Beard or No?

When I was a kid, I grew a beard each summer. It just seemed to fit being on the road. Since I started my TV series, I’ve kept my look more basic and clean-shaven. Now that I no longer travel with a Youth Rail pass, my beard is gray. (I can dream of someday, perhaps, looking like “the most interesting man in the world.”) Having a beard doesn’t really give me anonymity in my travels — but that’s not the point. (I enjoy my lack of anonymity.) It’s just fun to grow it on the road. I’m about to meet my film crew in France, so it’s time to say Auf Wiedersehen to my beard. Thanks for all the (generally encouraging) comments on my summer growth.

Which do you prefer? To beard or not to beard?

In my younger days, growing a beard on my annual European trips was low-maintenance...and, I like to think, ruggedly handsome.
In my younger days, growing a beard on my annual European trips was low-maintenance…and, I like to think, ruggedly handsome.

Today, my whiskers are whiter and more carefully cultivated...but still practical and rugged.
Today, my whiskers are whiter and more carefully cultivated…but still practical and rugged.

The nice thing about growing a beard is that shaving your whiskers also shaves off a decade.
The nice thing about growing a beard is that shaving your whiskers also shaves off a decade.

My television viewers have gotten accustomed to the clean-shaven look. So when we bring out the camera, I also bring out my razor.
My television viewers have gotten accustomed to the clean-shaven look. So when we bring out the camera, I also bring out my razor.

Travelers love the beard.
Travelers love the beard.

42 Replies to “Beard or No?”

  1. I think you look handsome either way, but I prefer the NO beard look…ask your significant other for their feedback, that would be the best! Haha!

  2. The beard made you look “More Mature” waaay more Mature:) LOL.
    It looks better this way, but as a guy, I also grow a beard from time to time, but for me a moustach is easier to grow.

  3. It’s not so much that I have a beard, it’s that I don’t shave. Grew my first before setting off on a planned round-the-world trip in the 60s (made it to Munich). Length comes and goes. Have attempted to calculate the money I’ve saved in razors, blades, foam… or fancy electric shavers with associated juice, not to mention the hours of labor, band aids, after-shave…. must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars…. Long beard is great for Christmas playing Santa, clipped short is probably my best look. I ski, so the beard keeps my face protected, especially when frozen.

    For a laugh I once surprised my daughters clean shaven. They didn’t recognize me. I was told by all I looked ten years younger. That’s ten years I’m keeping in the bank, case I need it….

  4. It should really be up to you, but as a long-time viewer, I prefer your beardless look. Be comfortable though!


  5. Keep the beard.

    My brother and I followed our father’s moustache AND the beard he cultivated during the centennial celebration in our home town.

  6. Whatever works for you Rick! Hey, by the way, when is your book coming out about your cruise experience?

  7. Practical and rugged? Hmm. Well you do begin to resemble Papa Hemingway. Plan to try out for his lookalike contest?

    Rick, as I noted before, the beard is quite aging on you, all white like Saint Nick. I’d say the same to Mr Clooney. If that is the look you wish to cultivate, ok. But it’s a jarring departure from the blond Rick Steves we are all used to, and, frankly, I don’t think you have aged much at all. That is, until this beard appeared. That’s my opinion. I’m sure there are many RS groupies that will be fine with anything you do, whatsoever.

    Now you could go for the unkempt stubble look, but that might not look too hot for TV…or at customs & security….

    The main thing is, please do not opt for those thick black heavy geeky eyeglasses that you see now.. just dont go there.

  8. OK RICK….

    As a single lady I say GO CLEAN! Less gray less age!!
    Do like your hair tough!!! Nice!


  9. Rick as a barber, I would recommend the beard be well trimmed and possibly colored or keep it gray, you earned it…. I think it looks great and says “I am well traveled”. Much like the character on the Dos Equis Commericals. Stay traveled my friend !

  10. I say, beard when traveling for pleasure and shave it off for the camera. Although, I would like to see a few travel episodes with the beard. Perhaps you could pair the beard with the appropriate country depending on how the natives address the situation.

    I love your blogs, thanks for taking us along with you.

  11. Wow can’t believe the response this brings. My husband is German and Norwegian and you look quite similar and you are both the same age. He tried the beard a few years ago and it is just too old looking. Why would you want all that gray hair on your face when you can just shave it off! Us women go to so much trouble and expense to cover up the gray on our heads and why would you want to keep extra on your face. I say shave! You will look 10 years younger. My husband is a grandpa but he really doesn’t want to look like one.

  12. Try a little “Just For Men” beard coloring. Light brown should do the job for you. It only takes 5 minutes about every 8 days. That way you can grow a beard without looking older.

  13. You look like an Old Salt with a beard- the scowl helps complete the image. So why not go all the way? Wear a white knit turtle neck, a pea jacket and rubber boots, and carry a pipe and harpoon. “Attend now, my braves, I have mustered ye all round this capstan, to join the hunt of the cursed leviathan white whale…er, I mean, bring ye the travel wonders that lie yonder behind the harbors of great Europe.”

  14. Studies show that Rick’s already impressive travel expertise becomes 265% more powerful with a beard. Sorry, haters: it’s science.

  15. @Laura ha ha yes, this was the first post I commented on as well, even though I’ve been thoroughly enjoying them all.

    Guess that says it’s fun that Rick puts something lighthearted up every once in a while, so we all get a chance to interact!

  16. The beard looks nice. But it would not be my choice, were you my main squeeze! Happy Travels….

  17. Definitely beard, Rick. You look rugged and intellectual, a fitting appearance for a great writer and romantic.

    You recently visited Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Did you sport a beard while traveling there? Two weeks ago I was in Israel and the Palestinian territories. I saw a few more beards than in the US, but it was not an overwhelmingly larger number. Traditionally, beards are more prevalent in the Middle East.

  18. The beard was OK but I prefer clean shaven. Also like your hair a little longer. It’s been too short the last couple of years.

  19. You look like a rugged, confident explorer with your beard, I wish you would film your shows with the beard, the beard makes you look less formal and more accessable, please keep the beard Rick !!!

  20. I think it’s phenomenal how many people want to comment on Rick’s beard! Yikes! Do what makes you feel good is what I say.

  21. When you were younger, no beard was better. Now that “we’re” older, I think the beard is better. Makes you look like the wise man we’ve come to admire.

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