Connecting with a daughter can be challenging for dads, but one way to make a memorable connection is by taking a father-daughter vacation. Father-son vacations are more common, according to coach Ellen Schmitz on her Father Daughter journey website, but that doesn’t mean you cannot or should not consider bonding through a father-daughter vacation. There are many options you can explore -- and build a strong father-daughter connection as you go.
Combine your father-daughter vacation with an opportunity to serve others through organizations such as the Sierra Club, Adventures in Missions, Habitat for Humanity or the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew. Check with local churches for family mission trips, too. Some programs, such as the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew, welcome young children with parents, and others require your daughter to be a teen or older. Bond while you clean brush off a trail, help feel poor children in a developing country or build and landscape homes and schools for needy communities. A "Chicago Tribune" article, titled "Families Dig Service Vacations,” recommends service vacations as a way to bond, serve others and learn new skills.
Dads can take daughters camping, fishing, riding or walking trails or exploring nature. Ask your daughter where she would like to go and what activities she would like to include to get you started, Schmitz suggests. If she isn’t in favor of roughing it, vacation at a state or national park that offer cabins with rustic kitchens and real beds. Talk about why you enjoy being out in nature, watch the stars at night, watch the sun come up in the morning or watch the animals while you enjoy each other's company and enjoy nature.
Your father-daughter vacation doesn’t have to be expensive or last several days. You can take day trips or long weekends together, suggests leadership coach Elizabeth Elizardi in a “Psychology Today” article, titled “Three Tips for Better Father-Daughter Bonding.” Take her out for fun activities appropriate to her age in the evening, dinner at her favorite restaurant or fast food joint and camp out in a local motel where you can sleep in. In the morning, jump in the pool before you check out and take in more local sights, heading back to your regular routine at the end of the day. Take time during the day to talk, share dreams, ask her about what’s going on in her life and tell her how precious she is to you. The time you spend will be more valuable than your financial outlay.
“Seattle Times” columnist Brian J. Cantwell has been taking trips with his daughter Lillian since she was 11. He suggests you bring home guidebooks and let your daughter help choose the agenda, assigning some days where she gets to be in charge and other days when you get to direct the activities. She can plan the budget and tailor activities to the location and budget, taking pride in the responsibility you allow her. Cantwell suggests you do things that vary for activities you normally choose and jointly select gifts for family members left at home.