1. Know your strengths
If you're more of an introvert, forget the language barrier. Vibrant cities are perfect for people watching, especially if they have a fantastic café culture.
2. Sleep around
Try a homestay or look for room rentals in an apartment – this gives you an automatic connection with residents when you're travelling alone. As a solo traveller, you'll have tons of options to choose from. Even if your landlord doesn't take you out on the town, you'll at least scoop up a few local tips.
Hostels are of course ready-made for solo travellers too, but you might wind up spending more time with other tourists than with locals.
3. Don't be afraid of your own company
And if you're feeling particularly social, you can always try to make new friends. Show off your free-agent status by offering to take a family's photo at a big sight, for instance, or by sitting near a chatty gang at a bar.
4. Just say no
Sometimes, especially in more hospitable and foreigner-fascinated cultures, the attention you get travelling solo can be a little intense. Learn how to say "no, thank you" in the local language, as well as "absolutely not" – plus the local nonverbal gesture for "no", which is often more effective than both.
Also have local help numbers, such as the tourist police, programmed in your phone. You'll probably never need them, but just knowing you have them can give you the confidence to deal with awkward situations.
5. Take photos
6. Eat big
You might be tempted to live on fast food just to avoid awkward restaurant situations. Don't. In fact, fancy establishments are fantastic places to dine alone. Waiters are happy to help solo diners who smile and say, "I made a special trip just to eat here. What do you recommend?"
Social folks might want to eat at the bar, but there's no shame in taking a table for two.
7. Get an early start
8. Find your people
Use Facebook and Twitter to make connections where you're travelling. Offer to take local friends of friends out for dinner, and you'll be surprised how many people take you up on it – everyone likes to be tour guide for a night. Also seek out your interests in your destination – the fan club for the local football team, say, or the chess association.