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Europe Through the Back Door/Rick Steves Tours

Europe Through the Back Door/Rick Steves Tours

May 18th, 1998, 07:53 PM
Jen Z
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Europe Through the Back Door/Rick Steves Tours

Anyone done a Europe Through the Back Door Tour? Would you recommend them for a couple of newly retired folks who have never been to Europe? Just looking for some opinions...
May 20th, 1998, 07:14 AM
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Check out Rick Steves' web site: www.ricksteves.com It gives lots of info about the tours and what to expect. Expect to walk a LOT and that you won't be pampered. My parents did one of his to Turkey last year and were quite pleased. They're in relatively good shape and enjoyed all the walking, including going up several flights of stairs with their suitcases. These trips may not have all the luxuries of larger groups, but the advantages of small group travel, staying in in-town, small "quaint" hotels, and avoiding the tourist traps were well worth it for my parents.
May 20th, 1998, 01:51 PM
Jen Z
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We've checked out the website repeatedly. Thanks. Just looking for testimonials. They used to have some on the website, but I can't find them. The info is for my parents, who need some prodding, and some excellent reports of the ETBD tours, since they can be a bit more expensive than mainstream tours (but may save in the long run -- their tourguides are fully paid and don't look for kickbacks and tips, and what is and is not included is fully explained, with no paying extra for optional sight-seeing once you get there, unless you go during free time). I have used Rick Steves guidebooks in Europe myself, and we think he's got a great travel philosophy. Thanks for your help!
May 20th, 1998, 06:31 PM
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I am trying to decide whether to go to France for 2 weeks in October with a small group of friends (only 1 who I know well) or do a Steves' tour next spring instead. Any testimonials from those who have gone on his trips would be greatly appreciated!
May 27th, 1998, 09:19 PM
Jen Z
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Sending to top...
Jun 7th, 1998, 02:53 PM
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Have not taken a Rick Steves tour myself, but have a friend who did. He had a great time, everything was as represented on their website. The other "tourists" with his group were all ages and types: he is single male, roomed with another elder single male; women friends whose husbands have no desire to go to Europe; married couples from all walks; elderly couples whose health limited their ability to keep up at ALL times, but whose individual needs were taken into consideration. I'm trying to say that this seems to me to be a good option for just about anyone who wants to go to Europe, but would rather go with an organized tour. A little more expensive, but not so hurry-scurry as regular tours can be. Hope this helps.
Jun 7th, 1998, 08:52 PM
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Too bad you're not on AOL. There are extensive comments regarding these tours on the AOL message boards. All favorable - no complaints! Amazing. The impression I have gotten from all the responses is that these tours are absolutely perfect for "newly retired" folks.
Jun 8th, 1998, 01:12 AM
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Donna has not been reading the AOL Italy travel boards obviously. Tons of people who write there *hate* Rick Steves. For example this was posted today: < Date: 6/7/98 3:16 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: BuonJorNo
>>Rgeatz said>"Poor Rick" is laughing all the way to the bank with profits from gullible readers and viewers who don't know he's dispensing inaccurate and cheesy travel information.

jif195replied: cheesy?<<

Yeah...CHEESY...as in tacky, icky, gooey, smelly...and of dubious quality.<<

Sorta Velvetta-like!>>
Jun 8th, 1998, 04:48 PM
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I haven't been on one of Rick's Through the Back Door tours, but I used his Italy 1997 book a lot last October. I thought his recommendations were pretty good and I liked his "tongue-and-cheek" style of wit. I stayed at the Hotel his tour groups stay at in Venice and was pleased.
Jun 9th, 1998, 03:18 AM
Mike Miller
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Toured England/Wales in 95 and 97. Stayed in a couple of Ricks recommended B&B's and was not disappointed nor surprised. He tells it like it is although I'm disappointed he did not include Cornwall in his guide.
Jun 14th, 1998, 07:47 PM
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I suggest you read some of the RS guidebooks and see if you like Rick Steves' style. Personally, I found them very aggravating, because he tries to tell you what you WILL like, not giving you a choice of what is available and leaving you to decide.
Jun 15th, 1998, 12:00 PM
Jen Z
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I realize I was the one looking for advice on ETBD tours for my parents, but I have to throw in a word of defense on behalf of his guidebooks! I've used them myself a few times, always found decent hotels and restaurants with them, and found his critique of sights always appropriate. Unlike other guidebooks that give lists and lists of sights to see, but never really tell you what's worth your time and what's not, Rick's lets you know exactly what's worth it. I often went to some sights that he did not recommend and found him to be exactly right about their unworthiness. Of course it depends on the traveller, but Ricky has never let me down!!! How is he cheesy? Personally I enjoy his travel philosophy, and wish more of the "Ugly Americans" he talks about would get their hands on his books. I LIKE the hotels he recommends with the bathroom down the hall and the dim lightbulb -- anyone who is actually concerned about whether the hotel has room service or a golf course nearby might just as well go to Hawaii and have done with it! Yes, Rick is making big bucks, but so are all the other tour companies and guidebook publishers -- that doesn't make him evil!!!
Jun 15th, 1998, 02:07 PM
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My wife and I went on a Rick Steve's Tour to Turkey 2 years ago. We loved it! His tours are different from the norm for a few reasons.
1. You carry your own luggage which are backpacks, not suitcases.
2. His tours tend to me more cultural, with an emphasis on meeting people and learning about art and history.
3. There is time for shopping but it is definately not a priority.
4. His hotel choices are not always comfortable. They are clean but don't expect air conditioning, large rooms,or the most up to date bathrooms.
5. You need to be in relatively good shape for all of the walking and general sight seeing.
6. His busses are full size but only 25 people can go on each trip. There is plenty of room to stretch out and feel comfortable.
7. There is truly NO tipping or any other additional
expense to his tours.
8. You will not be pampered! You will be treated very, very nicely but not like a "king or Queen"
9. You will be with people who want to be travelers and adventurers, not just tourists.
10. People of all ages sign up, so there is a nice mix of experiences and backgrounds.
11. The food is plentiful and authentic.
12. His tours fill up very fast. Good Luck!

Jun 15th, 1998, 03:52 PM
Posts: n/a
Nobody was a bigger fan of Ricks starting about 15
years ago. I saw all of his TV shows multiple times
and taped them all. He inspired me and taught me alot. Now, after 10 trips on my own, I find that his
itineraries are a bit touristy--and he is to blame.
Also, many of his original trips were dependent on
rail travel and somewhat narrow in scope. You do not
need to pay the premium for his bus tours---guess
what---you can learn from him and the internet and
do it yourself. That is the only satisfying way to
travel Europe---it just takes some good planning.

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