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14 replies
Rick Steves
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yadda yadda yadda…

So on my last trip to Europeland, what I noticed the most was hordes of Americans wearing white socks, white NBs, Beige shorts, and clutching the latest Rick Steves’ bible.

Is this the norm?

Adski

Cil
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hah
I wear white NBs (but mine are rather worn out, maybe I’ll buy a beige pair to match my khakis.) Wink
The only time we saw a lot of Rick Steves acolytes was last year in Bayeux, France.
The place where we stayed there was selling his book for 25 euros! I loved the Tapestry, but did not much care for Bayeux.
The Man in the Blue Shirt kinda bugs me the way he’s turned so many European destinations into crowded human petting zoos.
OTOH, the herds of Boomers who follow him mean well—and are they any worse than the herds of young backpackers clutching their Let’s Go’s?

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you jest Ms Cil,

I be from the Lonely Planet land Smile

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I wear brands made exclusively by child labor in third world sweatshops. The Situation models his look on me.

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LOL Don.
Ads I do jest—I actually prefer Let’s Go.
But I’ve probably used every kind of guidebook that’s out there, including Lonely Planet.

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NBs are good shoes but Nike Shox for me. My shorts are Walmart specials.
And what clothes aren’t made in by child labor?

Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, and end up getting charged double.

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I like to read the Rick Steves books for ideas, but I don’t follow all of his advice 100%. He’s got some good ideas, and information, but I read other guides as well. I have read the LP and LG books, and I really like the ones from Eyewitness Travel Guides the best. They’ve got comprehensive books about whole regions, and also small individual city guides with lots of info and pictures.

I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA, USA with $3000 for 21 days
Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London
I am traveling for 20 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich
I am leaving from LAX and traveling for 20 days
Madrid, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Gibraltar, Granada, Barcelona, Paris
I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA with $2800 for 23 days
Nottingham, Birmingham, Munich, Stuttgart, Bruges, Dublin, Copenhagen, Tallinn, London

“If you are living for tomorrow, you will always be a day behind” – Bill Hicks

jhnrbrts
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yeah better read the Rick Steves books for ideas

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“Eyewitness Travel Guides the best”? Really? Those white books with all the pictures? Really? I respectfully disagree. But hey, i think it’s all really a matter of how you intend to use your guidebook. If you want a snapshot overview that can offer you all the info needed to travel in the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method of traveling, there’s a guidebook for that. If you want the book to tell you exactly what to do, there’s a guidebook for that. I like a combination of both travel styles, with a definite lean toward making plans. For my planning, I navigate by LP, LG, Eyewitness (for the nice pics and the food spreads), Rick Steves, and whatever else I can get my hands on. For my actual traveling, I only carry Rick Steves, and I cautiously avoid the white-socked Uhmericken tourists toting his travel bible. I also avoid the avid young traveler clutching the super-hefty LP Europe, you know, the one that’s nearly 5 inches thick!

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“Whatever else I can get my hands on” works for me.
I like to make plans but be flexible.
We last traveled with Let’s Go France, but read a lot of other stuff beforehand.
The LG was fairly thick but not unbearable. Wink

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Quote:
“Whatever else I can get my hands on”
I’m more “Whatever’s in the clearance bin.”

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Rick Steve is not a bad guy. He’s got it right to discover certain places and give some ideas. What I don’t get is the paradox of portraying yourself as an independent, savvy traveler that gets to cool places out of the crowds and writes about than sell tourist packages with buses and wristband.

It is interesting, though, to prove the guy is influential: if you go to some off-the-beaten path places he suggests, you’ll usually find it flooded with Americans.

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Road travel – a lifetime lifestyle

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Quote:
if you go to some off-the-beaten path places he suggests, you’ll usually find it flooded with Americans.
While most of the places are new to the tour group and cruise crowd, many of them (Prague, Tallin, Brugges for the 3 that come to mind quickest) were already extremely popular with Europeans and becoming popular with North American independent travelers before Rick Steves “found” them.

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oldlady wrote:
While most of the places are new to the tour group and cruise crowd, many of them (Prague, Tallin, Brugges for the 3 that come to mind quickest) were already extremely popular with Europeans and becoming popular with North American independent travelers before Rick Steves “found” them.

Sure… I was thinking more of specific spots like a less known museum or building, not whole cities. But I guess this “it’s on a travel guide” effect is greater for small restaurants and small hotels he recommends, though I don’t patronize neither as I“m still a graduate student

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oldlady wrote:
Quote:
if you go to some off-the-beaten path places he suggests, you’ll usually find it flooded with Americans.
While most of the places are new to the tour group and cruise crowd, many of them were already extremely popular with Europeans and becoming popular with North American independent travelers before Rick Steves “found” them.

Exactly.
Steves is not a bad guy, but some of his “discoveries” almost become human petting zoos.
Cinque Terre comes to mind, also Civita di Bagnoregio.
Whenever I notice another Steves discovery (Carennac, France showed up in his 2004 guidebook) I sigh. And when I find a cool place to stay ( Hotel des Grandes Ecoles, 1994) and it later turns up in his guidebooks, I sigh.
I know this makes me a snotty elitist, so be it. Part of the problem is that when places become popular, their quality can be diluted and/or prices go up.
OTOH Steves’ opinions can be such that his acolytes really miss out. I don’t know whether or not he still suggests this, but I will never forget reading his admonition that there is nothing to see north of Inverness in Scotland. That is just not true.
But that’s the thing about guidebooks, they guide you, but nothing is mandatory.