By Eileen Ogintz
Tribune Content Agency
Brian Duffy isn’t your typical well-traveled dad. In fact, he has long had a unique vantage point — from outer space. Duffy is a retired astronaut who logged nearly 41 days in space and, before that, thousands of hours as a pilot.
“My wife couldn’t sleep very well when I wasn’t on the planet,” he joked the other day at a lunch to showcase all that’s new at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. But these days there’s just one thing this dad and granddad wishes for to make travel easier: “An extra legroom seat,” he said. He also suggested that for dads who fly a lot, noise-canceling headphones would be a welcome gift, as would a visit to a place where Dad could indulge a particular passion, like for space, Duffy suggested.
That got me thinking about other gifts a traveling dad and granddad would appreciate, either for Father’s Day or on your next family trip. According to a new poll by Hilton, 62 percent of men feel closer to loved ones when they travel with them. Build a shareable travel vision board for dad with vacation photos, your favorite dad quotes and places you hope to share in the future via Hilton’s “Our Stage. Your Story” initiative.
But no matter how memorable, travel can be stressful for Dads. This Father’s Day make sure to give the significant men in your life a big hug and a sincere “thank you” for all the wonderful adventures and memories. And then give them something they can enjoy on their next trip, something that can make their travels a little more pleasant:
- For the camping dad: The ENO DoubleNest Hammock ($69.95), which is even light enough for backpacking. “Nothing beats a nap in the sun in this thing. All you need are two trees,” says Mike Gast, of KOA campgrounds where, incidentally, kids camp free Father’s Day weekend at many participating campgrounds.
- For the fitness fanatic: The portable, packable TRX Home Gym ($199) gives dad tools to get his workout in, even on the beach or on a hike.
- For the dad going someplace where there is Zika virus, or just lots of bugs: A shirt, pants or hat that repel insects through specially treated fabrics. You can buy them at L.L. Bean, ExOfficio.com and other places.
- For the dad on his feet a lot — A pair of lightweight, slip-on affordable plastic-like Crocs (free shipping on orders over $24.99.) There are the traditional clogs but now also canvas loafers, flip-flops and more. Outdoors-loving traveling guys I know also give a thumbs up to Merrell shoes, like the new lightweight, waterproof
Capra Bolt that has an air cushion that adds stability on the trail and comfort in the theme park, even when it rains. (They come in versions that support the ankle ($140) and ones that are more like running shoes ($130).
- For the spirits-loving dad — How about a bottle and a promise to visit a distillery, like the Woody Creek Distillers outside of Aspen, Colorado. The Woody Creek 100 percent Rye took top honors recently at the San Francisco international spirits competition and the vodka and gin make great martinis. You’ll find artisanal distilleries all over ski country, including the very popular High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. For the wine-loving dad, choose a bottle from a vineyard he’s either visited or would like to visit. For the beer-loving dad, pick up a local brew from a favorite vacation.
- For the environmentally conscious dad: A sleek Dopper water bottle ($15.50 in all kinds of bright colors) designed to encourage the use of reusable water bottles, reducing plastic waste. Add the Dopper Water Cocktail Book for just $5.
- For the foodie dad: Try a food tour or cooking class on your next vacation. I just did a wonderful “Beyond Feta” tour in Athens with ContextTravel which offers food tours in many cities. Tours by Locals, in 140 countries and more than 1,000 cities, also offers food tours around the world. Closer to home, you’ll find food tours like NoshWalks, which focus on ethnic food in NYC, and of Pike Place Market in Seattle with Eat Seattle Tours. Just Google where you’ll be and “food tour” or “cooking class” and you can take your pick.
- For the dad whose luggage is outdated — The new Cargo Hauler Duffel from Eagle Creek is durable, water resistant, lightweight and has separate end pockets (ideal for dirty laundry). Though not on wheels, it has backpack straps. (They come in four sizes and five colors, starting at $89). The DoubleBack Carry-On has wheels and converts to either a backpack or a removable daypack ($239). Each is covered by Eagle Creek’s “No Matter What” Warranty.
- For the dad who wants to mix his own cocktails on vacation — The Simple Tool by Barbarian Bar Tools is five bar tools in one — a bottle opener, a zester, a channel knife for slicing garnishes, a can lance for quick pouring and a can tab opener ($18). The Seriously Ice Cold (SIC) vacuum-insulated, stainless steel travel mug ($29.99) comes with a lifetime guarantee and is guaranteed to keep dad’s drink cold (or warm) for up to 24 hours. Another guaranteed-to-keep-drinks-frosty bet, especially for hiking dads, is CamelBak’s new Chute Vacuum Insulated water bottle ($28).
- For dads who never get “me time” — A massage wherever you’re vacationing. He’ll love it!
Happy Father’s Day!
© 2016 EILEEN OGINTZ
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.