01/13/2014 06:16 pm ET Updated Mar 15, 2014

My Newest Tour Guides Take the Field

There was a time when I believed only I could lead a "Rick Steves" tour. Of course, those days are long gone, and today I'm the first to celebrate that fact that our guides are the best in the business. Good as they are, we need them to know the Rick Steves style of traveling "through the Back Door." That's why we've gathered more than 100 guides here in Edmonds this week for our annual tour guide summit.

I just spent the morning giving a three-hour "Rick Steves tour guiding 101" talk to our newest guides. And I'm so excited about the caliber of these rookies. Many of them joined us last year and already have one season of our tours under their belts.

Most of them are seasoned professionals with deep, personal knowledge of the regions in which they guide. And now they are better equipped than ever to meet and even exceed the very high expectations of those who sign up for a Rick Steves tour.

Here's a fun video we made during last year's tour guide summit to introduce our rookies. These guides are the people enabling us to continue to grow as a tour company without compromising the ideals we've had for our tours ever since we started 30 years ago. These guides are our future, and they are sure to give our tour members the Rick Steves travel experience of a lifetime in 2014.

P.S. I don't want to keep the guides to myself. On Saturday, January 18, 9am P.S.T., join me and my tour guides online for the live streaming of Test Drive a Tour Guide -- eight free one-hour slideshows on Europe's top tour destinations for 2014. Tune in and learn more!