Grab your neon luggage, fellow time travelers; we’re cranking up the dial on the DeLorean and setting our sights on the most tubular era of travel. As we punch it to 88 mph, let's revel in the 80s travel trends that made the decade a kaleidoscope of bold style, radical destinations, and bodacious memories. This is no mirage, this is the ultimate rewind to when travel was as much about the fashion as the destination, and our best tips came from glossy magazines and word of mouth rather than the internet. So, fasten your seatbelts—no, not the boring kind, think more along the lines of those with rainbow stripes—we’re about to embark on a most excellent adventure.
Most Popular Travel Destinations in the 80s
Our first stop is the destinations that were all the rage in the 80s. The world was becoming more connected, and jet-setters sought exotic locales to plant their flag—or at least their beach umbrellas. Places like Cancun were transforming from sleepy fishing villages into the resort meccas we know today, thanks to the decade's boom in package holidays. Everyone who was anyone could be spotted sunning on the French Riviera, or rubbing elbows with Mickey Mouse in newly opened EPCOT at Walt Disney World.
Europe was a hotspot, with the likes of London calling to travelers with its punk rock allure, while Paris remained timeless, whispering "je t'aime" to anyone who walked its cobblestone streets. The intrepid souls ventured behind the Iron Curtain for a glimpse of the Soviet enigma, making Moscow's Red Square and the Berlin Wall must-see spots for the daring and politically curious.
What to Pack for an 80s Vacation
Packing for the 80s wasn’t just about tossing things in a suitcase—it was a showcase of one’s style. It was the era of "more is more," where your travel wardrobe had to be as ready for a spontaneous disco night as it was for a day of sightseeing. Clothing was bold, colors were loud, and patterns were mandatory. Shoulderpads weren't just for power suits; they were a travel fashion staple, giving everyone that quintessential 80s silhouette.
For the ladies, we're talking about high-waisted jeans, leg warmers for those cool airplane cabins, and scrunchies—lots of scrunchies. Men strutted in acid-washed denim and oversized printed shirts. And no suitcase was complete without a pair of white sneakers, the kind that gleamed against the backdrop of any travel destination. And let’s not forget the accessories: chunky jewelry, oversized sunglasses, and, for those moments of pure leisure, a Walkman loaded with the latest hits.
80s Travel Fashion
The fashion of the 80s was as diverse as the destinations travelers frequented. It wasn't just about what you wore, but how you wore it. Every traveler brought their own flair to the mix, creating a global runway at every airport. There were power suits for the business moguls, neon windbreakers for the adventurous spirits, and pastel polos for the country club set hopping from one tropical paradise to another.
Swimwear demanded attention with high-cut leotards for women and patterned short shorts for men. And when the sun set, the glamour didn't dim. Evening wear ranged from metallic dresses to tailored blazers with rolled-up sleeves. This was the era when fashion became more than clothes—it was a statement, a travel essential that said, “I’ve arrived, and I’m here to dazzle.”
80s Travel Tips
Without smartphones or the internet, the 80s traveler relied on a mix of savvy, intuition, and the occasional travel agent. Tips were often gleaned from magazines like 'Travel + Leisure' and shows like 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.' The savvy traveler knew to carry traveler's cheques for safe spending, and international calling cards were the lifeline to home.
One tip that transcended time: always pack a good book for those long haul flights. The 80s also saw the rise of the travel guidebook, with series like Lonely Planet becoming the bible for backpackers. Travelers in the know kept an eye on airline deregulation, which meant more competition and often, cheaper flights, making the skies friendlier for wallets of all sizes.
The seasoned 80s jet-setter also knew the value of a good mixtape to keep the vibes just right during transit. It was an era when travel was as much about the journey as the destination, and a well-curated soundtrack was key to setting the mood, whether you were cruising at 35,000 feet or kicking back in a cabana.
As we pause our rewind here, with visions of 80s travel dancing like MTV videos in our heads, we’re reminded that the era's spirit lives on. It's not just in the memories of those who lived it, but in the resurgence of its
iconic aesthetics in our modern wanderlust. In this second stretch of our journey through the neon-lit paths of the past, we'll uncover the hacks that made 80s travel a breeze, relive the experiences that became the stuff of legends, and cruise by the pop culture that fueled a million daydreams to destinations far and wide.
80s Travel Hacks
Before the age of the internet, 80s travelers had their own set of tricks to make their journeys smoother. Frequent flyers mastered the art of packing with military precision, rolling instead of folding to maximize space for those extra pairs of parachute pants and souvenir tees. Seasoned globetrotters would also double their shoulder pads as extra cushioning for fragile items—talk about fashion meeting function!
Another classic hack was the strategic use of duty-free shopping, not just for souvenirs but for gifts that said, “I’ve been there,” with the added bonus of being tax-free. And let’s not forget the power of memberships and loyalty programs, which were just taking off. Those in the know would leverage their airline and hotel points for upgrades and perks, traveling in style on a budget.
Iconic 80s Travel Experiences The 80s were about experiences that brought together the eclectic and the electric. Who could forget the thrill of live satellite broadcasts from exotic locations during global events like Live Aid? Or the communal joy of witnessing Halley's Comet in '86, a celestial event that had people gathering in the best viewing spots across the globe?
Then there were the theme parks, which evolved from simple amusement to high-tech entertainment complexes. Disney’s EPCOT opened its doors as a permanent world's fair, and Universal Studios Hollywood began offering a behind-the-scenes look at movie magic, making travelers part of the action.
For the more adventurous, the 80s marked the rise of eco-tourism, with places like the Amazon rainforest becoming accessible to the intrepid traveler. And for the young and the restless, backpacking across Europe or Australia became a rite of passage, with only a Eurail pass or a beat-up van as companions.
80s Travel Movies and TV Shows
The 80s didn't just influence how we traveled; it inspired where we wanted to go through the silver screen and tube. Movies like “National Lampoon’s Vacation” made us laugh at the all-too-familiar family road trip, while “Out of Africa” and “Romancing the Stone” fed our desire for adventure in distant lands.
Television was no slouch in the travel department either. “Miami Vice” turned the Florida city into a pastel paradise, where every detective duo needed a speedboat. And who could forget the armchair travel provided by “Magnum, P.I.,” with the Hawaiian vistas serving as a backdrop for private investigations? These shows and films didn't just entertain; they shaped our travel aspirations, making every living room a gateway to far-off places.
80s Travel Songs
The soundtracks of our 80s travels weren’t just confined to Walkmans and car stereos; they were anthems that defined the decade. Tunes like “Life in a Northern Town” whispered of distant English landscapes, while “Africa” by Toto became an unlikely hymn for explorers of the vast continent, despite its creators never having visited.
The 80s also gave us the ultimate road trip playlist with tracks like “Holiday Road” and “I Ran (So Far Away),” songs that became synonymous with the freedom and escapism travel promised. These weren't just catchy melodies; they were sonic passports to a world of possibility, each beat a step on an international dance floor.
As we tune the radio to those familiar tunes and reflect on the trends and moments that made 80s travel uniquely thrilling, we realize that the heart of that era’s travel culture beats on. We carry it with us like a well-worn passport, filled with stamps from a time when the journey was as vibrant and colorful as the destinations themselves.
And while our travel styles have evolved, the essence of the 80s—bold, adventurous, and a tad whimsical—still finds its way into our modern-day escapades. Whether it's through the resurgence of retro fashion or the timeless desire for new experiences, the spirit of 80s travel is a constant companion on our journeys.
So as we dust off our vintage Samsonite and consider our next getaway, we do so with a nod to the past and an eager eye towards the future. And for those of us who want to carry a piece of the 80s with us, no matter where we roam, Newretro.Net offers a collection of men's clothing that captures the essence of retrowave and '80s cultural styles. It's the perfect way to keep the decade's adventurous spirit alive, one outfit at a time, as we set off to make new memories on the timeless road of travel.