Gulp! So this year, as we celebrate dads and granddads, uncles and godfathers, let’s think about things that will make this summer’s vacation more fun — for him. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either.
The older kids can put together a playlist of music dad loves — and listen to it with him in the car. The younger ones can make him a card telling him the five reasons they love going on vacation with him. I found one my daughter made when she was 10 or so, and all these years later it still makes me smile.
Maybe dad would never book a massage for himself, but I bet he’d enjoy one on vacation if it were a gift, and if you’re flying, how about downloading a movie or two of his favorite genre?
For the sports-minded dad try a stylish, lightweight DOPP kit with sport-specific designs — cyclist, skier, runner, surfer — from Rule # Five.($70)
Maybe a new made-in-the-USA Belay Bag from Diamond Brand Gear with removable/interchangeable shoulder pads that let dad use the bag different ways. The padded and fitted back pad also allow for maximum ventilation and protection. Designed to take a load off the spine — there’s even room for a 32-ounce growler from dad’s favorite craft brewery ($139). Stock it with what he’ll need on his next hike — a battery booster, reusable water bottle, favorite power bars and kid-made trail mix, even a new bandana in his favorite color.
For the adventurous dad who wants to share those high-adrenaline moments in real time, there is a new optical motion intelligence camera — lightweight, splash-resistant and wearable that attaches to a backpack or jacket pocket. With a 240-degree fisheye lens, unprecedented image stabilization technology, 15-hour battery life and complete VR compatibility for long-duration sports, OmiCamcan stream captured footage directly to a user’s mobile device for instant viewing, editing and live streaming ($299).
For the dads in your life who feel better about a gift when it gives back, shop Change Co., an online marketplace that is focused on creating positive, lasting change. Every product purchased gives back to a worthy cause. For example, buy a pair of socks, made from 75 percent bamboo, and help fund the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and aid gorilla conservation ($16).
Charity: water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to more than 663 million people, offers a wide variety of gifts that are perfect for any father, and all of the profits go directly to fund clean water projects and to help the team grow!
For the dad who never seems to have enough pockets when he’s traveling, check out SCOTTeVEST, a microfleece hoodie with 21 pockets ($100); the Boardwalk shirt has seven pockets ($80).
And if he’s heading somewhere hot, a moisture-wicking shirt will be much appreciated. You can find some that also offer sun protection at REI or LL BEAN, among other outlets.
For the dad who likes to mix his own craft cocktails on vacation — or on a plane — there’s the Bitter Truth Traveler’s Set, (19.99). Elevate that in-flight gin and tonic or bloody mary with the TSA-friendly, five-piece set of premium bitters from The Bitter Truth, which contains the brand’s most popular flavors: Old Time Aromatic, Jerry Thomas, Celery, Orange and Creole.
For the dad who is a fan of all things retro, check out Image3-D’s RetroViewer for a fun way to show off his favorite pictures of the kids. Use the RetroViewer website to create photo reels from your digital pictures on your smartphone or desktop and your own 3-D viewer and reel come by mail in a few days ($29.95).
Gamer Dad will love the Motorola Gamepad Mod, which works with the full moto z family of phones. It turns any moto z into a handheld gaming device armed with hundreds of games so that while on the road Dad never misses out on the latest games ($79.99).
For the dad heading out on a road trip (and AAA says the vast majority of family vacations will be road trips this summer) consider the FIXD sensor that lets you know if your vehicle has major issues before a breakdown. FIXD connects to the car’s OBD-II port and runs a system diagnostic, turning any car into a smart car. When a car’s check engine light is on, FIXD can tell the driver exactly what’s wrong and how much it should cost to fix the problem ($59.99).
The bearded dads will love the portable VersaTrim Trimmer Kit ($36). The 14-piece kit includes six numbered guide combs, dual voltage charge, trimmer cleaning accessories and a travel-friendly soft storage case.
But, of course, what dads want most is to know they’re appreciated. So the next time he plays Marco Polo, builds a sandcastle or plays umpteen games of checkers on vacation, just make sure to give him a big hug and say, “Thanks, Dad!”
(For more Taking the Kids, visit www.takingthekids.com and also follow “taking the kids” on www.twitter.com, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. Looks for Eileen’s new travel book “The Kids’ Guide to Maine,” available now.)