So if you’ve read my last blog you’ll recall my “fond” recollections of my childhood family holidays and the hell that was sometimes involved in the road trip to get there. The backseat squabbling, the car sickness and my parents lack of humour in being asked “Are we there yet?” every 10 to 15 minutes for an eight hour car ride.
You might also recall that I thought that todays kids definitely have it easier these days when it comes to family holidays. Maybe ‘have it easier’ isn’t entirely correct, but I definitely don’t think my two boys appreciate the advances in the humble family holiday over the last 30 odd years.
My youngest, who almost has more stamps in his passport than I had in the first 30 years of my life, still manages to get outraged at the lack of legroom in a Boeing 737 or when pancakes aren’t available from the all you can eat breakfast buffet. He’s definitely has it good on the family holiday front. Little does he know that legroom, when you grew up in eighties, was almost non existent in the back of a Holden Kingswood (full of luggage and kids) and don’t even think about complaining about the breakfast options available from the Motor Inn that the family stayed in to break up the road trip. You’d eat that cold toast, that came in a white paper bag, passed through a weird flap in the side of your family’s motel room, and you’d like it!
Next, there was the holiday destination. There were no overseas holiday’s when I was a kid and, while a lot of the Australian theme parks opened in the eighties, living in Melbourne meant my parents were pretty reluctant to take on a road trip of that size. In their defence, I’d be pretty reluctant to take on the 1,700 kilometre journey whilst being asked “Are we there yet?” every 10 minutes and being forced to stop at “surprise” intervals because of car sickness.
With the theme parks out of reach, our family holiday destination of choice was usually Merimbula, a coastal town in southern New South Wales. Whilst I’ve largely covered off my negative memories of actually getting to the destination of my family holiday, I struggle to think of too many things to complain about once we got there. It’s hard to complain about days spent on deserted beaches, wading through rock pools full of sea creatures or exploring playgrounds that would probably be deemed too dangerous these days.
Fast forward 30 years and the possible destinations for the family holiday are almost endless. There’s theme parks that take multiple days to fully explore, an endless array rides for kids of all age groups (and courage levels) and water parks with more water slides than most eighties kids saw during their entire childhood.
Whilst I still maintain the typical family holiday has come a long way in the last 30 years, the one thing I hope never changes is the lasting memories they create.