I'm sharing my travel experiences, candid opinions and what's on my mind. If you think it's inappropriate for a travel writer to stir up discussion on his blog with political observations and insights gained from traveling abroad, you may not want to read any further. — Rick

$1,000,000 for Bread for the World

We did it! Rick Steves’ Europe travelers have met our goal of raising one million dollars to help empower Bread for the World to combat structural poverty and hunger.

2,536 of you gave $100 or more each, totaling $362,050. As promised, I matched your donations 2-to-1 with $700,000 — and together, we raised $1,062,050. All this money (100% of it) was given to Bread for the World to advocate in our halls of government for policies that help the hungry both at home and abroad.

Rick Steves jumping, "We met our goal! $1,000,000 for bread for the world"

Good Americans, surrounded by a sea of abundance (and in the midst of what I see as a political storm of greed), struggle to simply feed their children. Our initiative will result in legislation that will help shape a world where struggling people, both at home and abroad, can work hard to raise healthy, well-nourished children and have reason for hope rather than despair. There are a lot of prayers out there, and this is how prayers are answered. The more you understand the work of Bread, the more you see that this is smart compassion in action.

Now let’s see if we can go even further! You can still elevate your holiday season and join in with a $100 donation — and when you do, I’ll send you my European Christmas gift pack or my 20-Year Anthology DVD Box Set as a thank you gift.

Giving in partnership with caring travelers like you makes my work even more gratifying. Thanks, happy holidays, and Merry Christmas to all.

The Grand Egyptian Museum

The big news for tourism in Egypt is the massive new “Grand Egyptian Museum” being built in Giza at the great pyramids. The GEM, as it’s already called, will open in the next year. It’s far bigger than any museum I’ve ever seen and my Egyptian friends assure me there’s more than enough ancient artifacts to fill it. Any tourist coming to Egypt in 2021 will likely go here, see all the statues, and then hop a shuttle train to the great pyramids at Giza. Judging by the immensity of this construction site, I’d say the pharaohs would approve.

Filming on the Nile: Join Me in Egypt!

Rick Steves at Abu Simbel

To spice up my holiday season, I’ve been in Egypt with my crew making a TV special. I scouted this shoot a few years ago but things got too tense politically to recommend travel there, so I put the shoot on hold. Things feel more stable now and tourism seems to be kicking back into gear, so we’re filming!

Egypt lends itself more to organized tourism rather than independent travel; it can be pretty intense and challenging. While it may not be for everybody, I love traveling here and am excited to share our adventures as we make a great TV special. If you’ve been to Egypt recently, how was your experience? What were the challenges? The rewards? Did you travel on your own or with a group?

Rick Steves Goes to Washington, D.C.

Over the last 15 days, 1,319 of you have responded to my annual Christmas challenge: Help Bread for the World with $100 or more, and I’ll send you a free gift — and I’ll match your donation 2-to-1 (contributing $200 for each $100 given, up to $700K).

Together, we’ve already raised over $177,318 to empower Bread to speak up for hungry people in Congress — and if I can inspire just 1,727 more of you to join in, we’ll hit our million-dollar goal.

There are plenty of great opportunities to be generous and make a difference. This initiative leverages your hard-earned charitable dollar powerfully for these reasons:

  • It’s advocacy. (I love advocacy — as you’ll learn in this little clip I made with Bread a few years ago.) Every dollar given ends up generating $100 in helpful developmental aid and more compassionate trade policies via our government.
  • I’ll match it 2-to-1. It’s very simple: You give $100, and Bread for the World gets $300.
  • I’ll send you a cool thank-you gift, on my dime. Choose either my European Christmas gift pack or my 20-Year Anthology DVD Box Set. (You’ll receive it before Dec. 25.)
  • Together, we’ll give a voice to hungry people in our country and around the world.

We’ve all seen news footage of desperate people at our southern border, and I imagine caring Americans are wondering what they can do to help. Here’s an opportunity that, dollar for dollar, has a huge love-thy-neighbor impact. Learn more at www.ricksteves.com/bread — and please let your loved ones know about this challenge as well. Imagine: As an extended family of caring (and traveling) people, together we can empower Bread for the World’s work with a million dollars.

Acqua Alta: Venice Under Water

Venice has battled rising water levels since the fifth century. But now, the water seems to be winning. The Italian government declared a state of emergency today after Tuesday’s historically high tide — an event that the mayor is calling the “apocalyptic” result of climate change.

I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had a couple of years ago with the Italian archaeologist Dr. Salvatore Settis. We talked about what it’s like to live in Venice, the challenges of rampant tourism, and the efforts to address flooding in this gloriously canaled city. If you missed it the first time around on my radio show and podcast, you can listen to that conversation now right here. Just skip to minute 13:00 for the Venice segment — and then share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

(As a traveler, I see the reality of our changing climate everywhere. And as a business owner who promotes and profits from carbon-emitting travel, I understand that I play a big role in that — which is why my tour company has pledged to donate $1 million a year to nonprofits that fight climate change. This money comes straight out of our profits as a self-imposed carbon tax — and until we have a government that sees the wisdom of fighting climate change, we’ll keep paying it. )