Podcast FAQ

Below are answers to the most common questions pertaining to Rick Steves' podcasts.  Looking for Rick Steves' Audio Tours for Italy, France, and other European destinations? Get Rick's audio tours.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a series of audio or video programs covering one topic of information delivered through software such as iTunes. Users can download podcasts over the Internet for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.

What is the difference between podcasts, mp3 downloads, and streaming audio files?

A podcast is simply a series of downloadable audio or video programs delivered to your computer with special software (we recommend iTunes). New "episodes" of a podcast are normally available on a weekly or daily basis. When users "subscribe" to podcasts, each new episode that is added will be downloaded for you automatically. Currently, Rick offers a variety of podcasts.

Mp3 files are audio files that you can download, save directly to any folder on your computer, and listen to whenever you like without having to connect to the internet again. Currently, Rick offers mp3 downloads only for his audio tours.

Streaming audio files are files that users can play directly from a website using the media player you already have on your computer. Currently, Rick streams his archived radio shows and Audio Europe.

What kinds of podcasts does Rick Steves' offer?

Rick currently offers the following podcasts:

  • Weekly installments of his radio show, "Travel with Rick Steves"
  • Weekly installments of European Video podcasts
  • Audio Tours — dozens oof free audio walking tours covering Europe's most fascinating destinations

How can I subscribe to a podcast feed on my computer?

The most popular method for subscribing to podcasts is by using Apple iTunes. If you are new to podcasting, get started by downloading the iTunes software to your computer (free, no obligation to purchase anything). After you have installed the software, subscribe to the podcast of your choice by returning to the "Subscribe to our Podcasts" page or by searching for "Rick Steves' Podcasts" in the iTunes music store.

How do I download Rick's podcasts?

Podcasts are free and you do not need any special equipment, just a computer with speakers and a high-speed Internet connection. If you want to take your podcasts on the road with you, transfer them to any MP3 player. Some people copy the shows to CDs to listen in their cars. If you have not yet tried podcasting, we recommend Apple iTunes. To get started, download the iTunes software to your computer (free, no obligation to purchase anything). After you have installed the software, subscribe to our podcast.

How do I use iTunes once I have it installed?

If you use iTunes, you can download Rick's podcasts for free. Simply visit Travel with Rick Steves, Rick Steves' Europe Video, Rick Steves' Italy Audio Tours or Rick Steves' Paris Audio Tours on iTunes to see a list of episodes. Highlight the episode that you want, then click "Get Episode."

How can I transfer files into iTunes?

 It is much easier to use iTunes to get audio files by subscribing to a podcast than it is to download files to your computer and transfer them into iTunes. However, if the files are already on your computer, you can still transfer them into iTunes by following these steps:

  1. Open iTunes. From the top menu bar, select File and then Add folder to library.
  2. Select the folder containing the audio tours that you wish to make available in iTunes. Click OK.
  3. The files will appear under "Music" in your iTunes Library in the left column of iTunes.

I do not have an iPod — can I still listen to Rick's podcasts?

Yes. You do not need to have an iPod in order to downloads iTunes or listen to Rick's podcasts. You can download iTunes and subscribe to any of Rick's podcasts, then listen to episodes through your computer, or burn them to a CD and listen to them in your car.

You can also download individual audio tour MP3 files. You can listen to the MP3 files with your computer, or with the MP3 player of your choice.

How do I transfer the podcast files from iTunes to my iPod?

1: Create a new playlist.

2: Drag and drop the files from either the Podcasts or Music tab (on the left side of iTunes) to that playlist.

3: Transfer the playlist to your iPod. 

How do I transfer the podcast files from iTunes to a CD?

1: Create a new playlist.

2: Drag and drop the files from either the Podcasts or Music tab (on the left side of iTunes) to that playlist.

3: Select all the files you want to transfer to a CD, and then click the Burn Disc button at the bottom of the iTunes interface.

I have iTunes — can I download selected podcast episodes only?

Yes. There are two ways to do this:

1. If you want to download only specific episodes of your choice, do not "subscribe" to the entire podcast, but rather, in iTunes, browse to the episode description and click on the Get Episode button that appears next to the episode you want to download.

2. If you are already subscribing to a podcast in iTunes, you can change your preferences by going to Edit, then Preferences. In the Preferences window, select the Podcasts tab, and you will see your options.

Remember, you can always stream past radio programs live from your computer (which does not involve downloading a file) anytime.

How do I play the podcast on my iPod?

To take Rick Steves' podcasts with you to Europe, simply put them on your iPod (download them to your computer from iTunes, described above, and sync your iPod up to your computer). Once you've transferred the audio tours to your iPod, you can access them from the iPod's main menu by selecting Music, then Podcasts. Choose the podcast and episode you'd like to hear.

If you are listening to one of Rick's audio tours, when the tour begins you'll hear Rick describing the history of each work of art or attraction, while co-hosts Kate Fleming and Joan Robinson help you navigate to the next stop. As the tour plays, you'll see small photos of what's being described. At the bottom of the screen, you'll also notice a timeline for the entire audio tour, broken into chapters — each one describing a different stop on the tour, and each one illustrated by a different image. At any time, you can skip to the next stop by pressing the right/forward arrow, and you can go back to the previous stop by pressing the left/back arrow. Pressing the play/pause button temporarily stops or re-starts the commentary.

The center button on your iPod — right in the middle of the click wheel — can be pressed to toggle through various displays. If you press it once, you'll see a subtitle just above the timeline noting where you are in the tour; when you see this subtitle, you can rotate the click wheel to move quickly forward and backward within the audio tour. If you press the center button twice in a row, you'll see a larger version of the image illustrating the commentary. If you press the button three times in a row, you'll see more written details about the tour — including the cost, opening hours, and location of the museum being described. If you press the button a fourth time, you'll go back to the main screen.

How do I view the video podcast on my iPod?

You must have an iPod capable of playing video in order to enjoy our video podcast. If your iPod is capable of playing video, once you download our European Video podcasts or one of our audio tours, you will see the video or art play on your iPod screen when you select a video or audio tour for playback.

How do I use Rick Steves' podcasts once I download them using iTunes?

Once the audio files are available to you in iTunes, you can listen to them by double-clicking on the audio track you want to hear. Most travelers use iTunes to put the audio files on an iPod, but you can also burn them to a CD and listen to them in your car or on a CD player at home. 

How can I get past episodes or archived shows?

You can get any past episode of Rick's Radio, Video, or Audio Tour podcasts through iTunes by doing the following:

  1. Open iTunes, and click on Music Store in the source menu (left side of the page).
  2. In the Music Store, click on Podcasts (third link down on the left, under the Inside the Music Store heading).
  3. In the Search box (on the left side of the page with a magnifying glass icon), type "Rick Steves' Podcasts," and hit Enter.
  4. Click on the podcast image button for the podcast you want to find past episodes for.
  5. After you click on the image, you'll see all of Rick's shows, from the most recent to the oldest.  You can scroll all the way to the right and click on "Get Episode" for any programs you want to add to your iTunes podcast folder.

How can I use the Audio Tour Companion Maps?

For best results, Rick's audio tours should be used hand-in-hand with his guidebooks (which include important details and maps covering each sight). But if you prefer, you can download a .PDF file companion map for each audio tour (described above; available on this website and on iTunes). Once the .PDF file is on your computer, simply open it, print your map, and take it along.

How can I power my iPod in Europe?

Check to make sure the charger that came with your iPod is dual voltage, indicated by the number range "110-220" appearing somewhere on the charger itself. If it is dual voltage, you will only need a plug adapter, which we sell in our online Travel Store.