The Rick Steves Drinking Game

Rick Steves: Readers and viewers weigh in on his most over-used words and phrases

02.02.10 | 10:56 AM ET

Photo by kerryvaughan via Flickr (Creative Commons)

My guidebook editor (Risa), TV producer (Simon) and radio producer (Tim) always nail me when I pop in one of my favorite and overused catchphrases. There are certain words Simon will let me use just once per script (like “proud,” “boom times,” “glory days” or “carbonate”). Then I get this on the Travelers Helpline section of the Graffiti Wall on our website: The Rick Steves Drinking Game.

I learned lots about my own brain patterns and limited vocabulary with this fun posting and thread. Here, some of my no-no words (and quirky pronunciations) offered by attentive readers, viewers and travelers. Let’s all drink to new and creative ways for travel writers to say the same old thing.

“workaday”—as in “such and such is a workaday city”
“main drag”
Michael in Phoenix, AZ

How about “grab”—such as “grab a train,” “grab a bite”
Swan in Napa, CA

“backwater”
“sleepy”
“unchanged”
“sit back”
Jim in Oklahoma City, OK

“Raise your travel dreams to their upright and locked position.”
Teresa in Seattle, WA

On his podcasts he’s always asking a guest interviewee, “What’s your take on that?”
Nancy in Bloomington, IL

He also likes to use “salty” and “workaday” quite a bit when describing things.
Ashley in Baton Rouge, LA

“thrills” as in “maximum thrills per mile” or “sightseeing thrills” or “alpine thrills”
He uses the word “thrills” a lot.
Laura in Virginia

If you tried the drinking game with the word “local,” you might need to visit the ER for detox afterwards.
Tom in Somewhere Else, Not in USA

Here’s another fun game…try this in Europe! Every time you see a Rick Steves guidebook, you go and get a gelato!! Hahahahaha…they would need to roll me on the plane!!
Jackie in Renton, WA

“ambience”... and he pronounces it different than I do.
Janet in St Joseph, MI

Whoever said he pronounces “ambience” differently, remember when he used to say “oh-BLISK”? For someone who was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he does have some interesting accent quirks. I wonder if he gets it from the Scandinavians in his family?
Teresa in Seattle, WA

“evocative”
P.S.: I hope he realizes this is all in good fun…apologies if no!
Betsey in New England

“Women/men/kids/locals strut their [insert appropriate adjective] stuff.” :)
Betsey’s right, this is just good fun. We love Rick!
Penny in Tulsa, OK

“Iran”
“sit back”
“grab”
“thrills”
Audrey in Keizer, OR

I second “evocative”! I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard anyone else use the word.
Candice in San Antonio, TX

To Jackie in Renton, WA: I would like the gelato game more than the drinking game. My human body has low toleration for alcohol, but a high toleration for gelato.
Ron in Florida


Rick Steves

Rick Steves writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. He is the author of Travel as a Political Act.


3 Comments for The Rick Steves Drinking Game

Zora 02.02.10 | 3:18 PM ET

I think it’s contagious! I was on Rick’s radio show a few months ago, and when I listened to it, I realized I said the word “fascinating” about 80 times! Der.

Donna 03.21.10 | 8:51 PM ET

You mentioned your plans for 2010 to travel with your children.  What about Ann?  No mention here.  Also, on public television pledge, you were absent your wedding ring.  Comment?

Donna Coorough 03.21.10 | 8:54 PM ET

You mentioned your plans for 2010 to travel with your children.  What about Ann?  No mention here.  Also, on public television pledge drive in the Seattle in March, you did not have on your wedding ring.  Comment on this?

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