About the Rick Steves Travel Forum

The Rick Steves Travel Forum is a place for discussing all things related to European travel. We provide our community with these message boards to assist and encourage thoughtful travel to maximize your experience abroad. It's also a great way to connect travelers with each other!

For the comfort and enjoyment of everyone, our community is expected to follow our Community Guidelines.

Getting Started Quickly

You do not need to be logged in to view the discussions in our travel forum. Pick a message board to read and browse away at your leisure! You will be prompted to log in if you attempt to start a new topic or post on an existing topic. Here is how to get started with adding posts to our forum.

  1. Get registered for a new account.
  2. Verify your new account. You'll be sent an email when you register. Click the verification link in that email.
  3. Get yourself signed in so that you can start posting. Set up your profile name so that people know how to address you.
  4. Pick a message board to get started. Whether you want to ask a question about a destination, get or give travel tips, or leave a review, you can start with selecting the right message board for you on the front page of our Rick Steves Travel Forum.

If you need more information, read on!

How to use the Rick Steves Travel Forum

Logging In

You will need to log in with your Rick Steves account in order to post a comment or start a new topic. You will be propmpted to log in if you try to add a post to the forums. There is also a "Sign In" link that appears at the top of any page within the forums. For those using a mobile device, this "Sign In" link will be behind the button that looks like 5 horizontal bars at the top left of your screen. To sign in, simply click that "Sign In" link and submit your login information. To create an account, click the "Sign In" link at the top of the screen and then click "Sign Up" where you see that link.  You can also register using the blue "Register Now" button found at the entrance to our travel forum.

Setting Up Your Personal Profile

Get your profile set up! Why? Your display name and town is displayed alongside each one of your posts, so be sure to choose something that you'd like the community to know you by.  After logging in, you will have access to your personal profile. This is where you can edit your personal profile information, such as your display name, town, and any additional information you wish to share with others. You can update your personal profile information at any time by clicking your linked display name. Your can find your display name next to any one of your posts. It also appears in the same place as the "Sign In" link as described in the Logging In section above.

Starting a New Topic

To start a new topic, first select the message board that best fits your topic (e.g. the "Italy" board within the "Destination Advice" section). Within your selected message board, click on the "Start a New Topic" button. You will be prompted to enter a "Topic" that identifies the gist of the discussion you wish to start, much like the "Subject" line of an email. Then proceed with entering the details you would like discussed (or ask your question!).

If you do not see a section that is a good fit, our General Europe board is typically the best place to go as long as the information you are posting generally relates to European travel.

Posting a Reply

As you browse Rick Steves' Travel Forum, we encourage you to post replies on the topics you have helpful suggestions and answers to. So that we can keep the forums as user-friendly as possible, please stay on topic by reading the original post carefully. If you don't have anything useful to add to a discussion, please move on to the next topic.

At any given time while reading a discussion thread, you can post a reply at the end of the discussion by entering your text in the space given and clicking "submit reply." Or, if reading a specific topic inspires you to start a fresh topic, you can click "Start a New Topic" and be on your way.

If you want to engage in a one-on-one conversation with another poster, send a Private Message (more on PMs below) rather than reply to their comment on the message board.

Help us keep your community clean: Report Community Guideline violations to webmaster@ricksteves.com.

Sending a Private Message

You must be logged in to send a Private Message (PM). PMs allow you to send a message directly to another community member. The message can only be read by the recipient in their personal profile. If you don't feel comfortable posting a reply for the entire community to see, or if you want to add a comment which may not contribute to the original topic at large, send a Private Message. You can do so by clicking the "Send Private Message" link that appears alongside the corresponding community member's post.

Receiving a Private Message

You must log in to read Private Messages (PM) sent to you. PMs are available in your profile. You can set your account preferences to notify you at your registered email address when you receive a PM if you choose.

How Badges Work

New contributors won't have a badge to start. As you give more replies, you'll get a badge and your badge will change as you reach posting milestones:



A green badge for someone with 500 – 1,000 posts



A light blue badge for 1,000 – 2,499 posts



A yellow badge for 2,500 – 4,999 posts



A dark blue badge for over 5,000 posts



A round badge for Rick Steves Travel Advisers and forum moderators


Formatting Your Posts

Formatting in our forum is rather unique. It can be very simple, yet confusing at the same time. For those of you who are familiar with various formatting languages used in forums (e.g. html, bb code, etc), we use a system called Markdown.

The easy part is that formatting buttons are available above each text field when writing your posts.

The confusing part is that using the formatting buttons adds unexpected characters to your post. These characters will not display in your published post, but function as a way to indicate where you would like your formatting to be applied. To see how the formatting you have applied will actually look in your post, see the preview of your post below where you are typing your post.

We recognize that getting used to these formatting characters may take some time. So, we are providing you with a guide to what they all mean below. If you are so inclined, you can hand-type these characters into your post to add formatting.

Understanding Markdown

You can read below for the most useful aspects of Markdown as it relates to our forum, or try this link for a thorough detailing of Markdown syntax.

Bulleted lists: use asterisks, pluses, and hyphens (*, +, and -) as list markers. For example, you would write...

* Candy.
* Gum.
* Booze.
- Candy.
- Gum.
- Booze.

This would appear in your published post...

  • Candy.
  • Gum.
  • Booze.OR


  • Candy.
  • Gum.
  • Booze.

Links: use parentheses around URLs immediately after the link text. Link text should be enclosed within brackets. For example...

This is an [example link](http://example.com/).

This would appear in your published post...

This is an example link.

Italics and Bold: use asterisks and underscores to indicate spans of emphasis. Use one asterisk (or underscore) for italics and two asterisks (or two underscores) for bold. For example...

Some of these words *are emphasized*.
Some of these words _are emphasized also_.
Use two asterisks for **strong emphasis**.
Or, if you prefer, __use two underscores instead__.

This would appear in your published post...

Some of these words are emphasized.
Some of these words are emphasized also.
Use two asterisks for strong emphasis.
Or, if you prefer, use two underscores instead.

Blockquotes: use '>' angle brackets at the beginning of each line to be indented. For example, you would write...

> This is a blockquote.

> This is the second paragraph in the blockquote.

This would appear in your published post...

This is a blockquote.

This is the second paragraph in the blockquote.

Having Trouble Writing Certain Characters? Because certain characters such as the asterisk have special meaning in Markdown's formatting syntax, writing these characters into your published post takes an extra step. Markdown allows you to use backslash escapes to generate these literal characters. In other words, you must type a backslash character before typing certain literal characters (listed below). For example, if you wanted to surround a word with literal asterisks, you can use backslashes before the asterisks, like this...

\*literal asterisks\*

This would appear in your published post...

*literal asterisks*

Markdown provides backslash escapes for the characters below. Again, this means you need to type a backslash before using each of these characters to make them appear in your post.

\ backslash
` backtick
* asterisk
_ underscore
{} curly braces
[] square brackets
() parentheses
# hash mark
+ plus sign
- minus sign (hyphen)