans are not the norm and 96% of humanity is outside of our borders. Get to know the neighbors and challenge the “truths” you grew up believing. It will give you a broader perspective of the world and empathy for other humans who share the planet with us.

rick steves europe prague
Rick Steves Europe, Prague

What places have made an impression on Rick

El Salvador, Nicaragua, Palestine, Iran, Russia. He loves getting out of his comfort zone when he travels and gaining an empathy for the people of our world who are trying to live on $2 a day.

Can introverts have an enjoyable time?

Introverts need to figure out how to fake being extroverted while traveling. Meeting other people is one of the reasons to travel. If you don’t get a good perspective from local voices, it takes away from the experience of being in a different world. We need to connect with people in our travels.

What about language barriers when you travel?

Rick only speaks English. He researches, writes his books and does his TV show in English without need to know another language fluently. But he says it is polite to know a few words in the local language when you travel, to show respect for the people who live there. If you need to speak to someone, seek out young people, educated people or people who work in tourism as they are most likely to know some English.

Why does Rick spend so much time in Europe? Why not highlight other areas in the world?

He feels a responsibility to the people who use his guidebooks, sign up for his tours and watch his shows so he wants to serve them as best as a he can. The information is constantly changing and he needs to keep up with it. He has his niche, he spends four months out of the year in Europe and he sees European travel as something he will concentrate on for years to come. He sees his mission as encouraging Americans to travel so that they are more aware of the world outside of our borders. Maybe we won’t be so quick to suggest building walls.



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