Package Holidays in the 1960's
At last, foreign travel available to many
After many years of foreign holidays not being possible for those on lesser incomes, the gates opened and Tour Operators became the flavour of the month, well decade I should say.
My first experience was with a friend of mine in 1968, a 14 night holiday in Diano Marina on the Italian Riviera..
I recall it was around the £24 mark, approximately £380 in today's money.
We could have gone to Spain for much less, but we wanted to be posh!!
A Postcard of the actual Plane I flew on!
Getting there was interesting; a DC6-AB flight from Manston Airport in Kent to Basle.
It was my first flight and I'm still amazed it got off the runway, it seemed to go on forever. Even then by the other side of the Channel we were probably still at about 2,000 feet!
The seats were of the hanging canvas variety.
Landing in Basle had it's moments, down and down we went hitting cloud the further down we went. We then, out of the fog saw the runway. Unfortunately the runway was about 200 feet to our right and the Pilot had to climb, turn round and do it again.
Successfully thank goodness.
After that it was a Coach journey over the Alps. This was before the nicely tarmaced straight roads. You zig zagged up and you zig zagged down. If you saw the first 'The Italian Job', that's what it was like!
The Hotel was basic and we had something different everyday with our Spaghetti !!
By this time everyone was doing it. Luton Airport, a favourite with the Tour Operators, would receive flights back from Spain every hour full of Brits wearing their Sombreros holding a pair of brightly designed Maracas.
This also allowed younger unmarried couples the opportunity to get away without too much eye opening.
Part of it was once you got on the Coach at the Airport and making your way to the Hotel, your Courier would announce Room numbers over the PA System.
Sure there be a wee bit of elbowing and a few 'aye ayes' going around but all adding to the ever changing social attitudes of the 60's.
It was always ribbed in good faith!
Beaches soon to be smothered with likewise taller Hotels
What it did create however is an enormous building boom anywhere by the sea and where it was hot. Hotels sprung up everywhere, in some cases completely spoiling the vista, followed by Restaurants with 'Full English Breakfast' posters plastered accross their windows.
The British liked to take certain home comforts with them!
Also, in came the Beach Towel accusations against the German holiday makers. It was quite well known for them to be up early, scamper down to the Swimming Pool and place their beach towels somewhere nice for reservation.
Certain parts of any poolside became pockets of national property!
As I write nearly 50 years later, the funny thing is it's hardly changed except they're better Planes and Hotels now, horizons have broadened to more parts of the World and relatively speaking, prices have remained about the same, if not cheaper.
Thankfully you don't see so many Sombreros though !!