Which Rick Steves books?

Old Oct 18th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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If you're looking for itineraries also check out Fodors and Cadogan guides. fodors has had some iteneraries that I used in Germany for a specific amount of days. I modified it but it worked. I find RS to be simplistic and his maps awful. I enjoy his tv shows though.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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I'd second the suggestion on not doing so many "countries".

FIRST...Lay out an itinerary of where you want to go, for how long, the travel time to get there, and add in the "administrative time" i.e. the flight from Paris to Vienna may be 1 hr, but it will take 1 hr to get to airport, 1 hr to get to new hotel,etc...Similarly, the first day in Europe is a bit of a loss because of jet lag, and the last day is partly used up getting to airport early.

Once you've put this on paper, decide if you want to be packing up every 2-3 days to go to a new spot, and look at how much time is spent doing "admin" and not "seeing". And...is there time to just relax in this plan, or is it a 9Am, 11AM,etc...kind of trip.

Some people thrive on that, others want to be able to say they "spent time in..." versus "saw..."
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:49 PM
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Wow, so many responses in such a short period of time. I'm glad to see this board is active.

I want to do Paris, Florence, Rome, maybe Venice, Lucerne and Saltzburg.

I've looked into tour groups and they cover this same area in two weeks so I thought I could do it on my own. I just don't think I would care to be stuck with the group all the time.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Of course you can do it on your own. Just don't use Rick Steves' books or you might as well be on a booked tour eating at crappy restaurants and staying at crappy hotels. Rick doesn't exactly have good taste and as much time as he's spent in EUrope he hasn't exactly found the best value for the money.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 09:31 PM
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Connie - you just don't have time for that many locations that far apart in 2 weeks. Honest.

Sure a guided tour can hit 6 countries in 12 days - but you need to understand how those sorts of tours work.

Read the tour description. It says something like "see Notre Dame". Translation of "tour speak" is you will see it from the outside, and probably from your seat inside the bus. "See" means view - often from a moving bus. "Visit" means getting off the bus and going inside.

In order to make that many stops in a 2 week trip you will 1) have your luggage outside in the hall at 6 a.m. nearly every day 2) be on the bus by 8 a.m.. 3) have a lunch break at a tourist trap at the side of a highway, 4) check in at the next city at dinner time, and repeat the whole thing the next day or two.

The main difference doing it on your own is that you have to handle your own luggage and you can sleep in a bit longer. And instead of seeing mainly the inside of a tour coach for hours on end - you will see the insides of train stations and railway cars.

There are good tours - but they aren't of the 7 countries in 2 weeks variety.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 09:50 PM
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i agree that is a lot of ground to cover in two weeks. i say cut two countries and soak up the local culture and enjoy!

I have used Rick Steves books in the past and enjoy them. I also check with frommers and fodors too. rick has some interesting itineraries to follow with amusing commentaries on walking tours and museum 'express' visits that get you to the main points without getting overwhelmed. His revies of hotels and things to do and see are usually right on.

I would purchase a general book that covers one country, specifics can be found within. everything else you can glean from blogs such as this or research on the internet or from the TI in each specific city.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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Thanks for all your responses. The reason I posted here was to find out how to start planning an itenerary.

Now I knowI have to decide if I want to see a lot but be stuck in a group or just choose a region and really enjoy it. I always worry I'll never get back and won't have a chance to see everything I want to see.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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<stuck in a group or just choose a region and really enjoy it>

Connie, those are NOT your only two choices!! I've been to Europe a number of times, most trips solo.

With two weeks you could:
Fly into Paris, spend 5 days there
Train to Lausanne or Geneva (~5 hrs), & spend 3 days in the Lac Leman area a town such as Vevey or Montreux. Next take an overnight train to Venice, spend 4 days there. Fly home from Venice.

That's 12 days allowing 2 days arrival & departure, a reasonably paced trip, that would be fairly easy to plan on your own, and gives you a peak at 3 of the 4 countries you mention.

Everyone has their own methods, but the above thought-process is exactly how *I* plan my trips.

all the best, suze

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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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You can get Rick Steves and other guidebooks from the library. Nobody's mentioned the green Michelin guides. They rate sights also, so help you prioritize.

You're going to have to do some heavy thinking about which destinations are the most important to you. Assume you will return. And don't forget to allow time to recover from jetlag when tyou first arrive.

Have you looked at Rick Steves' tours? Maybe one of them will suit you. The groups are smaller, and I don't think they're quite so superficial as the big companies.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Anyone who can make Carcassone seem worth visiting (see his website) loses all credibility with me.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 09:27 AM
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What I liked about the Rick Steves books on my first trip to Europe was the do it yourself walking tours of various areas of a city and the guides for museums and other major tourist sites.

They're not as in depth or academically inclined as some other guides I've seen, but I found them handy in pointing out the highlights.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Someone gave us Rick Steve's Spain. Here is an example of why he should not be used. He claims to know sonething about art but calls Velazquez the photojournalist of the Spanish Court. Photojournalism is its own skilled vocation but Velazquez is one the true masters of craft and imagination of art. This totally demonstrates a total lack of understanding of Spanish and fine art.

This is not a transgression for the average person but for someone who claims to be an expert is just plain lazy and uneducated.

And yes, the Michelin Greens are excellent.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 04:39 PM
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For Italy, we bought R.S., Fodors, & Dummies. We liked them all. Also found that each of them had useful info the others did not have - so each had their value. I wouldn't settle for just 1 travel book.

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