I do most of the obvious things - I have a hammock, stove, basic first aid and bike repair equiment, carry food and water etc. As I often tour in places where there are no shops and that motor vehicles can't go this is necessary. I do get food parcels and other necessities posted to me and pick those up along my route. Having a cellphone/internet device makes it easier to arrange those drops. I use a digital camera rather than film, but that's become the norm.
Extra or unusual things I do:
- carry a small solar charger to recharge my phone and music player
- eat roadkill from time to time (it's free and environmentally friendly). In NZ where it's legal I've also carried a slingshot to kill pest species and eat those too.
- use a hammock rather than a tent because it's more flexible and less obvious, so it's easier to free camp
- wear long sleeved shirts and pants rather than using sunscreen (personal preference, but also more sustainable/self-supporting)
- use a liquid fuelled stove (in NZ) or fires (in Australia) rather than disposable gas cartridges to get more cooking per kg of carried weight. It often hard to find fuel for a cooking fire in NZ even when it's legal to use one.
- I use public transport to get to and from tours. Or I just ride from where I live. Since I don't own a car that's easy for me, but I meet a lot of people whose "cycle tour" involves driving further than they ride.
- shop mostly at supermarkets rather than tourist shops or corner shops to save money. In Australia especially it can be 1Mm or more between supermarkets. So I often carry food for a week or more between shopping expeditions.
My experience is limited to countries where I already speak the language and have citizenship rights so I haven't faced any of those issues. But my tendency is to learn the language etc anyway, and since I'm a geek citizenship has not been especially hard to get. When you're young a "working holiday" visa is often easy enough to get and is worthwhile (since it lets you work legally).
I do cycle tour as a holiday, I regard it as a break from my normal life. I usually quit my job, stop renting somewhere to live, give away or sell my spare possessions, and go ride my bike for a few months. I've worked hard to get into a position where that's possible.
I don't usually prepare physically for a tour, I just pile up the stuff I need and go. The first week is slow and hard, after that I get fitter and start riding further and faster. Usually I lose ~5%-10% of my bodyweight while touring and come back with more muscle as well. I suspect that means I'm fat and lazy...