My husband and I have done the 21 day Best of Europe tour through Rick Steves and I have several more I would like to do. I have more of his books than I care to admit. However, when this type of article comes out I think it exposes a little of how disconnected he can be with how most Americans are able to travel.
For our RS tour, we traveled on a 50 person bus through 6 countries in 21 days. Now, the bus wasn't filled as there were only 28 of us. We moved from city to city seeing the "must sees" of each area and taking pictures. We took group pictures throughout Europe and it was always at the suggestion of our tour guide. Our guide would also let us know when great picture opportunities were coming up. I have two scrapbooks of photos from a wonderful trip. I have many memories, but sadly memories do fade and I love looking back at our once in a lifetime trip.
One of the things we received in our tour kit was a money belt. Very similar idea to the "kangaroo pouch," but it goes inside your pants. The thought was to keep everything safe and away from pickpockets. I think it's disingenuous to remark about people trying to keep their personal belongings safe in cities that are know for petty theft.
It also doesn't seem realistic for people who have 10 days to 2 weeks in Europe to not move about and see the sights. Yes, it is awesome to be able to sit back and soak it all in, but when on a limited time schedule, it just isn't always that possible. It seems he forgets he spends months in Europe every year. I stop taking pictures and visiting tourist sites when I have visited an area multiple times, but I would never expect a first timer not to partake in those things.
Some of his thoughts may be on point, but I don't think they always come across well.
A word about his books. I recently purchased his Mediterranean Cruise Ports book because we just booked a cruise to that area. Sadly, Genoa(Genova), Santa Margherita, Portofino, Corsica and Palma de Mallorca are not included. Those are all areas we hope to visit with Genoa, Ajaccio and Palma de Mallorca being our ports. He may not be interested in those areas so chose not to include them, but they are very common ports of call for Western Med cruises. I now have ordered Fodors to fill in the blanks. I have found if his tours go there, his books are great. If they don't visit those areas, it can be hit or miss if they are included in his guidebooks.