PHOTO: Buy your dearest college graduate a nice vacation. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
In just a few months, there will be many graduations taking place around the country (and graduates who are out looking for jobs). There will be parties to celebrate and gifts to open.
If you’re wondering what to get your graduate, how about a gift of travel?
Before entering the workplace, many college graduates will take some time off to travel. They do this because they know that once they land a job, they are committed to a (possible) 9-to-5 routine, with two-week annual vacations. Parents and grandparents may plan a big family trip to celebrate the graduation, knowing it will get harder to get together the older the graduate gets.
Samarah Meil of Amarillo Travel Network said she typically gets requests for graduation travel once January rolls around.
“Many families take a larger trip as a graduation gift, whether it is for high school or college. We see a trend of places like New York City, cruising and Europe, and the biggest request has been for all-inclusive resorts, due to their value and options.”
Greg Antonelle’s oldest son graduated from high school last year. “He’s grown up with Disney in his life, based on us running MickeyTravels,” said Antonelle, the managing director.
“He’s been to the various Disney destinations countless times. What he never experienced was Disney with all of his friends. So, for his graduation present, we decided to take him and 12 of his friends to Walt Disney World for a one-week vacation. They were able to do things as a group of friends, eat at amazing restaurants and visit all the favorite attractions. He and his friends had the time of their lives and made memories that they’ll cherish forever.”
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Some travel agents, like Denise Lorentzen, CTA and owner of Dreams Travel Consulting, provides gift certificates for clients that want to give the gift of travel.
“I highly recommend this for graduates because they can then take these certificates and find a trip they are excited about,” she said.
“If it's a family that wants to take their son or daughter on a graduation trip after high school, I encourage them to allow the child to choose or to go with something the child is passionate about like a history tour, thrills like theme parks or the beach like Hawaii. This way, it speaks to the graduate and makes them feel special. I have a lot of clients that get away with the family after graduation. I think it's a great tradition to do.”
Antonelle agrees that the gift should be tailored to what the graduate wants to do.
“Understand and recognize where the graduate would most like to visit,” he said. “If you plan a surprise cruise vacation for the graduate, but don’t realize that he is not a fan of cruising, it could be an issue. Perhaps the graduate experiences motion sickness. This would likely not be a vacation he would look forward to. Have a conversation on where the graduate would like to visit, and how you can make it memorable.”
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If your budget doesn’t allow for an entire trip as a gift, here are some other ideas:
“When I was growing up, my aunts all got together and got luggage for everyone's graduation from high school,” said Margie Lenau, of Wonderland Family Vacations. “It sent a message that now it was time for the graduate to go out into the world. I love that idea! It was very useful as well as a never forgotten special gesture.”
Magazines and books:
Has your graduate always dreamed of going to Scotland? France? Africa? Buy her a travel guide to the area. Even if she can’t get there right away, she can start to learn. There are also subscriptions to various travel magazines that she can enjoy as well.
Being forced to learn a language in school is much different than wanting to learn it on your own. Say, for example, he wants to go to Italy one day. A course on how to speak Italian would be a perfect gift, so he can communicate and order food all on his own once he gets there.