We went away on holiday this week.
And as we were busy trying to fit a week’s worth of ‘stuff’ into the car, I suddenly realised how my Dad used to feel.
See, every summer we would drive to the south of France for our holiday.
And every summer my sister and I would drive our Dad mad by appearing at the car with skate boards, and roller skates, just as he had managed to pack everything perfectly in the boot.
It was a bit of a strange moment, realising that I’m now on the other side of these kind of things!
And it got me thinking about all the other things about long car journeys that are different now from when I was a child.
Planning the journey
Before we set off to Bluestone Steve had a quick look on Google maps to get an idea of where we were going. Then he programmed the postcode into the Satnav and off we went. So simple. Which is lucky for me because I’m really not that good at map reading. I’m like Joey in Friends, I have to ‘get in the map’ to be able to make sense of it!
Back when I was a child though, there was no satnav. It was giant, fold-up maps all the way!
Not that that was an issue for me as a child, at that point my biggest concern was planning what I was going to take with me in the car. Thinking about what I could fit in the little pockets of the organisers my parents bought, that hung over the back of their seats. Now though, you can get bags like these amazing ones from Yuu that you can fit so much in, and keep it all lovely and organised while you’re travelling!
Anyone over the age of 30 most likely has memories of squeezing more than 3 people in the back seat of someone’s car.
I’m sure we had trips in the car with at least one person smooshed in the footwell of one of the seats. And I know other people would sometimes sit in the boot if there wasn’t enough room for everyone.
It only became compulsary for children to wear seatbelts in the back seats in 1989, which just seemed a bit mad when I read it!
I’m sure we did wear our seatbelts on longer car journeys though, even when I was really little. What we didn’t have though were booster seats. It was only in 2006 that children under the age of 12 had to use one.
Another thing we almost take for granted now, in terms of keeping us safe and having a straightforward journey, is having traffic alerts on our satnav. Or being able to check travel conditions on our phones while on the move.
Back when I was little, I remember having the radio in the car tuned to local stations to keep up to date with any traffic problems that way.
I remember spending hours when I was younger, creating mixed tapes to listen to on my walkman on long journeys. Standing by my stereo when the charts were on, waiting for my favourite songs to come on so I could record them.
And long car journeys meant piles and piles of these tapes crammed into the various pockets of the car organisers. I still remember how exciting it was when I got a walkman that had a little switch on it that let you play the other side of the tape without having to take it out and turn it round!
Now though all you need is your phone, or an ipod, with song after song after song on it, ready to keep you entertained for hours on end.
And if just listening to music gets old, then you can play a huge variety of games on your phone or ipad.
Or watch films.
Or read books.
All on one device.
I think it would blow my 10 year old self’s mind to hear that!
It’s funny though, while travelling is definitely easier now than it was when I was a child, I do feel quite nostalgic when I think about those journeys we used to make.
I would’ve loved to have had the things my children have now, to keep me entertained on the long drive to Antibes. But, I do think back quite fondly to those hours spent sharing a walkman with my sister. Looking out of the window for familiar landmarks that let us know we were getting closer to our destination, rather than having satnav tell us how far away we were.
I’d love to know what other people think about this.
What things do you wish you’d had for car journeys when you were younger?