How to Throw A Travel Themed Party
June 5, 2018
How to throw a travel themed party

Once upon a time in what seems like a previous life, I spent a decade working in the event industry, mostly as an event stylist. It was only natural that when someone asked me about travel themed party ideas, I had a lot of thoughts on the matter. Here I walk you through throwing a travel-inspired bash from the invitation, all the way through to the party favors.

More than just travel

Ok, you’ve decided on a travel theme but there are a few more things to consider first. There are lots of different aspects of travel to channel and it will help to narrow your theme down to something more specific. Think about who or what the party is celebrating and let that guide you. Is it a bridal shower, retirement, birthday or going away party? If so, you may need to consider that special someone’s age, gender, interests and style along with that of your guests. Here are just a few ways to interpret a travel theme:

  • Vintage travel
  • Airplanes or air travel
  • Destinations
  • Maps and navigation
  • National flags

Travel themed party invitations

The key to a great themed party is weaving the theme into every aspect, start to finish. Sometimes it’s easy and obvious, other times it takes a little more creativity. Let’s begin with invitation ideas. Your invitation will set the tone for the entire party, so consider how it works in with the overall look and feel. Don’t forget to list the following on your invites:

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Theme (especially if it’s fancy dress)
  • Dress code (as above)
  • Set catering expectations, don’t leave your guests hanging wondering if they should eat beforehand or worse, leaving early because they’re hungry (e.g. finger food provided).
  • What people may bring along (e.g. BYO favourite alcoholic beverage, or bring along a dessert to share)
  • RSVP date and contact details (ask people to mention any dietary restrictions e.g. vegetarian, gluten free etc)
Free travel themed party invitation

Printing instructions:

  1. Save the invitation pdf file and open in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Fill out party details.
  3. Use A4 paper and don’t forget to set your printer accordingly.
  4. Set printer to print both sides of the paper.
Jonathan Adler design for Paperless Post
Biplane design from Paperless Post
Bridal shower invitation by Betty Lu Paperie

Food & drink

First, consider the style of the party including the number of guests, space and budget. Is it going to be standing room only, in which case you’ll provide finger food on trays or set up a buffet? Will it be a more intimate, sit down affair? Do you have the seating required? Also, are you buying or making the food, or a combination of both? What are your capabilities?

Now get creative. Are you going to theme the food around a particular destination? Alternatively, maybe you go for regular party food, but present it with a travel twist such as airplane cake toppers or served on map lined tray. Here are some examples of both:

Food presented as inflight dining by Little Wish Parties
Menu inspiration photographed by Marissa Moss Photography, via Arfully Wed
Destination themed food photographed by Hector Sanchez via Southern Living
Vintage airplane cake toppers by The Path Less Travelled

Travel themed party decorations

When decorating for a party, you can go from 0 to 100 in less than 10 seconds, so make sure you have a budget in mind. Think about things you already own and can repurpose, or if you’re buying something new, how can you use it again? Are you a crafty DIY type who loves to make your own custom pieces, or do you just want something simple and out of the box? Here are travel themed party decoration ideas:

Inflatable globe centrepiece by Event Options via Unique Pastiche Events
Map garland by PG Craft Cottage
Tablescape inspiration by A Big Story
Paper plane garland by Featherlite Studios
Vintage suitcase props
Vintage suitcase props photographed by Martina Micko via Bridal Musings
Travel themed photo booth backdrop via Green Wedding Shoes

Setting the mood

Music! You must have music. Create a playlist in advance so on the day, you just have to hit play. Lighting is another sure-fire way to set a mood. If your soiree is a daytime outdoor bbq, you need not be concerned. However, don’t forget lighting for night events, whether it’s lowering the lights and sparking up some candles on the dinner table or creating a festive mood with something a little more disco-esque. Here are some musical suggestions to get your started:

Travel themed party favors

Do you want to send guests home with a memento? What is the age range or interests of the group? Taking home a polaroid from the photobooth might be enough, or you might want to send kids home with something sugary.

Luggage tag favors via Wedding Chicks
Kids favor inspiration from Kara's Party Ideas
Sweet things in map covered boxes via Thierry Isambert

Thank you

Take the time to write a short note or send a quick email to thank guests for coming, especially if they brought a gift. If you are writing a physical note, think about using a postcard or a design that will echo your invitation to round out the event.

Enjoy throwing your travel themed party, and don’t forget to drop your thoughts, questions and ideas in the comments below.

Peace, love & inspiring travel,
Madam ZoZo

How to Throw a Travel Themed Party

About author

Madam ZoZo

Hi! I'm Madam ZoZo, aka Zoë, an Australian designer, creative consultant, blogger and digital nomad. I'm passionate about travel, design, dance and new experiences that fuel my creativity. I strive to travel in a style that is gentle on the earth and that contributes to the communities I visits, even if it is merely to take away a greater understanding of a different culture. Duende by Madam ZoZo, is where I share the stories of my travels and the duende (soul/inspiration) I find along the way.

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