European expert Rick Steves offers timely travel advice

Rick Steves knows Europe. In fact, he is a walking, talking European encyclopedia. If it’s a European experience, he’s “been there, done that”.

Perhaps most widely known to the general public for his popular PBS travel show. Europe by Rick Steves, which takes visitors on an intimate journey through some of the world’s most historic cities. He is the author and author of best-selling guidebooks Travel as a political act. Steve’s is dedicated to providing all Americans with access to travel information and has made comprehensive resources freely available. Rick Steves’ Europe websitevia Rick Steves Audio Europe Application and inside Rick Steves Classroom Europe, a searchable database of short, instructive video clips. A poor light baker, Steves offers Valuable packing advice For those planning a trip to Europe or elsewhere.

In addition, he is the founder and owner of Rick Steves Europe, a travel business with a tourism program that brings more than 30,000 people to Europe annually. Steves works closely with many advocacy groups and donates to various non-profit organizations Bread for the world. She has funded $8 million to build two new neighborhood centers in her community and donated a 24-unit apartment building for homeless women and their children to her local YWCA. He lives in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington.

Steves recently talked about a trip to Europe.

From a security and economic standpoint, is now a good time for Americans to travel to Europe?

Except for two years of pandemics, I spent 100 days a year exploring Europe every year since the mid-1970s. For me, if I were to map security and the economy over the decades, it would be a straight line. When travelers in my generation were poor students, Europe was cheaper, but no easier to afford than it is today. Statistically, Europe is always safer than staying at home in America. It is simply a fact. If you are concerned about the welfare of your children from a violent crime or terrorism perspective, you will take them to Europe tomorrow. As for the economy, the dollar rises and falls against European currencies, and when our dollar falls I increase the budget focus (alternatives to hotels and restaurants are always there for people who need to save money). This year, with the dollar almost on par with the euro, Americans are finding prices to be very good.

What cost-saving tips can you offer travelers, including airfares, accommodations, dining, and travel around Europe?

I have two keys. First, arm yourself with good information and expect to travel smart. Second, travel as a temporary local. Stay in comfortable local-style mom & pop accommodations (family-run guesthouses, B&Bs, small simple hotels). Eat at low-rent places that thrive with local clientele. My trick to choosing a good restaurant is to find a place with a small, handwritten menu that’s only in one language. That means they cater to the curious locals, offer what’s seasonal and fresh at the market and cook what they can sell at a good price and still be profitable. On the doorstep, in a low-rent space filled with happy locals, it’s bound to be a winner. For international travel, I pay extra to have a professional travel agent find me the best value (not necessarily the cheapest) ticket.

Which parts of Europe are budget-friendly?

I said Portugal was cheap this year, but if your travel dreams take you to Scotland, Scotland is your best value. The best deals are found by traveling smart in the countries you really want to experience. A general rule for Europe: prices get better the further south and east you go. Ireland, Britain and Scandinavia are the most expensive. Spain, Greece and Turkey are the cheapest. But a smart traveler can, if necessary, enjoy Scandinavia at close to Spanish prices and still have a wonderful time. When considering “budget tricks,” remember that along with your money, your time is a limited and precious resource. Use your time wisely.

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