When my husband and I decided it was finally time to go to Germany, I didn’t know where to start. Although I had lived in Germany many years ago we needed to make the most of the little time we had available. I decided to buy a guidebook in hopes that it would get me going in a certain direction. I decided on Rick Steve’s guidebook and I am not kidding you when I say that book changed my life and here’s why:
I planned an epic trip with the guidance of that guidebook, and have since planned several more epic trips. You can read about them here on my website.
Because of Rick’s books I am now travel obsessed. I have almost all of his books. I read them front to back and enjoy every moment of the trip I get to go on with the turn of each page.
I started this blog because of the passion that grew because of that first epic trip.
These books are a mini escape in themselves. They are so detailed, and descriptive, I come out hours later feeling like I just took a trip to France….
European countries are small. It’s easy to cross borders so I find it helpful to have books from surrounding countries, in case I want to take a little side trip. Our Germany trip morphed into a Germany/Switzerland/Austria trip and our Ireland trip morphed into an Ireland/Scotland and England trip. Here is my current collection of Rick’s guidebooks:
So why do I like Rick’s European travel guides so much?
Rick’s books include all of the pertinent information to plan your best trip, including a bit of history and humor. He covers the highlights, but includes “off the beaten path” adventures too.
BUT If I could tell you one thing, and one thing only about his books,
I would tell you in his own words that he “gives you all of the information & suggestions necessary, for wringing the maximum value out of your limited time and money!” That my friends, is exactly what your goal should be.
The best way to get the most out using Rick Steve’s travel guides:
DEVOUR them, every word; read them cover to cover. I write in the margins, highlight text, pull out the generously sized map and make myself a copy because I’m about to mark all over it! when I come across something of interest in the book, I make a mark on my map. After you’ve finished the book, look at your map and start building your itinerary.
The book: What’s between the pages?
Rick digs deeper than just museum opening times, and how to hail a taxi. He starts with an overview of the country and covers history at the current state of affairs.
Let’s take a look at what else you can expect.
Rick’s books provide everything necessary to plan your best trip:
When to go: advice on the best time to travel (time of year, time of day)
Must see destinations. sites get a rating from 1-3. (1-worthwhile 2-try hard to see, 3-must see) I find them to be pretty accurate!
Maps. Lots of maps! a full size pull out country map, city center maps, walking tour maps, and more!
Suggested Itineraries. if you are struggling to find direction of your own, Rick will line out his preferred itinerary for you.
Budgeting tips. because who doesn’t like to save money!
Planning your time. If you need some help, well Rick’s the expert!
Travel tips for winter. dreaming of Christmas Markets in Germany? Snow Skiing in the Alps? Rick has insight!
Sight seeing passes. Cities often offer a sight seeing pass that covers several sights for a set fee. Rick does the calculations for you so you can easily decide if your getting a good deal.
Bike and car rental information.
Walking tours. history tours, ghost tours, you name it!
Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour information, when applicable.
Boat cruises. One of my favorite travel past times! Rick helped me plan my Rhine River Cruise, and tipped me off to the York England boat ride.
Rick’s books provide necessary information on how to get to your destination:
Arrival: train, bus, plane, by car (He’ll be sure to let you know if driving is inadvisable, because you probably don’t want to jump into the fray in downtown London or Paris!)
When you get there:
Transportation. A comprehensive guide on all types of transportation, including information on driving, as well as public transport.
Rick Steve’s Audio guide information. I haven’t used them, but Rick has audio guides available. Just put in your earbuds, and let him take you around.
Orientation. Big cities can be overwhelming. Rick breaks down the different areas of town for you, and helps you get to know each one.
Tourist Information. Rest assured, your guide book will always direct you to the Tourist Information office.
Festivals. I appreciate this information. My husband and I avoid festivals whenever possible, but you may be more festive than we are. Rick has you covered!
Detailed walking tours. Including maps!
Everything you need to know about visiting a sight. Opening/closing, cost, parking, etc, literally EVERYTHING
Of interest in the surrounding area.
The basics, food and shelter:
Were to eat. (I like to google “where to eat in…” and go through their list. They have pictures, and atmosphere is big when I am choosing a spot to eat.)
Where to stay. Ricks rates the cost of his recommended accommodations from $-$$$$. (I prefer to use Booking.com to book my accommodations)
What to eat and drink. Tips on local dishes, and tipping your server.
Budget travel. One thing I love about Rick, is that he doesn’t think you need to spend a lot of money to get your best experience. He includes money savings tips.
What to expect from the locals. He’ll give a very good indication of what the people you will meet will be like, how to get on their good side, and how to be sure not to offend or annoy.
Smart travel tips, so you don’t look quite so much like a tourist, or feel like a fish out of water:
Theft alerts. important for those of us who don’t spend a lot of time in the city. Watch for pick pockets, and people who make a living taking advantage of tourists.
Pedestrian safety. They are pretty serious about not allowing crossing against lights, or jay walking, in Europe.
Wi-Fi, where to find it.
Time zone info
What you need to know to keep your electronics charged and ready to go.
Using your cellular device.
How to make a call.
Money Matters. ATM’s, information on using your debit and credit cards.
Laundry services (PERSONAL FAVORITE!! I wouldn’t have dreamed of having laundry done on vacation. If you have ever had to drag around a couple of weeks of cloths around Europe, on planes and trains, you may rethink that thought process. I did. When we did our Scotland/England/Ireland trip we found laundry service. We dropped off our dirty things, and picked the up the next day, washed, dried, neatly folded….and for less than 15 euros…GENIUS!)
There you have it! I covered the bulk of it. What more could you possibly need to know? and what are you waiting for? Go buy the book, and get started on that dream vacation!!! Happy Travels!
Buy the book!
Rick’s Books can be found almost anywhere you shop for books, or you can purchase Rick Steve’s travel guides on his official webpage.
(a little tip…Rick sells the best electrical power adapters for continental Europe and the best electrical power adapters for Great Britain! BIG Bonus…they are super cheap too!
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