Even if you don’t have a 1950’s Bel Air sitting in your driveway or an Airsteam trailer to pull behind it, the possibility of having a retro family road trip might still be in your cards. Travel in the 1950’s was all about the open road, family, large over-sized attractions, relaxation and discovery. Since many of these things are still available to travelers today, let’s load up the minivan and hit the road. Here are five tips for having a 1950’s road trip vacation even though it’s really 2015.
Since when did vacations become more work than every life – and more expensive too? Maybe one of the reasons why I idolize travel in the 1950’s is because to me it represents a simpler time of life when families were engaged together in travel and not with their cell phones, video camera’s and DSLR’s. Maybe because to me it represents a time when vacations were about the trip and not always about the destination, or maybe it is because the wild spirit of discovery is something I still cherish. No matter what the reasons are, travel in the 1950’s was a special time for families to reconnect and create memories that have lived a lifetime (I know, because my parent’s still tell me about them). Memories that I want to recreate with my children.
How To Travel Like It’s 1950
1. Hit the Road.
Road trips were all the rage in the 1950’s. It wasn’t uncommon for parents to load up their kids in the station wagon and head out on a cross country road trip, stopping to visit giant roadside attractions, eating at small town diners and sleeping at uniquely designed roadside motels. Unlike travel today, which often takes place in airplanes, a road trip offers a family spontaneity and a chance to discover small town history that would otherwise go unnoticed.
2. Opt for an Atlas.
Do you remember your parent’s pulling out a large road atlas and mapping out the drive with a highlighter? I do. Just looking at that large, colorful map made me realize how big and intricate the world really was. I remember running my finger along the lines of the page and realizing that branching off of the highway’s were more roads and off of those were more. The options of travel were endless and so were the possibilities. When travel focuses less on just getting to a destination, the trip itself becomes that much more interesting and memorable.
3. Ditch the Electronics.
There is nothing I hate more than looking out over a vast beautiful landscape and then looking at my children to find them looking down at their handheld games. For instance on our last road trip to Florida we passed through the most beautiful mountain roads, which at times would offer a high peaked view of the life bustling below. They missed it. Now when we travel we limit “game time” to only when absolutely necessary and definitely not when there are better things to focus on.
Along with ditching the electronics, this lesson plays out hard for mom and dad too. I have to admit that at times I feel the need to photograph and video tape everything with my phone so I can share it with others. This also means that I am missing out on things as I try to capture the moment just right. Therefore, I have found that when I put my phone down, I am able to breathe the moment in, make a mental photograph and am more focused on the overall experience that I am having at that very moment.
4. Mail a Postcard.
This is just for fun because, well, postcards are fun! Postcards became popular in the 1950’s because back then it was the only way for a traveler to let someone at home know that they were doing ok and having a great trip. They also, however, were an excellent form of advertising (but we can talk about that later). So next time you are traveling, pick up a postcard or two and surprise someone at home with something other than a bill.
5. Go Camping.
By the 1950’s (in the era of consumerism) campers were outfitted with most of the comforts of home such as refrigerators and even sometimes complete small kitchens. This advancement made camping more enjoyable and the industry boomed. Going camping, and still keeping with the other four tips) is a great way to have a 1950’s style vacation today. Now, take that camper cross country and you’ve hit the jackpot.
|Photo Credit: Retro Rentals, LLC|
Love the idea of camping in a retro travel trailer but don’t own one? Did you know that retro travel trailers can be rented!? They can!