Rick Steves is an American travel author, television host, and activist. As a child, he took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. By the time he reached 18, Rick jokes, "I realized I didn't need my parents to travel!" He began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves' Europe, which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a staff of 100 full-time, well-traveled employees at his headquarters in Washington State.
In 2009, Steves tackled a new genre of travel writing with Travel as a Political Act: How to Leave Your Baggage Behind. The book reflects on how a life of travel broadened his own perspectives and how travel can be a significant force for peace and understanding in the world. With lessons in tolerance, cultural diversity, and new outlooks, the book shares what it means to be both an American, and a citizen of the world. He will discuss his belief that the most effective way for individual Americans to contribute to our “homeland security” is to travel frequently, learn about the world and bring that knowledge back home. He stresses that America’s current stand on world trade and environmental issues is in the minority—and that the world’s well-being depends on travel—which is the only way to know how other countries’ live and think.
Steves spends about a third of every year in Europe researching guidebooks, filming TV shows, and making new discoveries for travelers. His popular, PBS travel series, Rick Steves’ Europe is carried by more than 300 stations, reaching 95 percent of US markets. He also hosts a weekly, National Public Radio show, Travel with Rick Steves, where he interviews travel experts and hosts listener call-ins. With more than 50 guidebooks, a popular podcast, audio walking-tours, a weekly syndicated column with Tribune Media Services, a travel center, a website, an active social media presence, and frequent guest-spot appearances on television and radio, Steves has become the leading authority on European travel.
When not on the road, Steves is active with advocacy groups focused on economic justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger.
Hachette Book Group