Rick Steves talks about Europe Travel, the new season of the show “Monday Night Travel”
When most Americans think of travel to Europe, they think of Rick Steves.
In September, the travel expert in Europe returns with another season of his fun virtual game Monday Night Travel Show. He kicked off the show in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel to Europe was cut short.
The virtual show via Zoom gives travelers a chance to hear Rick talk about his past travel experiences as viewers watch an episode of his hit public television show. Rick adds his commentary while drinking a glass of wine and answers viewers’ questions live.
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There are two screenings on Mondays: one at 5:30 p.m. Pacific / 8:30 p.m. Eastern and another at 7:00 p.m. Pacific / 10:00 p.m. Eastern. The events are completely free, last approximately 75 minutes, and are typically attended by over 3,000 households.
We chatted with Rick to find out more about his upcoming show schedule, his thoughts on traveling to Europe in 2021, and what reservations look like for his 2022 tours.
TravelPulse (TP): What can viewers expect with âMonday Night Travelâ returning this fall?
Rick Steves (RS): It’s a pleasure to invite thousands of travel friends to my living room every Monday – and the party will continue on September 13, when tour guide Federico Garcia Barroso joins the fun for a lively virtual trip to across Spain. And on September 20, my friend and co-author Gene Openshaw and I will take you back to 1978 for a trip on the âHippie Trailâ with us, from Istanbul to Kathmandu. Over 8 million people recently enjoyed my Facebook series on this trip, so I expect this MNT to be a particularly big celebration.
TP: Which destinations will be in the spotlight at the virtual fair this fall?
RS: Embark with me as I visit my favorite places in Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, Bulgaria and England – and come take the trip of my life on the Hippie Trail of 1978, visiting the best underground wonders in Europe , explore cemeteries and crypts, and blitz across the five smallest countries in Europe. Note: You can find full descriptions and register for September shows here at www.ricksteves.com/mnt.
TP: What should travelers visiting Europe expect in 2021?
RS: Now more than ever, it makes sense to understand the entry requirements and reconfirm the specifics when planning and traveling. Pack your patience, expect the unexpected, stay flexible, and commit to all local COVID-19 guidelines (masking, social distancing, etc.). Travelers can find more detailed advice here: www.ricksteves.com/tours/coronavirus-faq.
TP: Your number one tip for novices visiting Europe?
RS: Light pack, light pack, light pack! Think about it: have you ever met someone who, after five trips, brags, “Every year I pack heavier”? In my company, we have taken tens of thousands of people of all ages and styles on tour across Europe with just one piece of hand luggage. For many this is a radical concept, but they get it right and they are happy they did. After enjoying this gentle mobility and freedom, you’ll never be otherwise.
TP: The reopening of Europe is still quite recent, but what do you think of the prospects for touring Europe this fall / winter and in 2022?
RS: Here at Rick Steves’ Europe, we are very careful in our planning and will only run tours if we are confident that we can do it safely, efficiently and in the experimental way that is an integral part of the touring style of Rick Steves. Our 2022 tours are almost full and I expect 30,000 travelers to come to Europe next year.
TP: What advice would you give to travel counselors selling vacations in Europe right now?
RS: Be prepared to be flexible and generous with your customers. In the first few months of 2020, we had down payments of around 24,000 travelers – and we paid them all off in full, with no strings attached. It’s not just good ethics; It’s a good thing. I’m here for the long haul and want travelers to know we’re a business they can count on.