What’s the Perfect Father’s Day Gift for a Travel-Loving Dad?

The Cloisters, Met Museum, NYCA view of the garden at The Cloisters museum in NYC.
ehw258/Dreamstime

No, my family didn't fly me to Europe for Father's Day—they took me to The Cloisters, a medieval museum less than a half-hour's drive from our home.

Forget brunch. Forget stuff. This Father’s Day, share an experience your dad will always remember.

What’s the best Father’s Day gift for a dad who loves to travel? Well, my credentials for weighing in on this question are at least baseline: I happen to be a father and a travel editor.

First of all, “travel” for Father’s Day doesn’t have to mean covering a great distance. I’m here to tell you from personal experience (which in this case happens to be supported by clinical research) that neither a fancy meal nor carefully (or not) chosen “stuff” can compare to taking an easy day trip or one-tank escape to a place your dad loves—or a place he’s never been before.

Experiences Are Better Than Stuff

You’ve read the studies (or, at the very least, you’ve read the summaries of studies in listicle form on social media): Meaningful experiences make people happier than obtaining possessions. A major study at Cornell University was even more specific: “Doing makes you happier than owning.”

My Most Memorable Father’s Day

In support of “doing” rather than “owning,” please take a look at the photo above, which illustrates my most memorable Father’s Day. The picture of a medieval garden might suggest that my family sprung for a flight to Spain. Nope. All we had to do was take the half-hour drive from our home in the Hudson Valley to one of my favorite museums, the Cloisters, in upper Manhattan.

Full disclosure: My wife and two daughters don’t exactly love the Cloisters. Medieval art is an acquired taste, and to date only I, among the four of us, has acquired it. But you don’t have to love ogling paintings and sculptures of angels, martyrs, and the Holy Family to enjoy the Cloisters. We had a lovely few hours strolling the gardens in full mid-June bloom, grabbing a bite to eat at the cafe, and taking in the epic views of the Hudson River from the museum's terraces.

Talk to Us: What’s Your Dad’s Favorite Day Trip?

Have you got a special day trip in mind for your dad this Father’s Day? Post a comment below. If you’ve got a photo, even better: Post is to Instagram and tag it #mybudgettravel.

More From Budget Travel

Related Content