Orlando or Greece? Your Choice.

I have a friend, Matt Barrett, who is the go-to guy for Greek travels. His www.greecetravel.com website is a wonderful resource. He just emailed me today to share a message he received and to encourage us in our ongoing work:

Hey Rick, let me take you out for an ouzo and meze next time you are in Greece. Your support through this “crisis” has been invaluable. Your readers are the last of the courageous American travelers. I started this day very depressed and this e-mail picked me up. Keep doing what you do. Matt

“Hi Matt, Your website was recommended to us by a Rick Steves guidebook. (I’m glad he did.) It’s loaded with information and we took it to heart as we planned our first trip (4 weeks) to Greece in April. We followed your advice and contacted Fantasy Travel. He has set up and organized all our transfers, flights and ferry, hotels, tours, and car rental as we requested. Everything is now booked, reserved, and ready to go. We also arranged a 3-day tour with George Taxi Tours to go to the cog train and drive around the Argolis area. And we are having a one-day tour of eastern Crete with Lefteris Taxi. With your recommendations, we are excited about our upcoming Greece trip. Thanks. Marilyn, Vancouver, BC”

I’ve been thinking about fear and travel myself, so I found Matt’s comments interesting. I’m moving forward with my plans to visit Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, and Turkey this April. Here at Rick Steves’ Europe, we don’t do La-La Land. The bestselling guidebooks these days cover Walt Disney World and Orlando. Clearly that’s the first choice for lots of Americans. But our travelers have an appetite for reality, and that’s what we target in our travels. We come home smarter, changed, and more empathetic with the struggles of people far away. Happy real travels.

P.S. Tomorrow we meet with our publisher and his staff to see how we can close the gap between our guidebooks and those Disney World ones. And the next day, our staff will enjoy an after-work happy hour to celebrate a milestone for us — we’ve sold 10,000 tour seats for 2013. That’s far ahead of our 2012 tempo…and lots of those seats are to Greece!