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Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2014 Paperback – August 27, 2013
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In particular, this book does a great job of giving general knowledge on how to get the most out of your travels. It includes many tips, some of which are on what to pack, taking public transportation, using cash vs plastic, and how to navigate through a country when you don't know the language.
Since I'm doing multiple European countries at once, I really like having this and the other travel books on my Kindle.
My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that Rick Steves' books and guides have become SO popular that they are pretty much the go-to guide for travelling in Europe these days, and as a result a lot of the places that he talks about as "hidden gems" or great local places are no longer that. When you show up at these places many of them are packed with American tourists, half of whom are hunched over their Rick Steves book planning their next stop. But that didn't make out trip any less enjoyable, and won't stop me from buying any of his books in the future.
I was pleased with the book as I bought it on impulse at a good price. On its own it is not the definitive guide to European travel but it is a good starting point. It is a fast, easy read in an entertaining style. There is a bit of self promotion in the book regarding the author's other travel products( well maybe more than a bit). Much of what is written is Mr. Steves' opinion but he does clearly let you know that is the case.
Just as Rick is thorough, practical and straightforward in his TV and radio programs, so is he in this volume. It is a "volume" and not exactly "light" in weight. That is because it is jammed pack with info, and I would recommend that it be purchased well in advance of a departure for overseas because there is so much to learn that is helpful, and at times necessary, to know when you are driving, eating, seeking lodging and meeting people in foreign countries. I especially like his emphasis on meeting people. IF you need the right info in a hurry, it will also serve that purpose. I speak from the experience of having lived in Europe for about 12 years. But that was years ago, and this was a great way to be up-to-date, and thoroughly aware of technology, purchasing, and making arrangements in this day and age.
If you do want to travel with a book, keeping in mind the weight limits and need to tote belongings on your own, his individual country guides are lighter in weight but just as thorough. Yes, Apps and other technology is great; but when you are in Europe free WIFI is not always available, and even with phone packages, etc, you have to be careful not to return home to a nasty "surprise" when you open a bill for using your devices.
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IT came in very handy at the time. but I hope they now have an updated version.