Thanks to all of you who attended our big Tour Reunion and Test Drive™ a Tour Guide event, in person and via web streaming! It was an energizing celebration of travel. More than 2,000 of you got to reunite with your fellow tour buddies and 120 of our European guides. The enthusiasm — helped by some free-flowing wine — was intoxicating. (Apologies to the 47,000 of you watching our streaming presentations at home, who had to provide your own beverages.)
All partying aside, there is a serious commitment at the heart of this gathering of the guides: At Rick Steves' Europe we consider it a huge responsibility to be entrusted with your vacation time and investment. For a solid week before the big Test Drive event, our staff and guides met here in Edmonds to debate the best ways to wring maximum experiences and fun out of every day of each Rick Steves tour itinerary for 2018. And now, following a festive sendoff, our guides are back in their homelands, eager to meet their first Rick Steves groups of 2018 and make this our — and your — best-ever year of touring.
This month's Tour News gives you an Italian-flavored taste of what's coming this season, with a special focus on our Best of Italy in 17 Days tour and Heart of Italy in 9 Days tour (with day-by day slideshows and more). It's also your final reminder that the February 28 deadline for our online tour scrapbook contest is fast approaching.
Now is a great time to finalize your travel plans for 2018, and that's just what I'm doing for myself. The highlight: a seat on one of my Heart of Portugal tours. I'm expecting to have a ton of travel fun. Seriously.