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Navy Boot Camp Graduation Packing List

The countdown to graduation has begun! Whether it’s time to start packing your bags or you have a bit of time to plan before the...

The countdown to graduation has begun! Whether it’s time to start packing your bags or you have a bit of time to plan before the big day arrives, the Sandboxx Travel Team has put together the ultimate Navy boot camp graduation packing list.

Travel Documents

Be sure to check RTC’s COVID protocols and policies for any changes and updates. Due to the potential for changing health protection policies, be sure to review RTC’s website prior to departing your home and before leaving for the graduation ceremony.

Whether you are a tech guru or prefer to print your itinerary, make sure you have the address and phone number of your hotel, car rental company, the base, and any other places you’ll be stopping along the way.

If you’re flying to graduation, make sure to check in on the airline’s website and print your boarding pass 24 hours prior to your flight.

You can download your airline’s app to gain access to your mobile boarding pass or print out your boarding pass when you get to the airport at the airline kiosks or with an agent.

Phone Chargers


Don’t be the person at graduation recording your loved one’s proudest moment to have the video cut short because your battery died.

Make sure you bring your charger, including any portable chargers or charging cases. One tip is to organize all electronic cords together in one bag, that way you don’t misplace them.

Casual Clothing

Your Sailor will either dress in their Navy Dress White or Blue Dress uniform. Both of these uniforms are considered a formal uniform.

There is not a dress code for graduation and anything from casual to your Sunday best is what we recommend packing.  Keep in mind seating for graduation will be on bleachers, so make sure to pack a pair of shoes that are appropriate and safe for getting up the bleacher stairs.

If you plan on staying in the Chicago area an extra few days make sure you check the local weather. Depending on what time of the year you are traveling to RTC Great Lakes, will determine how many extra layers or windbreakers you will want to bring.



A picture is worth a thousand words and a lifetime of memories. Graduation day will be one of the most memorable days for you and your new Sailor.

Whether you use your phone’s camera, a disposable camera, or a digital camera, make sure you have extra batteries, a charger, and a memory card so you won’t miss a single moment.

Also, do not forget that RTC Great Lakes will stream the graduation live and it is available for later viewing for free. Never pay to stream the graduation and only use the link that is available on RTC’s website located here.


You can be sure of two things: paying taxes and shedding a few tears at boot camp graduation.

Pick up a travel-size tissue at your local grocery or drug store. You may think you can fight back tears, but as soon as the garage doors open and you see your new Sailor marching into the graduation hall you won’t be able to hold back your tears.

Government-issued Identification

Everyone attempting to get on base will be required to have some form of government-issued identification. This includes those who are 17 years or younger. Young children are the only exception to this rule.

Don’t miss out on graduation because you didn’t think Grandma and Grandpa would need their IDs!

Graduation Tickets

You will not be allowed on base if you don’t have your graduation tickets with you. You can pick up your tickets at the Welcome Center on Thursday or Friday but you may want to attempt to pick up your graduation tickets the night before graduation. Attempting to get your tickets the morning of may take a while, and you don’t want to miss graduation.

Graduation tickets are highly enforced – there are no exceptions. You can learn how to get your graduation tickets at the RTC graduation page on their website.

Car Insurance/Registration

Your car registration and insurance will be asked for when you arrive at the gates.

If you are renting a car then your rental car agreement will be asked for as well. If you are not able to show any of these documents you will be unable to get on base.

Chewing Gum

One of the many Navy rules is never to chew gum and walk at the same time. But, to help alleviate the pressure during a flight, you might want to throw some gum in your carry-on.

Graduation Gifts

If you have chosen to get your new Sailor a gift for completing graduation, don’t leave it behind. Need some good gift ideas? Learn about some great Basic Training Graduation Gifts

RTC has very strict policies regarding what you may and may not bring to the graduation ceremony for guests. Please follow this link to view RTC’s guest policy. 



It’s been 10 weeks since you’ve last seen your Sailor, and they’ve gone through a huge transformation. As they begin to march out onto the drill deck, you will naturally begin to look for him or her.

With so many graduating Sailors it can be difficult to find your Sailor in the crowd. A handy pair of binoculars (or your smartphone camera on zoom) at the ready will help you accurately spot your Sailor. 

Extra Cash


It’s never a bad idea to have some extra cash on your person. You are likely to encounter some toll booths (Illinois has many toll roads) on your drive to graduation. Make sure you have enough cash to pay.

Ready to plan the most unforgettable trip? Learn more about your soon-to-be Sailor’s graduation and start planning today: Navy Boot Camp Graduation: Great Lakes.

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