Don’t expect to be able to pay for your meals quickly. It can take a lot of time to get a waiters attention, especially if you still have any food in front of you. This happened to us so many times. Also, don’t expect them to care if things are taking too long - they don’t work on tips the way we do in America.
You don’t need to know exactly what you’re doing every moment of each day, because if you’re only in a place for a day or two, you won’t have the time to go far, and you won’t want to only do museums or things that will gobble up all your time. There’s something nice about strolling around aimlessly and just doing things on a whim.
However, if there’s something you absolutely are dying to do, make sure you know as much as possible about that - for example, knowing a few fabric stores I wanted to stop by made our outings much more streamlined and allowed us to spend the exact right amount of time in those shops.
If you need coffee (or food), desperately, and for the sanity of you and your travel companion, it’s ok to go to a chain. While Starbucks and Pret might not be the most original choices, a headache/mood swing due to lack of caffeine is not worth trying to find the perfect hipster hole in the wall.
Bring what you picture yourself wearing, but only pack about a weeks worth of outfits. I almost didn’t bring my jumpsuit because I thought it was silly and too big to pack and it’s a stand-alone piece, but I made it and I love it and I’m so glad I brought it. I also almost didn’t bring my Moulin Rouge skirt - but (despite the heat) I am so glad I did and that we got the pictures I wanted since I found the fabric a couple years ago.
On the other hand, don’t bring something just because it seems like you should. I didn’t end up bringing the waterproof boots I was planning to because they are big and wouldn’t go with my dresses, skirts or jumpsuit, and this was a fine choice. It rained a bit a couple times, but nothing my crocs couldn’t handle.
Don’t travel anywhere in summer. Like ever. It was hot. Record breaking hot. And it even was 75+ in Scotland basically the whole time we were there. While I had a BLAST, I was also sweaty most of the time, and this trip might have been even better if we did it in the fall or winter. [starts planning next trip]
Don’t let trying to make decisions get in the way of actually going and doing something. It’s better to be out and exploring than researching in your hotel room if you have no idea what you’re doing at all.
If you KNOW you won’t be carrying-on the whole way, give yourself the freedom to expand. We went with just carry-ons, but had two compact-able duffels to bring back so that we could get Scotch and wine and fabric and not worry about leaving the extra room in our suitcases in the first place. Don’t let this be an excuse to overpack, though 😉
Don’t skip the “touristy” things if it’s something that’s important to you. They’re tourist attractions for a reason and it’s ok to be a tourist. And if it’s something you think you SHOULD do, but you don’t actually have that much interest, you can skip it.