The year was 1997. A small wizard named Harry Potter cast a spell over our hearts. Rose let Jack go in Titanic (despite promising not to. There was plenty of room on that door, don’t get me started). And travellers the world over dreamed of a future where they could share photos of their own face with millions and millions of strangers. It was a simpler time.
Travel in the 90s, for anyone that didn’t live through it, must seem totally bizarre by today’s Wi-Fi, touchscreen and 4G standards. Without the sum total of human knowledge in your pocket, simple things like navigating, changing currencies and calling family members to let them know you hadn’t been kidnapped were monumental challenges.
So for all you B-Boys and Fly Girls out there, here are 19 things about 90s travel only you will truly understand. Let’s get jiggy with it.
1. Actually knowing how to read a map (because they were made out of paper. Paper was this thin material derived from wood pulp on which you could record written information).
2. Paying for everything with traveller’s cheques and cash (because Paypass wasn’t a thing).
3. Carrying all your music on a Discman and giant CD wallet (and looking fierce at the same time).
4. Taking your photos on film, then having them wiped by nuclear-powered airport scanners.
5. Calling home on a phone card, punching in 57 carefully sequenced numbers, only to be told, “Your call cannot be connected. That will be $17. Thank you”…in Russian.
6. Sitting for 20 minutes in a hostel lobby waiting for the dial up to connect. Then typing extra softly in case you spooked the modem and made it drop out.
7. Taking photos of things other than your face, legs and breakfast (because film was a precious resource).
8. Touching base with your family once every month via six lines on the back of a postcard.
9. Struggling to come up with six lines on the back of a postcard.
10. Having to plan your trip on recommendations, hunches, the lunar calendar and Lonely Planet guides, because TripAdvisor hadn’t been invented yet.
11. Lugging around 10kg of books in your pack (Kindle what?).
12. Having only a rudimentary grasp of basic geography.
13. Roadtripping on the cheapest petrol in existence
14. Pulling a suitcase without wheels through customs (and probably pulling every muscle in your back at the same time).
15. Coming up with creative ways to hide the wads of cash you were forced to carry.
16. Physically queuing to book tickets, for hours and hours and hours and hours.
17. Smoking everywhere. No seriously, everywhere.
18. Packing a travel alarm clock (they were like phones that couldn’t call, message, access the internet or take photos).
19. Asking locals and other travellers – y’know, real life human people – for advice (Siri who?)
We’re gonna travel like it’s 1999. Want to come? Check out our range of small group adventures.
All gifs c/o giphy.com
Image c/o Ian Iott, Flickr