Rick Steve's Tours - the food

Jan 23rd, 2011, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1
There are good things about the RS tours, but I've too often been put off by the kind of dining experiences on the tours that would never be touted on his TV shows. A big part of experiencing another county is blending into the kind of typical dining experiences there, but being herded to a table to sit (sometimes elbow to elbow at breakfasts) with your tour group and a very limited selection that's already been set up can be very annoying on an expensive tour you expect to echo the kind of travel philosophy Steves represents. It's not as if the food experience needs to be expensive to be satisfying and authentic - and I'd just as soon eat in more casual places that are more typical of the way locals actually dine rather than the more boring and isolated touristy situations often set up for the tours. Often, the arrangements for the meals have been made as part of a package with a hotel in order for them to get a good rate on the hotel - but it's one of the things that's made me hesitate to book with them again. I'm sure that's probably typical of all tour companies, but I'd much rather pay for just the transportation and accommodations part without their food arrangements - it would be great if tour companies would offer that choice.
WhirledTraveler is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:28 PM
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I would take a Rick Steves tour of Turkey in a heartbeat, I think it's a great idea. I do not view his company's arrangement style as being "trapped on a tour" like with the big bus companies, large groups of people, aggressive itineraries, out of the way hotels.
suze is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:55 PM
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I remember from his Europe Through The Back Door, he recommnded eating uneaten food left on trays found in cafeterias, complete with a picture of Rick doing so. (I do not know if it is contained in the most recent editions.)

We recently spent 3 weeks in Turkey and eating Turkish cuisine greatly enhanced our trip. We returned with a variety of spices to incorporate into our cooking. It is an underrated cuisine and should be appreciated as much as another aspect of Turkey.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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whirledtraveler, it appears you are talking about RS tours in particular, so don't assume what happened to you is true of every tour. I've taken a couple (one to Egypt and Turkey) and my experience wasn't like yours at all and it wasn't even some company touting how special it is nor charging so much more than avg. There are plenty of tours that don't include most of the meals where you just dine on your own the way you would if you were traveling alone. All the tours I've taken have been that way because I deliberately chose them. So if you want that, just look around, there are some like that.

And even the few times meals were included on the ones I took (due to logistics, usually, like we were out in the middle of nowhere, or probably breakfast) -- we were never "herded" around as a group, especially to breakfast. So that must be something unique to RS tours, also, which is very ironic. On the ones I took, you were told you could eat breakfast between certain hours, and you went to the breakfast room and did it like you would if you were just staying there. No one herded anyone around as a group. I think we had a card or ID to show or something so the server could mark it to the gruop instead of billing us.

So I appreciate your explaining how RS tours work (although I imagine others would color it differently), but don't assume that is true of every tour.
Christina is offline  
Dec 25th, 2012, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
To suec1 ( the writer of this post )..the bus system is fantastic and an easy and safe way to travel. Do not hire a car as driving can be chaotic in Turkey and don't take a tour in order to feel safe. I have never felt so safe as travelling through Turkey bu bus and around cities by foot. There are good small tour companies in key areas like Istanbul, Cappadocia and Gallipoli.
OperafanQld is offline  
Dec 25th, 2012, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,301
Does it have to be a Rick Steves tour? There are lots of other tour operators aimed at various budgets and interests.

If you fit the age demographic, look at Roads Scholar tours. They're excellent.
Underhill is offline  
Dec 25th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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This post is a year old, folks.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 01:12 AM
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No, the post is three and a half years old. They've probably been to Turkey by now!
Rubicund is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 03:07 AM
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No, the post is three and a half years old. They've probably been to Turkey by now!>>

they may even have come back!
annhig is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 04:54 AM
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The food must be stale by now, except for Turkish Twinkies.
Golemtoo is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 05:37 AM
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I guess they died of the supposedly "bad food" or perhaps it was from myopia.
Dukey1 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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The food is so damn good in Turkey, one of the more underappreciated cuisines, it is ashame, whether it was five years ago or now, to be ruined by Little Ricky.
Golemtoo is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 02:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,046
Here I am - the OP - I never did the Rick Steves tour! We ended up doing a cruise (oh the shame) that started in Athens and ended in Istanbul. So we saw some of the coastal parts of Turkey and ended with a few more days in Istanbul. It was wonderful and it would have been nice to have more land time in Turkey but we also got some glimpses of some of the Greek islands. My list for "maybe next time" keeps getting longer and longer.
suec1 is offline  

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