There is more than one good reason to go on holiday with your father, even when you are somewhat grown up already. The obvious is, he will most likely pay for everything and just like you he doesn’t care for grimy backpackers. But then there are also a whole lot of other little details which are not to be underestimated when looking for a travelling companion. Mind you, I have always travelled well with my dad as we both like old buildings and history and he just happens to be a walking guide book. We also both enjoy day time drinking followed by substantial naps and have no problem eating three-course meals for lunch and again for dinner.
My last trip with him was somehow different though as it didn’t involve a city of history and art. However my theory was proven successful yet again when I took my dad to La Reunion over new year’s. well, technically he took me as he paid for everything, but good father that he is, he let me to decide where we would go. Botswana was asking for too much money from the non-South Africans, so we decided to rather spend it on the French and went to the heaven of rum punch and volcano jokes.

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Unlike its neighbours, the Seychelles and Mauritius, La Reunion is not famous for its beaches. That is a good thing when deciding on activities with your father. Do we all remember Gérard Depardieu’s awkwardness in “My father the hero” when he sees his teenage daughter for the first time in a bikini and the looks that follow her? Some things never change and lounging on a tropical beach next to your father will always be sort of awkward. Or at least you will constantly wish him to be rather Leonardo Di Caprio or at least a non-related male of your own age group. On a positive note though, your dad loves you no matter what and doesn’t care whether you have reached your perfect bikini body for summer yet. When lounging next to him, clad sparsely, you don’t mind the amount of calories a piña colada has, because who cares, you are with your dad, so go ahead and order another one!

lunch

If you still feel that leaving so little fabric between you is a bit weird, a rocky, volcanic island like reunion comes in handy. Hiking is the activity du jour and unless your dad runs marathons and rock climbs in his free time, this gives you plenty of opportunity to shine. Regardless of the reality back home, here you will be the fit one and since it is his fatherly duty, he will never hold it against you. On the contrary, he will route for you to climb on when he can’t anymore and will patiently wait for your return, cool drink in hand. Then he will praise you as if you just conquered Mount Everest when your outdoorsy friends would have teased you for the mole hill you really crawled up.

The downside of being on an island with a volcano is that no dad can resist telling lots of volcano jokes. Or something that only he would call a joke. Since you are driving through the lava fields with your father though and not with anyone cool, you can laugh till your stomach hurts and the silliness of it all will make both of you happy.

dad and i reunion

In general dads tend to become wonderfully ignorant once you have both hit a certain age. When you are out of your teens and he can’t pretend anymore that you are a little, barbie playing girl, you are golden. A dad sometimes just doesn’t realize that you have not been listening to the story of his last golfing trip but were making dewy eyes at the waiter instead. Even if he did notice, he is usually just happy to have such a popular daughter, not judging that your object of desire is just a local island heartthrob who smokes weed and says ‘yo’ a bit too frequently.
Of course to be unbiased one should mention a potential downside of father-daughter travel. You are most likely to share a room and some men like to snore. But fathers will usually not mind if you punch them when they do. One time, mine even pushed the pull-out couch into the bathroom in the middle of the night as to not disturb me any further. I was only slightly annoyed that he woke me to help him after i had finally been able to ignore the sounds and had fallen asleep. In the end the maid was probably a bit confused with our sleeping arrangement, but we both slept nicely from thereon after.

beach

Also a win-win for everybody when it comes to driving. The trend of fathers teaching their daughters to drive is widespread, but once that has happened they tend to get nervous when their little girls are behind the wheel. Especially when the roads are tiny, the car is rental, and she likes the gas pedal. Instead of arguing I opted for giving in, thus it was me who had a private chauffeur and got to enjoy all the red wine for lunch I could muster.

Drinks are a whole other story. I have never felt so comfortable to daytime drink with anyone as I do with my father. Call it a French habit or just a drinking problem, but we both have it and holiday time gives added value to indulge. He has the balance between sightseeing and easy living down, so there was always a temple or a church, a cocktail, a scenic road, a tuna steak with foie gras, a nap, a boat trip, a bottle of red with some duck in vanilla sauce blended nicely together in a day all rounded up by a little helicopter trip. I told you – travelling with dads can be awesome! And if you are about to have a nervous breakdown at the airport, because your dad forgot a copy of his visa and doesn’t understand the severity of the situation, take a breath. After all it’s thanks to him you will be in the business class lounge with plenty of free whisky to calm the heart rate down and make it all better.