Amazing Things I Learned from Travelling With My Dad

10 Amazing Things I Learned from Travelling with My Dad

Shoutout to the dads who ignited our sense of adventure!

With non-essential travel out of the question for the time being, I often find myself looking back fondly at all my travels, both recent and way before. Most of these, of course, were with my family — but mostly my father. This led me to realise that I got my ever-present curiosity and sense of adventure from him.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve always enjoyed tagging along with him — from random errands to halfway around the world. Naturally, I’ve picked up some of his own habits and preferences along the way. So, here are some of the best things I’ve learned from travelling with my dad through the years!

1. Wake up early, even when you’re on vacation

travelling with my dad

Image credit: Marcy Miniano | Me and dad taking in the sights of Yosemite National Park.

Yep, I can already hear the collective groan from every non-morning person reading this. Don’t worry, I totally feel the same! (The struggle is real for us whose parents are legit morning people). Despite that, though, I lowkey agree that it helps to wake up early when you’re travelling. How else are you going to get a headstart on the hotel buffet? Or avoid terribly long lines in Disneyland? Or take a leisurely walk at the beach before it gets too hot outside?

The early bird really does get the worm — at least, as far as travelling is concerned. Thankfully, there’s always coffee! 

Also read: From a Millennial’s POV: The Pros & Cons of Travelling With Your Parents

2. Always read the title cards or markers

Ever since I can remember, my dad and I would often take long whenever we’re at a museum, zoo, or historical landmark. Why? Because we’d take our time reading what’s on the title cards or heritage markers. While the rest of our family would already be on the other side of the room, we’re still by the doorway reading about why x painter loves eating y for breakfast that inspired his work. Suffice to say, my dad and I are obsessed with both relevant and random facts! 

3. Go for the window seat

Well, at least whenever it’s possible — especially when it’s on a plane! You know that part where you’re a few minutes away from landing and the flight crew would tell everyone to lift up the window shades? My dad would always get excited about looking and pointing out the scenery below. And really, isn’t that usually the best part about air travel?

Also read: Dear Parents: Top 8 Tips To Surviving Long-Haul Flights With Your Kids

4. Take lots of pictures!

travelling with my dad

Image credit: Marcy Miniano | My dad posing with a heritage sculpture in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

No, this isn’t something limited to millennials or Gen-Z kids. Even before phone photography became a thing, my dad would always take lots of pictures with the digicam! Doesn’t matter if it’s a random storefront in San Francisco or a photo of the entire family by the shores of Palawan. As long as it catches your attention, then snap away! Limited storage capacity? I’m pretty sure my dad has never heard of it. (Half-kidding!)

Also, when having your photo taken, don’t be afraid to make funny poses! The less formal or staged it looks, the better. That said, I’m pretty sure I got my penchant for occasionally weird photo-ops from travelling with my dad. 

Also read: 9 Travel Photography Tips for Your Instagram Feed

5. Bring the essentials

Whether it’s a domestic or international trip, my dad travels with these four things: snacks, water, basic medicine, and a pen. Then again, he did use to be a Boy Scout, so there’s that. But hey, you never know when your hunger pangs will strike. Also, who wants to pay for overpriced 12-ounce bottled water at the airport? Clearly, my dad doesn’t and he probably never will. 

My dad has always stressed the importance of health — especially when you’re travelling in a foreign land where the climate is a lot different! Hence, the basic meds for coughs, colds, allergies, and such. As for the pen, well, I’m not sure if this is an exclusively ‘dad thing,’ but mine never goes anywhere without a pen! So, yep, you can guess how much time he saves filling out forms at the airport. 

6. Don’t be afraid to try unfamiliar food!

Image credit: Marcy Miniano | A photo of my dad (right) enjoying some ice cream with my uncle (left) at Old Town Sacramento.

My dad likes trying different food whenever we’re out travelling — even some that might not sound appealing at first. Whether it’s a weird ice cream flavour or an exotic drink, you can bet my dad and I are ready to try it out! (This might also be why we always bring medicine in case of tummy problems). After all, the whole point of travel is to get to know different cultures. 

7. Map reading pre-travel is important too!

travelling with my dad

Image credit: Marcy Miniano | Exploring San Francisco with my parents.

Every time I go somewhere unfamiliar — whether it’s just around Metro Manila or in a completely foreign city — I’m glad that I have a good sense of direction. And this one, I largely owe to travelling with my dad! Though, it all boils down to having a sharp memory on ‘landmarks’ that you pass by along the way.   

Before mobile Internet became a thing, I’d watch him study maps of whatever destination we’re going to. In turn, I also developed the habit of checking out maps before I travel somewhere unfamiliar! I mean, sure, you can always ask for directions once you’re there — but isn’t it a lot better when you actually know where you’re headed to? That, and the fact that sometimes, it’s not always a good idea to rely on mobile signals just to access Google Maps.

8. Wear comfy shoes — no ifs, not buts

Image credit: Benmar Miniano | My parents during their trip to New York City a few years back.

As far as vacation OOTDs go, my dad values comfort over anything else. For him, wearing the right pair of travel shoes makes all the difference… especially with your mood! I remember several occasions when I’d be cranky later in the day because my feet hurt. And guess what he would say? Hint: it’s somewhere along the lines of, “why didn’t you wear cushioned shoes in the first place?” Yes, well, clearly I’ve learned my lesson now, dad. *Shrugs*

9. Be kind to everyone you interact with

Image credit: Benmar Miniano | Batanes easily became my dad’s favourite destination here in the Philippines.

Now that I think about it, my dad is probably the least moody person I know! Wherever we go, he would always be warm and friendly towards cashiers, servers, hotel staff, and the like. Even when travelling abroad, he would always be ready with a smile, should there ever be a need to ask a local for directions. True enough, he can strike up a conversation and make friends with just about anyone he crosses paths with!

I guess it’s not always true when they say you shouldn’t ever talk to strangers. (Of course, it’s still important to be cautious!) And while I wouldn’t say I’m as un-moody as he is, I’m glad I acquired his people skills and extroversion. Seriously, approaching people with warmth and kindness makes all the difference! And it’s definitely a lot easier than being a grouch or snob the whole time. 

Also read: Introverts, This One’s For You: Advice From Extroverted Travellers

10. Adventure is closer than you think

Image credit: Marcy Miniano | The view from the hill that’s one of the best-kept secrets of my hometown.

It’s true that sometimes, you don’t have to travel far for a good adventure. Growing up in a quiet, non-touristy city in the province has its perks — like cool outdoor spots that only locals know about! 

I remember one weekend morning where my dad woke me up early to go ‘hiking.’ I placed quotation marks there because it wasn’t really to the mountains. From our house, we walked all the way to this hill that’s a favourite viewing deck among locals! It offers a spectacular view of the city, with the sun rising in the horizon and lush rice fields going as far as the eye could see. 

Also read: My First Travel Buddy Was My Mom — Here’s How She Taught Me The Value Of Travelling 

Anyway, moving back in with my parents during this pandemic (because safety first, you guys) has led me to re-realise everything I appreciate about them. One of the top things on this list are the things I learned from travelling with my dad — some of which are about life, too! And while there are things that I unfortunately didn’t get from him (read: insane math skills), I sure am thankful for these nuggets of wisdom he has taught me through the years. 

Facebook image credit: Shawnn Tan

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.


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