Live like a local!
Stay away from the hotels and try to rent an apartment, home or "clutch my pearls" a hostel. I know Airbnb's are sort of suffering right now to higher rates, bad stays and irksome guests and hosts but there are alternatives!
Join the local housing Facebook groups for the city/country you are visiting. There is always someone or some company posting short term housing be it rooms, apartments or homes. And I as mentioned hostels. I personally love a good hostel and consider it one of the better alternatives when traveling solo. I will say I lean toward the ones where I have my own bathroom, a girl has to have her must haves and that's one. All that to say, try something different and see how it goes.
Pro-tip: If you are wary of a particular hotel, Airbnb, or a room in someone's home only book for a few days to test it out. That way if it sucks, you won't be stuck.
Shop at the local stores.
Don't head to the mall first! Check out the local mom and pop stores to see and experience the real experience of living and loving in the city you are visiting. Plus you will more than likely find better deals and stumble across goodies that aren't listed in any travel guide.
"See" the real and not what the postcards tell you. Sure hit the Instagram worthy spots and the sites all the travel blogs tell you are must do's but don't forget to take a stroll through a local neighborhood or area that catches your eye. Sit in a park, have a scoop of ice cream and just be. Just be, a local.
Eat all the food.
One of my biggest regrets after leaving SE Asia was not being more adventuresome food wise! Sure I tried a few things but there were so many things I missed out on because it looked a little funny or smelled, well different.
Food is the real "culture" of the people and the country you are visiting, try it all! I want to add that I have added more Asian inspired spices and dishes to our regular dining repertoire. So there's that for travel and adventure!
Stay at least a month.
If you can. If not a month, two weeks. Give yourself time to not stress while still seeing/visiting all the "things". Allowing yourself a longer, slower visit gives you the chance to really capture the energy of a city/town. It also allows you to see if you could possibly live here if that's one of your goals. I like staying longer as it affords me the ability to not be tired after taking a vacation.
Pro tip: Always take the day off after you return from a vacation, your body will thank you.