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on December 29, 2012
I am a well-seasoned traveler with international experience but will be visiting Paris for the first time this spring...as always I extensively "review" the ins n' outs of visiting any new place and have been reading several travelguides and other literature on the City of Lights. I stumbled across Rick Steve's book and, always hating not to be 'in the know', ordered the book and have just completed it over the holiday. Excellent!! Spot on and filled with valuable information and insights - especially useful for the unseasoned traveler although even for a well-honed visiter to far afields I found some great nuggets of valuable info. One difference is that although I love a bargain I prefer a bit more 'up scale' accomodations and ease than the target audience for Rick but am, like the individuals he is writing for, someone who prefers to go off the travel group grid and plunge into other cultures and places and peoples. The book is especially useful to shed off the Ugly American Tourist practices that all too many traveling folks from the USA bring along on board with their checked baggage (I've seen the UATs myself and it ain't purdy). I would make this mandatory reading for those delving into travel abroad if I could!
49 helpful votes
50 helpful votes
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on January 25, 2013
I own several Rick Steves' guidebooks, but I have to say this has to be the most complete in-depth book I've read of his. After reading this, I felt as though I can get through any issue or problem while over in Europe and not be so stressed out, knowing I could simply refer back to this book when I needed to. Its loaded with information on what you should do before your trip as well, which will make your journey less stressful once you arrive there.

I've been to Europe once before, but I only stayed in one country, but this time I plan to visit for several months and travel throughout Europe and that's where this book shines. It will help you with all your questions on all the modes of transportation and all the differences of the region.

If you're going to Europe, this is one thing you need to pack or download on your kindle.
19 helpful votes
20 helpful votes
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on May 11, 2012
I bought this book before my first ever trip to Europe and while it was not incredibly specific, I found the breadth of the information to be helpful. I agree that most of the information is found on the website but I also feel that I made the right decision to purchase this book on my kindle so I can reference it while on the trip. This book provides an introduction to Europe including lodging, dining and attraction types, not necessarily guides to specific places. He gives advice on what to do, how to plan, how to take care of the basics and how to behave in order to make your experience enjoyable. It's hard to say that you won't go into a trip without some guidance. I also agree with his tone throughout the book that we should be conscious and respectful travelers. Letting go of our attitudes and misconceptions and allowing the local culture to influence us will go a long way to ensuring a meaningful experience. I loved this book as an introduction and am greatly looking forward to my trip!
15 helpful votes
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I've been to Southern Europe. I learned the hard way what NOT to do. Do yourself a big favor: Buy this book and invest some time in reading it! Then leave it at home.

Pay particular attention to LUGGAGE! USE A BACKPACK! This is paramount! I can't stress this enough! Get used to fact that you MUST wear most of what you carry! Also get used the fact that you will hand launder things like socks and underwear and shirts. I always pack "quick dry" clothes! Take your favorite BAR type detergent soap or buy something while in Europe if you can find it. I use KIRKS Castile! It gets things really clean. Allow one bar per week of travel. Look for it local or get it on Amazon. REMEMBER THE IRON LAW OF LUGGAGE PHYSICS: ONE OUNCE OF WHATEVER MORPHS INTO A POUND OF LUGGAGE!! All caps serves to warn you! Whatever you take you WILL CARRY! Or you'll abandon it out of desperation! The upper limit is twenty pounds! THAT'S REALLY HEAVY!! Some Airlines are charging for carryons too. Know before you go!

A small Phrase Book is essential. Mr. Steves serves up "French,Italian & German Phrase Book". Well worth the expense and trouble...AND weight. Knowing a few phrases really helps. A lot of people in Europe really don't know English!

Get guide books for your Kindle or Nook. Wait!, you don't have one yet? Get one! iPads are great but they weigh three pounds! I know, some books don't translate well to "e-book" BUT if you bring a physical book YOU WILL CARRY IT!

Get a GSM phone before you go and buy SIMS in "tobacco shops" if you need to call home. Roaming charges for "American" phones are astronomical! They seem to be trying to fix this but it will be at least 2014 or later before they do. You might try Google Talk over the Internet OR E-MAIL. E-mail has a long lag time though...

ELECTRICAL OUTLET ADAPTERS ARE A MUST!! British is different from European AND Italian. That means three different adapters! *****Your chargers MUST work at 240 Volts! Look at them closely to see if they do!***** Amazon has them. Get good ones with good reviews. Expect to pay 14-15 dollars for EACH of them! One of those three way cubes allows more than one charger to work at the same time!

If you take Medicines ask your Doctor for 90 day supplies or "samples" to get you through! Inventory Meds and know before you go.

WATER: Bottled water is available all over Europe. Don't carry a bottle if you don't have to. Some "purification" tablets for when you can't be sure might be in order.

HYGIENE: I caught an upper respiratory disease in Greece! I had the sniffles and felt bad for a month. Wash your hands before eating or taking pills. Do carry hand sanitizer!
Make the washing hands sign to be directed to a "WC". You can go to the bathroom while you're there too. In Turkey some WCs are "co-ed" if there is a large crowd of tourists! Get used to it.

TRANSIT: Europe has fabulous Transit! Your phrase book really helps here! If you can't figure out which Train or Bus and Direction you can get lost. The language barrier really starts to kick in here! I like Street Wise fold up maps. They are light weight and small. They contain a lot of vital information and it's in English. Get one for every city you visit.

CRIME: Expect to be scammed. Get some information about crime in Europe from the Internet. Watch those videos of pickpockets at work. This is an institution in Europe! Get a leg wallet and use it! I used small pouches on my belt for credit cards and small amounts of money. My phone was in one too. I secured the flaps with heavy rubber bands cut from a large bicycle inner tube. Search for "Raine" here on Amazon. They make good stuff! Their "PDA" pouches are perfect!! I felt them probing me many times! It's VERY subtle! I lost nothing to them! Read up on petty street crime before you go. Know what to look for. Know what to expect! I took a simple walking cane. It's a weapon too! You can use it to maintain a safe zone around you when in a crowd. I had no trouble with it on any Plane trip! NEVER be on the street without it!!

Sorry for the "book" but you must know this stuff for a trip to Europe.

And get this book and read it. Time and money well spent. Ten stars! **********
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on July 22, 2015
The main point of travelling is to discover, and remember, that you're "not in Kansas anymore". This book describes the attitudes, and tools, that are useful in getting the most out of travel in Europe. There are way to get around Europe without actually interacting with the locals and dealing with the culture. For that, you need the "Accidental Tourist". This is for people who want to live and learn, and maybe bypass some of the painful parts of that process and go straight to the fun part. Even though I spent 5 years in Europe as an expat in the '70s, there are still big chunks of useful information that I learned from this book and from the Rick Steves website. Like all good things, Europe is constantly changing.
1 helpful vote
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on May 9, 2016
I just finished reading this book. I made notes along the way and since I downloaded it to my Kindle I also Bookmarked the pages I want to go back to. There is so much good info that will come in handy for my trip to Europe this Fall. I used to buy the Frommer's travel books until I discovered Steve's books. Now I only buy his. The only negative is that I would like to see the pictures updated. I swear, some must be from the 60's! You will not be disappointed in this book!
1 helpful vote
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on May 26, 2012
Valuable for all, but especially for those planning their own trip, arranging own lodgings, traveling by themselves. Read completely, much practical advice contained within. Also, don't feel disappointed if your "real" agenda can't keep pace with what Rick recommends; he sets a blistering pace (and probably has more support in his travels than you'll have available).
Consider:
* If by yourself, cars sometimes nice, but big responsibility/worry. Parking, directions, liability, etc. Local trans generally good, always in big cities. Maybe OK in UK/Ireland, if getting one, always get/bring GPS with up-to-date maps. Trains are good. Driving in large cities not recommended, just is no fun.
* Plan at least two nights at a time at location, unless strictly getting from A to B. Reserve first night's lodging in advance, know/plan how to get from arrival point to lodging in advance.
* Thorough understand phone/electronic compatibility/coverage in all counties you expect services available (and associated costs). Investigate "international" options with your carrier.
* Don't need to plan itinerary completely, but understand less planned, more time finding arrangements while on trip. So, trade-off; sometimes arrangements take time (unless willing stay at hostels, which a generally easy to find and readily available).
14 helpful votes
15 helpful votes
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on September 12, 2012
I cant believe I had not met this man's work before I read this book. It is fantastic, and so detailed. I kept thinking I must be getting to the end of the book, and I was only half way through. love the way he did the book, with two different methods, first, general details about how to be a temporary resident in Europe and what to look out for,and then Rick began his story of how to fall in love with a number of different countries in Europe. I read it all even though I am only visiting a few this time round. To make it even more fantastic the books are updated every year so information is as current as possible for a book.

I have also purchased Rick Steves Italy and am devouring it at the moment. Even his samples are full of knowledge and detail. So thoroughly reccommend this book for anyone visiting Europe. But only one problem Rick. We are reading E books and you keep talking about side bars and skipping the last part of words in the pronunciation stage. Would love if you could fix this for 2013.

One of your newest but earnest admirers.
2 helpful votes
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on December 4, 2015
Going to Europe? Get this book! Loaded with insider information and solid suggestions. I read selective chapters 2-3 times each before going on a river cruise last summer and it paid off! As a 1st timer, I felt totally prepared and knowledgeable about the countries and cities we visited. I appreciated the nitty-gritty details, lots of lists...what to bring; how to travel "lightly;" eating & dining tips; ways to save money. Steves' also has a website with much of the same info, condensed of course, but useful if you have internet. This book paid for itself many times over. Get the newest edition for up-to-date info.
1 helpful vote
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on August 12, 2013
We totally like Mr. Steve's advice, especially regarding packing light! We did experience trouble not having a credit card with a chip in France as he warned about. This tended to be at official places such as when buying public transportation tickets. Merchants and hotels seemed fine accepting cards without chips. It did not seem to be an issue in Italy, Austria or Germany, however, be prepared that many tours and some local transportation entities only take cash, so get Euros. Some ATMs did not take our credit card, but we always managed to find one on our system before we ran out of cash. This is the best way to convert. My credit card was on,y 8 months old, so I wonder when the US and Europe will sync on this.

Our exception with the book is that Mr. Steve's feels Europeans do not wear shorts. We saw many, many people in shorts, men and women, in July. I would not hesitate to wear shorts unless you are going to a nice restaurant or a show. People were even wearing shorts to the Vatican, and no ladies were stopped for sleeveless tops. I did not see anyone with short shorts or low cut tops, but normal length, decent clothing worked fine. Cargo shorts are great for keeping your valuables.
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