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Hi from Rick: Travel Is a Parent’s Gift to a Child

Dear Traveler,

Many parents (and grandparents) have a special travel dream: taking the kids to Europe. The sights, the history, the cities, the cultures…sharing all of this as a family is a tough experience to top.

That's why we made a point of taking our children, Jackie and Andy, to Europe on tour every year throughout their childhoods. These trips showed them that they could enjoy the world as their playground…and provided the whole family with memories that we'll forever share.

This holiday season brings to mind one such memory, from a Christmas we spent in the Swiss town of Gimmelwald. Led by my friends Olle and Maria, we strapped on snowshoes and hiked high above the Alpine village to find the perfect Christmas tree. After wandering through the cold-but-picturesque winter wonderland, our festive bounty in tow, we warmed up in a cozy mountain hut with a fragrant pot of fondue. Later, trusty sleds provided a fun and unforgettable ride back to Gimmelwald (and an easy way to get our tree down the mountain).

My children are now both young adults, and — with the help of parents who have been intent on giving them a global perspective — they're comfortable with the world. Jackie is imparting that global perspective on the next generation as a schoolteacher. And Andy is one of our amazing Rick Steves tour guides, helping families have the same incredible experiences that he did.

This month's Tour News is all about bringing the family to Europe: Take a colorful day-by-day look at our Amsterdam-to-Rome Family Europe tour, read rave reviews from parents and kids, and get an insiders' look at our tours from guide Beata Kowtowska-McCommas. You'll also find news about our January "Test Drive a Tour Guide" event and how you might win a free tour with our annual scrapbook contest.

Our world is safe and accessible. It's a festival of diversity. And it's filled with joy, love, and wonderful people. That's how our children see it — and for that, I'm thankful. They're friends with the world because they were blessed with a childhood that included a good dose of international travel. And with a Rick Steves tour, providing that opportunity for your family is easier than ever.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Travels,



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