Traveling with your dad can be stressful. It’s totally different than traveling with your mom!
You might have to navigate between different stressful topics and figure out how to be an adult around your father, but traveling with your dad can also really bring you two together.
I recently took a trip together with my dad to Chicago. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous boarding that plane.
What if we got into massive fights? What if it was horribly awkward? What if we had nothing to talk about over dinner? What if he got on my case for having tattoos?
What if he brings up politics? Oh God, the possibilities. We are now nearing the end of our 5-day trip and, we’ve had a blast! No arguments, no awkward moments (well, mostly) and I genuinely feel like we’re closer because of it.
Planning on traveling with your dad soon? Here are some tips on how to deal.
1. Identify/Avoid Landmines
We all have topics of conversation that get us really heated. I strongly suggest avoiding those while on vacation.
Not only will it get your father worked up, if you end up arguing and getting upset with one another, it will ruin the entire vacation.
Have differing political views and a father that’s permanently on one side of the fence? Shut it. Yep, I said shut it. Don’t even go there. Accept that you disagree on XY and Z topics and put your opinions to the back burner.
2. Come Up With Alternative Conversation Points
I spent a good hour of the flight thinking about neutral topics I could bring up if ever I feel the conversation start to turn sour or if I feel my father getting upset (radar, girls!).
For me, topics included things he enjoys: golf, crossword puzzles, recent news, etc.
Traveling with your dad might be full of stressful moments. It might help ease things if you have a funny story or memory to share at a moment’s notice!
3. Avoid Topics that Make Him Uncomfortable
I don’t care how old you are, how close you are or how comfortable you feel, there are things you just shouldn’t bring up. I quickly realized topics that make fathers uncomfortable include:
– Painful Break-ups
– Live-in Boyfriends
Your dad is not your best girlfriend. Even if you’re super close, he’s still your dad. So, go easy on the girl talk.
4. Find Some Alone Time
It’s important to seek some alone time when traveling with anyone, especially when you’re with your dad. Right now I’m holed up in our hotel room completely alone and it’s glorious.
Everyone needs alone time every now and then. Go for a walk, step outside and call your best friend, or take an extra long shower. Do what you have to do to keep yourself in a good mood.
5. Keep Your Cool
Learn not to sweat the small stuff. Train running late? Bus breaking down? Do you have to shout everything because he didn’t charge his hearing aids? He may not be able to cope as well as you can, so you will have to be very calm and reassuring.
My dad gets super frustrated when he has to wait in any sort of line. I just do my best to keep him calm and remind him that sometimes things take time.
6. Do Things He Likes to Do
If he’s a baseball fan, suggest going to catch a game, even if you’re not a fan yourself. Take turns doing fun things that you both want to do and everyone will be happy.
7. Let Him Spoil You
If he can, he will. Dads love to treat their little girls to things (no matter how old they are). If he wants to take you shopping, let him. Don’t talk about how much things cost, just be gracious, say thank you and accept his gifts.
If you want to return the favor, pay for something for him. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just chip in for a taxi once or twice, or at least offer–the thought goes a long way here.
When in doubt… eat! Some of our best moments on this trip have been over food. Good food just has a way to make everything better.
Kelly, great tips! Coming up with alternative conversation points is especially helpful to keep the talk flowing. And, I love the eating tip. I cherish the solo (day, never overnight. Kudos to you!) time with my dad, but sometimes it’s like we’re from two different planets. Thanks for the words of wisdom!
Last summer, I went on a month-long tour of Europe with my dad. It was our first father-daughter trip, and I certainly learned a lot of these things through that experience. I would especially echo your tip about letting him spoil you, because it is something I didn’t think about at all before the trip. My dad insisted on paying for almost everything during the trip, and it stressed me out that he was spending so much more than I was. But once I accepted it – and just paid for little things, like pastries and metro fares – the trip became a lot easier. Thanks for posting these tips! I think they will be very helpful for any girl planning a trip with her dad.
Great tips — I spent 10 days traveling with my dad when he visited me in Madagascar this past summer, and after our first hike together I realized I shouldn’t have expected him to keep up with me the way my younger friends would :X Whoops!