Planning a Graduation Trip 101

Hailey Belval and Teagan Dooley

Senior year has looked different than anything we had ever expected and dreamt of for the last eleven years. We have missed out on important milestones such as prom, homecoming, pep rallies and so much more; but with the recent advancement in vaccines, it is now possible to plan a Covid-safe graduation trip. During the last two months, we have been planning our own graduation trip to Charleston, South Carolina in June with our friends, and found a few pointers necessary for anybody else looking to plan a trip soon too.

  • Where am I going?

The first question you have to ask yourself when planning any sort of trip is where is my general destination point. Decide whether you are going somewhere to see a specific city, monument, park, museum, or are just basing it on the climate and what seems the most enjoyable. 

Depending on the time of year different regions within the United States’ weather can change drastically, so researching average temperatures during your month of travel is a must. If you prefer year-round warmth and a modern scene, look toward states like North/South Carolina, Texas, or California for some great memories. However, if you are looking for adventure and don’t mind the cold check out places like Colorado, Montana, or Maine for a unique experience. 

  • What are my travel options?

Depending on the distance, you have to ask yourself should I drive or fly? For our trip, it was the question of a fifteen-hour drive or a $300 direct flight. While budgeting is important, our final decision to fly was based on how we wanted to spend our time and also what was the most reliable option. 

Driving can be a very fun bonding experience, however, be conscious of how tiring and boring extensive hours on the road can be. The car you take on your trip has to be large enough to fit everybody’s equipment and luggage, comfortable enough for everybody in your party, and reliable enough to make the trip there and back successfully. While this is a seemingly much cheaper option, keep in mind gas prices, food stops, and the potential of an overnight stay. Can you survive a 10-hour car trip with your friends, or should you pay more for the ease of a plane ticket?

  • Who should be my travel buddy?

Not every high schooler has been on a plane or driven cross country by themselves at this point in their lives. Of course, when planning a graduation trip no one would hesitate to plan it with their best friends to experience a great vacation together before leaving for college in the fall. However, you have to be honest with yourself about whether you–or your friends–are responsible enough to navigate flights, rides, booking a place to stay, and traveling in general. 

They say there is a “mom” in every friend group, and during the planning stage of your trip, this person is a good candidate to elect as the head planner. Having someone to help organize the itinerary, cost, and navigation of your trip is a necessity when you are traveling without a parent or adult. 

  • How do I stay safe?

Massachusetts has recently changed its travel restrictions in a somewhat controversial way. It is no longer required and is now “advised” that you quarantine for seventy-two hours and get tested upon your return home from traveling. This has created fear among some students that since quarantine post-travel is no longer “excused” from school, that it may be avoided altogether. 

It is important to remind yourself of those that you will be infecting upon return. As a group, we are all “half-vaccinated” and awaiting our second doses very soon. The state has lifted its requirement for those vaccinated to be tested upon return because of their confidence in how well the process has gone so far. 

  • What are my peers doing? 

We have been mostly discussing the option to travel state to state being approved in the US, but a group of seniors has also explored the international option of travel. Senior Graceanne Clancy and three of her friends have decided to set their destination point to Canada this summer! “We have been very locked up the past year and we are very excited to experience a new culture and get back to what life used to look like now that we are vaccinated!” 

Every country looks a little different right now as do their current Covid numbers and travel restrictions, so make sure to do your research beforehand. New countries are exciting, but knowing the culture and being prepared is important to do first!

All in all, your graduation trip (should you choose to plan one) is entirely up to you and your friends. The class of 2021 lost nearly half of our high school experience, and with vaccines becoming more accessible it’s not absurd to seek an escape from Zoom to somewhere unexplored. If you are being Covid-safe and are ready to escape house arrest–we wish you all the best in your travels and hope you make some lasting memories on your graduation trip!