1. Smile. I know it's simple but if you are ready to smile at anyone then you can make friends easily. With friends everywhere you will never get lonely.
2. Learn how to say NO! On the other hand not every one is looking to just be your friend. You need to learn how to effectively say NO and walk away.
3. Don’t bring more then you can carry. You really don’t need that pair of high heels when your traveling. It's just extra weight. And believe me your back will start to hurt after awhile with a heavy bag. This goes for buying things you don’t need as well.
4. Dirty isn’t dirty till it smells. Yes I know this sounds gross but re-wear your clothes. Don’t worry cause everyone else is doing it too. If it doesn’t smell or look really dirty then it's still clean!
5. Learn how to read a map. I can’t tell you how easy it is to get lost in a big city. Learn how to read a map and then pick one up first thing from your hostel. If you feel conspicuous then keep it folded up very small.
6. A church is almost always a safe space. If you ever feel nervous or uncomfortable in a situation find the nearest church, synagogue or mosque. As long as you are polite and respectful you will always be welcomed into a religious space. Just explain your predicament if anyone asks.
7. Bring loose comfy pants. No matter how hard you try you are going to gain weight while traveling. Don’t sweat it, it will fall off when you get home. In the mean time get loose comfy pants so you can enjoy that Italian pasta or Spanish tapas, it's worth it.
8. Keep an open mind. Always remember that you are going to be meeting people from all over the globe, with very different ideas then you. While getting into a political debate can be fun, make sure the other person is comfortable with the topic.
9. Be ready to get teased. This is true especially if you are American. Everyone LOVES (and thinks it's their right) to make fun of Americans. So just give it back to them, just make sure they know your joking when you tease them back.
10. Seek out the other people traveling alone. It is very easy to make friends with someone who really wants to make friends. That means if you look for other people on their own they are going to be more then willing to hang out with you.
11. Stop caring about your hair. Yes it's going to look crappy. It is going to be frizzy and dirty and never look right. Get over it and put it in a bun. You will find a new “backpacking” style as you travel.
12. Always carry a kindle (or nook). It’s the best company ever! You have over 100 books in one tiny little device. Movies and ipods are good but a if you are stuck on a long train ride, or have to go eat dinner by yourself, you will never get bored. Also people don’t bother people who are reading.
13. Dinner for 1 please! Yes it can be a little embarrassing to go to a fancy dinner by yourself, but its important to treat yourself once in awhile when traveling. Other wise you will go insane. Just take it in stride. Bring a good book, order a glass of wine, and look confident and no one will think any less of you.
14. Have a me day. Just because your traveling doesn’t mean you have to sightsee every single day. If your going for months, then remind yourself that you will need to take a day off every once in awhile to just read a book, watch a movie, or sleep!
15. Have a system for your bag. If you travel with a backpack with out a dividing system for your clothes you will go insane. I use thin little divider bags that are all different colors or sizes so that I know my shirts are in the large purple bag and my underwear is in the little blue one.
16. Bring the internet. Whether you bring a small laptop, an Ipad, or a smart phone its good to have a way to use wifi. It sucks to get kicked off a hostel computer or have to pay for internet when you can get free wifi. It can also help you in an emergency, most café’s have wifi.
17. Change your plans. Always be ready to change your plans, whether it's because there is a riot in the city you're heading to or someone suggests a really cool place to go. It's worth being a little flexible along the way.
18. Bring a credit card and try not to use it. It's always good to have a back up in case something happens, and you always need a credit card to book hostels and trains online, but try to keep it for that only. If you have to get cash out every time you spend money then you will be more aware of how much you are spending.
19. Try every thing once, even if it scares you. You probably only get to do this once, so make the most of it. Try to push your self to do something you wouldn’t normally do, as long as it's safe. Try that new food, go to that city. If you hate it you don’t have to do it again.
20. Have fun! This is your trip, so enjoy yourself! You are gonna learn a lot about the world and yourself, but have blast while you do it!