Rick Steves advocates smart, independent travel. As host of the public television series, Rick Steves‘ Europe, and author of 22 European travel books, he encourages Americans to dive deep into Europe and become “temporary locals.” His readers discover not just great cities, but cozy “back door” villages away from the tourist trampled routes. He helps American travelers connect more intimately with Europeans – often for a fraction of what mainstream tourists pay.
Rick Steves took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. By the time he reached 18, Rick realized he didn’t need his parents. He began traveling on his own or with a friend, funding his trips by teaching piano.
In 1976, Rick Steves started a business called Europe Through the Back Door. His tour program has grown since then from a couple of minivan tours each year to 200 annual bus tours that escort more than 5,000 Americans through Europe.
ETBD is also one of America’s top railpass sellers. It has grown from a one man operation to a company with a well traveled staff of more than 60 full time employees. ETBD offers free travel information through a website, a travel center, a European Railpass Guide, and a free quarterly newsletter.
Steves self published the first edition of his travel skills book, Europe Through the Back Door, in 1980. It has since become a best seller. He has also written eight country guidebooks, five city guides and five phrase books, and co authored Europe 101 and Mona Winks. In 1999, Rick tackled a new genre of travel writing with his anecdotal Postcards from Europe, recounting his favorite moments from 25 years of travel. Rick‘s books are published by Avalon Travel Publishing in Berkeley, California.
In addition to his guidebooks, Rick Steves writes columns for newspapers and magazines. He also appears frequently on television and radio talk shows and online travel chats as a leading authority on independent European travel.
Steves is one of public television’s top pledge drive hosts, raising more than a million dollars annually for stations across the U.S. His newest TV series, Rick Steves’ Europe, premiered in 2000 with 16 episodes about European travel. Fourteen new shows are scheduled to begin airing in fall, 2002.
Rick writes and co produces the programs at his production company, Back Door Productions. Prior to these programs, he co wrote 52 episodes of Travels in Europe with Rick Steves. These earlier shows still air nationwide on public television and the Travel Channel.
Rick also travels throughout the U.S. teaching travel classes. He is known for his lively and irreverent sense of humor.