Rick Steves Offers Some Pandemic Travel Advice

An optimistic note from an expert traveler

Some travel tips from an expert in the field.

To state the obvious for a second, right now is a challenging time to travel. The plans that you made during Hot Vax Summer may not hold up in Nervewracking Delta Autumn, and various countries around the world are adjusting their own policies for American travelers as the pandemic continues to shift. Some travelers are opting to keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best; for others, postponing their trip might make the most sense. Still, it can be difficult to take the long view on travel plans when the metaphorical goalposts keep moving — which can be frustrating in and of itself.

Thankfully, there are experts out there whose who have built careers out of travel advice on both micro and macro levels. One of those is Rick Steves, and in a recent interview with Rachel Syme at The New Yorker, he offered some useful advice for frustrated travelers in the pandemic’s second year.

Among his advice? Take the long view. “[O]ur mantra has been: COVID can derail our travel plans, but it cannot stop our travel dreams,” Steves said. For him, that’s involved creating online programs that involve talking about travel, with a food or drink associated with a particular country. (For Scotland, that involved shortbread and whisky, which sounds delightful.)

Steves also urges travelers to try the local food and drink where they’re staying. “The question is not, Where can I get my drink? but, What do local people drink here?” he said. “When I’m in Belgium, I like a milkshakey, rich, monk-made beer,” he added. “When I’m in Prague, I like a nice refreshing Pilsner.”

In the interview, he struck an optimistic tone about the future of travel. “My spiel is, if I had to predict, we’re going to get back to a sort of normalcy,” he said. It’s an encouraging thought from a leading expert on the subject.


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