This is a compilation of things that have gone wrong on trips throughout the years. And yes they are all real stories :)
1. At border control don't get overly nervous and elaborate on unnecessary details about your birth place. My actions tipped off the border control officer and I was ushered to a private room for further interrogation.
2. If you are staying at an expensive hotel, (Ritz in New York), don't say you have two kids when there are four. At cheaper hotels it doesn't matter to squeeze in a few extra kids, but swanky hotels have impeccable service and that is a recipe for disaster. When a bell boy knocked on our door to deliver our suitcases, two kids were elected to hide. And if you don't follow part A of number 2 don't under any circumstance pick hiding in the coat closet! We hadn't anticipated on a fancy bell boy hanging coats in the closet. We gave him a large tip, and he never told the Hotel.
3. Don't go to a Restaurant where the menus have no prices and the waiter brings food without you ordering it specifically. At a restaurant in Sicily, we paid over 100 euros for regular spaghetti and strange appetizers.
4. Don't allow yourself to believe that transportation is free in Europe. The people of Rome only click off tickets when a transportation cop goes on the bus. So, we didn't see anyone using tickets all trip until it was too late. A cop came aboard on a bus and everyone wildly clicked their tickets in the machines. We were kicked off the bus and my mom explained our confusion to the cop, but he still slapped us a 50 euro ticket.
5. Be careful if you want to buy fake name brands in big cities. If you find yourself in a basement and with 5 people watching you browse through merchandise, you better buy something. Nothing is scarier than an unhappy seller of illegal wares. And be sure to not venture at this alone!
6. Make sure when you are in Europe you have both pieces of the electrical converter attached to your device The surge caused the breaker to flip, and our power went out. The owner promptly came over to see what the Americans had done. If you fail at part A make sure someone is good with part B and get rid of the evidence. My dad threw the fried blow drier in a dumpster outside before the owner arrived. Our quick thinking saved us when he looked through all the apartment trashes.
7. Some places in Italy serve ice cream to the kids, and it isn't for free! We thought the ice cream came with the meal when the restaurant served our family it. We later discovered their ploy when we were also served it on our bill.
8. Don't attempt a long hike unless you've packed enough water. When we (kids) were a lot younger, my parents didn't think we needed more than one bottle of water for seven people. Our hike, in Hawaii, quickly turned into a mini survivor march with the hot sun beating down on us and my mom portioning out the water ration.
9. Don't drive late at night when you are tired. My dad was driving in Scotland and pulled out of the gas station onto the right side of the road. He was too tired to notice that he was driving on the wrong side of the road. As we were rounding a corner we nearly had a head on collision, but instead clipped each other's side view mirrors. Oh and part B is always get renter's insurance. We escaped unscathed, but later paid the price in the form of an expensive bill.
If you have a dad who isn't good with directions, a mom who is constantly paranoid about everything, and strange things happen to you on every trip. Then you might be the Griswolds! So, just be prepared that things will happen and all you can do is laugh about it later :)