Remember when travel meant loading up your backpack, guidebook under arm and heading off on an adventure with a postcard being your only means of communication back home? It allowed us to live completely in the moment, but in a lot of those moments we were lost, tired and unable to find a decent hotel. Here are nine things we don’t miss about the travelling in the olden days.
1. Guide books
Guide books used to be the only way to find out where hotels were, how to get around and what to see and do. There was no internet to research with, and definitely no Google Maps to help you navigate. They were often big, bulky books you had to lug around in your day pack. If you did travel with guidebooks, chances are you still have a few sitting around, scribbled on and torn, serving as reminders of your trips.
2. Film photography
With film photography, there was no way to tell if you captured a photo of an amazing landmark or moment, or if someone in the photo blinked. You had to wait until you got home and got the film developed to discover it, or, worse still, if the whole roll of film didn’t work at all.
3. Smoking on the plane
Nowadays it’s hard to believe smoking on the plane was allowed, but there are ever-present reminders of it when travelling on the plane – there’s a sign above your seat and it’s still mentioned in safety demonstrations.
Internet cafes are still around, but it’s much easier to use your own device (if you have one) where there’s free Wi-Fi, such as of an evening in your hotel room. Travellers instead would have to pay a fee to use a computer, usually charged in 30-minute intervals.
5. Snail mail
While it’s still nice receiving a postcard from someone on their travels, it’s good to be able to let friends and family know you’ve arrived in your destination safe and sound. You can also share pictures and updates with them immediately, as opposed to telling everyone your stories in retrospect some weeks later. You can even video chat on Skype to stay in touch if you’re missing the grandkids.
6. International calling
If you made friends overseas, it was hard to keep in touch. The only way you could maintain your friendship was through letters or very expensive international calls. Social media makes it easy – and free – to keep in touch with people all over the world.
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7. Travellers cheques
There are so many options available now for conveniently taking your money overseas. Currency exchange places are everywhere now, travel cards are very useful and even credit cards are an easy way to access money when you need it overseas. We don’t miss going overseas and having to hunt down a compatible bank that would accept traveller’s cheques.
You may still take a diary when travelling overseas, but nowadays travel blogs are an increasingly popular way for travellers to write about what they are doing. It has the added benefit of being instantly shareable with family and friends, and you can include multimedia such as photos and videos.
9. Inconvenient entertainment
Remember when you had to lug books around with you on holiday to keep you entertained on the plane or long train trips? Or Walkman’s to listen to music? With e-books, you can load thousands of books onto the one device, or music on your phone – which can double as a camera. You can even watch movies on your tablet or laptop. Unimaginable 30 years ago!
Do you miss any of these things from the olden days of travel? Let us know in the comments below.