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European Expert Rick Steves Offers Timely Travel Advice

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European Expert Rick Steves Offers Timely Travel Advice

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European Expert Rick Steves Offers Timely Travel Advice

Rick Steves knows Europe. Basically, it's a walking and talking encyclopedia of Europe. If it's a European experience, chances are you've "been there, done that."

Perhaps best known to the general public for the popular PBS travel show, Rick Steves' Europe , which takes viewers on an intimate journey through some of the world's most historic cities. He also publishes several best-selling travel guides and is the author of Travel as a Political Act . Steves is committed to providing all Americans with access to travel information and has made extensive resources freely available on Rick Steves Europe , Rick Steves Audio Europe and Rick Steves Classroom Europe , a searchable database of short videos educational. Steves is a well-known light packer and offers invaluable packing tips for those planning a trip to Europe or elsewhere.

He is also the founder and owner of Rick Steves' Europe, a travel agency that welcomes more than 30,000 people to Europe every year. Steves works with various interest groups and donates to various charities such as Bread for the World . He also donated $8 million to build two new community centers in his community and donated a 24-unit condominium to the local YWCA for homeless women and their children. He lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington.

Steves recently talked about a trip to Europe.

From a security and economic perspective, is it a good time for Americans to go to Europe?

With the exception of two pandemic years, I've spent 100 days a year exploring Europe since the mid-1970s. And it would be a straight line for me if I had to graph security and economics over the decades. In the days when travelers of my generation were poor students, Europe was cheap, but no easier to pay for than it is today. According to statistics, Europe is always safer than staying at home in the US. It's just a fact. If you care about your children's well-being in the face of violent crime or terrorism, take them to Europe tomorrow. As for the economy, the dollar goes up and down against European currencies and when my dollar goes down I focus on budgeting (in hotels and restaurants there are always alternatives for people who need to save). With the level of the dollar against the euro this year, Americans find that prices are quite good.

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What tips can you give travelers to save on flights, accommodation, restaurants and travel in Europe?

For me there are two keys. First, arm yourself with good information and expect a smart trip. Second, traveling as a temporary resident. Stay in comfortable local accommodations for mom and dad (family hotels, bed and breakfasts, small basic hotels). Eat with local customers where they grow. My trick to choosing a good restaurant is to find a place with a small handwritten menu in only one language. This means they employ knowledgeable locals, serve seasonal and market-fresh produce, and cook what they can sell at a good price and stay profitable. With a menu like this on your doorstep, in a budget restaurant packed with happy locals, this has to be a winner. When I travel abroad, I pay extra to have a professional travel agent find the best (not necessarily the cheapest) ticket.

Which regions of Europe are the cheapest?

If I told you Portugal is free this year, but your travel dreams have taken you to Scotland, then Scotland is your best value. You can find the best deals by traveling smart to the places you really want to visit. That's right, the general rule for Europe is: the further south and east, the better the prices. The most expensive are Ireland, Great Britain and Scandinavia. Spain, Greece and Turkey are cheaper. But the savvy traveler can enjoy Scandinavia at near-Spanish prices and still have a good time when needed. Remember that your time along with your money is a limited and precious resource when thinking about budget hacks. Use your time wisely.

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