Things we learned on our European Tour:
1. Trust your instincts. If someone or something seems sketchy, don't hesitate to bail out. On the other hand, sometimes you have to go off-plan to make the most of your experience.
2. Translation Guide
The more languages your party knows, the better off you will be. I have English and Spanish and Faith has English and Latin. Especially on a European tour, having a working knowledge of the Bible will help you understand a lot of religious iconography.
Biscuits = Cookies
Chips = French Fries
Crisps = Potato Chips
Tube = Subway (also known as the Metro and the Underground)
Dekuji = Thank you (Czech)
Gratsi = Thank you (Italian)
Mille Gratsi = Thanks alot (Italian)
Prego = Good, go, yes (Italian)
Bon Journo = Good Day (Italian)
Gelato = Say yes every time this is offered
Fromaggio = Cheese (Italian)
Merci = Thanks (French)
Bon Jour = Good Day (French)
Fromage = Cheese (French)
Na zdravi = Cheers (Czech)
Sante = Cheers (French)
Salute = Cheers (Italian)
Also if you don't cheers without looking the other people in your group in the eye it means 10 years bad sex.
3. There are rude and kind people everywhere and of every nationality. Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst. I think John was presently surprised at how nice everyone was. Stereotypes are not always true. Plus for some reason Europeans LOVE Texans.
4. Guided Tours can be great or terrible. Doing your research ahead of time will help you to not get trapped in a bad and expensive tour.
I highly recommend London Walks and also Sandemans New Europe. We did two from both companies and really enjoyed both. London Walks provides multiple tours a day throughout London. I had planned for more, but we just didn't have the time. Sandeman's offers a Free Tour in many cities as well as paid tours.
5. Have fun. You don't HAVE to see everything and sometimes experiencing a place how the locals do it can be more genuine and rewarding. Make friends along the way; this will enrich your and their experience. This is my favorite part of traveling.