The best decade for traveling was the 80s – a great time to be young and have fun

After the turmoil and strife of the 1970s, the 1980s were a great time to be young and have fun. It was an exuberant decade synonymous with yuppies, a roaring economy, synth pop and a new optimism. But – apart from charter flights and packages to the Costas – traveling was still an expensive indulgence. Freddie Laker’s SkyTrain was a beacon of hope, but it collapsed in 1982, and EasyJet, Eurostar and Airbnb were still pipe dreams.

If, like me, you were more interested in seeing the world than developing a career in the City, it was always possible to make leads – you just had to think creatively. So while some of my friends were jumping in the gravy boat to the material world, I joined the Midnight Runners and turned to the Night Ferry instead. It was the cheapest way to get out of the country for a weekend, especially since I had a friend to stay with in Paris. To avoid missing work, I left London Victoria in the early evening and – after taking the ferry to Dover and an overnight train to Calais – was at Gare du Nord around 6am the next morning. . I would do the same trip in reverse on Sunday and go straight from the station to work.

The return ticket was £38, which sounds cheap, but it was still around half my week’s net pay and far more than the equivalent cheapest Eurostar fare today. The real cost, of course, was the loss of two nights’ sleep on a train. But it was a small sacrifice to enjoy a hedonistic Saturday evening on the boulevards at a time when Paris was also on the rise and new cuisine was an exotic experience. And the next morning, you could enter the Louvre without having to queue.

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