These dads always find a way to make travelling fun for their little ones

Travel Babbo was started by Stoen (far right) to inspire parents to take their kids travelling. – ERIC STOEN/Instagram

Often, we hear of dads who travel for work. They kiss their kids goodbye, they jet off, they return; rinse and repeat. But what about dads who travel – with their kids in tow?

By that we mean either fathers who’ve made travelling their job and could bring their family along for the ride, or fathers who carve out time to travel often with their little ones.

In celebration of Fathers Day, let’s take a look at dads who have made it their mission to make travel fun for the whole family.

But before that, a brief history lesson: 1910 was the year that Fathers Day was held for the first time in the United States, where the “holiday” originated. It was held on June 19, specifically, as proposed by Sonora Smart Dodd who originally wanted it to fall on her father’s birthday (June 5) but postponed it to allow more time for preparation.

Dodd, who was inspired by a sermon about Anna Jarvis’ effort of establishing Mothers Day, suggested a Fathers Day celebration to her pastor because she wanted to honour her own dad, a single parent who raised her and her siblings.

It took decades, but finally Fathers Day was officially recognised in 1972 as a national holiday by then US president Richard M. Nixon. After that, Fathers Day was celebrated in other countries too.

In Malaysia, we also dedicate the third Sunday of June to celebrate our fathers. This year it falls on June 16.

Here are several dads who prove that travelling with kids is awesome (and doable).

Eric Stoen (@travelbabbo)

A decade ago, Eric Stoen decided to quit his job in healthcare to focus on his blog, Travel Babbo. A good decision, judging by the various accolades the California-based dad has amassed since, including being named the World’s #4 Travel Influencer in 2017 by CNN/Forbes.

Regarding the blog’s name, which is also the handle of his social media channels, it was an award he won prior to becoming a full-time “travel dad” that inspired it.

Having won the Photo Of The Year contest by Conde Nast Traveller in 2012, Stoen and his family were awarded with a two-week trip to Florence, Italy where his kids picked up the word “babbo”, meaning “dad”, and began addressing him by it.

(Funnily enough, in certain parts of Italy the word also means “idiot”.)

Hoping to encourage other parents to take their kids travelling, Stoen has been actively documenting his family’s adventures for the past 10 years. His travel list spans 30 years, however, as he started travelling even before he was a family man.

Of the 100-plus countries he’s been to across all seven continents, over half were with his children – who are now aged 18, 16, and 14. Their destinations included places like Fiji, Laos, and the Antarctica.

Bayes (far right) travels the world with his wife and four kids. – SHAUN BAYES/InstagramBayes (far right) travels the world with his wife and four kids. – SHAUN BAYES/Instagram

Shaun Bayes (@travelmaddad)

Even when his firstborn, Esme, was only a baby, Shaun Bayes was already taking her backpacking throughout Asia. He and his wife, Karen, took her on the trip during Karen’s maternity leave that lasted a year.

Another year-long maternity leave following the birth of their second child, Quinn, allowed the then-family of four to embark on a road trip from Canada to Argentina.

Bayes’ job as a London-based builder who flipped houses at the time, and his wife’s job in healthcare, gave the couple the flexibility to do these long travels. Having moved from London to Abu Dhabi for Karen’s job during the pandemic – at which time they also welcomed twins Fionn and Fern – and then later relocating to Sri Lanka, the Bayes family continue to travel every chance they get.

From Switzerland and New Zealand (his homeland) to India and South Korea, Bayes loves sharing the many fun adventures that he has with his little family via photos and reels on his Instagram, Travel Mad Dad.

A blog and a YouTube channel, both named Travel Mad Mum, serve as the counterpart to it, where he and his wife also share tips on making travelling with kids easier.

Ng and his son visited Mount Fuji in Japan recently. – JASON NG/InstagramNg and his son visited Mount Fuji in Japan recently. – JASON NG/Instagram

Jason Ng (@daddy.xj)

As indicated on his social media pages, Singapore-based Jason Ng goes on worldwide adventures with his six-year-old son Zash. Young Zash has stepped foot in countries like Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan during their travels in the past two years.

Prior to kicking off their adventures abroad, Ng and his wife would often take little Zash on weekly outings in Singapore – to the museums, parks and other fun places.

Ng took Zash on his first proper vacation in 2022, when the little family of three joined a four-day cruise to Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

They went to Melbourne in Australia a few months later to experience the vibrant culture of the city, where Ng brought Zash to various interesting landmarks, including San Remo, Churchill Island and Phillip Island.

The family visited Perth (Australia) the following year, but before that, they made a short trip to Bangkok, Thailand, where they went on a river cruise and checked out the floating market.

Recently, Ng took Zash to Japan, where they went to Mount Fuji and the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The father-and-son duo also conquered all the rides at the theme park, Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka.

Chen took his family, including little Lyra, on a road trip in New Zealand. — TIAN CHAD CHEN/InstagramChen took his family, including little Lyra, on a road trip in New Zealand. — TIAN CHAD CHEN/Instagram

Tian Chad Chen (@tianchad)

In an effort to expose Malaysia’s diverse culture to his three-year-old daughter Lyra, Tian Chad Chen has been taking her on adventures across the nation.

The content creator and photographer has taken his daughter to places like Melaka, and Cameron Highlands, Cherating and Genting Highlands in Pahang. In fact, their first trip together two years ago was to Genting Highlands.

For Cameron Highlands, he described their trip as a “sweet” experience. Wanting to discover and share the local gems with little Lyra, Chen had taken her to visit the Strawberry Farm and Floral Park there.

The adventurous father hopes to go on at least one international trip with his little girl every year. Last year, Chen and his family travelled to New Zealand, where they embarked on a road trip from the North Island to the South Island.

During the 10-hour flight from KL to Auckland, Chen was able to keep Lyra’s boredom at bay with some colouring books and lots of snacks. He shares useful tips such as these on his Instagram, too.

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