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best way to use Ricks self Guided tours

Ricks self Guided Tours are great! How to make use of the info ??? walk around with his book? There must be a better way?
You Techies know! help me please!

Posted by
245 posts

I like having a mostly intact Guidebook for leisurely review in the hotel room, airplane note-taking, or post-trip reminiscing. After nearly destroying a RS Guidebook while enthusiastically removing pages for a day tour, I now prefer using a razor blade to carefully slice them out surgically. The pages are rather thin paper and will easily rip or "dog-ear", so to keep the naked pages in decent repair for a day tour, I use the official RS Guidebook Page Binder (available in the RS shop for only $1) or something like a plastic page protector to hold them. Conflict of interest statement: I received no compensation for this product endorsement.

Posted by
1103 posts

We've used Rick's audio guides on a Kindle in several European cities along with ear buds at times. Our fondest memory was his guide to the Sistine Chapel when we had the entire chapel almost to ourselves. We started with the ear buds but then just used the normal audio as several other couples stood nearby to hear Rick list the ceiling panels one by one. We've also used his audio guides in London and Paris. We've also used other audio and printed guides which are often available for specific sights or neighborhoods. I think we found them using Google for Paris city guides for example.

Posted by
2351 posts

Have the kindle version of the book on your phone. Kindle app is free, the book costs unless you can get it from the library (many libraries do have ebooks). Looking at a phone is much less obtrusive than carrying a book. Easier to do one handed while walking and staring at the art on the wall. This is about the only time I prefer e-books.

If you don’t want to pay for the ebook version you could use your phone camera to take photos of the tour pages in the paper book. That way you have the tour on your phone and can leave the book in the hotel. Just make sure the photos are clear and legible - blur makes it useless!

Posted by
818 posts

I use a combination. If there is a guided walk on the app I will use that, but I carefully take out the paper versions for use in the binder he offers in his shop. As someone else mentioned it is only about a $1. Then when I get home I insert them back in their proper spaces and use a rubber band to keep it together, just in case! (I never lose hope that I will go back to Europe that soon that the information would be valid):)

Posted by
1525 posts

I only buy kindle versions anymore. I print out the maps, and read the kindle as we follow the tour. Too much effort to flip back and forth between map and guide. I also read the "tour" the morning or night before, so the kindle guide is not necessarily new info, just in context as we see the landmarks.

You might ask how to print a page from a kindle book. On my iPad kindle app, open the map to full size, take a screen shot, then print as a photo on letter size paper.

This way I might only be traveling with 6-10 pages, instead of a book. I also have plastic protective covers with 3 holes for a 3 ring binder. I put the maps in the plastic cover, then I can stuff the map in a pocket, or backpack, and don't have to worry about rain, or ripping.

Posted by
5934 posts

I print the walking tour map from a photo I take of it. Then listen to Rick’s audio guides.

Posted by
71 posts

The Rick Steves Audio Europe™ app organizes Rick's vast library of self-guided walking tours and radio interviews into geographic playlists covering Europe's top sights, travel tips, and cultural insights. app info

Just download the app and listen to on your phone, with earbuds please 😉

Posted by
408 posts

Since I do not like wearing earbuds of any kind, I generally tear out pages from the guidebook and only carry what I need on any given day. If available, I will also print out the corresponding map from the audio tour.

Posted by
4846 posts

Lots of good tips so far, I like the audio version, but as important, do some work ahead, read through or listen to the tour first, and get a good sense of the path you will take.

What you want to avoid is wandering with your nose in a book or audio blaring in your ears the whole time. There are many other things to see and hear along the way, soak it in, take it leisurely, maybe even sit down to listen or read at spots along the way. I have seen too many people wandering through a plaza, RS book open, almost tripping over every curb and stone, clearly distracted, all things that can lead to a bad ending.

Posted by
172 posts

I just copy the pages out of the book with my copy/printer for the maps. Means giving the bindings a good work out but they generally do just fine. Then, I’ll have my stack of maps and just take the one or two I’m referencing out with me that day. I’ll download audio for the walks if I feel the need

Maybe wastes a bit of ink but I don’t like having to constantly get out tech to look at. Carrying a book does stink so I wouldn’t want to do that. And my method sure beats trying to cut out paper thin pages.

I tend to use his walks as guidelines, sometimes following along, sometimes not. So I’ll highlight the route I want. But his little maps are great to carry around.

Posted by
175 posts

I am used to typing. I have an active Word document that is specific to our trip, with only information about hotels, trains, sights, etc. that we will be doing. It's fairly chronological. Anytime I read or learn something new that is important, I type it in the correct section. So basically, I have a condensed compilation of tips and info from Rick Steves' guidebooks and stuff on the internet. I can print it and I can save it as a document on my iPhone. I also have copied the tips and info for each sight and pasted that into the appropriate location in my customized Google Map. So everything I know about Windsor Castle is accessible by clicking on the icon for Windsor Castle in my Google Map.

Posted by
182 posts

I normally use RS guidebook (ripped apart) when I do the city walks, museums, etc. I will be going to Italy and Greece in the fall, and I have downloaded audio on my phone. Where do you put your phone when you are using the audio? People talk about cell phone being a target. I usually carry mine in a sml crossbody purse with my "walking around" cash.

Posted by
173 posts

I normally don't buy eBooks. It is all about library books for me. However, I do enjoy the eBook version. You can bookmark pages, highlight sections and make notes. You can access it on your phone or your tablet. Plus one less thing to pack. I download the R.S. audio tour app before I leave.

Posted by
230 posts

When I rip my guide books apart I take a PLAIN PIECE OF PAPER and wrap it around those very thin pages. Then I STAPLE it! And I write on it. Low tech. Cheap. Not plastic.

I'm not paying $1, plus shipping, for a fancy RS binding! That I have to bring back because I PAID for it!!!

Plus....Ounces, people! Ounces.

But to answer your question...if the tour is in audio form, I use that. If paper, it doesn't take away from the experience to stop and read. As well, I l will usually read the tour info before I 'do the tour' becoming familiar with what I am looking for. Then I recycle the paper.

Posted by
1406 posts

Man, I got in so much trouble years ago for suggesting on a travel forum that guidebooks were tools that you could do with as you wish, including ripping them apart to make them easier to use. And leaving home parts of the book you weren't going to need.

If it's important to you, when you get home spend the $25 to get a pristine new copy to put on your shelf.

Posted by
434 posts

You can print the maps from his website.