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May 30th 2012 10:35PM Some of this advice is good.
But - I am a world traveler and have a different outlook on things.
First of all: I look for the most popular drinking establishment immediately because I realize that the people there are getting drunk, and that makes them friendly. I have to admit that if you are a female you are at a disadvantage (I am a 6', 250 pound fit, white male). But I have found that the local bar is a great place for information.
Second: A map is not so bad - most people are eager to help you. Beware of the street vendors though, who come up to you wanting to sell you something.
Knowing some of the language is the best tip of all as is having a native friend or acquaintance. I have found that you can connect with people in foreign countries via the web who are interested in having an American friend and who can be a terrific source when you arrive. I try to do this months before arriving at my destination. You may need to spend some time with them _ buy them dinner - or bring them a gift but it is well worth the effort.