If you're off to an English-speaking country in Europe, you may feel as though it's no big deal. They're just like us but with accents, right? (Ooh, there's that American Attitude.) Tips for traveling in Europe:Know the Culture
Don't walk around France expecting everyone to speak English and refusing to eat in any restaurant that doesn't serve cheeseburgers. You're looking to create an international incident with this mindset. (If you want American food and English-speaking folks, wouldn't it be a lot easier to stay in the United States?)
On the other hand, if you're looking to get intimately acquainted with European culture, look for the smaller, out-of-the way places. Don't book a room at the biggest chain hotel; instead, look for a small inn (aware, of course, that you may trade your privacy for the cultural experience). Dine at restaurants that don't cater to tourists. You'll definitely get a truer feel for the region if you aren't searching for a café with golden arches.Other Things to Know
Europe is a hotspot for American tourists. Avoid falling into the stereotype of the ignorant American tourist by following these tips:
The off-season in Europe is from October to April. You'll find better deals then, and you won't find yourself in a crowd of Americans — in the middle of Rome.
Have cash on hand if you plan on hitting the smaller inns or restaurants. Many of them don't accept credit cards.
Check on any vaccinations you'll need, and if you haven't seen your dentist in a while, do so before you leave. (You'd hate to have a tooth give out in Warsaw, wouldn't you?).
Learning a few basic questions (“Where is the bathroom?” “Where is the bank?” “Where is a restaurant?”)and some emergency phrases (“Help me, please!” “I need a policeman!”) in the native tongue of each of the countries you plan on visiting should be part of your vacation planning.
In addition to knowing the language (however basic), invest in some current travel guides for the regions you'll be traveling through. Many travelers find that these books are the most important items they've packed.