Rick Steves on Guided Tours
ABOVE: Rick Steves, Europe Through the Back
Door guidebook author and TV travel host.
Steves is the American author of the Europe Through the Back Door travel
guides and a TV program, Travels With Rick Steves, that appears on PBS
and The Travel Channel in the United States. He also has been a tour guide and
organizer for two decades, first as a group escort for Cosmos Tours and later
with his own Europe Through the Back Door travel company in Edmonds, Washington.
(ETBD started off in 1978 with a handful of minibus tours, and today the company
offers more than 140 escorted European tours each year.)
In one of his books, Rick
Steves' Postcards from Europe, Steves described the scams that are
rampant in the the European tour industry. Intrigued by his frankness, I suggested a telephone interview on two related
topics: "independent vs. escorted travel" and "choosing a tour
company." The following article is an edited transcript of our phone
Why should a traveler take a group
tour instead of using your guidebook?
Our guidebooks are designed for people who want to do our tours without
us--who want someone else to do the legwork but would rather travel alone. Our
tours follow the same basic itineraries as the guidebooks, but they help travelers get more out of
their time. We've already made reservations for the Alhambra, the Uffizi
Gallery, and so on. There's no need to stand in line--we march you right up to
the front and take you in. With our 20-day tours, you accomplish what it would
take you 30 days to accomplish on your own from a sightseeing and travel
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Photos: © Europe Through the Back Door. Used by permission.