This is from a series originally posted on my original blog: Seefahrer Thayer. While I don't recommend it, you can view the original posts here. Because the content had value and useful tips I've decided to repost them here, however, they've since been heavily edited and updated.
A notebook and pens are a must. Keep them on hand at all times. The greatest mistake made is saying "I don't need to write that down, I'll remember." NO. Write it down- even better get who you're talking to, to write it down, and take notes next to it. It's also good for crossing language barriers (when accents are hard to understand drawing pictures can bridge the gaps. And you can keep to-do lists, and sites you want to see all in one place.
Ladies- pack a stick of lipstick in your purse when you're backpacking. I have on me at all times my Mirenesse lipstick, which I highly recommend, because it stays on most of the day. I can whip it out on days like today where I haven't showered in 2 days, my hair is a tangled gross mess and I look terrible... and still feel presentable. The major note here is I've found if you look gross and sickly, people are less likely to engage with you (go figure). When you look like a starving sleep deprived backpacker- people treat you like a bum. They divert their eyes and hope you don't ask for a favor.
Something as simple as a little color makes people feel more comfortable. Smiles are important too.