I'm a big fan of Rick Steve's guidebooks and travel gear. I've been fortunate enough to visit Europe 14 times over the past 10 years speaking at various developer conferences and events. If you plan to travel to Europe, check out the various books, maps, videos, train tickets, and travel gear that Rick Steves' company offers. And if you ever visit Seattle and you are a European traveler, I highly recommend visiting Rick's Steves Travel Center walk-in store in Edmonds, WA. Edmonds is about 15 miles north of downtown Seattle. Edmonds is a nice place to walk around, and it's on the shore of the Puget Sound with a ferry dock, shops, restaurants, all walking distance to Rick Steves travel center
 
I found an
Explorer Europe site on msn.com linked to from the home page of the new MSN Travel beta site. A while back I blogged about the CIA World Factbook which contains great detailed information for any country you might visit. I also blogged about 6 detailed posts while touring around in Europe in June 2004, including one entry that describes how I was in 5 countries within 9 hours by car. It's now looking like I will be back to Europe this fall speaking at some developer events on the topic of Windows Live, but nothing specific is planned yet. Maybe I can do some more video interviews of Microsoft employees who work in Europe like the one I did last November now on Channel 9 posted at In the field in Switzerland.
 
Two additional useful related articles I recently found on
msnbc.com are Rick Steves: Helping millions explore Europe and Europe: by train or by car?. One thing you won't find many of on the roads in Europe are SUVs and large pick-up trucks, almost none. The price of gasoline is over twice as expensive in Europe as it is in the U.S.. The price of gas in Europe was around $6US back in June 2004 when I was in a car touring 2500miles (4000km) around Europe, not sure what the price per liter is there now.
 
Trains are a great way to get around Europe, and traveling by car allows you to stop and see many interesting non-tourist locations. The sightseeing and tourist type hot spots are usually fun and interesting, but the best part about European travel is socializing with people who live there. The train system in Europe is a great way to get around and to talk to people, both locals and other travelers.
 
Rick Steves is now podcasting. Here is the RSS feed for the Rick Steves podcast show. There are now over 50 MP3 podcast shows already, not just about European travel but also about locations world-wide, wines, food, and even one on World Cup Soccer 2006. Lots of free useful tips and travel planning content on Rick Steves' Plan Your Trip page.