Long car journeys now vs when I was a child

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.

Long car journeys now vs 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!

car journey yuu bag


Staying safe

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.


Keeping entertained

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.

car journeys now vs when child

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?


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. Becky @ Eduxating Roversi 14/05/2017 / 9:34 am

    Aw this took me back! Making mix tapes of the charts! Playing car games like Eye Spy and the Alphabet Game. In fact, the other day I was only joking with my sister about how we used to sit in the boot if there were too many in the car! 😂 Thanks for joining #KCACOLS

    • This glorious life 14/05/2017 / 7:26 pm

      Haha, it’s mad isn’t it, you wouldn’t dream of doing that now would you! x

  2. Bread 14/05/2017 / 9:15 pm

    My mum once took us somewhere and I hide in the well of the front passenger seat so we didn’t have to pay. She also took me home in a cardboard box when I was born. Those crazy eighties lol. #kcacols

  3. The Hippy Christian Mum 15/05/2017 / 12:33 pm

    Loved getting all nostalgic reading this post. My mum was a single parent so I was navigator. I remember trying to read those massive AA map books and figuring them out. Also remember my sister and I jumbling into the back seat of the car with our duvets for the drive up to visit relatives in London and laying back and looking at the clouds and making shapes out of them. Love that Yuu organiser by the way looks really useful. #KCACOLS

  4. Amy 15/05/2017 / 2:52 pm

    My car journeys used to involve me sleeping…in fact they still do lol
    For the kids we feed them, lots, during journeys! #kcacols

  5. Tammymum 17/05/2017 / 9:07 pm

    Ha I remember being sat in the back, on my grandma’s knee on long car journies with two people sat next to us, sometimes I’d even sit in the footwell! Safety was definetly not a priority back then! #KCACOLS

  6. Cassie 20/05/2017 / 8:52 pm

    Me and my sister used to have a pad each and wrote down everything we saw as we went along so the page turned into a mass of words. Then one of us would read out what we had whilst the other shouted out “I’ve got lamppost too” “ive got lion statue” lol. In awe.

    Another game if it rained was called bunny rabbits. As the window got full of raindrops they would start to run from the top to the bottom of the window. These were the rabbits. We would frantically shout out when a rabbit reached the bottom and then argue over who won.

    We would also beg our dad (my step dad) to put “pass the dutchie” on the cassette player and then sing along.

    It does make me sad that our little ones are born into a world where his imaginative play isn’t quite so common. I try to encourage my little one to do so in the car to a certain degree. Before busting out the I pad or DVD player.


  7. Crummy Mummy 26/05/2017 / 9:13 am

    Car journeys are definitely better now – I remember being bored to tears as a child! #KCACOLS

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