For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ.

Our Community Guidelines

While the best advice is to use common sense and be respectful of all Rick Steves Community members, these guidelines ensure our community remains fun, upbeat, and open to all travelers.

These guidelines apply to the Rick Steves Travel Forum, Rick's blog, and any other forum allowing comments by the public on ricksteves.com or other websites administered by Rick Steves' Europe.

Special rules for discussing the pandemic are in effect.

  1. Stay on topic. Make your contribution relevant to the original post. Strongly avoid politics.
  2. Be unfailingly polite. Comments that contain inappropriate language, harshly criticize, or disrespect others' opinions are not allowed. New travelers should be shown extra patience. If you can't write politely, this forum is not for you.
  3. Report guideline violations. Notify the moderators by using the "Report" link that appears alongside each post when you are signed in.
  4. Do not post in reaction to guideline violations. Someone else's violation is not an excuse for you to respond negatively or react in a way that violates our guidelines. Keep arguments and snark off our boards at all times.
  5. Do not feed the trolls. Do not be a troll. "Trolls" post messages intended to infuriate you and elicit a response. Trolls "feed" on such responses. Ignoring trolls — or reporting them — is the only solution.
  6. Do not promote or advertise. Proposing transactions or promoting your website, blog, hotel, restaurant, uncle's private tours in Istanbul, etc for financial gain, pumping traffic to your website, or other marketing intent is prohibited. No fake reviews.
  7. Do not help people break laws. Speaking of the existence of law breaking is OK. Sharing how to circumvent visa restrictions, scam hotels, or perform other illegal acts is prohibited.
  8. Do not impersonate or invade privacy. Impersonating members of the community, the Rick Steves staff, or anyone else will not be tolerated. Do not post private information about others.
  9. Observe the following with unsolicited bad reviews.
    For the Original Poster (OP) sharing their experience: Your review should be 100% focused on what will help others, not an outlet for you to complain or seek emotional support. Stick to the facts and strongly avoid any emotionally charged statements and broad generalizations. Expect questions about your experience to find out exactly how or why something went wrong. Expect replies that give advice about how the experience could have been avoided. Expect replies that consider the other side of the story and not yours. These responses are helpful for our community so that they can make the best decision for themselves.
    For replies: Replies should avoid any form of judgement. Don't pile on. An obvious mistake to you was not obvious to them, so don't be rude about it.
  10. Businesses... read carefully. Hotels, restaurants, and other services mentioned on ricksteves.com may only use our site in a customer service role to respond to a review. You may make a single brief statement, explanation, or clarification with regard to the review in question. You may invite the reviewer to contact you privately either by issuing a phone number, email address (though this may open you up to spam), customer service related URL, or by inviting the reviewer to contact you via our Private Message system. That is all!
    You may not... in any way advertise or promote your business. Do not include any URLs that are outside of direct customer service use. For example, giving a link to your site's homepage will get your post deleted. Discussing aspects of your business unrelated to the review will also get your post removed. You may not make any unsolicited posts regarding your business. Businesses should resolve issues through their own channels and not openly on our boards. Report genuine defamation to the webmaster.

Important Fine Print:

  • Please return regularly to review our rules and guidelines for periodic updates.
  • Additional rules are posted in some sections of the forum and are to be followed in conjunction with these Community Guidelines.
  • You are responsible for your own actions and content posted on ricksteves.com. Avoid posting personal contact information.
  • All rules and guidelines equally apply to our Private Message system. Private Messages are not private from moderators.
  • At our discretion, we reserve the right to monitor all interactions on ricksteves.com between you and other community members.
  • We reserve the right to discipline or ban any community member for violating the rules, guidelines, or spirit of our community.
  • Banishment results in, but is not limited to, closing the member's forum account and removing all posts from the forum. Banned members are not permitted to return to the Rick Steves Community under any circumstance.
  • Content provided by members of our community reflect the opinions and experience of those members, not Rick Steves or his staff.
  • Content provided by Rick Steves staff is clearly marked with the blue "RS" badge and may include opinions and experiences that differ from Rick Steves or other members of staff.
  • Content posted at ricksteves.com becomes the property of Rick Steves Europe and may be edited, deleted, published or otherwise used by us. We do not check the accuracy of posted content and accept no responsibility for loss, injury, inconvenience, or bad pasta sustained by any person using the free advice received from Rick Steves Community members.
  • Content found in the Rick Steves Community is not to be used for formal and/or professional research, commercial gain, or redistribution in any way without the permission of Rick Steves Europe and the Rick Steves Community member(s) involved.