Wednesday 9 August 2023

10 Road trip traditions we miss from our childhood!

A new study has explored the evolution of the Great British car journey with a whopping three quarters of the nation agreeing they are completely different from when they were a child.

I used to love the summer holidays as a kid, my dad would pack up the car with towels, picnic blankets, my mum would make and epic picnic and we would go for a day out. My brother and I would never know where we were going, it would always be a mystery until we got close and we could finally guess from road signs. Sometimes it would be the beach, a long walk, a country show, a park, to visit family or a theme park. We always had a great time but a part of the fun was the car journey and the trip getting to our destination.


The road trip traditions we miss from our childhood: 

Using an Ordnance Survey map.
Can you remember when maps used to be in paper form, before the technology we have now with Sat Navs and Google maps. I remember the big one's which folded out and were always a puzzle to fold back down. 

Stopping for a picnic in a layby.
I remember doing this many times with cars whizzing past. It's one of those things we wouldn't dream of doing now with there being a lot more traffic on the roads.

Playing a game of I Spy.
We spent hours playing this. My brother always used to cheat, I am sure he would pick something and then change it pretending we hadn't guessed it. Simple games like this were so much fun.

Singing a round of “ten green bottles”.
I don't think we ever sung this in the car but my dad always had control of the car radio and his choice in radio station was either sport or really old songs. Looking back now some of those songs are my favourites.

Planning the journey in advance using a map.
I remember doing this. Things are so different now. A paper map wouldn't show road works or traffic jams like modern technology does but that was part of the fun of the car journey, getting stuck in traffic and my brother and I asking a million times are we nearly there yet.

Opening a tin of boiled travel sweets.
This had totally gone out of my head until I read this. I remember those round tins of boiled sweets that everyone seemed to have in their cars. I can remember the smell and the taste of them.

Packing a flask of coffee.
My dad used to always have a flask of coffee. There was no stopping off at service stations as they were too expensive and drive throughs were not a big thing. I can remember the smell of the coffee and the little plastic lid you used as a cup which always used to spill. I laughed at my brother a few weeks ago, when he is working he always has a flask of coffee, it brought back memories.

Putting luggage on a roof rack.
I can't ever remember any of my families cars having roof racks but my dad always used to pack the back of the car so well that we didn't really need one.

Packing sandwiches for the journey.
Sandwiches always tasted so much better when we were sat in the car. My mam used to make the best picnics and we would always get chocolate biscuits and cakes which weren't an everyday thing which was a real treat.

Holding your breath through a tunnel.
This is the reason I cried and screamed all the way going through the Tyne Tunnel one time when I was about 7 years old. I had heard somewhere that you have to hold your breath when going through a tunnel and this one was about 7 miles long. My little mind couldn't fathom how I would hold my breath for that long. I still always hold my breath going into a tunnel.

What do you miss about road trips


  1. Your road trip traditions from childhood brought back some wonderful memories! It's amazing how the little things, like playing games and enjoying travel sweets, made those trips so special. Holding your breath in tunnels made me chuckle – I think we've all had our funny rituals. Thanks for sharing your heartwarming nostalgia!

  2. I loved reading about your road trip memories. Being from America, I am so curious about what boiled sweet treats are and how the song "Green Bottles" is sung. My mom and dad didn't have a car as we lived in the city and didn't need one but I thought about the road trips with my own kids. It's only me and my husband now so I miss the games mostly that we played with the kids in the car.

  3. We had a roof rack thing that attached to the top of our car and I'll never forget the trip where my step father forgot about it and we hit an overhang at the hotel we were staying in for the night and the whole rack went flying off the car; we had to go buy rope and tie it around the carrier and through the car windows for the rest of the trip. I'm sure it was not funny at the time but being a kid I though it was hilarious!

  4. Ah!-you just took me down memory lane. I loved the road trips as much as I loved the destination. I remember that we wore NO seatbelts and my cousins and I would pile into the back of the station wagon. We would lay in the back then hop over the back seat to give someone else a turn to lay down while the car was still driving! Haha!!