Here are a few quick bits on how to travel smart, light and safe (omitting Q, X and Z for obvious reasons):
Ask for suggestions on where to eat and what to see from your hotel or hostel.
Carry on luggage as often as possible to avoid baggage fees.
Don’t be afraid to go it alone.
Eat local dishes.
Forgo excessive drinking.
Get up early and hit the pavement.
Hostels are a great way to meet people and find the best local spots.
Invest in good luggage.
Judge a book by its cover (meaning, if someone or something looks shady, it probably is).
Keep your things close to you (especially on public transit), pickpockets are tricky.
Learn how to read a paper map.
Make time to sleep (go to bed early).
Never give out too much personal information to a stranger (such as what hostel you’re staying at).
Open your mind to new experiences.
Prioritize what you want to do before you leave.
Respect the local culture and customs.
Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
Take pictures of everything (please get permission before taking pictures of people).
Update someone (perhaps your parents) daily to let them know you’re safe.
Walking tours are a blast (be sure to tip if they’re “free”).
You are more resourceful than you think. You can do it!
Note: this is a queued post.