Trains are an amazing way of getting around, and I would highly recommend giving them a try. Another classic "overseas experience" of the '80s and '90s: buying a clapped out old campervan in England and heading across to the mainland, spending the summer ambling around Europe with a few of your best friends or some randoms you picked up from a hostel in London. I never got to do this, but I seriously envied those who did: there's such a feeling of freedom when you have your own car.
Most Popular Destinations
These days, Topdeck Travel is a major tour operator that runs laps of various parts of the world in comfort and style. The company began, however, with one old London double-decker bus doing overland adventures from the UK to Kathmandu. Now that was an adventure. You might not find an old double-decker to hitch a ride on these days, but there are still plenty of opportunities for rough-and-ready overland adventures, particularly in east and southern Africa. Or buy yourself a hardy vehicle and head out on your own.
American couple take their two dogs and travel around the world in an old school bus
Just be careful, and don't fly drones in Iran. For decades now, backpackers have been hitting the "banana pancake trail", the popular budget-travel destinations in Southeast Asia and the subcontinent. This is an old-school way of backpacking and it's still a blast. Begin in the trail's traditional base, Kathmandu, making your way down towards Goa in India, heading through Myanmar and on into Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Stay in hostels; stay in ashrams. Travel by bus. Eat as many banana pancakes as you can fit in. Everyone used to camp. Not just in wilderness areas, but in cities.
This was how you'd travel on the cheap, particularly in Europe. Travellers would gather in campsites, they would eat, drink, socialise, and occasionally even do some sightseeing. That tradition seems to be waning a little, as everyone wants comfort and cultural experiences these days, but the campsites are still there, and this is still an amazing and affordable way to see the world. Just pack up your tent and go. These days it's probably called a "gap year", approved and accepted, but back in the day you'd have to "drop out" to take a long holiday in Europe, or to hit the banana pancake trail.
The secret to old-school travel is to take a long time doing it.
Old-school travel: Eight ways to travel like a pre-2000s backpacker
Quit your job, drop out of uni, leave mortgages and car loans and other serious things for another time. For now, it's all about travel. Don't have friends who want to go camping around Europe? Don't have anyone to share your US adventure with? Then become one of those randoms in the hostel who joins someone else's group.
Old-school travel was all about this, taking chances on other travellers and seeing where the road would take you. No reason you can't still do that now. Obviously, there was not a mobile phone in sight back in the '70s and '80s.
- Double or Nothing on Foster Ave..
- Travel old-school with a train ride near Northern Virginia.
- Quarterly Essay 40 Trivial Pursuit: Leadership and the End of the Reform Era;
- Not Alone;
- South by Degrees.
And even in the '90s you pretty much couldn't use one outside your own country. There was no TripAdvisor either. No inspiration from social media. No way to keep in contact or ask for advice from friends or family aside from post restante letters and phone calls that kept dropping out. And that's a very freeing thing. So, do the same now. Ditch your phone, leave your laptop behind, stop checking all the reviews and stop booking everything ahead. Stop talking to friends and family all the time and just head out there on your own. One out-of-date guidebook is all you need. Do you think it's still possible to travel like an old-school backpacker?
What are your favourite memories from your former budget travels?
You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates.
Baltic Cruises, City Tours and Unforgettable Lapland Holidays. All the adventure at one place!
Subscribe Now Subscribe Now. Final Say. Long reads. Lib Dems.
US Politics. Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn. Robert Fisk. Mark Steel.
Janet Street-Porter. John Rentoul.
Chuka Ummuna. Shappi Khorsandi. Gina Miller. Our view. Sign the petition.
Old Style Travel - Review of High Level Bridge Streetcar, Edmonton, Canada - TripAdvisor
Spread the word. Steve Coogan. Rugby union. Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League.