The Best Trips for High School Grads

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Road scholars (clockwise from left) in the Galápagos, Bangkok, and Rome.

Ask the Advisors

Virtuoso travel advisors weigh in on the gift of family travel.


Originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.

High school graduation is a seminal moment – not only for a teen, but also for the family, as it may well be the last time they can travel together before college and future jobs intervene. What’s more, travel fosters an understanding of other people and cultures that’s vital for success in the twenty-first century. Before students decide on their career path, our advisors recommend sending them on a journey to global citizenship. Here are four ways to give your grad a worldly education.

“Take recent grads on a trip where they can practice the foreign language they studied in school. If, for example, your child took German, travel to Germany to polish those skills. How exciting to study a language for years and then be able to visit that country!”
– Suzie Heid-Skilling, Seattle

“For a teen who’s never been to Europe, London and Paris would be a great combination. I suggest three or four full days in each city, traveling between them by high-speed train. Or go big time with a trip to Asia: Tokyo or Bangkok are great introductions to the region.”
– Kevin Dern, Saint Louis
“I spend a good amount of time talking with families to get a clear idea of their kids’ interests and/or future goals. One grad was a science whiz with aspirations to study marine biology, so I sent her family to the Gal├ípagos Islands. Another played soccer, so I secured VIP tickets to his favorite rivalry – Manchester United vs. Liverpool – and was able to both get the family on the field for pregame warm-ups and give them a private, behind-the-scenes stadium tour.”
– Michelle Mickaelian, Healdsburg, California
“I highly suggest taking recent grads on a trip where they can explore their roots. Family heritage tours are pivotal in helping young adults gain pride and perspective in their own identity before heading off to college.”
– Jack Ezon, New York City
“As a special gift, I had a photographer shadow a family on their graduation trip to Paris, taking candid pictures and portraits in different iconic locations. The parents later turned the photos into a commemorative book for their child to bring to college.”
– Olivia Nash Richardson, Nashville