"Slow down, you move to fast, you got to make the moment last now....."
A snippet of a Simon and Garfunkel song providing some excellent advice.
Hopefully your generation knows Simon & Garfunkel?
"We are so excited to go to Europe, sight see, and enjoy the night life- really get to know Europe and everything it has to offer." To fulfill this statement all of you should accept the following statements:
1) accept this will be the first, but not the last, trip to Europe.
2) "getting to know Europe" means absorbing the culture. Absorbing means investing time into exploring beyond the museums and architecture.
Consider the following itinerary:
Fly into London and spend six days. A good way to ease into your trip. Great subway, ez to take day trips.
Take the train to Paris and spend six days. So many different areas to explore beyond tourist zones.
Take the high speed train to Barcelona and spend six days. Hey, a beach at your fingertips! EZ day trips, plus another huge menu. Plus you get added time to each day since you must stay up till 3 a.m. to begin to understand the Spanish culture.
Take a flight to Rome and spend four days and then a train to Venice for four days. You will experience two totally different aspects of Italy.
This accounts for 26 days as I assume you will use and additional two and a half days in travel to and from the USA.
You will accomplish the following: English, French, Spanish and Italian parties with matching diversity of food, drink and party companions. Sampled four vastly different cultures. Allowed yourselves time to sample each locale. Not worn yourselves out with travel fatigue.
I encourage you to rent apartments in each location. Apartments offer the following advantages over hotels: multiple rooms to provide opportunity to spread out, a kitchen, contact with locals, better economics, opportunity to get out of staying within the tourist zone and some have a washer (but you will need to air dry your clothes). Another advantage of staying a minimum of four days per locale is less packing and unpacking.
Speaking of packing......... pack less, I mean much less. I have daughters and when we travel to europe they have learned how to share "staples" instead of each having to pack their own favorite "stuff" which they cannot imagine doing without. "Yuck" they said, but it meant less to haul and they came to appreciate not being pack mules. Take less then you need, everything you need can be purchased in Europe. Now here is the best incentive to pack less clothes.................. take the opportunity to buy clothes in Europe. Do you want to bring back some great memories? Than buy a blouse from each country and consider how nice it will feel when you wear it back in the USA.
Read up on how to be wise about pickpockets. Don't go in fear of being pick pocketed (it may happen), but learn how to take precautions. NOTE: you have a built in safety mechanism with two other travel partners. Always keep your eyes on the other persons stuff! Also, I ask our daughters to always have a "party buddy" while in Europe. This is the equivalent of a designated driver, someone willing to not over imbibe to help protect the group.
I know how difficult it is to think of visiting fewer places, but by doing so you are allowing yourselves to experience more places within the locales you visit. Absorb the culture! Take the time to create wonderful lifelong memories.
Enjoy and Safe Travels!