I do like to pick up maps of the city I'm in from the info points but carrying around huge guide books just adds weight. A light weight solution is to use free apps and downloads of each city you go to. Every guide should give you a good idea of what there is to see and do and safe areas to be in. ArrivalGuides.com have over 400 city guides in 22 different languages and most are linked in with the destinations official tourism bureau, they are also in a dual format so that you can have a printable download or as an app for your smart phone. In your pocket specializing in European cities heavily focusing on eastern Europe and there developing tourist destinations. Hostelworld.com has printable downloads but also has video and podcasts so that you can take a guided tour without the tour guide. And a good old favorite is Lonely Planet because you can get your app ($5.99 per city so not that cheap) but you can also get the phrase book for the city as well making it an easy option for quick and easy travel.
2. Travel towels do work
I know that people are ether a lover or a hater of the travel towels but I find that they work for me. They fold up to nothing giving you lots of space, they manage to take most of the moisture off your skin and can dry within only a few hours of hanging. They can start to smell if you don't wash them often so after a week you need to just give it a go through the washing machine or give them a good scrub with a body wash and rinsed until there are no suds left. If you can get your hands on some use a little white vinegar when you wash it to get rid of any fungal growth (I got that tip from a microbiologist) and dry in the sunlight. Travel Gear.com.au and gogogear.com.au both have microfiber towels in varying sizes starting from $15 and free delivery in Australia.
3. Always take warm clothes on planes
An plane is always cold and wearing shorts and a t shirt because you are going somewhere hot will not save you from freezing on the way there. The best way is to wear layers that can be easily put on and taken off when you get too hot or cold and stretchy enough so that you can curl up into a ball on your seat to take a nap. I like to start with some loose pants, stretch jeans, long yoga pants or full length leggings, long socks and loose or slip on shoes to keep your feet warm, a warm cardigan, fleece or knit to throw on over your top and ether a wide scarf or wrap wide enough to go around your shoulders to use as an emergency blanket. If you have bad circulation in your feet you may want to keep another pair of socks in your carry on just in case they get too chilly. Another thing is to take your heaviest shoes on the plane to avoid having them add weight in your checked luggage. Another thing is the better you look the more inclined you mite be to get an upgrade, we can all live in hope.