Your parents are FINALLY letting you go on a teenager's vacation! Without them! It only took months of bargaining ("I promise I'll mow the lawn everyday!"); guilt-tripping ("I'll be the only one who isn't going!"); and down-on-your-knees pleading ("Please, please, please!"). Your hard work paid off, girl! You're taking a teenager's vacation!
Now that the plans are set and you're about to start jetsetting around the world (or driving to the next state over), safety should be your first concern. Yeah, yeah, your mom said the same thing. Seriously, your teenager's vacation will be a lot more fun if you take extra precautions to cut out the drama.
Be a smart packer.
You might think you need to pack your ENTIRE closet, but you don't. Pack lightly and appropriately for the climate you're traveling to. If you pack too much you'll be weighed down. If you're dragging and fumbling with your luggage, you could be a target for pickpockets (mean dudes who steal your stuff).
If you take medication, make sure you have enough for the time you'll be away.
Check a couple of weeks before you go away so that you'll have plenty of time to have your prescriptions filled. Pack an over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication. Sometimes when you're away your system can get all, um, messed up.
Write down any allergies you may have, the name, address and phone number of a parent or relative, and the name and phone number of your physician.
Include your name, birthday, and any major medical concerns you may have.
Make sure to pack a mini first-aid kit.
Many drugstores sell them, but you can make your own with a stylish makeup bag. Pack bandages, an ace bandage, alcohol swabs, cotton swabs and cotton balls, antibiotic ointment, and latex gloves.
Make copies of all of your important documents.
This includes your passport and license. Leave the copies in your hotel room so that if the originals get stolen, you can still get back home!
Buy a travel book on the spot you're heading to.
Travel books have nifty info for tourists, such as the best tourist spots to go, where NOT to go, and tips for women travelers. It will also tell you local customs because some things you may find friendly, another can find offensive.
When you reach your hotel, grab a few front desk business cards.
Keep one for yourself and give them out to your friends. Keep it on you at all times. This way, you'll always have the name, address, and phone number of the hotel where you're staying. Make sure your parents have this info, too.
While you're out and about, stay together.
I'll say it again: STAY TOGETHER! Never let a friend go off on her own. As your grandmother always said, "Safety comes in numbers." If you're somewhere with your group and a friend wants to leave, go with her.
Stay sober and you'll stay safe.
Most countries, besides the US, have a lower drinking age. Just because you're of age to drink in Mexico, doesn't mean you should. Don't make yourself a target for predators.
Your parents are trusting you to be a smart and mature young woman by letting you go away on a teenager's vacation with your friends. Prove them right! You can have fun and be safe at the same time!