Viewpoint: why do single dads face casual sexism when they travel?

* This article first appeared in Telegraph Travel in time for Father’s Day. More on this theme from my book [pictured above], Inside Fatherhood.

We went to stay with Spanish friends during the last school holiday.

It worked well for a family trip with two other kids for my two girls to play with, the freedom of an unstructured routine and an insider sense of the local culture.

But, most of all, as a man who has travelled alone with his kids since they were young, there was another man there who both understood the challenges of modern fatherhood and shared my passion for showing his children the world.

I often struggle to find this kind of camaraderie on a family holiday.

The sense of isolation I have felt at times as a divorced father, who shares custody jointly with the girls’ mother, has made for some uncomfortable travel experiences.

Suspicious minds

It’s not the just practical aspects, such as who keeps an eye on the children while I go to the bathroom.

More frustratingly, a man alone with two little girls can be viewed with curiosity, sometimes suspicion.

Immigration officials at a major European airport once stopped us, asking to see birth certificates to prove the girls were actually my children.

More commonly, I’m subjected to other holidaymakers quizzing me about why I’m alone.

“Can I ask,” one relative stranger once enquired as I was nonchalantly loading my plate at the evening buffet, “is your wife dead?”

Last resort

But I really spat the dummy when a restaurant manager rather publicly warned me not to take my youngest daughter, and then aged just five, into the gents.

“If she needs to go, then I’ll just have to take her to the ladies,” she bristled.

I politely suggested through gritted teeth that she should go and get a copy of her DBS certificate first.

So, as thoughts turn to celebrating our devoted dads for Father’s Day this weekend, isn’t time we gave single dads a break?

Read the full article here.

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