5 Family Travel Ideas to Celebrate a Graduation


While it may be a little early to take that long over-due vacation, we can dream about it, can’t we? I recently gabbed with Marcia Simon, travel advisor and owner of Friendly Group Travel, about trip possibilities. Her Shoreline-based company organizes excursions for small groups and families (2 to 20 people). What’s lovely about Marcia’s services is that she’ll create an itinerary and make all the plans, leaving you free to enjoy your vacation. She’s full of great ideas (and contacts) and can put together your dream journey. For more info, have a peek at her website: friendlygrouptravel.com.

I asked Marcia for some ideas on celebrating graduation with a family trip:

by Marcia Simon, Friendly Group Travel

It’s been a weird school year for students and their families. Understatement.

With graduations just around the bend, finding the right kind of celebration to honor your favorite student, is particularly challenging amid the lingering pandemic. The upside is that vaccines are available, people are getting them, and travel is becoming safer.

With this in mind, here are a few ways to celebrate this year’s graduation, which may mean making up for lost time and the party you were not able to have last year.

For lasting impact and memories that will last a lifetime – hands down, the answer is travel. 

1. Rent a house or villa 

Not quite ready to step into a full return to post-COVID activities? Villas and house rentals are very popular this year. Some have minimum-length stays; others allow you to stay for a quick weekend, an extended weekend or longer immersion. Suites at hotels that provide deep sanitized cleaning between guests add a layer of safety. Get an exclusive package at Tranquility Bay in the Florida Keys: like a 3-bedroom waterfront beach house with full kitchen, living room, oceanfront patio, laundry facilities, three swimming pools, mini-golf, snorkeling and family activities on premises, close to restaurants, fishing boats, bicycling and more.

PHOTO: Tranquility Bay

2. All-Inclusive resort 

There’s something for everyone of any age. The kids can enjoy a sailing lesson while parents try the stand-up paddle boards, and grandparents relax poolside after a morning yoga class. Gather for meals and excursions at an all-inclusive that matches your family’s personality. ClubMed has new locations with larger family accommodations and optional activities all day long. Hotel Xcaret, in Mexico near Tulum, includes zip lining, water parks and the famed Xcaret eco-park.

3. Walking tours 

Create your own private guided group or choose a self-guided option, complete with maps and local assistance if you need it. Whichever you choose, your breakfast and dinner will be included (with recommended lunch options for self-guided trips.) Luggage is transported every morning to your next destination at an authentic boutique hotel or B&B. What a fantastic way to spend family time together outdoors. Itineraries are available within the US and abroad with Easy, Moderate and Challenging levels.

4. Boat 

Spend a week with your family on a private catamaran, which sails flatter than a monohull. Choose to have a captain and cook, so you are completely free to do as much or as little as you want. Pull up on beaches to explore villages, cultural sites or local culinary adventures.. Bahamas and Virgin Islands are popular destinations for ideal weather and crystal clear turquoise waters.

5. Road trip

Pack the car, fill the cooler and head out. There’s no telling if Americans will be able to cross the Canadian border this summer, pending COVID-restrictions. Explore Maine with its coastal communities, islands, or inland lakes and rivers (family rafting!). Or head down the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Smokey Mountains, filled with opportunities for outdoor exploration. If you have more time, Add Nashville for a diverse music and food scene – and a must-do experience at the Grand Ole Opry. This summer is expected to be very busy at the National Parks, so book as early as you can. Maybe this is the summer to get a bike rack and head to the Finger Lakes. Not in shape for the hills? No worries – ebikes are readily available at rental shops. You might also consider a fly-drive experience, or renting a camper. Campers and RVs have gone upscale since COVID scared people away from hotels.

As with all travel plans mid- and post-pandemic, it’s very important to understand the cancellation policies of any hotels, airlines and travel vendors you choose. An informed travel advisor can help navigate these changing conditions and provide peace of mind should your travel plans need to change. Contact Marcia Simon at Friendly Group Travel to explore or book your next getaway. Call her at 860-395-7244 or email welcome@friendlygrouptravel.com. Initial consultations are always free.


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