Travel Theme Graduation Party Ideas

France? Japan? Brazil?  Does your graduate want to see the world after he or she graduates?  Well, if they're planning on studying abroad, spending their life travelling the world, or just starting out on a new journey, than a travel theme graduation party is perfect! From passports to suitcases to exotic food and world destinations, there is a lot of inspiration out there for invitations, decorations, and menu ideas. 

travel theme Graduation party Invitations
Since the theme of this party is travel and celebrating the graduate's new journey, select an invite that reflects both of these things! Here are some of our favorite options:
  • Travel Theme Graduation Invitations - These have a fun boarding pass style and you can customize all the wording.
  • Passport Invitations - These are fully customizable, so add a photo of your grad and stamps to reflect their journey.
  • Make your own! If you want to get creative and make your own invites here are a few ideas to get you started:
    • Luggage tags - create a custom invite in the shape of a luggage tag. Add a bit of bakers twine and a coordinating envelope.
    • Vintage maps - hit the thrift stores and incorporate old maps for a great travel theme
    • Postcards - perfect for a travel theme. Pick some up from the town where your grad is going off to college.
  • Add some creative wording to get your travel theme across
    • Life is a journey! Join us as we celebrate this Graduation checkpoint
    • Passport to Jenny's Graduation Party
    • Let the Journey Begin, James has Graduated!
    • Christine has Graduated! Destination... Job!
    • Celebrate a new journey! Join us for Sam's Graduation Celebration
    • Come fly with Pam! Hop on board as we celebrate her graduation for OSU
    • Join the adventure as we celebrate William's Graduation and send him off to NYU
Here are a few things to think about as you are hammering out the who, when and where details:
  • When planning a graduation party, timing is everything! June and July are busy months for parties... other graduations, weddings and summer BBQs. Ask your most important guests (Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles) to check their calendars beforehand to make sure they will be able to be there. 
  • Set a budget. Graduation parties can get expensive if you let them get away from you. A budget will help you to decide where you are having the party, how many people you are inviting, and what you will serve them (ordering from a caterer, organizing family for potluck, or doing it all yourself).
  • If you can host a large party then go for it! Such a major milestone should really be celebrated! I always start with my holiday card list to cover family and family friends. Then add other important people in your grad's life... neighbors, the graduate’s friends (and the parents of close friends), favorite teachers and even coaches.
  • Decide on the guest list, date and time as soon as possible. The earlier you send the invitations, the better the turnout will be!
  • An open house party is where guests are expected to come and go as they please, and can span a longer time to accommodate different schedules.

Invitations to a graduation party can also be mailed with graduation announcements (save a stamp).

Graduation Decorations and Party Supplies
There are tons of decorating ideas out there for a travel theme graduation party.  Start with some of our favorites:
  • Near the entrance to the party set up "customs checkpoint". A Graduation Travel Theme Banner will do the trick!  Add your own wording like, "Customs - Amy's Graduation Party, Do you have anything to declare?" Add graduation balloons to this area to draw everyone's attention.
  • 2019 Life-Sized Graduate Cutout: Your grad might not have time to greet every guest at the door, so a cutout of the girl graduate or the boy graduate serves as the next best thing.  Pile suitcases around the cutout and add a speech bubble that says, "I'm leaving on a jet plane! Don't know when I'll be back again!"
  • As guests arrive at their "destination", make sure to have a sign-in area where guests can "check-in". Here are a few fun options that are perfect for a travel theme:
    • A graduation sign in board is a classic way to let guests leave message to the grad.  You can have it read "Travel advice for Brian and well wishes for his journey!"
    • A guest book photo frame is also fun... guests sign the matte surrounding a picture of the grad from vacation. Make sure to buy smudge free markers!
    • For a grad who is going away to college, have guests fill out postcards! Then you can mail them a few at a time to the dorm.
    • Create a photo scrapbook with a travel theme and leave places for friends and family to fill in messages.
    • Set up a vintage suitcase and have guests write notes of well wishes, advice and congratulations! The grad can read them after the party.

Of course, you'll want to carry the travel theme through to the rest of your party space.  Try these easy decorations:

  • Suitcase Cooler - Line a vintage suitcase with a clear trashbag and fill with ice and water bottles wrapped in travel theme graduation water bottle labels.
  • Hang maps all over your party space! They make easy decorations indoors and outside.  Try using maps as a background for your buffet/dessert table or photo booth!
  • Travel Posters - Hang travel signs pointing to the grad's favorite destinations. Use these or make your own!
  • 2019 Glasses - These glasses are a great way to decorate your guests! Add some other touristy wearables like flower leis, bucket hats, and Hawaiian shirts.
Music will help set the mood for your travel theme. Here are a few songs to add to your party playlist -
  • Around the World - Daft Punk
  • Roam - B-52
  • Ramblin Man - Allman Brothers Band
  • Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane
  • Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
  • I've Been Everywhere - Johnny Cash
  • Come Fly with Me - Frank Sinatra
  • I'm Leaving on Jet Plane - Peter, Paul and Mary
  • Movin' Right Along - The Muppets
  • Free Bird by Lynrd Skynrd
  • Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude by Jimmy Buffett
  • On the Road Again by Willie Nelson
  • Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz
  • Wherever I May Roam by Metallica
Graduation Table Decorations
Your best bet is to use disposable paper goods at a graduation party. International flag paper goods match the travel theme and give your tables a bright pop of color. Add some of these other great ideas:
  • Confetti - Make some from a large paper punch (craft store) and a few old maps (thrift store).
  • Table Covers - For your tables, take a colored table cloth and put a clear one over it. In between put pictures of the grad on vacation and traveling through the years. You can also include ticket stubs and maps to add interest. The clear table cloth keeps everything from getting messy!
  • Table Numbers - Choose a vacation destination for each table. Guests will love to sit at the "France" or "China" table! 
  • Seating Cards - If you're going with assigned seating, direct guests to their tables with luggage tag seating cards. The tag doubles as a great favor!
Make sure to choose centerpieces that have a travel theme:
  • Tie balloons to the handles of small suitcases.
  • Set up each table with a different travel theme and decorate accordingly. You can do different countries (China, England, Australia) or National Parks (Everglades, Yosemite, Grand Canyon) or modes of travel (Planes, Trains and Automobiles).
  • A globe perched on top of a stack of college textbooks is perfect for a grad heading off to college.
  • Small toy airplanes serve as great ballon weights for groups of white balloons made to look like clouds.
  • Wrap cylindrical vases in maps and fill with flowers for a classic look. Add a few paper airplanes attached to skewers for a fun twist!
A travel theme party is the perfect opportunity to have regional food stations and buffets.  Make sure to use international flag picks with your appetizers to incorporate the theme:
  • Italy - Pizza, pasta salad, anti-pasta. Decorate with clear jars of dry pasta and jars of sauce.
  • Mexico - Taco or burrito bar. Fill a sombrero hat with chips and add a few Mexican flags.
  • China - Chinese takeout, egg rolls, lo mien, all the favorites. Decorate with takeout boxes, chopsticks and fortune cookies.
  • Japan - Sushi (get a tray from Costco or the like)
  • Middle Eastern - Hummous, Tabbouleh and Babagannough with pita chips and pita bread
  • French - French pastries and desserts, cheese and crudities
  • New York - Bagel bar and cheesecake
  • New England - Clam chowder
  • Philadelphia - Cheesesteak
  • Chicago - Deep dish pizza
  • New Orleans -  Shrimp and crawfish with dirty rice, gumbo
  • Southern - Fried green tomatoes, biscuits, corn and fried chicken, BBQ
Graduation Party Favors
Again, stick with your theme! These favors match our graduation travel boarding pass invitation, and they'll look great sitting at a place setting or on a favor table. If you're going with a table, make sure to add a decorative sign that says, "Baggage Claim" - so much fun!

Or try one of these DIY favors that add a sweet handmade touch to your event: 

  • Luggage Tags - Make sure there is a special thank you note from the grad slipped in!
  • Travel Theme Favor Bags filled with candies and treats for the trip home!
  • Postcard Bundles wrapped in twine with a note from the grad asking for guests to write! (Include the grad's new address.)
  • Little Booze Bottles - For a college grad, mini booze bottles (like what you would find on a flight or a hotel mini-fridge) make a fun favor!
Have fun planning your travel theme graduation party, and congratulations from the Party Girl!