HelpX: An excellent way to browse through listings of work-exchange hosts. Staying with hosts found through Helpx is a great way to share stories, learn languages, trade skills, and make friends.
Couchsurfing: A fine way to find friends and meet people. Can be used to find places to stay, or also as a way of finding fun things to do with new people all over the world.
Vagabonding: A short, sweet, and excellent book written by a seasoned traveler. Outlines the philosophy of long-term travel, how to really experience it, and gives tips on how to do it successfully. Very encouraging!
BlaBlaCar: A method of finding people to carpool and share road trips with all over Europe. Simply create a profile, input departing and destination info, and search for people who are headed that way. Or, if you will be driving, solicit your route on the web to find people to share your trip with.
Matador Network: So full of travel writing and travel advice on jobs, hazards, tourism, volunteering… It is just full of great tools and tips and stories for any sort of traveler.
US Bureau of Consular Affairs: This branch of the US state Department provides up-to-date information on the social, political, and cultural climate of any country you may have interest in. Additionally, you can join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which provides security alerts and warnings to you, via phone or email, in the case of an emergency in the country you are traveling through.