Learning a few facts about your destination will help you out in the long run whether it be culturally or logistically. Also, a few words in the native language won't go astray and people you bump into will appreciate you showing some effort (unless they're a stickler for proper pronunciation.) If you're not okay with straying from the path look into planning your route ahead of time, google maps will help with everything from direction to transportation options. Read up on tips and tricks for everything from bargaining to exploring. Learn from others, their mistakes as well as their accomplishments.
Over-planning will get you into trouble somewhere down the line, as will over-scheduling. It’s always better to have to waste free time than to have none at all. Public Transportation often refuses to run on schedule and the weather may dampen your spirits and plans. Being flexible and having alternative options on hand is a must! If you are one to plan things down to a T, at least allow yourself some free time...and wiggle room. Don't just be flexible with your travel plans, embrace the culture! Try new food, new experiences, talk to strangers (in friendly settings...we're not condoning putting yourself in harm’s way.)
Be prepared for all eventualities. Trust your head AND your heart, let your instincts guide you when you need to. Travelling alone? Look for safety tips online and seek out forums where people have shared their own experiences. Prepare accordingly for the type of excursion you're undertaking, don't pack too heavily but if you feel you REALLY need something, don't neglect to toss it in because of weight. Keep your important documents safe but handy and try to have anything that needs to be removed at the airport on top...try not to add to frustrations for fellow travelers or airport staff! Take precautions even if you're a confident adventurer. Be wary, but don't worry.
Don't hesitate to take risks (within reason.) Face your fear of heights to see that epic view, sit alone in that restaurant despite worries of feeling judged. Also consider sitting at that communal table and strike up a conversation with other lone travelers. Try that local delicacy that looks a bit bonkers, it might taste like chicken. All that being said, know your limits and pay attention to warning signs (both physical and mental.)