Travel Guide to Planning the Perfect Graduation Trip

It's time to toss your cap and pack your bags—follow these tips to plan the ultimate graduation trip and let the adventure begin.
Suzie Palma
Co-Founder @ Let's Jetty

Graduation. It's the culmination of years of hard work, late-night study sessions, and unforgettable experiences. But amidst the excitement, there's one question on every graduate's mind: what's next? For many, the answer lies in the form of an internship, job, or moving back home and for others it's in a graduation trip or gap year—a chance to celebrate, reflect, and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Whether you're itching to explore distant lands or dive into your cultural roots, careful planning is key to ensuring a smooth and enriching experience. So, let's dive into the post-grad travel guide to planning the perfect graduation trip.

1. Timing is Everything:

Speaking from experience, the one thing I wish I did immediately after graduation was travel. Instead, I hopped right into work and didn't take a real break until 6 years into the corporate grind where burnout was at an all-time high. At this point, I was in my late twenties and decided I needed to pursue my dream of backpacking Europe. So, I took 6 months off of work and set out for a solo trip to Europe and I'm so glad I did! But I wish I had done it sooner as it changed my perspective on life and helped me reprioritize, reset, and reflect.

Deciding when to take your graduation trip is ultimately dependent on the destination you choose, but my advice is the sooner the better - if you can swing it! Consider factors such as weather, peak tourist seasons, and personal commitments. For many, the period immediately following graduation offers a window of opportunity before diving into the next phase of life. However, be mindful of seasonal variations in travel costs and crowd levels.

grad trip planning

2. Choosing the Destination:

The world is your oyster when it comes to choosing a destination for your graduation trip. Whether you're yearning for cultural immersion or seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures, there's a destination with your name on it. Consider backpacking through Europe, exploring the landscapes of South America, or opt for a road trip across the Midwest or along the East or West coast for an immersive experience closer to home. Whatever destination you choose, prioritize ease of transportation and select a place that ignites your curiosity and leaves you inspired for the years ahead.

3. Budgeting:

We know this is a scary time to shell out money towards a graduation trip when student loan are looming, so a luxury excursion is likely out of the picture but that's okay! This is a time to get creative with your finances. Some of the best experiences and foods I've had over the years have been either free or inexpensive. Start by setting a realistic budget that covers expenses such as transportation, accommodation, meals and activities. Look for ways to save money, such as booking hostels from HostelWorld or shared rentals like VRBO. Opt for budget-friendly dining options like take away spots and street vendors and take advantage of student discounts where available. Another popular budget hack is to travel during shoulder seasons to snag better deals on accommodations and flights

4. Staying Safe:

Safety should always be a top priority when traveling, especially as a recent graduate venturing into unfamiliar territory. Research your destination beforehand to familiarize yourself with local customs, laws, and potential risks. Keep important documents such as passports, identification, and travel insurance information secure at all times. Stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas, and trust your instincts if something feels off. It's also wise to stay connected with friends and family back home and share your itinerary with them for added peace of mind.

5. Stay Organized with Itinerary Builder Apps:

With so much to see and do, staying organized is key to reducing stress and making the most of your graduation trip. Say goodbye to scattered documents and hello to itinerary builder apps like Let's Jetty, which offers intuitive tools for planning and organizing your travel plans. From scheduling flights and accommodations to mapping out daily activities and must-see attractions, these apps streamline the planning process. It's also an easy way to share your itinerary with friends and family so they can stay in touch as plans change along the way.

graduation trip itinerary app

Embarking on a graduation trip is more than just a vacation—it's a celebration of your achievements, a journey of self-discovery, and a leap into the unknown. By following these tips and taking the time to plan thoughtfully, you'll set the stage for an adventure of a lifetime! After all, the world is waiting—and it's yours for the taking.

Plan your next trip on Let's Jetty

Create an account or sign in to get started

Let's Jetty is a group travel planning app that makes it easier, faster, and more enjoyable to plan group trips. With features like invitations, surveys, and an itinerary builder, planning a group trip has never been simpler.

Travel Inspiration & Tips

see all