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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Globe Trekker v. Rick Steves: a short post for armchair travel geeks

Rick Steves' Europe is waaay better than Globe Trekker. Here's why:

I. Pace
Rick Steves: a relaxing show with a mellow, vacation-like pace, chronologically covering a doable vacation in each episode (for example, beginning in the French Alps, traveling into the Swiss Alps)
Globe Trekker: frenetic, disorienting, and slightly disorganized program that hops all over a country geographically

II. Practicality
Rick Steves: Gives lots of good travel tips, for example, how to purchase a EuroRail pass and why it's useful; shows us inexpensive and hospitable lodging
Globe Trekker: no good travel tips

III. Personality
Rick Steves: Our affable, humble host with the most competently guides us through each episode
Globe Trekker: A gaggle of college kids straight from study abroad with either cocky or "I'm-so-cute" attitudes; no one person to get to know and trust. But that English guy is kind of likeable.

IV. Historical research
Rick Steves: Explains the significance of architecture and art in historical context
Globe Trekker: none that I've seen

V. Attitude
Rick Steves: Respectful approach to each culture, dining with the locals; approaches travel as a way for people to connect across cultures; refers to "traditions", not "superstitions"
Globe Trekker: Treats foreign cultures with a "this-is-so-weird" anthropological approach. Hosts go out of their way to find weird food to eat. For example, in the Mexico episode, Justine squealed and flailed her arms about and said, "Justine, you can do this," all in the interest of eating a live beetle from a Mayan woman at the marketplace. Rick Steves would never be so ridiculous and disrespectful. He'd help us find the good food. AND Megan called the Portuguese a "superstitious" people! Rude.

I welcome a counterpoint from any Globe Trekker fans.

Next time: Why Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa isn't so smart.

Gotta go, time for Rick Steves.

UPDATE: After watching back-to-back Rick Steves' and Globe Trekker episodes, I feel compelled in the name of fairness to list a few categories in which the Trekkers have an advantage over Rick:

1. Infinitely better music
2. Prettier, more sophisticated cinematography
3. They cover the whole world, whereas Rick is limited to Europe. This is also an advantage for Rick, however, because he knows the locales very well and offers an insider's perspective.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of all three shows! I love Rudy Maxa, Rick Steves and Globe Trekker due to the fact that they are all very different educational and entertaining formats.

Rick Steves focuses a lot more on architecture, history and art than the others and his shows are more languid and in-depth. I think that he is a friendly and lovable travel nerd.

Rudy Maxa's shows are a little more fun-loving and brief, but I also learn a lot about the history and the why of a place. He is more of a food, wine and art connoisseur and is a little more five star. I think he is cute.

I agree about the bug eating bit, although I admire Justine. That came off as a little Survivor Show spinoff or much worse--Fear Factorish. That show is more backpacker sleeps anywhere and sees the reality of the world. I think it's fascinating.

I'm a travel show geek.

Hey, interesting post!

6:57 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Welcome, Jessica! It's great to have a fellow travel show geek stop by! You've inspired me to take a minute to write my Rudy Maxa post...It will be very brief.

8:23 PM  

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