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One Last Hurrah: How to Make the Most of Your Graduation Trip

Travel Team | Jul 26, 2023

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Pulling all-nighters to study for a big exam — done. Writing dozens of pages for thesis papers — bye-bye! Staring at a graphing calculator hoping it will reveal an answer — a thing of the past.

You’ve put in the hard work and will soon have a new adjective attached to your name: College graduate.

Congratulations! Now, it’s time to celebrate.

If you’re planning to embark on a graduation trip, here are a few ways to make the most out of your travels.

Choose a Location that Inspires You.

Take an active role in planning your trip. This starts with choosing the perfect destination. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by all the amazing locations to pick from, ask yourself what you’d like to get out of your trip.

1. City life

Three young women overlook Paris with Eiffel Tower

Are you drawn to the hustle and bustle of a big city? Europe has endless destinations for that. The rich history of London, the romance of Paris, or the edginess of Berlin ... taking that bucket list trip is sure to fulfill any traveler. You’ve heard of the beaches in Mexico, but have you considered diving deep into the culture and roots of Mexico City?

There is plenty of action closer to home, too. Find out if New York City truly never sleeps or take that graduation money and hit up a blackjack table in Las Vegas.

2. Great outdoors

Maybe you’re looking to slow down and spend some time in nature. National parks are a great place to visit for the outdoorsy graduate.

The U.S. is home to more than 60 national parks, and it’s pretty feasible to hit a few of them in one road trip, if you’re up for it. Grand Teton National Park is less than a 3-hour drive to the world’s first national park, Yellowstone. Explore endless hiking, rafting, and appreciation for nature.

3. Island escape

Need a taste of island life? Slow down and soak in the sun at a destination like Hawaii or the Caribbean Islands. These lesser-known tropical destinations in the U.S. might be a good place to find the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. 

If you want something a little less mainstream, add a bit of European flare and explore the Greek Isles.

Reflect on Your Accomplishments.

As with any transition, the period after graduation can be bittersweet. During your graduation trip, take some time to reminisce about your student experience. Consider how much you’ve grown since the start of your academic career. Chances are, you pushed yourself to succeed — even when faced with unexpected challenges.

Let the thrill of visiting a new destination stimulate your plans for your future. You have your whole life ahead of you. Sure, any change can be daunting. But think of all the awesome places you have yet to see and the experiences you have yet to live. Adventure is out there, and now is your chance to go get it.

Celebrate with Loved Ones.

Man in red graduation gown gives gift to grandmother

A graduation trip is the perfect way to thank the people who supported you. If your travel companions helped you at any point during your time as a student, make sure to acknowledge their role in your success.

Whether your gratitude takes the form of a hand-written note, a small souvenir, or a heartfelt “thank you,” your loved ones will appreciate the recognition during this exciting time. As a bonus, your trip can provide the perfect opportunity to make new memories with the people who matter most.

Relax and Unwind.

Want to know the best part about a graduation trip? Doing nothing! With no pending deadlines, ongoing projects, or homework in sight, you’ll be perfectly poised for a restful getaway.

It’s important to be a little selfish with your time on your trip. You deserve it. When you’re ready to unwind, adopt a slow travel attitude. Immerse yourself in your destination and explore at your own leisurely pace. Sip coffee in a hidden café, lounge lakeside, or read a book — just for fun — on the balcony of your rental house overlooking a piazza.

If you’re not the type who finds sitting back and doing nothing relaxing, fill your getaway doing the things that you want to do. Cross off those bucket list items you’ve been talking about for years. So, swim in the ocean, book the hiking trip, gaze at priceless art, do whatever your wandering heart desires to feel fulfilled.

Be Fearless.

Despite all the excitement, the time after graduation can be scary. With graduation comes a flurry of changes: looking for jobs, moving away, starting a new role, and saying hard goodbyes. It’s normal to feel anxious as you consider what lies ahead. So why not boost your confidence through travel?

During your graduation trip, practice saying “yes” to opportunities that you wouldn’t normally consider. For you, that could mean going dancing, signing up for surfing lessons, or trying a bizarre new food. If you regularly venture outside your comfort zone, you’ll find that you’re braver and more capable than you think.

As a graduate, you’ve spent years studying and striving to better understand the world.  Use your trip to hone the practical skills you gained as a student:  staying organized, listening carefully, thinking critically about the world.

So many of the traits that helped you in the classroom will also make you a successful traveler. And chances are, they’ll help you tackle whatever opportunity comes next.

Travel Insurance for Graduates

Before you depart on your trip-of-a-lifetime, remember that part of being adventurous is knowing your limits.

Make sure to take all necessary precautions before taking on a daring activity or destination. Understand relevant safety information, and look into additional protections, such as travel insurance to protect your health, money, and belongings.

Once you’ve done this final bit of research, get ready to take the plunge! It’s time to blow off some steam and celebrate a job well done. You’ve earned it.

About the Authors

Natalie Isbell is a senior studying General Management at Purdue University. Her interest in marketing and love for travel is what brought her to Seven Corners for an internship. Outside of work, you can find her spending time with family, staying active outdoors, and planning her next getaway.

Grace Lower is a recent college graduate with a love for writing and an incurable case of wanderlust. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.

 

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