PBS’ Rick Steves visits Tampa, shares tips for travel

More than 1,200 ticket holders stood in downtown Tampa for the chance to see Rick Steves, host of public television’s longest running travel series, Rick Steves’ Europe, and a bestselling guidebook author.

Steves has become a trusted voice on where to go, and what to see, when going abroad, and his travels have inspired viewers to explore the world with his treks through Europe over the last 20 years.

  He also had a recent interview on “Up Close,”  with host Cathy Unruh, on WEDU the local PBS TV station.   

His tour business brings more than 30,000 visitors to Europe annually. His goal is to encourage Americans to travel, help broaden their perspectives and inspire folks to “just cross borders.” After 40 years of travel he hasn’t lost his wanderlust.  

He spends 100 days a year in Europe, goes back home to the Seattle area, and has made a business out of sharing his adventures with other Americans.

 “I love sharing things I love. Travel and music are my two favorite things. My favorite country is India, but my passion is Europe,” Steves says.

He spends each April and May in the Mediterranean and July and August exploring areas north of the Alps. “I never get tired of it. Europe is always changing,” he says. 

Years ago, he began sharing tips on packing light and where to stay. In the 1990s, he offered tips on art and history and cuisine. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, his passion turned to inspiring Americans to get out of their comfort zone and understand other cultures. 

“My passion is to help Americans not be so fearful of travel,” Steves says. “I took my kids out of school every April throughout their grade-school days. Their teachers loved the idea. Parents who love travel quickly learn about the teaching value of travel. I think travel is great parenting.”

He travels around the world, dining with top chefs. “I want to find the little mom and pop restaurant. It’s small with a handwritten menu. Eat local. Eat with the season. Share small bites,” he says.  

3 TRAVEL TIPS FROM RICK STEVES

• Avoid crowds. He suggests skipping top destinations like the Acropolis at peak hours when thousands of cruise passengers are touring. “Go at the end of the day as they are rushing back to their dinners on the ship. You have the entire destination to yourself,” he says.

• Do your homework. Finding locals to guide you during your travels adding. “Best money you can spend,” he says.

• Make reservations in advance. That way travelers can have obligations settled ahead of time.

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