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Rick Steves Alternatives

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Oct 25th, 2015, 09:44 AM
  #1
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Rick Steves Alternatives

Does anyone have any good alternatives to Rick Steves when looking to watch travel videos to get a feel for various areas? We are finding him so dull, and quite frankly getting turned off every area he highlights - not because we're uninterested in traveling there, but because he makes it seem awfully boring to visit.

Any other tried and true travel vloggers that will actually inspire us? (We're looking at France, mostly, but were trying to explore some other Western Europe areas as well)
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Oct 25th, 2015, 09:52 AM
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Agree that Steeeves is fatal. He is rally aimed primarily at people who have never traveled before and spend a lot of time on 1) basics of international travel and 2) touting specific shopkeepers and restaurants (as if there are no cheese shops or whatever in the rest of the world).

I must admit that I don;t find any videos very useful. We use a lot of different guidebooks, some of them pictorial, since that does provide some perspective. But we really prefer the in-depth books with more background into on sight - and tripadvisor for hotel and restaurant info - as well as what we find ourselves form local recos on the ground.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 09:53 AM
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Rudy Maxa?
http://rudymaxa.com
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Oct 25th, 2015, 10:00 AM
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There are any number of interesting videos about Paris -- and of course a much bigger quantity of mind-numbing trash on YouTube.

I myself made a series of 15 little videos which explain absolutely nothing but which are basically mood pieces about the streets of Paris, usually far from the monuments (but not always).

Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3hU0hPqSEM
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Oct 25th, 2015, 10:14 AM
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I kind of like watching Rick Steves videos, but as a rabid non-drinker and a fussy eater, I am put off by the stress on wine, beer and other types of alcohol. I know I am in a minority, but I'm interested in the history, architecture and culture of these cities and countries, not in the food and drink.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 10:18 AM
  #6
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We enjoy watching Rick Steves aimlessly I suppose, but now that we are trying to decide which region of France to visit, finding him utterly useless - and yes, Peg, we LOVE wine and food but 10 minutes in EACH episode devoted to some type of winery is really a waste of time to watch.

The Amsterdam episode where 5 full minutes were spent debating which canal was best was the final straw for us.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 11:37 AM
  #7
 
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I don't mind Rick and I also like Rudy Maxa, Samantha Brown, and a British prof who did an interesting archeology program on Herculaneum & Paestum.Would you consider this? Watching an educational video on a place that interests you, such as a course on say architecture, or art? We did that last year before going to Pompeii...we watched a series of lectures on Roman architecture from Yale on You Tube. Very informative and increased our interest. So, for France, how about watching classes on Roman ruins in France, or whatever subject moves you.

Movies, and historical novels help, too.

The only problem is that you'll find more and more places you'll want to visit.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 12:44 PM
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Rick Stein. He's primarily a foodie/chef but works in a lot of information about each location.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Lonely Planet is another good travel series on TV. It airs on PBS round these parts. They do shows all over the world so it does not focus on Europe.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:01 PM
  #10
 
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I find Rick Steves's videos extremely helpful in getting a basic feel for what a place is like. I'm not interested in wine or specific shops, either, but I can ignore all of that. I use his videos only as a starting point, not as a way to try to plan anything - to me, that means reading and research, once I've decided an area looks appealing to me or not.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 03:04 PM
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have you seen this guy? https://www.youtube.com/user/woltersworld
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Oct 25th, 2015, 03:29 PM
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Kerouac, love your videos!
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Oct 25th, 2015, 04:01 PM
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Me too!
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Oct 25th, 2015, 06:55 PM
  #14
twk
 
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I really have to laugh every time I see Rick Steve's name come up on this board because I know there are going to be a bunch of post from folks belittling both Rick and folks who enjoy his books, or in this case, videos. It's regular as clockwork.

Rick has never claimed to be the authoritative guide on anything--his books are aimed a folks who have a certain amount of time and generally want to get good value for their money (as opposed to folks who think that spending money is part of the joy of travelling).

Personally, I think I wouldn't care for the guy if I ever met him in person, but anyone who thinks he doesn't provide useful information is just silly. Is he misguided and wrong at times? Yes, but so is every other travel source I have ever used. The trick to getting it right is to use multiple source, and glean the truly useful information from each.

I wouldn't say that I rely upon Rick to decide what areas I'm interested in seeing, but I do find his advice useful when it comes to what I can practically do on a given trip. For example, my next trip is to Switzerland, and as with a lot of places, Rick overhypes one place for some reason (in Switzerland, it's Gimmelwald; in Paris, it's Rue Cler, in Italy, it's Cinque Terre, etc.), but once you get past that, he has a lot of practical logistical suggestions that I'm using for my trip. I've gotten other ideas from the Eyewitness guide, from Rudy Maxa's videos, TripAdvisor, and other sources--even You Tube videos from ordinary travelers. You just have to cull through a bunch of sources and find what you like, and ignore the rest.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 07:11 PM
  #15
kja
 
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I must admit that I have never found value to ANY travel videos.

Even without any videos, my list of places I want to see in this world is SO long that I won't be able to see them all until I'm 105 -- and that's if I take a month-long trip every year until then. Not likely!!!

So the help I need is in how to pare things. For my purposes, I turn to guidebooks: For inspiration and high quality photographs, I check Eyewitness or Insight or National Geographic Traveller. I check Fodor's or Frommer's or the Michelin Green Guide for prioritizing my options. I usek the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet to get nitty gritty details.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 07:23 PM
  #16
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Thanks to those who provided some alternatives! We like videos, obviously, but it's fine that some of you don't. It's also fine that some people like him, his books etc. Just wanted some other video suggestions as on a chilly, rainy weekend it's fun to watch together to get some ideas before delving into guidebooks and the like.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 07:44 PM
  #17
 
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I've been watching a PBS series, I'll Have What Phil's Having. It's interesting and very funny... mostly related to food experiences. He takes such great joy in his experiences. I really love this show.

There have been episodes set in Florence/Umbria and also Paris. Barcelona is tomorrow. (Also Toyko and Hong Kong.)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/what-phils-having/

Kathy
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Oct 25th, 2015, 08:31 PM
  #18
 
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I like the PBS series, "Globetrekker" and the host, Brianna Barnes.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 10:11 PM
  #19
 
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I'm with Cathinjoetown: I loved Rick Stein's French Odyssey. For countries other than France, BBC2 did a series called "Italy Unpacked" hosted by chef Giorgio Locatelli and art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon. It was a lovely travelogue, a combination of food and cultural/historical immersion.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 03:40 AM
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Thanks KathyWood! Had somehow missed that PBS Show but I'll watch tonite as he is in Barcelona - a fabulous city!
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