-Hi, I’m Rick Steves.In this special program, I’ll share practical money-savingexperience enhancing lessons I’ve learned from a lifetime of travel. In this talk, I’ll share tips and trickson stretching your travel dollar, avoiding crowds, eating and sleeping well,packing smart and much more. After spending a third of my adult life living out of a carry-on-the-airplane-sizedbag in Europe, I know exactly how you can enjoymaximum travel thrills for every mile, minute and dollar on your next vacation. Thanks so much for joining us. [music] -Ladies and Gentlemen, Rick Steves. [applause] -Thank you. Thank you. I have a sensewe have some eager travelers here. What I’m so excited about is sharing with you the lessons I’ve learnedfrom a lifetime of traveling through Europe. How many of you have been to Europe before?Let me see a show of hands here. Well-traveled crowd and you’re herefor learning more information. Who’s got a trip coming up,they’re planning for in the next 10 or 15 years?Anybody? [laughter] -Two weeks.-Two weeks? All right. I’ve learned so much that you can learnfrom other people’s experiences and have a much better trip. Now, I’ve spent a good part of my life,I would say a third of my adult life, four months a year since I was a kid,living out of a small bag, hanging out with other people,experiencing Europe. Right from the start, it occurred to methat I just love European travel and I love also teaching it. What I’m excited about today is sharing with you the fundamental skillsso you can do this yourself. In my TV shows, I have an ethicwhere we never film anything that our viewers can’t do themselves. I just love the thoughtthat anybody can travel this way if they can just expect themselvesto be traveling smart. Now, I’m in Europe for four monthsout of the year, every year, for the last 30 years. April and May in the Mediterranean,then I go home in June and then I go back July and August,North of the Alps. It just makes sense when you’re traveling,to think about the climate, think about the crowds.If you’re in the Mediterranean, it’s very hot and crowded in the summer,do it in the spring or fall. If you’re going North of the Alps,Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland, frankly, I want crowds. You want crowds there, you want good weather,you want long days. I would go in July and August. Now, when I’m in Europe,I’m out there most of the time on my own, unless I’m filming or leading one of our tours.Usually, I’m on my own researching and my whole idea is to make mistakes. Take careful notes,learn from those mistakes. When I get ripped off, I celebrate[chuckles] because they don’t know who they just ripped off.I’m going to learn that scam. [laughter]I’m going to take it home and tell everybody about it. I just think it’s so importantbecause of your trip is important. It’s a huge investment of time and money.
It’s a huge investment of time and money. You can go over there tomorrowwithout any planning and have a reasonable time,but you can have the trip of a lifetime. We’ve been working really hard.We’ve written guide books in Europe and so on, but, today, what I want to dois to still the lessons of a lifetime of travelling in Europe into one packed hour,with all sorts of practical skills. You can learn from my experienceand enjoy maximum travel thrills for every mile, minute and dollaron your next vacation. Thank you so much for being here. Our talk is going to cover trip planning, packing, safety, communication, transportation, eating, sleepingand, very important, avoiding crowds. Right off the bat,something really important is planning. The more you plan, the better you’re going use your timeover there. Planning is a fun dimensionof the whole experience. Get into the mood of your trip ahead of time. Recreational reading,recreational movie going, going to their friends.Anybody who’s been to Europe loves to show their photographs.You’re a chance for them to show off. Learn from people and think aboutthe style of trip you want to have. I’ve learned there are some very fundamental elements of travelthat carbonate the experience, most importantly, people. If you’re not meeting people in your travels,it’s going to be a flat kind of experience. You’re going to see cultural cliches on stage, you’re going to go to dead buildingsand you’re going back to the hotel and wonder, “Is there good Wifi?” You’ve got to just get out thereand meet the people. When I’m leading a tour, making a TV show, researching a guidebookor even on my own vacation, I mark the quality of the experiencesI’m putting together by how many real people are my travelers meeting. When I’m in Spain, in a little bar or cafe, I’ll sit right up at the bar and meet this guy. He’ll speak Englishand he’ll be eager to explain to me what’s in that plate of peppers. This is Pimiento de Padronand in Spain, it’s like Russian Roulette for your taste buds.One of them is very hot. [laughter] If you don’t talk to the people,you don’t know what’s going on. Experiences, that’s the other thing.I’ve noticed these days when we’re selling toursand selling guidebooks and so on, people are looking for experiences.They’ve seen the buildings. They want to roll up their sleevesand get their fingers dirty in that local culture. You can do that too, but your attitude has to beif something comes to you as an experience even if it’s out of your comfort zone,the answer is yes. Would you like some Escargot? What’s the answer?-Yes. -At least one.[laughter] -As a tour guide,I’m [chuckles] just doing a lousy job if I have a group in France and everybody doesn’t tryat least one Escargot. Here we have a dozen of Escargot.You got a family of four? Don’t make everybody eat a whole plate.But buy a plate and let’s all try it. You’d be surprisedhow many things you will enjoy
You’d be surprisedhow many things you will enjoy that you didn’t think you would enjoy. There are experiences all over the placethat really distinguish a good trip. The other thing that’s importantis where are you going to go? You’re going to the famous places,that’s fine. But find the placesthat have no promotional budgets. Places that are just going throughanother century. There are amazing hill towns.I just love the hill towns in Italy. This place is called Civita de Bagnoregio.Can you imagine walking up that donkey path? Oh, my goodness, it just never gets old. All over Europe you can find these placesthat are somehow keeping their heads above the flood of the 20th Centuryand that’s your challenge when you do your planning.Don’t just go to the most promoted places. Find places that have missed the modern boat. When we look at a town like this-this is in the Cinque Terre, my favorite town and my favorite stretchof the Italian Riviera, Vernazza. When we look at this town, I want you to recognizethere’s no modern buildings there, right? It’s a national park.Nobody is allowed to change any of their buildings. This is pure old-world Italy. When you go there, you’re going to findthat there are no comfortable hotels. This is very good news because it keeps away the most obnoxious sliceof the travelling public. People who insist on comfortable hotels. They’re over in Portofinocomplaining about traffic jams and bad prices and mean service,while you’re here surrounded by vineyards, gazing out at the twinkling Mediterranean,enjoying wine that was made right there, outside of the village. If you can put up with the funkylittle bed-and-breakfast here, you’ve got Italy in your laps. This is fundamental.This is what I call going through the back door. I’ve showed you some little towns and little towns can fall through the cracksand be exciting and you want to weave those into your itineraries. Of course, you need to seethe big famous things too. If all I had to talk about was the Acropolis,I’d really have no business gathering us all together today.We know to see that. I would recommendwhen you go to a place like the Acropolis, you should anticipate crowds. How you are going to enjoy itwithout the crowds? When I look at this slide,it comes with a soundtrack because it seemswhenever I go to the Acropolis, I hear the whistle of the guard saying, “Monsieur, Monsieur or Mister,get away we’re closed now, you have to go.” I’m the last one on that hill. There’s nobody there but meand the wonders of the Parthenon and vast views of Athens and the setting sun. That’s a great experience.There are no crowds when you come early or when you go late. Also, you’re going to see famous siteslike the windmills and the wooden shoes,of course, when you go to Holland. When you go thereunderstand what’s it all about. Everybody’s going to see a windmill.Climb up that windmill and feel the oak beams creaking as the wind turn those sails and then check out that Archimedes’ screwin the foreground. Imagine centuries ago the innovation,when the Dutch people harnessed the wind to turn the Archimedes’ screw
download european roulette game free to turn the Archimedes’ screw
to turn the Archimedes’ screw to pump the water from the lowlandsover the dyke and reclaim that landand create their country. You see?You don’t need to be a scholar, but little bit of information helps you really get excitedabout what you’re looking at. Now, I’ve showed you little towns. I want to remind you there’s a lot of big townsthat are very touristy and you’re going to go to thembecause you got to go to Salzburg when you’re in Austria. Don’t go to touristy placesand complain about the tourist crowds. [laughter]Go to touristy places and celebrate the touristiness out of it.It’s fun. I love Salzburg.It’s Mozart town, it’s Julie Andrews, it’s Sound of Music, but so many people go to Salzburg, complain about the crowds and the next morning,they sign up on the Sound of Music bus tour. [laughter] They’re going to be rollingthrough the foothills of the Alps with 40 Japanese and American touristssinging Do I Dare, complaining about the tourist crowds.You put yourself into the most touristy possible thingand you wonder why it’s touristy. We are tourists. We want to do the lonely goatherdwhen we’re there, right? Do that, have fun,but complement that touristy experience with something just two hours away.Go South into the mountains, find a cute little village, bullied onto a ledgebetween a mountain and a lake and commune with nature with local Austrians. This happens to be a town called Hallstatt.I just absolutely love Hallstatt. Big cities with great art and lots of culture and lots of sightseeing.They’re going to be crowded and touristy. We don’t veto itjust because it’s got tourist crowds but we think of enjoying itin a way that minimizes those tourist crowds. Toledo, a great example. Toledo is the historic spiritualand artistic capital of Spain. The modern capital is Madridabout an hour to the North. When you go to Toledo in the middle of the day,it’s going to be mobbed with tourists. But at night the tourists retreat one hour north to the predictable plumbingof their high-rise hotels. The locals have made their money,they push their postcard racks away and they come out very relaxedready to do their paseo thing. El Greco would recognizehis hometown of Toledo after dark. What we want to do is be there after dark. Be there early, be there late. Plan your sightseeingso when you’re in touristy areas avoid that ten o’clock to four o’clocktour group mob time. Okay?That’s when the cruise groups come in, that’s when the big bus groups come inand so on all over Europe. We can find touristy places are all oursif we get up early and stay out late. They’re just much more atmospheric that way.If you go to Germany, I’m sure you’re going to goto Rothenburg under Talbert. It’s the best medieval walled town in Germany. During the middle of the daymobbed with tour groups coming in from Frankfurt and Munich. Probably the greatest concentrationof tourists anywhere, shopping those cobbled lanesin cute little Rothenburg.
shopping those cobbled lanesin cute little Rothenburg. At night they’re back in the big cities, the local people are out and relaxed. The ramparts are floodlit and it’s youwith this delightful little remnant of feudal Germany.Spend the night and be out and about. Venice, another good example. Venice is mobbed with tourists. In fact, one reason I think Venice is sinkingbecause it just wasn’t built to support all those tourist crowds. I would say the vast majorityof the tourists in Venice, which by the way it’s just a small townof 60,000 people inundated with far more tourists every day.It’s rush hour. They come in and they go out.In the morning the boats coming in are packed with touristsand the boats going out are empty. At night it flip-flops.Everybody’s going out. The tour groups stay on the mainland. 10 miles inland where tour organizers can get cheaper hotels, where they’re all cookie cutter-squareand modern so there’s no complaints. Where they’re stuck in the middle of nowhere so the tour can sell youthe optional sightseeing tour to get into Venice.Do you see what I mean? Everything encourages tour organizersto not pay extra for funky hotels where the elevators don’t work in downtown because it costs too much,they get more complaints and people can step out the door and be in Venice without having to pay extrafor the guided tour. Do you see what I meanif you’re on an organized tour? Read the tourist information. They’re going to sayyou’re going to sleep in the Venice area. That could be halfway to Bologna.[laughter] I’m a sucker for the old medieval stuff. I love it. I can see half-timbered villagesand thatched roofs and ruined castles [?] a great time. But I am mindful of the fact that Germany is not sitting on a stump wearing lederhosenand yodeling. Much as I’d like it to be, Germany is a no-nonsense,lean and mean business machine. It’s the size of Montanawith it roughly one-quarter of our population and one-quarterof our gross national product. It is a lean and mean business machine and we owe it to ourselvesto go to a no-nonsense German city, just to feel the pulseof today’s urban Germany. This is Berlin. Berlin is an amazing city.It’s the most changed city in Europe. A generation agoif you walked across this street, they would shoot youbecause that was the Berlin Wall. Today there’s no hint of the Berlin Wall.Just a pipe in the pavement and an American tourist going,”Hey, I’m in the East and the West at the same time.Where’s Checkpoint Charlie?” That’s fun.But today’s Germany is looking forward. We owe it to ourselves, especially with all the challengeswe have today in our country to see how other societiesare organizing their urban world. It’s quite inspirational. When we plan our itineraryand this is really fun, you’ve got optionsand it’s really important for you to be engaged and proactiveand not just going to the clichés. Here’s a good example. A lot of people,when they’re thinking about Germany, they want to go to castles. If you think Germany castles, what river comes to mind?-The Rhine. -The Rhine, okay? The Rhine River,it’s got all those famous castles. Your image of the Rhine on the other handI think is the little sister of the Rhine, the Mosel, M-O-S-E-L.This is the Mosel here. It’s winding.It’s got vineyards. It’s got half-timbered villages.It’s got ruined castles galore. It doesn’t have all the trafficand the noise and the industry. The Rhine is exciting, but it’s muscular. If you want a sleepy,little laid-back version of the Rhine, the Mosel. It’s not as highly promoted as the Rhine.It’s worth knowing about. On the Mosel, you will find my favorite castleanywhere in Germany Burg Eltz, E-L-T-Z. Now, when we look at Burg Eltz, we’re looking at feudalism. 700 years old, built when Germany, the size of Montana, was 200 or 300 independent little,petty fiefdoms, dukedoms, kingdoms and so on.Each with its own pride, its own dialect, its own weights and measures,its own wall and curfews. There’s so much diversity in feudal Europeand so much quirky history to see. We need to understand what feudalism isbefore we go to this castle. If you step into that castleand know just the basics of feudalism this castle will bea much more interesting experience. Happens to be the best castle interioranywhere in Germany. This castle is an altogether different sliceof the German story of castle architecture and so on. This is romantic, built in the late 1900s. For four or five tripsI remember going to Neuschwanstein popularly known as Mad Ludwig’s Castle, thinking it’s medieval. It’s pointy. [laughter] I really thought anything that was pointywas medieval and then I realized that the pointiest stuffis actually faux-medieval, over-the-top medieval, neo-medieval.Have you heard neo-gothic neo-Romanesque and so on? That’s all from the late 1800s. If you think aboutthe pointiest stuff in Europe. The pointy church on the main square in Prague. You, guys, have been there. The pointy castle in Segovia. The pointy House of Parliament and Big Ben. The pointy skyline in Bruges. Of course the pointy castleof Mad King Ludwig in Bavaria. They’re all made in the same generation and that’s the same generationas the Eiffel Tower. There is an examplethat’s called Romanticism. Romanticism is a romantic responseto the intellectual movement of the revolutionary age,the French Revolution and so on. I’m just reminding you,you don’t need to be a scholar, but if you know what romanticism is,a third of your sightseeing takes on meaning. I speak from experience.I didn’t know about that for a decade and I missed all sorts of understanding.Before your trip get a handle on this stuff. One of my favorite kinds of castlesis a ruined castle. Here with a little imagination,you’re under attack thousand years ago in Portugal. There are ruined castlesrotting away unnoticed all over Europe from Finland to Portugal to Israel. Our challenge is to find these things. I do want to remind youthat free things are not promoted. We’re all in the business.It’s tourism, they want our money. We’re consumers. Any information that comes to youis coming to you with an agenda. They want to sell you that stuff something that’s just free on a hilltopis going to be ignored from an advertising point of view. You owe it to your vacationto give the free things a fair consideration as well as the paid commercial ventures. When you walk down the main streetin Amsterdam, you’ll come to somethingthat looks like a tourist information office. It’s not. It’s a box officeselling highly commissionable, tacky commercial venturesas if they’re important museums. The clueless naive hen party, stag party, business travelerin Amsterdam for two days walk down Damrak, they’re going to see this sign and go,”Here’s the things we got to do, dear. We’re going to go to the Madame Tussauds. We’re going to go to the Body Works,the ice bar, the torture dungeon and the Heineken beer experience.We’ve seen Amsterdam.” Well, that’s fun stuff,but it’s quite expensive and you’re missing Anne Frank.Where’s van Gogh? Where’s Rembrandt?Where’s the Rijksmuseum? Where is the Houseboat museum?There is so much else to see that our highbrow national museums that don’t havethese gimmicky promotional budgets. In your hotel lobbyall those little flyers you see, it’s worth looking at them. They pay good money to get therein order for you to go there because they want to make money off of you. You are consumers.They want your money. You got to have a little screenas information comes at you. Is this really what I want to do on my vacation or is this being effectively advertisedbecause it’s quite profitable? When you are traveling,for us to step into these amazing buildings and be properly wowed by them is so exciting. I know, as a tour guide for 25 years,I was bringing people to these great sites. How much you bring with youdetermines how much you get out of it. You can step into the Saint Peter’s Basilica,the greatest Church on earth, and you can just kind of go, “Yes, it’s big.” or like I used to go, “This is disgusting.Who paid for all this stuff?” [laughter] Park your Protestant sword at the door.[laughter] -If you’re not a Roman Catholic become oneas you step into Saint Peter’s Basilica. [chuckles] It’s a much nicer experience. As a good Lutheran I can tell you, it doesn’t work to be a Lutheranin Saint Peter’s, okay? You get into Saint Peter’sor you get into any great thing and you’re surrounded by artand symbolism and meaning. You go to Saint Peter’s Basilica,you see this guy with a bushy beard and a big key. Everywhere there’s a guywith a bushy beard and a big key. That’s how we know Saint Peter. He has the keys to heavenand he’s identified by a big bushy beard. It’s amazing to mehow many people don’t know that. Who’s this guy with the bushy beard?There’s another guy. He’s got a big key and a bushy beard. Understand and then you look up aboveand you see in the mosaic, “You are Peter and upon this rock, I will build my church.” Why is the Bishop of Rome the Pope? It’s because Saint Peter was martyred there.It was a Roman chariot racecourse long before there was a church there. His followers took him up to a little cemetery,buried him there. 300 years later the Roman Emperor becomes Christianand they can build a big Church around it and worship in the openand that was the beginning of the Pope and Saint Peter’s and the Vatican. It’s excitingwhen you know a little bit about that. As a tour guide and a travel teacher,it’s really fun to have smart peoplesteep on the learning curve. You don’t need to get a lotout of your sightseeing, but a lot of people are wondering about,”Give me a budget tip.” Here’s a budget tip. Know more about what you’re going to see and it’s going to be twice as rewardingwhen you pay to see it. When we look at this, do you know about this,the famous aqueduct in Southern France? It’s not really an aqueduct. It’s the most scenic bridgein a 30 mile long aqueduct, built 1,800 years ago by the Romans,engineered so that water would flow using gravity instead of the sweat of peasantsinto the great city of Nimes. Engineered so the water drops one inchevery 100 yards for 30 miles. Wow. There’s a little tiny square Riveron the top of that, that goes 30 miles. Can you imagine after viewing this, go to Nimes and look at the endof this 30-mile long structure. Imagine the jubilation on that daywhen water gushes into Nimes. We got beat by Rome, that was a drag,but now we’re on the winning team, we got running water.[laughter] We got stability.We got roads. Try to get a sense of what you’re looking at. Humanize it. When you go to Nimes, where that aqueduct ends,you can see the distribution well. Where the water gushes in, you can actually seea little bit of economic justice, social justice. You can see the lowest pipeswhen there was not a lot of water would go to power the life-giving wellsfor the neighborhoods. The higher pipes,when there is an abundance of water, would go to power the decorative fountainsin rich people’s courtyards. That’s a dimension to thatthat makes it quite a lot more real. There’s that realism all over the placeas we travel thoughtfully. As sightseers, as tourists,we need to know what our options are. You’re going to see all the famous stuff,of course, but if you want to see human bonesyou got to do a little studying. A lot of people want to see human bones,they go to the catacombs in Rome. No bones in the catacombs of Rome.You messed up. You got another word ‘Capuchin’. The Capuchin monks buried their dead brothersand 100 years later the flesh is all gone it’s just the bonesand then they decorate with the bones. You can go into their cryptand see all these decorative bone works by the Capuchins. Whatever you’re interested in,do your studying. If you’re really into French friesthere’s a museum for you. If you’re really into the Olympicsthere’s an amazing museum. I was just at in Lausanne in Switzerland. If you’re into marijuanathere’s a good museum for you. If you’re into the Beatles,if you’re into leprosy, you go to Bergenand you have a fascination with leprosy and you leave Bergen without knowingDr. Hanson’s Hospital was right there. It’s an amazing thing. What about art done by people who were locked up because they were consideredcriminally insane? It’s a fascinating museum. You’ll see that, if you know where to lookas you’re traveling around Switzerland. Do your studying and make sure you knowwhat are the odd quirky museums that are top quality,but with a very narrow market. We’ve all got these interests some of themthat we don’t even tell our friends about. You can see museums about this stuffin your travels. Another trick I think very importantis find a way to become a temporary local in so many ways. Imagine a tailgate party hereoutside of the stadium. How Americana, that is,if you were a European tourist. You can do the same thing in Europe.Go to a soccer game. To go to a soccer game,you really feel the energy of it. I was in Ireland, I went to a hurling match and it was enthusiastic.Hurling, it’s a rough, fast game.It’s like airborne hockey with no injury timeouts.[laughter] I learned a lot of new ways to swearwith an Irish accent at that hurling match. You can find plenty of waysto connect with the locals by doing things that locals do. The obvious thing is the evening stroll. In Spain, it’s the paseo.In Italy, it’s the passeggiata. I asked when I check into a hotel,”Where do people stroll in the evening? I want to be there.” Take a siesta if you have to,but be out strolling. That’s where you feelthe pulse of the local community. In these cute little Italian towns, the old men,they’ve been strolling together for 40 years ever since they got out of school.It’s called the lapse, the vasca. They go from the parking lot down to the beach, seeing all their friends, gossiping and so on and back up to the parking lotdoing their laps. It’s just every tourist is welcome.That’s where it’s happening. You go to the main square in Salamanca.It’s the greatest scene in Spain, the paseo. Early in the evening,all the boys are going counterclockwise, all the girls are going clockwise, the old ladies, who can’t walk so well anymore,they’re up in the windows looking down just disgusted at how trashy the girlsare dressing this year. There’s so much going on in the streetsif you’re there to enjoy it. If you’d rather just sit and have a drinkand watch the parade you can do that. That’s the aperitivo. This is the most expensive squarein Siena, Il Campo. I’ll never forget spending 45 minutes hereafter busy day of sightseeing. I’m not a happy hour kind of person normally,but when I’m travelling I like to enjoy the scene. Spend too much for a cup of coffee or a drink because you’re right therein the best real estate around and watch the parade of life go by. This is €11 for two cocktailsand it comes with munchies. It’s about a dollar, a euro or so.A euro’s roughly $1.20. I like to just think of it as a dollar, a euro. It makes it more fun. I get home-[laughter] everything costs me 20% more than I thought,but I really had a good time until then. Roughly a dollar, a euro.€12, $6 per drink and I get this great show. That’s good travel. Be a cultural chameleon. I’m really into this.I love to just morph from one country to the next.I don’t ever think chocolate is to die for, unless I’m in Belgium. [laughter]Then chocolate is to die for. I go to the finest chocolatiersand I talk to people and I savor it. I have never gone home in Seattle where I liveafter a long day of work and thought, I feel like a nice glass of Ouzo. [laughter]It’s inconceivable, but every day when I’m in Greeceon the Greek Islands, after a long day, the sun’s going down,I want an Ouzo. I just need an Ouzo. Pour the water, the beautiful cloudiness,your little munchies and you’re part of the scene. When I’m in Prague the best beer in Europeif you like a Pilsner and you just enjoy the beer scene in Prague. If I’m in Belgium for a beerI want that milkshaky monk-made beer. When I’m in Tuscany I want a good full-bodied, it’s one of the few Italian words I know [?] vino rosso, a full-bodied red wine. Tea makes no sense at all to me. I don’t know when the last time I had teain this hemisphere was, but when I’m in England, a spot of tea. Yes.Bob’s your uncle. [laughter] -Become a temporary local. We have some exciting natural wondershere in the United States, but the great thingabout Europe’s natural wonders is they are so accessible. It’s an important part of your travels.She looks pretty rugged, but she’s not. She rode the lift up for breakfast. I’m standing on the edge ofa revolving restaurant to take this photograph filled with women in high-heeled shoeswho just rode the lift up for the beautiful view. Anybody can get to the top of the Alpsand then you can walk along the ridge. That is so accessible.Ride the lift up, have breakfast and then you can hike or frolicall the way across the Alps. Can you imagine tight-roping on a ridge? Actually tight-roping on a ridgefor three hours. You didn’t get sweaty.You rode the lift up and it’s level. On one side you got lakestretching all the way to Germany. On the other side you got the most incredibleAlpine panorama anywhere. The Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and ahead you hear the long legato tonesof an outpouring announcing that the helicopter stockedmountain hut is open it’s just around the cornerand the coffee schnapps is on. [laughter] That’s good travel.Anybody can have it. You don’t even need to be a serious hiker. Do your studying, get up early, it’s nice and crispand clear usually in the morning before it clouds up in the afternoon. As you are enjoying nature,you find plenty of ways to eat and sleep up there. You’ll come to mountain huts.Wherever there are mountains there are mountain huts. This place happens to bein the most traditional part of Switzerland, Appenzell. It’s specifically Ebenalp, E-B-E-N-A-L-P. Don’t need to write it down. You can get a guidebook that covers all of that.That’s what guidebooks are for. I love this place.It’s one of my favorite listings in my Switzerland guidebook.When somebody has that information, they know that this placeis run by Benny and Claudia. They know you can go milk the goatswith the kids before dinner. They know that after dinner the Swiss hikerslove to teach the American hikers how to play the spoons and yodel. They brought their piano in by helicopter. Don’t forget to check out the guestbook,because German hikers and Swiss hikers have been doodling it since the 1960s. It’s just a beautiful experience.It’s cheap, it’s just rainwater.You’re not going to get much of a shower, but you’re experiencing Switzerland. You see, you can have those experiences.You need good information. That’s critical. If you’re basing your trip on a borrowed copyof some guidebook five years old, you save $20 on the guidebook, but you don’t have up-to-date information.You won’t know when you’re in Rome,at the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the building everybody loves to hatebecause it’s a relatively modern monstrosity on top of precious antiquities,that you can ride an elevator that’s been retrofitted in the back of itup to the top and for $10you can enjoy the greatest view in Rome. 360 degrees looking down on the Forum and you don’t have to look atthe building you’re standing on. [laughter] I show this slide because I want to remind youit’s fun to sort through your limited time, your unlimited interestsand come up with a smart itinerary. It’s beyond the scope of this talk,but if you look at this you can see here is a good exampleof an aggressive three-week look at the best of Europe. This is what I consider the best 3,000 milesin three weeks in Europe. It’s open jaws, that means flying into one cityand out of another city. A lot of people just think you got to flyin and out of the same city. It’s been 10 yearssince I flew in and out of the same city. Start in one spot and leave from the other spot. You don’t need to waste time and moneygetting back to where you started. You’re starting mildand working into more challenging areas. Don’t start in Italy.Start in Holland and then Germanyand then you work your way into Italy. It finishes with a finale in Pariswhich makes a lot of sense. You’ll notice the numbers on there.That’s how many nights you’d spend in each stop. Of course, this is fast travel.Some people would scoff at that and say you’ve got to stay at least four days,but you got three weeks and you want to see it all and this is the best maximum speed tripthat I could design. I would highly adviseone-night stands. Minimize one-night stands.That’s where you get frenzied and it just becomes a chore. Two nights in a row, that’s the minimumand you’ll see on this itinerary it’s mostly two nights in a row. Heavy on Italy,because Italy is my favorite country. You could do that in three weeks if you wanted to. You got to decide.Are you going to take a tour or are you going to go on your own? No right or wrong answer.For some people tours are great and for some people they should go on their own. Remember, many people take a tour because they are toldthey can’t do it on their own. You can do it on your own.Anybody smart enough to be here today has what it takes up hereto be their own tour guide. You’ve qualified. A tour organizes the hotels,it does the driving for you and so on and it can be of very good value,but study the tour and understand that the standard operating procedurefor tours these days is to give you a no profit price to get you on the bus and then they pack itwith 50 people on a 50 seat bus because the profit will be in the end. In order to get that profitthey’ve got to sell you things. They’ve got to keep you awayfrom the town center to charge you to get inwith the optional sightseeing tours. The guide is generally paid a token wage,sometimes no wage at all, and makes the lion’s share of his incomeselling you things for kickbacks and angling for tips. Getting tips, selling you sightseeing for commissionsand taking you shopping for kickbacks. That’s not criminal, but as consumersyou should know what’s going on. Here’s a tip. If you don’t want to do the drivingand if you just want a bunch of low-stress forgettable hotels all overorganized in advance take the cheapest tour you can find, bus tour,that has an itinerary that you like and promise yourselfyou will only think of it as a bus pass that comes with hotels. It’s a no profit thing. You’re going to be freeloadingon that tour company. Equip yourself with a guidebook.Function as an independent traveler. We’re letting them do the drivingand you’ve got your hotels and it’s cheaper than you thoughtreally when you look at it carefully. You’d pay more just for the hotel roomthan you’re paying for the whole day package with the transportationand the room included. I am all about people going on their own. I really believe anybodywho wants to be their own tour guide can. But it’s work. You got to drive, you got to park,you got arrange the hotels and so on. You got to do some studying on that. My whole workwith my 100 workmates up in Seattle is to make these guidebooks. Our guidebooks originatedas the handbooks for the tours that we lead. I had tourists before I had guidebooks and I had the handbookslaying around in my classes. During the breaks I’d hope peoplewould thump through the book and like what they see and take the tour. Time and time again they’d thumb through the handbooklike what they see and they took the handbook. [laughter] It occurred to me these little tour handbooksare driving decent people to theft. [laughter]They should be available for purchase. We decided to write the guidebooks putting everything we knewabout doing the tours into the guidebooks so people could literally buy the bookand do our tours without us. The point is there are a lot of good guidebooks and if you are just a good studentand you pick the right guidebook- and there’s great guidebooksfor different styles. I write guidebooksand other people write guidebooks that I have huge respect for.Figure out what’s your style of travel, use that guidebook and expect it to workand you will travel more smoothly. Putting a million tabs in it,I think that’s going overboard but those guidebooks do make a big difference. One thing I’ve put a lot of energy into latelyis creating an app just out of my passionfor providing guided tours. Rick Steves out of Europe is absolutely free.You don’t need my books or anything like that. You just download itand then you choose which tours you want and you listen to them offlinewhen you’re in Europe. When you’re there right in the middleof whatever wonderful– This is the Ferrari Church in Veniceor in the Sixtine Chapel or in the Pantheon Temple,somebody who’s been there before, sort through all the informationand explain it to you and bring it to life rather than reading and looking up,it’s a beautiful thing. Remember, as you travelwhen you equip yourself with information and expect yourself to travel smart you will have a very rewardingand economic experience. If there’s one tip that you take seriouslythat’ll really help your travels I think it’s an importance of packing light. You do not have a packhorse. If you do you’re abusing your spouse.[laughter] I’ve been living out of a nine by 22 by 14 inchcarry-in-the-airplane-sized suitcase for a third of my adult life and it’s no hardship.It’s enlightened. If I had sherpas I would set them free. Think about it, you’ll never meet anybodywho after five trips brags, “Every year I pack heavier.” With experience you get serious about the beauty of packing light. In Europe, you’ll find two kinds of travelers,those who pack light and those who wish they packed light. You’re going to be wanting to be mobile. You want to get up to that hilland stay in a beautiful little B&B with a view of the valley?You’re going to have to get up. There’s no taxi that takes you there. There are good wheelie bags and there are fit travelersthat can get up there. One of the realities of travel,almost any way you go you have to leave the hotel and get to your car,get to the bus, get to the train station. If you look at this you can seesome people have wheelie bags, some people carry their bags on their back, but everybody’s walking with their own gear. All over Europe, there are citieslike Florence that have become traffic free and you can no longer get the bus to the hotel. It’s a blessing that Florence is traffic free, but the downside is you got to carry your bag four blocksinstead of parking right at the hotel. That’s just the reality today.When I look at the people struggling with their gearI wonder how can somebody need so much stuff. This is what I live out offor two months at a stretch, nine by 22 by 14 inches. It’s a carry-in- the-airplane-sized bag,I’ve got it right here. This is my home for a third of my adult life. There’s all sorts of companiesthat make great bags this dimension. That’s as big as you can carry onto an airplane. This has a beautiful configurationof pockets, compression straps on the side. I like it because it’s gotpadded shoulder straps that can zip away so it can be a soft-sided suitcase or you can reveal the padded shoulder strapsand then you can wear it on your back. I use it exclusively as a backpack. The day will come when I’m not going to bestrong enough to carry it on my back and I will be wheeling my gear around Europe.Nothing wrong with that. Most of the women in my officeuse wheelie bags, a lot of the guys do. For the time beingI’m still hanging it on my back, but this is my home.The point is this is your self-imposed limit9 by 22 by 14 inches, as big as you can carry onto the airplane.You see a lot of people with these kind of bags. There’s many companies that make these bags. The squishy ones are nice from an airplane point of viewbecause you can almost always get it overhead, I rarely have to check my bagwhen I’m flying around. Here are six people,who happen to be taking one of our tours and all of them have the roller versionof the bag I just demonstrated. For these people, we took 20,000 peopleon our tours last year. None of them were allowed to take any morethan a carry-on-the-airplane-sized bag on the tour, nine by 22 by 14 inches. For a lot of them that was a radical concept,”What? Nine by 22 by 14 inches? That was my cosmetics kit.” No, that’s everything.This is tough love, baby, and we talked about it.I visit with them a week into the trip and I’ve been doing this for decades.I’ve never had anybody upset with me for making them pack light. Consider this.Spread everything out on the living room floor with your travel partner before your trip. Look at each item critically. Hold it up, ask yourself,”Will I use this snorkel and fins enough to feel good about carrying itthrough Europe.” Not, “Will I use it?It’ll be fun on the beach in Greece,” but will you use it enough to feel goodabout carrying it through the Swiss Alps. Leave it home, all right?[laughter] Load everything up, go downtown,walk around the block with your gear and see what it’s likeand then go home and get real. You’ll be thankful for that. As far as changing money goesit’s easy these days. You just have your debit card,your credit card and you use ATMs and you get moneyat the beautiful bank-to-bank rate instead of the miserabletourist to teller rate and most of Europehas the same coins in their pocket. 300 million people with the euro.I just love that. You cross a borderyou still have the same money. Changing money is not an issue these days. Safety is an issue. When we go to Europe I want to remind youwe are targeted by thieves. We are targeted by thieves. Thieves target Americansnot because they’re mean but because they’re smart. They know we’re the peoplewith all the good stuff in our purses and in our wallets. A lot of times a beggar will come up to youand ask for a euro. She’s got a sad story,she’s got a beautiful baby, she says, “Euro”,she really wants your wallet. It sounds harsh but assume that the beggarsare pickpockets and begging is their front, because tourists are targeted. They hang out at the museums.I know just where to watch the local street thievespicking the pockets of the tourists. When you’re on a bus,if you’re on the bus that all the tourists are on there’s going to be pickpockets.There’s a pickpocket right there. I observed her for 45 minutes in Lisbon this last year, eyeing different victimsand she makes her living by grabbing the bagsor the wallets of sloppy people. You want to not be vulnerable.That means button it, zip it up or wear a money belt.I really like a money belt when I’m traveling. In fact, I’m wearing one right now. Have you noticed? No.I even forgot about it. The money belt is the piece of mind. Let me show you where I keep my money belt.Okay, this is my money belt. I’ve been wearing it all whole day.I haven’t even thought about it. When I’m traveling and I want to be safe,this is where I keep my essential stuff, my credit card, my passport and so on. A related issue when it comes to safetyis terrorism. A lot of Americans have a big concernabout terrorism. When you go to Europe, you are going to seesome pretty serious security in front of all the precious soft targets. I love to see the army out these days,jeeps and camouflaged soldiers standing in front of St. Francis Basilicain Assisi and so on. It’s there and that’s for good.Now, I really want to encourage you to not confuse risk and fear. Here, in our country,we’re a very fearful nation right now. It’s charming to think that news is news,but on commercial media, news is entertainment masquerading as news and if it’s all a crisisthey make more money in their ads. This is just amping upand we are the victims of that. Remember, when we first started traveling,people said, “Bon voyage.” Now, what do they say? “Have a safe trip. We’ll pray for you. Are you sure you want to go thereconsidering all that’s happening?” When somebody tells me, “Have a safe trip,” I’m inclined to say,”Well, you have a safe stay at home.” [laughter] Because, where I’m goingis safer than where you’re staying. If you understood the statistics and I know statistics are optional these days, but if you decidedto understand the statistics- and you knew what those statistics wereand if you care about your loved ones, you would take them to Europe tomorrow. This is how I sell tours. [laughter] We lose 1,000 people to homicides every month in our country.Every month, 1,000 people. In Europe, 12 million Americans go every yearand 12 million come back. If one is killed tomorrow that’s tragic,but it doesn’t make it scary. It doesn’t make it dangerous.It’s dangerous to stay here. Europeans laugh out loudwhen they hear that Americans are staying home for safety reasons. Fear is for people who don’t get out very much. The flip side of fear is understanding.We gain understanding when we travel. When we travelwe get to know the rest of the world. We gain empathy for the other 96% of humanity and we come homewith that much better understanding. That makes us safer,not staying home and building walls, but traveling,getting to know the rest of the world and then coming home.That’s one reason I am committed to keeping America traveling.Thank you for traveling. [applause] A way of life.Rest assured in Europe, they are working very smart on their security. There was a horrible vehiclethat killed people on Westminster Bridge. You go back now and there are barricadesthat keep the vehicles off the sidewalk. Two Bastille days ago,a horrible van killed 80 people in Nice on the Promenade des Anglais. Today, there are thesebeefy white ballards there that keep the vehicles up so that peoplecan walk and bike safely on their promenade. Just this year I was at Oktoberfest. I love Oktoberfest. Like the Palio, like the running of the bulls,like anything, you’ve got it cordoned off now with police and security. That’s how you get into Oktoberfest. You have your bags checkedbefore you go inside. When you get inside, this is German style security,at every intersection in the fairground, you’ve got a literal circle of police keeping an eye on every directionat every moment and we are having fun. This is important that we go over there,celebrate the security, recognize the value for us to get out thereand better understand the world and travel. I just love traveling because it puts us in a mindsetwhere we are more inclined to build bridges and less inclined to build walls. When we’re going to beconnecting with your Europeans, of course, we need to communicate. What about that language barrierwe’ve heard so much about? I’ve been teaching ever since I was a kid. I always start my language barrier talkby mentioning I speak only English. It’s nothing to brag about,but it substantiates what I’m going to say. If I spoke all the languages and said,”Hey, it’s easy you can go over there and do fine,” it would ring hollow. We speak the world’s linguisticcommon denominator. If a Greek meets a Norwegian hiking in the Alps, how do they communicate? English.What Greek speaks Norwegian? I don’t know if it even that happens. I think it’s only politenot just to assume that they’ll speak English but to start by asking,”Parlez-vous Anglais?” “Sprechen zie English?” If they say, “No.”I do my best in their language. Generally, after a couple of sentencesthey’ll say, “Actually, I do speak a very bit of English.” [laughter] “I would be thankfulif you speak clearly and slowly.” They’re going to do you a favorby speaking your language. Do them a favorby speaking what voice of America calls simple English. Enunciate every letter. Assume they are reading your lipswishing it was written down, hoping to see every letteras it tumbles out of your mouth. No contractions, no slang, easy words, internationally understood words. Picture does not work, photo does. Vacation does not work, holiday does. I don’t know why, but those words work better. Internationally understood words.If my car is broken in Portugal, I point to the vehicle and say, “Auto kaput.” [laughter]That would be understood. Remember, Europe is multilingual. If you are in Croatia and you wonder,”What’s in this packet?”, it’s going to say, “Sugar”in five different languages and English always makes it. Also, rememberyou need to make educated guesses. If you’re not feeling very wellsomewhere in Scandinavia and you see a sign with a red cross on itpointing to central sick house. It’s surprising how many Americanswould bleed to death in the street corner looking for the word ‘hospital’.[laughter] They’ve got these thingsand sometimes they’ve got different words, so make an educated guess. Here’s a signthat drivers will have to deal with. I can’t say I get it right every time,but I go at it with a healthy optimism that I can fake it. You’ve got a sign in a parking lot hereand it says, “P for parking.” When you are in Europe, you’ll be the heads upsand you know that a sign with a red slash on it probably means “No.” It’s a signthat says when and where you can park. Something got to say days. The cross would be holidays or festival days and the crossed hammers would be workdays. On a workdays,you can park there from eight to 20. 24-hour clock anything over 12subtract 12 and add PM. 20 minus 12, 8 PM. On workdays from eight until eight,you can park for two hours. Then it has that other thing, that little clock thing thereand if you’re traveling in Europe, you’ll recognize a little cardboard clockcomes with your rental car you set the time, put it on your dashboard,you’re good for two hours. If you happen to be there on a holiday, you read that and it says,”No parking from eight to eight” and you can read the Italian under thatbecause it says, “Except residents with authorization.” I certainly don’t know those words, but it makes perfect sense that residentswith authorization would be an exception. We’re making educated guesses. The average tourist would look at thatand say, “I don’t get it.” You can look at that and sort through it. If you’re really good at thatyou can be a tour guide like me. [laughter] Transportation in Europe is a delight. When you’re traveling these days, there are all sorts of waysthat you can get around economically and efficiently. When I was a kid,nobody flew point to point in Europe. Flying was just ridiculously expensive. Now, it’s been deregulatedand before buying any long train ride, look into flying because routinelyyou can fly cheaper than you can take the train or the bus. As far as trains go,Europe is investing in its train system beyond anything I’ve ever experiencedelsewhere in the world. These are bullet trains.I was recently on a train in France. It was smooth.It was silent. There was beautiful pastoral viewsoutside the window. I noticed the speedometer only illuminatedwhen it exceeded 300 kilometers an hour. That’s 180 miles an hour. They were like embarrassedif they were going less than 180 miles an hour. 200 miles an hour smooth, silentand, bam, you are in Paris. It’s amazing how fast these trains are.They are synchronized. If you’re in a remote little communityon a fiord in Norway, there’ll be four trains a day coming in and four boats coordinated with the arrivalof the trains going our every day. All over Europe except in Italy,where the train seems to come in just in time to see the boat pulling out. [laughter] You will findthat there’s that beautiful coordination. When it comes to trains there is a formula.Second class and first class, you’ll pay 50% more per kilometerto go first class. Second class is more crowded and four seats across. First class is less crowdedand three seats across. Nearly every train has both firstand second class cars on them, each going precisely the same speed. I guess my point is,if you’re just buying transportation, second class is a fine value. A big question is, how are you going to cobbleall this transportation together on your trip? In the old days, people would just geta Euro Pass for all of Europe. That’s become quite expensiveand people aren’t doing the big vast tour these days so much. Flights were ridiculously expensiveand the train was a lot cheaper than cars. Things have changed in the last generation.Now, it’s so cheap to fly. I talk with my travel agentand when I get my open-jaw flight from the United States to Europe and back, I at the same timeconnect with the one-way flights. You can go Wizz Air or Ryanairor discount airlines for $30 or $40 a jump. Personally, I’d rather pay $100in fly Lufthansa or Swissair or something from major airport to major airport direct and having hourly departures. My average one-way flight in Europeon major airlines is $100 and I think that’s a great deal. As far as car or train,if you want to get to a beautiful site like this on the Isle of Skye in Northern Scotland, you’re going to be glad to have a car. There’re certain variablesthat encourage you to go by car or train. You can almost analyze that.You could say, “If I’m going from big cityto big city to big city, I don’t want a car.”A car is an expensive headache in a big city. You’re paying to rent itand you’re paying to park it, and you’re spending hoursgetting out of town through all that traffic when you can go from downtown to downtowneffortlessly by train. Big city travel, train is better than car. If you’re touring around the countryside,that’s where public transportation schedules can be frustratingand you’re glad to have your own mobility. If there’s a group of you, six people in a station wagon or a minibus is far cheaperthan six people buying six train tickets. One or two people go cheaper by train,three or more go cheaper by car. If you just don’t buythis business of packing light, you should rent a car. You can even rent a trailer. [laughter] If you’re going by trainyou better be serious about being mobile because you’re going to do a lot of walkingwith your gear by train. Those are the variablesthat will help you choose. When you’re in a big citycommit yourself to public transportation. I think this is really important. Public transit is just good style travelto get you out of the traffic jams. It’s economic.It’ll overall save you time than worrying about driving and so on. A lot of my European friendsnever get around to learning how to drive. It’s not a politicalor environmental statement. They just, “Why I have a car?Public transit is so good.” I love the power public transit gives me. Another great thing about traveling in Europeis bike rental. I’m not much for big bike trips between cities, but I love to have a bike in a citywhen it makes sense. When I’m in Munich, when I’m in Stockholm,when I’m in Amsterdam, when I’m in Copenhagen, I just have a bike. I park it at my hotel and I get around fasterthan if I had a taxi waiting for me. If you like biking, think seriouslyabout biking in towns that lend themselves to biking.t’s a very European thing to do and all over Europe citiesare becoming more and more bike friendly. I want to talk about eating.Eating is very important in your travels if you’re like me. You want to get a good valueand a good experience, but you don’t want to go brokewhen it comes to going to these restaurants. There are plenty of good waysto get a good value. What I want to dois not go to the biggest neon sign that brags, “We speak English and accept Visa cards.” I want to find a little hole in the wall place run by somebody who’s passionateabout feeding locals. This shot just reminds me of the valueof getting a little mom-and-pap place. I call this woman, Aunty Pasta.[laughter] She just loves to cook. What you don’t want is to go to the most expensive pieceof real estate in town, Piazza Navona in Rome and look for a big sign in English that says,”No frozen food.” They have a printed menu in five languages that serves the same clichetic itemsall year long regardless of the season. Everything’s wrong about that.What I want is to find a handwritten menu that’s small and I want it to be in one language. I want it in a place that has low rent. A little hole-in-the-wall place. a mom-and-pap place, just big enough,10 tables, so that mom can cook and dad can serve or vice versa. It’s going to be a family-runin one of these great- my favorite formula. It’s small menubecause they’re just cooking up what they can cook and sell profitably. It’s one language because they’re targetinglocals not tourists and it’s handwritten because it’s shapedby what’s in the market this week. This is so important. If there’s a good, enthusiasticlocal crowd here and I got that menu, it’s a fine value. When we’re thinkingabout choosing a good restaurant, I love the idea that if a smart eatergoes to a good restaurant that traveler can look at the menuand know what month it is and where they are by what’s being served.Do you see what I mean? You want to eat with the seasonand you want to eat locally. I don’t like to go to fancy restaurants where I have to get a reservationlong in advance and dress up and spend a fortune. Occasionally that’s kind of fun to do,but I want to eat well in a foodie small creative place and I like to go to a more expensive placeeven on a tight budget and order sparingly. That’s much betterthan going to a mediocre place and ordering wild. Share the main course. Get a carafe of house wineinstead of a bottle of fine wine. When it comes to dessert,get one and ask for three spoons. It’s not classy,but they are thankful you’re there and it’s a beautiful opportunityto have the fine presentation, the quality foodsurrounded by elegant local people who are enjoying quality local cuisine. One of my passions latelyis eating family-style. In some cultures,it’s just the way you do it and it’s easy. In other cultures,you have to push it a little more. Anywhere in Europeyou can order with your partner and ask for a small plate on the side.You order different things and you share them. You’re not trying to win some awardin sophistication here. You’re a wide-eyed student of that cultureand you want to maximize the experience. A fun thing about ordering family-style is you can have an arrangementwith your travel partner that we’re going to order one high riskand one low-risk dish and at worst we’ll split the edible one. Do that family-style businessand then you can try both of the pastas. Do that family-styleand you will have more experience with not more cost. In Spain, they’ve got thiswonderful tradition of tapas. That’s a great way to get outand experience the local cuisine. When it comes to lunch,I’m just looking for an expedient, healthy, efficient, economic meal. I don’t need anything earth-shakingand memorable for the rest of my life, but when I have lunchI would rather go to a local restaurant and eat just a local salad or something.This would be a good little restaurant in Venice rather than a sandwich shopor a fast-food place. I’m having beautiful Venetian cuisine. All over Italy, you got these antipasto bars that are just a wonderful quickand healthy lunch. were getting run downbecause people are moving out into the suburbs and using the big supermarkets to reinvigorate their traditional market halls as is the case I think around the United States. These old-style iron glass market hallsare now becoming food courts. They still havethe merchants selling the produce and the fish area and so on,but that was getting run down and now I find they’re very enthusiasticand full of energy because they’ve gotthese little restaurants in there. They are quality restaurants. If I think about itevery city in Europe now will have what was a rusty old marketplacethat’s now a very trendy place for lunch. In Florence the Mercato Centraleis just wonderful. It’s the best place to go for lunch and you got a lot of choicesand you’re eating with the locals. From a picnic point of view,you go to those markets and you put togetherthe healthy ingredients of a picnic, find a nice spot to enjoy that,it’s always nutritious. If it’s chosen well, it’s local styleand that’s a very good value for your lunch. When it comes to sleeping I am glad I’ve got the help of slidesto show you what I think is a good hotel, because I’m not talking about this. [laughter] When I was a kid this was a great spot. $4 for the bed and actually not really worth it. There are lousy non-governmentregulated flophouses in Europe even these days where you can get a bed for $25 and a kitten tossed in for no extra. I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking aboutis an alternative to this. This is what defeats people who are on a budget.This big international class hotel. When I’m traveling on the United States on work I love to havemy big modern business class hotel. I don’t travel all the way to Europeto stay in an American-style hotel. Think about it, Intercontinental,what are they telling you? The same everywhere. Intercontinental designed for peoplewho deep down inside wish they were not traveling.[laughter] People who need a paper strap over the toiletpromising them nobody has sat here yet. You can get transplanted American niceties,but you’re going to pay American prices plus shipping for them and I would rather really know where I am.When I’m in Switzerland I want a Swiss chalet. I want to stay in Walters hotel,beautiful place here. I’m on the balcony, looking out at thatat the avalanches on the north side of the Eiger. The peasants were up in the steep hillscutting hay all day and they’ve gathered downstairsin the bar and they’re playing the spoons and yodeling and fighting.I’m right there watching this thing, part of the scene.It’s inexpensive, it’s vivid, I know I’m in Switzerland. I like comfort. I like a safe central location.I like a friendly management, but I don’t need a lot of the extra bellsand whistles that lets a two-star hotel become a four-star hotel. Two stars is good for me. I like a little hotelwhere I know the man and the woman, Françoise and Stefan, who run the place. It’s on the pedestrian-only street, $6 from the Eiffel Tower. There’s a marketoutside the door every morning. It cost $150 for the double.It’s got an elevator, it comes with a nice breakfast.It’s so French when I step outside in the morning I feel like I must have been a poodlein a previous life. -It’s not rocket science.You just need a good listing that knows your values and then consumat the level you want to consume. I like to have about this level of comfort. These days you need air conditioningin the summer, if you’re going to be in the Mediterranean areabecause it is hot. I’ll just warn you about that. I like to have a central location. I don’t want a view.I want a quiet room. A lot of times they think you want a view.You’ll pay more for the view and it’ll be on the squareand it’s noisy at one o’clock in the morning. I’d rather walk three flights up furtherand be on the back. It’s cheaper and it’s quiet. A big option is bed and breakfast. Ever since I was a kid, B&B has been a big deal. Now, B&B has this wonderful new optionwith these crowdsourcing sites, Airbnb and so on.People absolutely love it. This a typical Airbnb apartment.This one’s in Prague. The big choice when you’re going to B&B,whether you’re doing it in the conventional way by just emailing places and so onor going to a booking service like Airbnb, do you want to get to know the familyand have a cozy time together, or are you just looking for an efficient bedwith a key that you can come and go? There’s no right or wrong, but you should that because you can tell by the way they advertise,you can tell by the comments.There’s no right or wrong, but you should that because you can tell by the way they advertise,you can tell by the comments. This place is charming,you’ll be having tea and cookies and watching TV together, she’ll take you out, you can walk her dog with her or whatever.There’s plenty of ways you can, “Oh, I’ve got a friend in this little town,” or it’s just quiet, comfortable,modern and cheap. You see?Choose what you want. Again, there’s no right or wrong. I just love to stay in people’s homes.I’m boosting their humble family budget, and I’m right down town.This is Mama Rabati, she’s three blocks awayfrom Michael Angelo’s David in Florence One beautiful thing about staying in a B&B is it’s like you have your owntemporary local mother. When I’m Ireland,way on the West coast of Ireland where they stand in the bluff and they gaze outand they say, I’m staying with Kathleen Ferrell and she’s all excitedthat Ricky from Sedale is here. She runs out after me in the morning,“Where’s your umbrella? You call yourself a travel writerand in Ireland you don’t have an umbrella? Take mine and be back by nine o’clock because Shaun and the bandare playing traditional music in the pub.” She cares about you. She’s excited you’re there. She’s got a map on her refrigeratorof the United States and she’s colored in every statefrom where she’s had a visitor. She says, “If you know anybody from Wyoming, they got a free bed right here.”[laughter] The more people you pack into the room,the cheaper it gets. Families, if you got two kids,get a triple and improvise the fourth bed. You’ll save a lot of moneyrather than two doubles. A great option for people on a budgetand for families is youth hostels. There are thousands of youth hostels in Europeoffering amazing deals on beds. In a hostel, you don’t pay for the room.You pay for the bed. Sometimes you can have 20 people in a room, sometimes you can havetwo or four people in a room. Usually,they’re institutional kind of places, the modern youth hostels with institutionalsort of industrial strength rooms. You get an instant circle of friendsat a youth hostel,the modern youth hostels with institutionalsort of industrial strength rooms. You get an instant circle of friendsat a youth hostel, you get a kitchen where you can cookfor the price of groceries. I want to remind you, a lot of people go,“Youth hosteling? Can we still do this?” They took the word “youth” out of the system.Now it’s called Hosteling International. You get a discount and a membership cardif you’re over 55. When it comes to hosteling, if you are alive, you are young enough to hostel, all right?[laughter] There’s two IQs of European travelers: those who wait in linesand those who don’t wait in lines. If you’re waiting in line,frankly, you’re messing up. My passion, when I’m working on my guidebooks,is to short through those lines. This is the Coliseum. These people are not waitingto get into the Coliseum. They’re waiting to buy a ticketto get into the Coliseum and there are lots of ways to get ticketswithout waiting in that line. That’s your challenge. These people are leaving the Acropolis in Athens and it’s rush hour on the way outand I’m heading in. You see, it’s four o’clock. I would imagine 90% of those people leavingare all going back to their cruise ships. Think about waysto navigate around the crowds. We’re all going to go to the Eiffel Tower,you can wait in a long line or you can go right by that lineand be escorted right to the front like I did, because I used a guidebook. A few days before, I made a reservation online,I had my appointment, I got there, I was ushered through that empty entryway,past all those stanchions, and then when I got through,they took me immediately to the elevator, I had seen it and enjoyed it and got down before the people in the end of that linegot to the elevator. When I was all done,I walked this entire line of tourists waiting to get up the entire Eiffel Tower.I looked at each one of them, not one of themhad the Rick Steve’s Paris Guidebook. [laughter] Two IQs of European travelersthose who wait in lines and those who don’t. My passion is to help peopleget around those lines. It’s very realistic not to wait in those lines. You can make reservations.Going Mad Ludwig’s Castle, you make a reservation for his dad’s castleand his castle, you’re in. Too many people drive from Munichall the way down to Fussen, they get there and they’re just told,“Sorry, we’ve allocated all of our tickets for today, come back tomorrow.” That’s a major mess-up.You can avoid that. Remember, these days,there’s a lot of important sites that need reservations.Read your guidebook ahead. Also remember,you can pick up these museum passes. I love these museum passes. This is probably one of the most popular tipsI give for traveling in Paris. Pick up the museum pass.It’s expensive, but it pays for itselfin four or five admissions. Let’s say it’s good for four daysor whatever length you get. More than just economic, it lets you sightsee more because you don’t considerhow much does it cost. You’re going to the Notre Dame,there’s the crypt. $10, doesn’t matter,I’ve already got the pass, go down and check it out. You wouldn’t have done it otherwise,and it’s a good thing to see. Most importantly, it lets you skip the lines. You’ve got that ticket,you walk right up to the turnstile and you go in directly.You’ll save lots of time at the Orsay, The Louvre, Versailles, the San Chapelleand on and on. Remember,most of Europe has no tourists at all. In all my adult life,I’ve been reminding people, “Go where you’re part of the partynot where you’re part of the tourist crowd and if you see four cute guys sitting on a bench, ask them to scoot over.” [laughter]I’ve been saying this for decades, and it works. You’re right there,it’s a quintessential European experience with the old boyswatching the parade of life go by. If you don’t know what to talk about, you can compare bushy-eyebrows, okay?There’s lots of things you can do there. They’ll would never forget you,it’s just an opportunity to connect with the locals. There’s plenty of options.That’s what’s fun about travelling when you’re planning your trip.You can take a tour, or you can go on your own. My passion isto equip independent-minded people to travel independently around Europe. For me, it’s just my confidenceis based on the feedback I get from people who went over thereand had the time of their life. A lot of people wonder, “Can we do this at our age?” and so on. I think the most demanding thingabout European travel physically is the heat and the crowds of summer.If you’re wondering, “Can we really do this,” go shoulder season and bundle up.It’s much easier than with the crowded, sweaty, middle of the season time. I’m very tuned in to my travelersand if I was making it easier than it sounds, I’d get some complaints. It’s so clear to me,if you want to travel this way, you can. I’m so inspired by peoplewhose grandchildren said, “You shouldn’t be doing this.”They went over and had the time of their lives and came home with money in the bankfor next summer’s trip. You can travel this way, again, but you need to equip yourselfwith good information, expect yourself to travel smart, and you will. Embrace those experiences.To me, Europe is just full of unforgettable experiences. The culture is on display better than ever, there’s a proud, proud tradition.There are artisans that want to show you their stuff.The copper smith will be thrilled if you drop in, the ventinors want you to test their latestand the traditions are alive and well. The key for you is to get to Europethrough the backdoor, to find those offbeat nooksand wonderful intimate crannies where you meet the peopleand enjoy Europe at its best. Thank you so much for joining me todayand I hope you have happy travels. Thanks a lot. [applause] Thank you. Thank you.That was a lot of fun. [applause] [music]