Seemingly I’m (yet again!) way behind the times. My holy trinity of skyscanner, tripadvisor and booking.com is no longer considered sufficient for the inspired travel planner. The choice of technical travel planning tools out there is honestly terrifying!!
I’m not about to start lamenting the ‘good old days’ because travel has certainly become a lot easier, but I am inclined to reminisce a little! Have a look at this lot and see whether they prompt a lot of memories or read like a work of fiction!
Planning a Trip
Before the arrival of budget airlines, flying was a luxury and people generally traveled once per year – usually for 2 weeks. Mini city breaks were unheard of.
You went to a travel agency where you could look through brochures and make your choice, depending solely upon the advice of the agent – there was no flexibility in schedule or price. Alternatively, you rang the airline directly.
Tickets would be posted to your home address and guarded with your life – no ticket, no holiday!
At the Airport
Everyone queued at the desk to get their ticket printed. Your seat number was added in pen.
Baggage was checked at no additional cost.
Airport security was minimal – your mam and dad could walk you all the way to the gate!
You could actually bring a bottle of water through!
On the Plane
Air ‘hostesses’ had to be young, single, slim and pretty.
Flights included food and drink. You always gave out about the quality of the food and gave out even more when they stopped including it in the price!
You could smoke on a plane!
Arriving at your Accommodation
There were the usual concerns – how much extra for a room with an ensuite? / is breakfast included in the price?/ is there air conditioning and how does it work?…
Today? The first question is …. ‘What’s the WiFi password?’
You were terrified of currency exchange charges so before you went inter railing or camping, you got currency in the local bank, divided it up and hid it in your luggage. A typical summer loop might necessitate envelopes with sterling, guilders, marks, lira and francs!! Off course you still got caught out – changing the rest of your lira into drachma into……
ATMs and Credit Cards?
For longer trips or traveling further afield, you had to take your savings to your bank and buy international travelers cheques. These were then presented in a bank of whatever city you found yourself and hopefully – but not always – accepted. (Of course you paid charges on them – firstly to your own bank for issuing the cheques, then to the bank that was cashing them and then a third charge for the currency exchange!). When they were gone, they were gone and you came home. Emergencies? – fingers crossed!
How many of you still have those French, Spanish and German pocket dictionaries lying about
Nowadays? Two words – ‘Google Translate’
For music, you packed cassette tapes and a mini tape recorder – and loads of batteries. Then you graduated to CD’s and a Discman – how cool was that!
Reading – books of course – less of an issue back then when your baggage wasn’t weighed but they still had to be carried about and hopefully swapped with another traveler along the way.
Contacting home, maybe once or twice on a trip to assure them you were ok, could be challenging – you had to amass a heap of local coins, find a phone booth and work out how to use it. (You would not believe how many different ways there were to make an international phonecall!) If you did succeed, there would be just enough time to assure them you were still alive before the coins ran out….
You sent postcards to everyone! So that meant you had to carry your address book with you – and spend a fortune on international stamps! Of course, you were always long home before the cards arrived.
When last did you see someone thumbing a lift!
Sharing bottles of factor 2 on a Greek beach — thought you were so sophisticated!
Photography had to be included in the travel budget. Not alone did film have to be purchased before you left, but upon your return anything up to 12 or 14 rolls had to be sent off for developing. It was so exciting to see the packages arrive a few weeks later. On average I reckon about half the prints immediately went in the bin – too blurred, heads chopped off, pictures of the ground or peoples feet….Ah! – the miracle of instant deletion !!!
If you wanted to be in a photo then someone else had to take it!
And the winner is…..
Finally – Of all the changes that have revolutionised my travel, the top pick is undisputed – Hats off to whoever finally invented WHEELS ON LUGGAGE!
Before I go…..
We’ve come a long way but I have to admit one thing – I LIKE PAPER! I like flicking through brochures. I like printing off all those hotel vouchers before I head off. I like holding my boarding pass at the airport. I like having an actual book to read. I like having a travel book in my bag. I like opening up a map that is bigger than my phone screen. And I really miss those packets of photos dropping through the postbox……