Father's Day is just around the corner, and I can't wait to dedicate that day to my family. For many dads (and moms) like myself, travelling frequently for work can be challenging. While a recent survey suggests travellers like us are at ease staying connected with loved ones while we're away, these trips can cause stress for our significant others at home.
Here are a few ways we can make it easier for our loved ones to feel connected across the miles:
Say goodbye: Before you go, make your farewell count. The survey revealed that 33 per cent of significant others find saying goodbye very stressful, compared to only eight per cent of travellers -- so find a way to close that gap and make it easier. Create a pre-trip tradition like one big family meal or a special outing. Before you leave, make sure things are manageable at home so that your partner isn't left feeling overwhelmed.
Mind the time: Most travelers and significant others (50 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively) communicate with each other anywhere between two and four times a day. Make it easy to talk by reserving time in each other's calendars, and use your world clock to navigate time differences for more spontaneous calls and texts. Planning ahead means you might even be able to tuck your kids in for bed before you set out on a day of meetings.
Face-to-face is best: It turns out that phone calls are still the number one way to stay connected, but almost half (47 per cent) of business travelers opt for video calls, which can create a richer experience. Whenever available, chat face-to-face with your family back home. Use tools like Apple's FaceTime or Microsoft's Skype, which let you video chat for free on a multitude of devices. Plus, when you're travelling internationally, these tools only require WiFi so you can avoid costly roaming fees.
"Bring" the destination to them: Next to phone calls, texting is the second most popular way to stay connected, with 85 per cent of travellers and 78 per cent of significant others sending messages to their loved ones. Though you can't always bring your family on business trips, you can share highlights via text and nurture their love of travel by sending photos and videos. Make it personal by explaining why a certain location makes you think of them: "You'd love this gelato!" or "Can you imagine going to school here?"
Sharing is caring: Give your significant other access to your travel plans through an online travel planner like TripIt, so they can see when you are in meetings, or if you're going to make it home in time for dinner. This will also help prevent worry if your family can't get a hold of you for periods of time.
Today's technology provides more options for travellers to stay in touch with loved ones. Travelling can be easier on the whole family if you make time to let them know that you're thinking of them while you're away. A souvenir for the kids never hurts either!
The ShaveTech USB Razor looks as sleek as it sounds. This razor is about the same size and width of a smart phone, making it easy to fit into the suit pocket of dads who are always on the run. The razor comes with a built-in USB charging adapter, carrying pouch and cleaning brush. Dad is going to look pretty smooth — except for when he accidentally talks into his razor and tries to shave with his phone. <a href="http://www.overstock.com/Health-Beauty/ShaveTech-USB-Razor/7668636/product.html" target="_blank">ShaveTech USB Razor,</a> $59, available at www.overstock.com
It’s only fitting that your Father’s Day gift would featuring one of the most loving dads in movie history. The Darth Vader USB Hub will send your dad over the moon if he’s a "Star Wars" fan. The hub features four USB ports and makes the Vader breathing noise every time you plug in a device to charge. There’s also the option to turn off the Vader-heavy breathing sound — just in case Dad gets too giddy. <a href="http://www.overstock.com/ar/Electronics/Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-USB-Hub/7326036/product.html" target="_blank">Darth Vader USB Hub,</a> $44, available at www.o.co
The Daddle is a cute gift for dads who like to horse around with their little ones. It's a saddle that Dad can strap on to transform himself into one-man-pony ride. Knee-pads and an appointment with a chiropractor are not included. <a href="http://www.horse.com/item/the-daddle-by-cashel/SLT673845/" target="_blank">The Daddle By Cashel,</a> $37, available at www.horse.com
The Swedish FireKnife is as cool as it sounds and does exactly as its name suggests. The blade features fire steel tucked in the handle, which allows dads to build a fire by striking the fire steel with the back of the blade to create hot sparks. This will save Dad tons of time from having to furiously rub two sticks together the next time you go camping. <a href="http://www.mec.ca/product/5028-388/light-my-fire-swedish-fireknife/?f=10&q=fire" target="_blank">Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife,</a> $33, available at Mountain Equipment Co-op
If your dad is a man’s man then he’ll enjoy a classic man’s drink: 12-year-old single malt Scotch whisky. With its smoky and nutty finish, this classy drink is bound to put even more hair on your dad’s chest. <a href="http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?itemNumber=21097" target="_blank">The Glenlivet 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch,</a> $49, available at the LCBO
Get Dad excited to do chores around the house with a toolbox that looks like it's from the future. The Tough System DEWALT Cantilever Top Box has three waterproof storage units, a metal carrier, and probably a flux capacitor. And who knows, Dad might use his tools to finally fix the leaky faucet sink. <a href="http://www.homedepot.ca/product/top-cantilever-tool-box/811393" target="_blank">Tough System DEWALT Cantilever Top Box,</a> $50, available at Home Depot
Help your dad slide comfortably into summer with Crocs Yukon Slide. The shoe is a bit sportier than a flip-flop but offers the same level of relaxation (and ventilation). The footbed features material that Crocs claims to offer a massage-like feel, thus saving Dad hundreds of dollars from having to visit the masseuse every month. <a href="http://www.crocs.ca/crocs-yukon-slide/11171,en_CA,pd.html?cid=24R&cgid=yukon-collection" target="_blank">Yukon Slide Crocs,</a> $50, available at Crocs
Dad is always saying how “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Now you can get him a gift that proves that point, literally. Your dad can now go into office meetings with the confidence of knowing that his Uzi Tactical Defender Pen is made of aircraft aluminum, can write upside down, doubles as a glass breaker, and features a hidden handcuff key (yeah, we know). If your dad ever has to use all of these features one day and lives to write about it, using this pen, then it will likely be the greatest Father’s Day story ever told. <a href="http://www.camouflage.ca/ultra_force_uzi_tactical_defender_pen_gun_metal_p/uf477.htm" target="_blank">Uzi Tactical Defender Pen,</a> $29, available at www.camouflage.ca
If your dad is a hamburger lover then he’s going to love the opportunity to pack meat on Father’s Day. The Stuff-A-Burger Press lets Dad create burgers filled with cheeses, tomatoes, sausage and any kind of extras he can imagine. <a href="http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-16443/Sur-La-Table-Stuff-A-Burger-Press" target="_blank">Sur La Table Stuff-A-Burger Press,</a> $12, available at www.surlatable.com
This is a thoughtful gift for dads who have trouble screwing in the dark. The Craftsman 6-in-1 Screwdriver comes with two steel bits, each containing a slotted, a Phillips steel tip (four tips in all), and a LED that acts as a flashlight. <a href="http://www.sears.com/craftsman-6-in-1-led-screwdriver/p-00935722000P" target="_blank">Craftsman 6-in-1 LED Screwdriver,</a> $12, available at Sears
Get the old man something old school and retro, like the Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera Kit. This is the perfect camera for dads who are tired of the instant gratification of digital photos. The camera kit just requires you to buy your own 35 mm film and takes about an hour to assemble (three hours if you have one of those dads who refuse to read the instructions). <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ecdd/#tabs" target="_blank">Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera Kit,</a> $13, available at www.thinkgeek.com
The Propel Sky Writer Helicopter allows Dad to program up to 15 phrases and send them through the air using a wireless controller. Your dad will enjoy sending loving messages hovering over you such as: “Clean your room.” “Get me a beer” and “Why’d you buy me a toy for Father’s Day?” <a href="http://www.thesource.ca/estore/product.aspx?language=en-CA&catalog=Online&category=RCAircraft&product=8007301" target="_blank"> The Propel Sky Writer Helicopter,</a> $30, The Source
If your dad is the fashionable sort, then he’ll love the opportunity to dress up his iPhone 5 with a fancy iPhone cover that turns his smartphone into a wallet. The Mari Forssell iPhone Wallet is made with red wool and features a brown leather pocket securely placed under the flap, with an antique brass closure clasp. However, if he ever gets his wallet stolen — he’ll be losing his wallet and his cellphone in one swoop. <a href="http://www.careerbags.com/sale/mari-forssell-iphone-5-wallet-red-wool.html" target="_blank">Mari Forssell iPhone Wallet,</a> $28, Career Bags
Take micro breweries to a whole other level by letting your dad brew his own beer. This Beer Making Kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop comes with step-by-step instructions, special beer brewing equipment, and ingredients. Each mix lets Dad produce one gallon of beer. Keep in mind that the brewing process takes 30 days — so he better be a patient moonshiner. <a href="http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/gifts/beer-making-kit-everyday-ipa/855428003009-item.html" target="_blank">Indigo Beer Making Kit,</a> $50, available at Indigo
If your dad is a big time barbecuer, he’d appreciate having an almost eternal flame that is also environmentally-friendly. The BIC FlameDisk is a portable, outdoor grilling innovation that is faster, cleaner and more convenient than charcoal. The FlameDisk uses ethanol as the main fuel ingredient — which comes from corn, a renewable resource. Since this gift is only $7, you better beef up your BBQ-themed present with some steaks from M&M Meat Shops. <a href="http://www.mmmeatshops.com" target="_blank">Gift cards can be purchased online.</a> <a href="http://grillwithbic.ca/flame-disk" target="_blank">BIC FlameDisk,</a> $7, available at various retailers.
NEXT: Boozy Gift Ideas For Dad
Forget the tie. Think bespoke booze for Father's Day, specifically a beverage tailor-made to suit the hobbies father knows best. Of course, to do that you first have to decide who, exactly, is your daddy. The type of guy who likes to putt? Or someone who's happiest when merely puttering? Is he sporty? Handy? Or maybe he's that most challenging of giftees, the man who has everything. Whatever the type, we've got a few suggestions to help you pick out that perfect bottle. <em>With files from The Canadian Press</em>
Lots of choices in this category, including a number of wines by NFL greats such as legendary coach <a href="http://www.vermeilwines.com" target="_blank">Dick Vermeil</a> of the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs as well as former Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers player <a href="http://www.twentyfourwines.com" target="_blank">Charles Woodson</a>. Is dad more of a brew guy? <a href="http://www.radebergergruppe.com" target="_blank">Radeberger Pilsner</a> is a classic German Pilsner made with barley malt, hops and water from the brewery's own well.
Port isn't what comes to first mind when selecting a summer wine, but a chilled tawny port can be delicious as a barbecue aperitif or paired with dishes such as grilled scallops. Two to try are <a href="http://www.taylor.pt/en/" target="_blank">Taylor-Fladgate</a> 20-year-old Tawny and <a href="http://www.grahams-port.com/section.php?id=1314" target="_blank">Graham's 20-year-old Tawny</a>. Does your dad's typical backyard bash involve inviting the whole block over? Consider <a href="http://www.ravenswoodwinery.com/wines/release/2011_vintners_blend_old_vine_zinfandel" target="_blank">Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel</a>, a hearty, meat-friendly wine that's priced reasonably enough at $10 to $12 a bottle to allow you to grab a case.
For 007 fans, a No. 1 choice might be <a href="http://www.themacallan.com" target="_blank">The Macallan</a>, a single-malt scotch featured as James Bond's favourite drink in the recent box-office hit "Skyfall." Interesting fact, Macallan did not pay for product placement of the scotch, which Bond and M are shown drinking and which is also used in an edgy scene featuring an unfortunate game of William Tell-style marksmanship. Another option is the <a href="http://www.franciscoppolawinery.com" target="_blank">Director's Cut wines</a> from director-turned-vintner Francis Ford Coppola of "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now" fame. The limited production wines sourced from Sonoma County come with a wraparound label modeled after a Zoetrope strip, one of the earliest moving picture devices.
Is your dad the kind of guy who disappears into his workshop for hours in search of a better mousetrap? He might like <a href="http://www.drinklucid.com/" target="_blank">Lucid Absinthe</a>. Popular in the 19th and early-20th centuries, especially in France, the anise-flavoured spirit was banned due to concerns that it contained dangerously high levels of the chemical compound thujone, found in the key absinthe botanical ingredient Artemisia Absinthium. But environmental chemist T.A. Breaux wasn't convinced the experts were right. A Louisiana native, Breaux had some pre-ban bottles of absinthe. He ran it through the mass spectrometer and, hey presto, found only trace amounts of thujone. In 2007, Lucid, produced in France, was approved for importation to the United States.
Scotland is the home of golf and of Scotch whisky (no telling if those two are related), and a good gift for the dad who golfs might be <a href="http://www.johnniewalker.com/global/AgeGateway.aspx" target="_blank">Johnnie Walker</a> Double Black, a smoky, complex whisky. Or, try a single-malt whisky like Oban 14-year-old, which balances sweet and smoky with a slightly briny finish. If dad likes wine, a number of golfers have gotten into the wine business, including South African <a href="http://www.ernieelswines.com/" target="_blank">Ernie Els</a>, who produces wines from his country's Stellenbosch region and <a href="http://www.arnoldpalmerwines.com/" target="_blank">Arnold Palmer</a> who collaborates with Luna Vineyards in the Napa Valley.
<a href="http://www.turn4.com" target="_blank">Turn4 wines</a> are named after the most exciting turn in the track. Try the California cabernet sauvignon, fruity and elegant. The <a href="http://andrettiwinery.com" target="_blank">Andretti Winery</a> in the Napa Valley founded by race car legend Mario Andretti is another option.
There are a lot of people to look up to in the world of wine, but maybe none so literally as 7-foot-6 former NBA star Yao Ming. <a href="http://www.yaofamilywines.com" target="_blank">Ming's Yao Family Wines</a> made its debut in 2011 with two choices, Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Yao Ming 2009 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. They're both priced in the special occasions category, the first coming with a suggested retail price of $150 and the second tagged at $625 and are available at a few fine wine shops by signing up on the winery mailing list. In the spirits category, cognac offers elegance and finesse, just the ticket for a dad with sophisticated tastes. <a href="http://www.camus.fr/en/" target="_blank">Camus cognac</a> fits the Father's Day theme well since it's now being run by fifth-generation member Cyril Camus. The line starts with the reasonably priced VSOP Elegance at $24; try it over ice for a refreshing change. But if you recently won the lottery or are celebrating a VERY special Father's Day, how about the Cuvee 5.150 which marks the family-owned company's 50th anniversary and rings up at $13,500 a bottle. Or maybe you need a bit more time to save up for that one.
<em>Mantry: curated products to update a man's pantry, $75. Available at <a href="http://mantry.com/" target="_hplink">Mantry.com</a></em>
<em>PC Muskoka chair with Ottoman, $99. Available at <a href="www.realcanadiansuperstore.ca" target="_hplink">Real Canadian Superstore</a></em>
<em>Billykirk Schoolboy Satchel, $424. Available at <a href="www.j.crew.com" target="_hplink">J.Crew</a> </em>
<em>Le Clos Jordanne Talon Ridge Pinot Noir, $40. Available at the LCBO and <a href="www.greatestestatesniagara.com" target="_hplink">online</a> Etro tie, $150. Available at <a href="http://www.harryrosen.com/" target="_hplink">Harry Rosen</a> </em>
<em>Stainless steel grill tools with case, $144.95. Available at <a href="www.williams-sonoma.com" target="_hplink">Williams-Sonoma</a> </em>
<em>Aviators, $14. Available at <a href="http://www.joefresh.com/en/product/aviators-4" target="_hplink">Joe Fresh</a></em>
<em>Sperry's authentic 2 eye, $109.99. Available at <a href="http://www.sportinglife.ca/sportinglife/" target="_hplink">Sporting Life </a></em>
<em>Kindle Touch Wi-Fi, $139. Available at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Touch-e-Reader-Touch-Screen-Wi-Fi-Special-Offers/dp/B005890G8Y/ref=r_kdia_h_i_gl" target="_hplink">Amazon</a></em>
<em>Polo shirts by Britches, $29.99 - $34.99. Available at <a href="http://www.tiptop.ca/" target="_hplink">Tip Top Tailors</a></em>
<em>Engine-turned money clip in sterling silver (engraving not included), $185. Available at <a href="http://www.tiffany.ca/" target="_hplink">Tiffany & Co</a></em>
<em>Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS4, $399.99. Go to <a href="https://panasonic.ca/" target="_hplink">panasonic.ca</a> to find a retailer near you. </em>
<em>Dive Master 500 gunmetal, $750. Available at <a href="www.swissarmy.com" target="_hplink">Victorinox Swiss Army </a></em>
<em>Denver Hayes vintage double-layered shirts, $39.99. Available at <a href="http://www2.marks.com/" target="_hplink">Mark's </a> </em>
<em>Three cup classic series glass coffeemaker, $34.90. Available at <a href="http://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/products/classic.html" target="_hplink">chemexcoffeemaker.com</a></em>
The TaskOne iPhone case is ideal for dads that like to tool around and fix things on the go. The case is made of aircraft polycarbonate and the Swiss Army-like tools (screwdriver, bottle opener, mini-saw, wrench, etc.) are stainless steel. Available for iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 in three colours. <a href="http://thetasklab.com/products/" target="_blank">The TaskOne iPhone case</a>, $90, available at Task Lab
It's easier for Dad to strap this on instead of lugging around a clunky camera bag. The compact cases come in various artistic designs, five different sizes, are padded, and are also waterproof. <a href="http://www.cameracoats.com/" target="_blank">Camera Coats</a>, $30-$55, available at Camera Coats
This is for the dad that spends as much time in the kitchen as he does in the tool shed. The Artisan Series model has a 325-watt motor, 5 quart (4.73 L) stainless steel bowl, and comes in 26 colours. If your dad is into sausage parties, you can even include a Sausage Stuffer ($20) attachment. <a href="http://www.kitchenaid.ca/flash.cmd?/#/product/KSM150PSER/" target="_blank">Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer</a>, $499, available at suppliers of Kitchen Aid
It's tough for Dad to grill the best burgers while also entertaining his guests. The Talking BBQ Thermometer will literally tell him when his meat is ready by wirelessly transmitting to a display unit that can be moved up to 100 feet away. <a href="http://www.sharperimage.com/si/view/product/Talking-BBQ-Thermometer/200640" target="_blank">The Talking BBQ Thermometer</a>, $59.99, available at Sharper Image
Woodchuck Hard Cider features a clean, apple finish that is also naturally gluten-free. So dad has no excuse for having a beer belly. <a href="http://www.woodchuck.com/cider/" target="_blank">Woodchuck Hard Cider</a>, $13.95/six pack, available at <a href="http://www.woodchuck.com" target="_blank">Woodchuck</a>
If you can't get your dad tickets to an NHL playoff game then you can at least make his living room sound like a hockey arena with the Sonos Playbar. The wireless HIFI system produces full Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, so dad can hear every slap shot, every crunching body check, and eventually, every sobbing Leafs fan. <a href="http://www.sonos.com/playbar" target="_blank">Sonos Playbar</a>, $749, available at Sonos
Your dad breaks his back trying to give you a good life. So the least you could do is help him shave it. The Mangroomer Professional Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver features a handle you can extend so Dad can shave in hard to reach places. Accessories included are a new protection cap, a cleaning brush, an A/C recharging adaptor, and an instruction booklet (just in case he asks you for a hand). <a href="http://www.mangroomer.com/products/professional-do-it-yourself-electric-back-hair-shaver" target="_blank">Mangroomer Professional Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver</a>, $49.95, available at Mangroomer
Even dads need to wax every now and then. The Cordless Car Waxer's rechargeable 18-V cordless orbital waxer and built-in liquid wax reservoir makes sure he doesn't get tied up while buffing and polishing his pride and joy. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Diversified-Dynamics-dba-HomeRight-200556-01/dp/B0077AL050" target="_blank">Cordless Car Waxer</a>, $79.99, available at Amazon
There are many great things about being a dad – carrying a diaper bag isn’t one of them. Fortunately, there’s the Diaper Vest - a cool looking jacket that secretly stashes baby essentials. Older dads can even store Depends Adult Diapers for themselves. <a href="http://www.dadgear.com/gear/All/4/3/25/All" target="_blank">Diaper Vest</a>, $79, available at DadGear
Give your dad some Spanx to help him cheat on his diet a bit. The Spanx for Men line of undershirts (Manx) is designed to aesthetically improve dad’s physique with cooling features and compression zones that transform the torso and chest. The Manx shirts even come in “Medium” and “Hard Core” compression power levels. <a href="http://spanx.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=3955558" target="_blank">Manx</a>, $79 for a Zoned Performance Crew Neck Undershirt, available at Spanx <em>Price: for a Zoned Performance Crew Neck Undershirt</em>
Let your dad relive his dreams of being a famous musician with the Lester Classic Unfinished Electric Guitar Builder Kit. Unfortunately for dad, groupies are not included with the kit. <a href="http://www.overstock.com/search?keywords=lester+guitar+kit&SearchType=Header" target="_blank">Lester Classic Unfinished Electric Guitar Builder Kit</a>., approximately $210-$260, available at Overstock.com