Rick Steves Didn’t Teach Me These 9 Tips That Made Me A Better Traveler
Lifestyle

Rick Steves Didn’t Teach Me These 9 Tips That Made Me A Better Traveler

No amount of PBS Rick Steves specials could have prepared me for the mistakes I made...

291
Charity Buzz

As a kid, I would rent Rick Steve’s Europe 5-hour travel bonanza compilations from the library every visit. I would fawn over the European sights, the enchanting towns Rick would visit, and awe over his dad bod. What can I say? His wardrobe was always so expertly packed with only the most 90’s essentials. “What a perfect man,” I thought, “and what an even more perfect world traveler”.

(For those not familiar with the genius that is Rick Steve, binge watch his episodes on his website. Think of him like the father of savvy travel- the Bob Ross of backpacking.)

Since then, I’ve had my fair share of road trips, backpacking adventures, study abroad liaisons, and weekend trips with my boyfriend. I must admit, through sheer trial and error, not the infinite wisdom of Rick Steve did I get my traveling down to a science. Learn from my mistakes so you can become a master traveler, with no thanks to ol’ Rick.

1. Never spend the night in hotels

For us college-age travelers, every penny counts, and hotels are not the place to drop money. Instead, consider hostels, an extremely cheap alternative, where travelers share dormitories and communal bathrooms in exchange for around 10-30 dollars a night (depending on the city)! What’s more, is that many hostels are strictly youth hostels, and many will host free city walking tours, bar crawls, and excursions. I highly recommend this type of lodging, especially in Europe. Think of it as another few days in the freshman dorms. Lots of partying and little sleep. It’s worth it for the cost.

Another option is the AirBnB route, which lets you rent out a person’s home or private room for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Plus, you get the comforts of a home, and advice from a local host. Sorry Rick, your boutique hotels for 200 dollars a night is a rip off.

2. Utilize the internet for free stuff

If you’re down to get a little uncomfortable, try CouchSurfing, a site where people let travelers sleep on their couches for free or in exchange for company, or WWOOF, an organization that pairs organic farmers around the world with travelers. Trade work on the property for free lodging and meals. Don’t forget to check out free ride sharing cites like BlaBla Car.

3. Buy travel insurance… seriously

The one thing I will always spend money on is travel insurance. You think I would have learned my lesson the time I went into anaphylactic shock in Denmark after eating kebabs with hidden soy (which I am deathly allergic to) and I was unable to go to the hospital. Or the time that I got my friend’s iPhone and her wallet pushed into a canal in Copenhagen, and I couldn’t call her to tell her what happened. Or the time that my cell phone stopped turning on in Germany and I couldn’t access the directions to my hostel. Trust me, the 20 dollars or so per month it costs will pay for itself with just one horrible travel mistake.

4. Dating apps aren’t only for Netflix and Chill

When I was a young spring chicken traveling in Europe, I used Tinder not to find dates, but to make friends and find locals to show me the nightlife. Don’t be afraid to match with people and ask for a recommendation on the best Friday night spot. If you’re traveling with friends, use the group feature to meet up with other travelers or to make your sightseeing group even bigger.

5. Don’t waste money on guidebooks, paper maps or foreign language dictionaries

Everything is online these days, so the fact that people drop money on travel books and physical maps is insane to me! Many apps including Google Maps will save parts of a map for offline use, and GPS works without data, so you can get around without having service in the foreign place. Any information about the top spots in your destination can surely be found on Pinterest by looking up “best (free) things to do in ____”.

6. A carry-on is more than enough space

Even if an airline gives your first checked bag for free, try to keep everything in a carry-on. You’ll thank me later when you save time at the airport, dragging through city centers, and unpacking in hostels. I have packed for three weeks in a carry-on and I did laundry on the road.

7. Two pairs of shoes are plenty

One pair of walking boots or flats doubles as a shoe for late nights out. Trust me, not only are stilettos not in style in many parts of the world, but they’re impossible on old streets. The second pair should be a comfortable pair of sandals for the beach or water and cute day outfits. Throw in shower flip flops if you’re staying in a hostel with communal bathrooms.

8. Buy experiences, not nick knacks

Not many will fit in that carry-on, and only so many will fit on your bookshelf. Think about when you can use that magnet or blown glass or hand-carved figurine. After a few trips, they’ll take up more dust than the joy they bring. Instead, consider spending money on day trips to different locations on your trip, or extreme attractions like skydiving, helicopter tours, surfing lessons, or dance classes. Those memories will never get dusty.

9. For the love of God, stay in touch with your new friends!

It will be painful to leave the new friends you make at your hostels, on the trains, at the beach resorts, among other places. Don’t leave, though, until you exchange information! Facebook or Instagram are great ways to keep in contact. I myself have gone on subsequent trips just to visit the friends I made in other countries! The friendships will last a lifetime if you keep up with them.

That’s all for now, fellow travelers. My last tip is this: continue to watch Rick Steve for all his dad vibes and entertaining escapades, but not for the out-of-date travel tips. Happy travels!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

While parts of the U.S. are beginning to re-open after months in quarantine, the future of date nights at home is still bright — because, let's face it, wearing masks to a fancy restaurant with your boo in the coming months just doesn't sound fun.

So, if you're looking to have a little romantic fun indoors, we've got just the games for you. Click through the slideshow below for 11 couples games that'll help you two become closer than ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've always been interested in any product that can get me the Jennifer Lopez-esque natural glow. I'm Indian and have medium-toned skin, so getting darker was never really the goal. Rather, I've always looked for a product that would even out my skin tone and cellulite, basically making my legs look Photoshopped.

Now more than ever we're craving that healthy, tan glow most of us only get after spending a week poolside with margarita in hand. We may not be spending an SPF-soaked summer hitting on our local lifeguards. But when we're going on socially-distanced walks outside, taking viral-worthy selfies, or just want to test out the best self-tanners for when you do finally get to show off all the bikinis you binge-purchased through your quarantine boredom, these are the best to ways to glow up, no matter your shade of skin, whether you have uber-sensitive eczema-ridden skin, or just want J-Lo glow, smooth legs.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Quarantine Checkup Week 10: It's Officially Summer, Even In Quarantine

An Odyssey panel discussion about all things quarantine.

Thanks to coronavirus (COVID-19), most of the United States has gone into its own version of quarantine. While no one loves this new way of life we're adjusting to, it's the necessity that will eventually help us fling open our front doors and frolic freely once again!

Premature thinking? Maybe. But while we're in the midst of this quarantine time, we're chatting about the most terrifying, the funniest, and the weirdest thing that quarantine has forced us into recently.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Father's Day Shirts Under $30 To Gift The Dad Wearing The Same Two Every Day In Quarantine

You've been begging him to change it up, and now he won't have a choice.

Let's be honest: most of our dads are wearing the same shirts today that they probably wore while changing our diapers and holding our hands as we learned to walk. Sure, we love them for it. But whether you're quarantined with him wearing the same two shirts on rotation every week, or every time you FaceTime him, you know what he'll be wearing before he answers the phone, he needs to add some new items to his wardrobe rotation.

And you know dads — they'll feel guilted into using practically anything you were to give them. But these shirts are sure-fire ways to get him to switch up his wardrobe, and he'll be more than excited to wear each and every one of them. Plus, most of them are under twenty dollars, so no harm in dropping more than a couple in to your cart and letting Dad have his pick of his favorites.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Hollis Tuttle To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

My Boyfriend Has Changed Since Quarantine Began, And I Don't Know What To Do

"All he says is 'I love you,' which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Dear Swoonie B,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!

Keep Reading... Show less
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only did she launch her beauty marketing career at legendary Smashbox Cosmetics, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments