Travel with Rick Steves
8am - 9am
The hour-long talk Travel with Rick Steves features guest experts, calls and questions from travelers. Steves’ goal is to share favorite travels, to help us all explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.
As host, writer and producer of the popular public television series Rick Steves’ Europe, and best-selling author of 30 European travel books, he encourages Americans to delve deep into Europe and become “temporary locals.” His readers and viewers not only discover major cities, but also cozy villages away from tourist-trampled routes. He helps American travelers connect much more intimately and authentically with Europe — and Europeans — for a fraction of what mainstream tourists pay.
His website includes a community of travelers who share tips and travel discoveries. It also has a form to ask Rick a question. As they record each show, they’ll call many of those who have asked a question. He also reads from emails or plays recorded telephone messages on the air.
Steves says he dreaded his first trip to Europe. He had just completed his freshman year of high school and planned to spend the summer of 1969 hanging out with his buddies. But his father, a piano importer, insisted that Rick accompany him on a buying trip, and an unimagined new world opened up to the lanky kid from Edmonds, Washington.
Four year later, Steves returned to Europe without parental supervision, riding the rails on Eurail passes. Traveling on a shoestring with a friend, Steves survived for two months on a few dollars a day, pilfering apples from orchards, sleeping on trains, and sneaking into museums. Perhaps that’s where he first got the phrase “Europe through the back door.”
He’s become so influential that his back-door discoveries, like Italy’s Cinque Terra, quickly become mainstream attractions. Steves almost single-handedly popularized Paris’ Rue Cler, which San Francisco Chronicle travel editor John Flinn calls Rue Rick Steves.
Despite many Americans’ fears about international travel, Rick’s television series, guidebooks, and his company’s European bus tours continue to attract loyal “Rickniks” and a growing stream of new devotees.
Even with his renown, Steves still offers free travel classes, raises money for PBS during pledge drives, and donates time to causes ranging from his church to social justice groups. Casual viewers familiar with the folksy host may not know about Steves’s political side. In an essay posted on his website, “Innocents Abroad: How Travel Made this Young Republican a Liberal,” Steves tells how his global journeys led him to see the “vast gap” between rich and poor. “Lessons I’ve learned far from home combined with passion for America have heightened my drive to challenge my countrymen to higher ideals. Crass materialism and a global perspective don’t mix.”