Top-Dollar Travels

From left: a city view of Atlanta, Georgia (court. of Marriott Hotels); the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Memorial in Wilmington, NC (court. of Wilmington and Beaches); the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (court. of the World Travel Guide); and the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA (court. of Viator).

Congratulations! You can now put the library late nights, 11:59 p.m. Blackboard deadlines and pesky group projects behind you because you’ve earned the ultimate prize -- a college degree. Before you nose-dive into the real world, however, a celebration is in order...and what better way is there to celebrate than with a grad trip? Whether you’re spending it at home during quarantine or in another city when it’s safe to travel, it’s never too late to celebrate your achievements with a travel experience!

NOTE: This article was written before the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Given the recent developments with COVID-19, “Anchors Away” recommends that all readers adhere to CDC travel recommendations and continue social distancing practices. This virus can and WILL come to an end, so when that end comes (as recommended by the CDC and federal officials), please refer back to this piece for planning purposes. After all, it’s never too late to celebrate your achievements while staying safe in the process!

Virtual Trips & Digital Experiences

CHICAGO, Illinois 

ATLANTA, Georgia

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana

WILMINGTON, North Carolina

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Graduation Trip Destination Ideas

Chicago, IL

Known to many as the hub and heart of the Midwest, Chicago is a bustling city of neighborhood. The home of the Chicago Cubs and one former 44th President of the United States, the city is a wholly unique place to be with its thriving dining scene and stunning architecture.

PLACES TO GO: Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Willis Tower, Giordano’s Pizza, Starbucks Reserve, wndr Museum, Wrigley Field

Atlanta, GA

Originally a railroad town that stood as the gateway to remote corners of the Southeast, the vibrant city of Atlanta is now the largest in Georgia and still remains a crucial transportation hub. Home to notable musicians such as Usher and John Mayer, the city has an almost magnetic charisma to it, which is rooted in its history and modern charm.

PLACES TO GO: Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coca-Cola, MLK Jr. National Historical Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Trap Music Museum

New Orleans, LA

With culture on every corner, New Orleans has a reputation that looms bigger than its size. Its music, food and history has made a name for itself worldwide, giving the Southern city an independent feel. Thanks to its French, Spanish, African and American influences, the fabric of everyday life can be felt through every aspect of the city -- from its infamous seafood dishes to its buzzing nightlife on the streets.

PLACES TO GO: French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Cafe Du Monde, Pat O’Brien’s, Garden District

Wilmington, NC

There’s nothing like staying close to home and the charming city of Wilmington is a good place to start. The charming city of Wilmington is home to historic downtown architecture and seasight sights such as Wilmington Beach and the Battleship North Carolina, giving it a perfect feel for summer travel.

PLACES TO GO: Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn, Battleship North Carolina, Airlie Gardens, Wilmington Beach

Washington D.C.

Everyone knows America’s capital city through the small screen and textbooks, but there’s nothing like seeing the real thing up close. With historic neoclassical monuments and government architecture at almost every turn, this city is rich with plenty of things to do and many sights to learn from.

PLACES TO GO: U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, The White House, Kennedy Center

Tips to Travel on a Budget

1. The more, the merrier

There’s something to be said about solo travel. But if you’re on a budget, you can plan to split travel costs for living accommodations and transportation to and within your destination. According to Nico Atienza, a front desk agent at the Travel Hacking Cartel, the optimal party size is “four people.” Besides, there’s nothing like sharing memories with family and friends!

2. Land v. Air

Depending on the location you plan to travel to, it’s always smart to compare the costs of all travel options. Sometimes a road trip in a rental may be best or booking a flight on the right airline and right dates can be better. Also, do research on less-traditional methods of travel, such as a train or bus.

3. There’s an app for that

When it comes to travel planning, there’s no better place to seek help than your own pocket or fingertips. Travel apps are not only a source of trip inspiration, but also can be extremely useful for navigation, budgeting and entertainment on the ride there. Apps such as Hopper and Skyscanner can help you find cheap flights, while Roadtrippers and PackPoint can help you stay organized on the go.

4. Watch what you pack

When you’re on the plane or out and about at your destination, don’t be shy about having some necessities on you — water, snacks, sunglasses, lip balm. While out of town, it’s easy to splurge and spend money on things that you forgot at home. To avoid that, create a checklist before you leave and always ensure you have your essentials before you step out the door to explore.

5. Get ahead before you go ahead

While traveling can be an exciting experience, it’s important to have a concrete plan before the fun begins. Create a budget and trip itinerary at least a MONTH before the trip. If you need to save up more money, you can always plan to take the trip at a later date. There’s no such thing as a deadline to celebrate your hard earned achievement!

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