Hi from Rick: Test Drive a Tour Guide!

Dear Traveler,

For 25 years I guided "Rick Steves" tours, and for the last decade I've been enjoying the amazing work of our talented guides — most recently riding along as a customer on our Sicily and Ireland tours in 2017. I've never been more proud to have my name on our tours.

Of course, with a good guidebook you can be your own tour guide. But just like cooking, playing the piano, exercising, and bird watching — with a chef, musician, trainer, or guide at your side you learn more, experience more, use your time smarter, relax, and have fun.

For example, last summer on the Best of Ireland tour, our guide knew just the place to be for the best live traditional music in a Dingle pub. I even got to take a whack at the bodhrán drum (with an expert making sure my wrist was properly loose enough). On a Best of Sicily tour a few weeks earlier, our guide arranged for us to walk the slopes of Mount Etna with a vintner, so we could learn how the volcano brings fertility to the island and a special taste to the wine. Then we shared lunch on a farm, pairing "zero kilometer" delights, both edible and drinkable, in the way that locals call "a good marriage." On both these tours, a great guide was able to take travel to a more fun — and more meaningful — level.

On Saturday, January 27 you'll have the rare chance to "test drive" some of my top tour guides (in the comfort of your own home!) as we live stream a day filled with presentations on our exciting European tour program for 2018, featuring on-stage appearances and interviews with our guides (many of whom are flying in from Europe for the event).

In this month's Tour News you'll find the schedule for our January 27 "Test Drive a Tour Guide" webcast, and the free and easy ways you can tune in to join us. You'll also find a fresh new interview with Irish singer and guide Cathie Ryan, stories from another 10 tour guides, good news about touring in Turkey this year, and much more.

I hope you can join us on January 27 — and on a Rick Steves tour in the near future. Winter is a great time to dream about travel — and to cook up plans to turn those dreams into fun, affordable, and meaningful reality.

Happy travels,