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Rick  Steves

Rick Steves

Leading Authority on European Travel

Biography

Rick Steves advocates smart, affordable, perspective-broadening travel. As host and writer of the popular public television series Rick Steves' Europe and best-selling author of over 50 European travel books, he encourages Americans to travel as "temporary locals." He helps American travelers connect much more intimately and authentically with Europe—and Europeans—for a fraction of what mainstream tourists pay. Read More >

Steves took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. By the time he reached 18, Steves jokes, "I realized I didn't need my parents to travel!" He began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started Europe Through the Back Door (ETBD), a business which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a well-traveled staff of 80 full-time employees. ETBD offers free travel information through its travel center, Web site, European Railpass Guide, and free travel newsletters, and runs a successful European tour program with more than 450 departures attracting around 11,000 travelers annually.

Over the past 20 years, Steves has hosted over 100 travel shows for public television and numerous pledge specials, raising millions of dollars for local stations. His Rick Steves' Europe TV series is carried by over 300 stations, reaching 95 percent of US markets. Steves has also created two award-winning specials for public television: Rick Steves' European Christmas and the groundbreaking Rick Steves' Iran, both of which he writes and co-produces through his company Back Door Productions.

Rick Steves also hosts the weekly public radio program “Travel with Rick Steves,” in which he interviews guest travel experts then takes listener call-ins. “Travel with Rick Steves” airs across the country and has spawned a popular podcast. Steves has also created a series of audio walking tour podcasts for museums and neighborhoods in Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, London, and Athens.

Steves self-published the first edition of his travel skills book Europe Through the Back Door (now updated annually) in 1980. He has also written more than 50 other country, city, and regional guidebooks, phrase books, and "snapshot" guides. For several years, Rick Steves' Italy has been the best-selling international guidebook sold in the US. In 2009, Steves tackled a new genre of travel writing with Travel as a Political Act, reflecting on how a life of travel has broadened his own perspectives and how travel can be a significant force for peace and understanding in the world.

In addition to his guidebooks and TV and radio work, Steves is a syndicated newspaper columnist with Tribune Media Services. He appears frequently on television, radio, and online as the leading authority on European travel.

Rick Steves is outspoken on the need for Americans to better integrate themselves on a global scale by broadening their perspectives through travel. He is also committed to his own neighborhood as an active member of his Lutheran church and has provided his local YWCA with a 24-unit apartment building with which to house homeless mothers. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Travel Skills

Holy Land: Israel and Palestine Today

Travel as a Political Act

Speech Topics

Europe Through the Back Door with Rick Steves

Join travel expert Rick Steves – acclaimed for his bestselling guidebooks and public television series – as he shares the latest in smart European travel. In this entertaining, information-packed slideshow lecture, Rick will explain how to travel smoothly and affordably by stretching your travel dollar, eating and sleeping well, avoiding crowds, and packing smartly. Freshly back from lots of travels, Rick will share exactly how you can enjoy maximum travel thrills for every mile, minute, and euro on your next European adventure.

Travel as a Political Act

Rick Steves – acclaimed for his bestselling guidebooks and public television series – believes there’s more to travel than good-value hotels, great art and tasty cuisine. Americans who “travel as a political act” can have the time of their lives and come home smarter with a better understanding of the interconnectedness of today’s world. In this provocative slideshow lecture, Rick will explain how to travel more thoughtfully to any destination. Drawing from lessons he learned while exploring Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East, Rick will explain that by traveling thoughtfully you can take home the greatest souvenir: a broader perspective.

Rick Steves’ The Holy Land: Israelis & Palestinians Today

Join travel expert Rick Steves – acclaimed for his bestselling guidebooks and public television series – as he shares his experience traveling in the Holy Land. In this slideshow lecture, Rick will weave together both the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives. In Israel, we’ll go from the venerable ramparts of Jerusalem to the vibrant modern skyline of Tel Aviv. In Palestine, we’ll visit a home in Bethlehem and pop into a university in Ramallah. Read More >

We’ll also learn about security walls, visit disputed settlements, and walk alongside the fascinating spectrum of people who call this region home. While there are no easy answers to the complex challenges of the Holy Land, with this entertaining evening, Rick will share his personal insights into a land a third of humanity considers holy. Read Less ^

Rick Steves’ Iran

Travel writer and public television host Rick Steves calls Iran “the most poorly understood yet fascinating land” he’s ever visited. In this slideshow travel lecture, he’ll take you on a journey of discovery to better understand this perplexing nation and the 70 million people who call Iran home. From a prayer service in a mosque and non-conformist teen fashions at the mall, to anti-American murals and the hospitality of a family dinner, Rick will help us understand the fears and passions of the Iranian people. Read More >

Rather than exploring complex political issues, Rick’s lecture will be a travelogue designed to humanize a mighty, ancient nation that has been a leader in its corner of the world for 2,500 years and continues to make headlines today. Read Less ^