Sorry I haven't responded to any questions of late as I have only just returned from 2 months in Europe! Even though I'm probably too late to answer people's questions in time for their trips I'll answer them anyway in case it helps other travellers in the future.
Kelsey, in regards to backpacks/large handbags for day use I really don't think you need to splash out on an anti-theft bag unless you are planning on carrying large sums of cash/ipads or other expensive items constantly with you or unless you want the peace of mind. Usually the most expensive thing you will be carrying is a camera and that will be either in your hands or around your neck. A backpack with your own lock is usually more that sufficient. After just returning from another 2 months in Europe I've found that most pickpockets will only focus on easy targets like wallets in back pockets, bags which don't close/zip up. They usually only target more elderly travellers as well as they are easier targets. All of my last tour either just had backpacks or large handbags and no one was targeted. So long as you can zip up/close your bag you should be fine. Just remember when you are on public transport or large crowds keep the bag in front of you on your chest or somewhere where you can see it.
Meg, I'm glad the blog has been able to help you. I'm jealous of your trip! I really would love to explore Scandinavia. Hopefully I'll get there one day. Enjoy your trip.
Becca, it's really easy to communicate with locals for shopping and dining. Most people in Europe speak at least broken English of some sort. There will be times where you will just have to play 'shopping charades' where you have to mime exactly what you want but generally it's fine. All shops will have price's you will be able to read and pretty much every chemist I talked to was able to understand cold and flu, cough medicine, strepsils etc. When dining there will be times when you won't understand some things on the menu and you might not get a straight answer as to what it is. This can happen anywhere (even in Australia) and you can be adventurous and risk it or just try something else. The majority of restaurants in Europe will have a local language menu and an English menu. Just ask the waiters if they have a English menu and 9 times out of 10 they will.
Emzynr, all the advice I can give about choosing a tour is look at both itineraries and see which places you would prefer to see and what optionals are also included which you would want to do.
Caleb, sorry for the late reply but I was in Europe from the 13th of June until the 8th of August. I hope you enjoyed your trip.
As the summer season is nearly over there probably won't be too many more questions at this stage however if there are any people planning a trip for next year and have questions then ask away.