Travel as a Graduation Gift

While traveling in South Africa, I met numerous young adults who were backpacking across the continent. I asked how they could afford to do something such as that and received a common response:  “My parents are paying for it.”

I don’t know about your parents but I know my parents would not pay for something that has no set end date or established budget. Nor would I even feel comfortable funding a project such as that for myself.

Travel can be a gift for a graduating student – either for a post-graduation, spring break or weekend experience – but know what is appropriate to ask for or give (depending on what role you are filling).

If you are a student who has received support from family before for international trips or other big-ticket items (such as a conference or computer), do not expect as much support from them again. Family and friends are eager to help people grow to become well-rounded individuals – however, they do not like feeling expected to contribute. (Personal example, I received more financial support when going to Japan, my first abroad experience in high school, than I did for South Africa as a junior in college.)

Likewise, as a parent – you should not give your child a blank ticket for a travel experience. If your child is considering traveling (and you support their plan), consider giving them something such as a multiple use  train ticket for their trip in Europe or something smaller such as a passport holder. If you have a lot of miles with an airline, a larger gift would be contributing some of those miles towards their flights.

Traveling can be a great opportunity for people of all ages. Before you decide to participate in or support someone who wants to travel between graduation and “the real world,” make sure you consider your supportive options. Also, never expect people to contribute – that could lead to tensions within relationships.

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