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Mountains of brochures all over the lounge floor. I drove myself crackers going from one to the other trying to ensure everything was perfect.

Everyone always seemed to send postcards & bought presents for family & friends.

Oops that's 2 things.....
Travellers cheques - a thing of the past!
You have to be a good deal older than 30 to remember the foreign currency restrictions of the late 1960s/early70s as I do. We were restricted to taking a maximum of £50 worth out of the country - the equivalent of about £700 pp today. There was no way I would need anywhere near that amount of spends for a week long school sking trip when I was a 6th former but remember that I still had to have my passport stamped for the £10 worth of Austrian Schillings that I changed to take with me! I was old enough to have my own passport to be stamped and I still have that old blue passport with the stamp in the back along with the one dated 6 years later for the £40 of Deutschmarks that I took with me to Berlin for a student exchange trip.

However most of the other pupils were under 16 and this caused quite a kerfuffle as a result because the staff had to collect all the pocket money for the rest of the group as a whole and divvy it up amongst them for changing and get their passports stamped. I remember the Domestic Science teacher confiding to me and the only other 6th former whilst we were away that she had been questioned by her bank as to why she needed the maximum £50 allowance for just a week long skiing trip. I don't think any of us imagined then, that by now all you would need to remember to do was take a bit of plastic with you in your wallet that would give you access to your own bank account via a machine in a wall :-)
I remember people being allowed to smoke on planes - really hard to believe it was ever allowed
First time I travelled abroad in the 70s I had the Visitors passport - I believe it was only valid for 6 months (?) -but it was easy to get hold of via the Post Office. Think it stopped being available in the late 80s/early 90s - but it saved my bacon that first time when I had to go to France on business!
I never had one but I do remember them Brewerdave. However, it was my recollection that they were valid for 12 months and on looking this up, I discovered that they weren't abolished until 1996! Much, much later than I thought. When you think of the hoops that we have to jump through now, it's amazing to think that little more than 20 years ago you could rock up at a Post Office with your birth certificate and walk out with a passport - albeit a trifold piece of card!

It reminded me of the days when it was possible for a wife to be put on her husband's passport but she could only use it when travelling with him whereas he could use it on his own. When the equal opportunities laws all began to come in during the late 1970s they renamed them spousal assports and the primary holder could be the wife and when my Mum and Dad were going away with another couple, the wife proudly told my Mum about her blow for equality by insisting that their joint passport be in her name not his. My Mum sent her away with a flea in her ear telling her that if it was degrading for a woman to be just an appendage to her husband, then it was equally degrading for a man to be his wife's! She also pointed out that if anything happened to her while they away then he would be effectively passportless and on top of everything else would have to obtain fresh travel documents in order to get home.

My Mum is not a born pessimist but this was her reason for insisting that despite the cost, everybody in the family should always have their own full passport and you should always have a valid one because you never knew when you might need to travel in an emergency. So I've always had my own full 10 year passport since turning 16 and she only stopped renewing hers 5 years ago at the age of 85 having come to the conclusion that from now on if anybody had to fly off at short notice to deal with an emergency then it was no longer going to be her - the baton was beng passed to me and my brother :-)
@SMa - yes, amazing that they were still available as late as 1996! After that first trip in the early 70s, I was passportless for a few years until I got a full passport in ~ 1980 because my wife persuaded me to go to Corfu.
It was talking about that trip which reminded me about traveller's cheques - I actually lost all ours on that trip -but fortunately found them again due to an honest waiter - but that evening/night wasn't a pleasant experience!!
Anyone else remember “Square Deal” holidays – usually offered by the lovely el cheapo branch of Thomson called “Portland Holidays”? You were
told approximately the area you would be staying, and the star rating of the
hotel, but not the name – this would be “allocated on arrival” they said.
I remember booking my first ever trip to Goa this way in 2005.
When I turned up at Manchester Airport on the Friday night, Monarch Airlines refused to check me in because the Indian government had just introduced a new rule that all tourist accommodation must be named at checkin time.
I had to rush to the Thomson desk at Manchester, (amazingly there were staff there at 8pm on a Friday night) explain my problem, they faxed their office in Goa to find out where I’d been assigned, then I had to rush back to get checked in
– just in time.
In those days Thomson subcontracted their India flights to Monarch who used single aisle 757 planes, jam packed full, which had to refuel at Bahrain because they couldn't manage the distance.
The last time I used Travellers Cheques was for my first trip to Cuba in 2005 because you can't obtain Cuban currency outside of Cuba so I took Thomas Cook cheques rather than take it all in cash or getting money over the counter as cash against a credit card at a ruinous rate - the only other option. However, they were more trouble than it was worth because if your 2nd signature wasn't an exact match for the 1st one the bank and Cadeca tellers wouldn't change them. So I just took cash after that and not long after it wasn't option anyway because Thomas Cook cheques were bought out by American Express which weren't accepted in Cuba because of the embargo. I think that for a time it was also possible to get Visa travellers cheques (issued by Travelex?) but they soon disappeared too.
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