10 Holiday Memories From The 80s and 90s That Today's Kids Will Never Understand

By Simon Greenfield Paper map

As a father of three, my girls cannot believe how I managed to survive going on holiday in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Think about it, with no smart phones, tablets or wifi, Facebook, Twitter or TripAdvisor  – how did we manage to survive?! Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but booking holidays was a whole different ball game in those days.


There was  no “googling” your next holiday. Imagine saying “I’ll google it” to someone in the 80s. They’d look at you in utter confusion! Instead we had the pixellated wonder of Teletext and the frantic scribbling of details before the page changed...

2. Using the internet and waiting for AOL dial-up 

If you had access to the internet in the 90s (get you!) then you most likely had dial-up connection.  Remember the lovely sound of the whirring and pinging? Then just as your page loaded (after a 5 minute wait) you would get disconnected when mum picked up the phone. Infuriating!

3. Using Travel Agents

If you wanted to book a holiday you’d most likely either call to book a flight or visit a travel agent. No TripAdvisor or review sites to research in those days, instead you relied on the knowledge and expertise of a travel agent. That’s right: you had to speak to an actual person.

4. Trying to figure out directions 

Getting to your holiday destination with a physical fold-out road map. Ever tried stopping to ask for directions with a language barrier? Not easy! Satnavs weren’t readily available back then, but good-old-fashioned Boy Scout skills and a degree in geography proved helpful.

5. Taking a walkman on holiday

Where would we be without our iTunes playlists? But back in the good ol’ days walkmans were all the rage.  Before your holiday you would excitedly compile all your favourite tracks onto one cassette  (often taped off the radio top 50 rundown on a Sunday afternoon.

6. Using disposable cameras

Ah the joys of disposable cameras! Remember the crunching sound as you wound it to the next picture?  Then the suspense as you’d wait for the photos to be developed? Only to find you’d forgot the flash or cut someone’s head out of shot!

7. Using a phone box to ring home 

When abroad and with no mobile phones, no-one from home could contact you, unless you told them which hotel you were at. Even if you did find a phone box you usually had to stand in along queue with the rest of the holiday makers calling home

8.  A good book

These days everyone seems to be reading from an eReader so they can have 100s of books at their fingertips. In the good old days you took one book with you for pool-side reading which by the end of the week would end up full of sand, with wrinkled edges from the water and missing pages where the glue had melted!

9. Airplane smoking sections 

Until the late 80’s there was actually a smoking section on the plane. This of course, was right next to the non-smoking section. And wouldn’t you know it, that pesky smoke would never stay on its half of the plane!

10. Sending a postcard

Remember when you arrived on home ground before the postcard did? Nowadays you can text, call, tweet, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat every moment of your holiday in an instant. Hot dog legs, anyone?

Categories:Children, History