Naturally, going abroad in the 90s was remarkably different than going on holiday is today. For one, the internet was not a mere keyboard click away and individuals were unable to utilise thousands of pieces of information on a destination to decide where to go.
Instead, holidays were booked either with a travel agent or with cheap package deals on Teletext. Flight choices were far more limited. Google reviews were yet to aggrandise good restaurants and ruin bad ones.
Once you arrived at your holiday destination – for better or worse – you were not instagramming the highlights, nor even calling home for a chat. Travellers cheques and guide books in hand, communication with where you’d come from was done with pay phones or at crowded internet cafes.
A study taken out by National Statistics illuminates the most significant differences between how we went on holiday in the 90s compared to the noughties (now).
We’re going on more holidays (surprise, surprise)
We’re officially a nation of holiday-lovers. In 2016, UK residents went on more than 45 million holidays! Up from 27 million in 1996, a 68% rise in the amount of trips abroad we’re making.
The increase in the UK population over the years partly accounts for this, but it is likely also due to increases in mobile-wealth and the outbreak of cheap holiday destinations and flights to get there.
Interestingly, but not unsurprisingly, the amount of holidays went down dramatically from 2010-2014 during the economic crash and subsequent downturn. Numbers picked up again by 2016 and are still continuing to rise.
Our holidays are shorter than they used to be
Perhaps it has something to do with the changing emphasis on work, and budget airlines and cheap flights making short trips more feasible. What we do know is that one of the most significant changes in holiday-making since the 90s is the duration of trips.
Where before, the 2-week holiday was the norm, the noughties have seen the rise of 1-week and 10-night holidays.
UK residents are also making far fewer day-trips abroad than was the case 20 years ago – potentially due to the ending of duty-free sales in EU countries and, as such, quick trips across the Channel to stock up on cheap booze and cigarettes.
Budget airlines taking on the air by storm
The rise of budget airlines has changed the holiday landscape significantly. As mentioned, a plausible reason for the growth in shorter trips is the allowance for this with cheap airlines. Nowadays, being able to bag a £40 flight to Morocco or Spain means a short trip is feasible – both for flight time and budget.
The 1980s and 1990s saw the relaxing of aviation rules and regulations, enabling budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet to take on the market.
Between 1996 and 2015, passenger numbers at UK airports increased by a whopping 85% – from 135 million to 251 million – as more and more people could now afford to fly.
Fascinating, isn’t it? If you liked this article, stay tuned for next week: ACE-FX will be delving into the most travelled-to destinations, now and in the 90s.