My Grandfather was a published travel writer and I found tons of amazing Vintage Travel Photos in his archives. Today I’d like to share them with you! I’ve also mixed in some amazing vintage photos from my parents archives, as well as some of my own childhood.
Let me know which photo is your favourite!
I hope that by looking back at the past, you will get inspired to travel in the future and realize that you don’t need much to go out and explore the world!
What we'll cover in this article
VINTAGE TRAVEL PHOTOS FROM THE ARCHIVES
My Parents’ Vintage Travel Story
My adventurous nature isn’t something that fell from the sky. My dad grew up with camping with his parents and my mum used to go out with her sister, cousin and friends to explore the world on a scooter. They drove all the way from Amsterdam to Swedish Lapland (top province of the country) once. The girls would simply pack their (saddle)bags and drive off with a map and a YHA membership card.
What a great way to travel, don’t you think? It’s something I have never done before, but it must be great to be so independent in your transport. In that time, there was no mobile phone or internet, so she would only send a postcard home every two months or so. Keeping in touch with home while travelling wasn’t so easy as it is now. If I remind my mum about that when I haven’t called her in a week, she denies it, of course.
Wouldn’t you love to go back in time to go camping vintage style? Travel in an oldtimer with the family and pitch the tent, before exploring the area together?
My Grandparents’ Vintage Travel Story
My grandparents where also quite the travellers. Before they had a camper van, they used to go out with nothing more than a backpack on their backs. And they brought the kids with them.
When my grandparents went travelling with the family, they could only carry two big packs and those had to be filled with their own gear and clothing – and that of 3 children. If you compare these bags with what I usually carry around on my back when travelling alone, they must have done laundry every day – or only had 1 set of clean clothes and smelled very special at the end of their trip.
Don’t forget that in those days, they didn’t have a wide range of lightweight travel gear as we do now. And because my grandparents always took tents with them, I can only imagine the weight they had to carry around. Respect!
After a long time of travelling with a backpack, my grandparents bought themselves a Volkswagen Van to spend their holidays in. The one I remembered was big enough to have a kitchen, double bed and some seats in the back, but they used to own a Hippie Van as well. Go Grandpa!
Whenever my grandfather wrote a new travel guide, there were products to be tested. Camping equipment, tents, entire caravans… and of course travel clothing. My grandma loved to model and patiently tried on all the items that grandpa wanted to include in his books.
By looking at all the pictures I can hardly imagine travel clothing in those times were lightweight –at all. The fabrics look durable, but thick and heavy. There also wasn’t much choice in colours, as most of the clothing was brown, beige or green. Just think about the amount of choice we have nowadays in terms of travel clothing and gear… my grandpa would have been well excited.
My Personal Vintage Travel Story
As a child I travelled around Europe with my parents and brother… in a trailer tent. We used to have a ‘raclet’ trailer tent: a very heavy, dark brown monstrosity that would fold out into a round tent, with two double beds, a single tent under one of them, a kitchen area, a door, a wine cellar, and 4 windows you could zip open. Ok, maybe no wine cellar, but there would have been room for it.
In Dutch, the word for ‘trailer tent’ is a ‘folding wagon’, and that’s exactly what it did. You would raise the top by folding out the tent poles and draping the tent fabric around it. It looked like a circus tent!
Later we got a ‘Holtcamper’ trailer tent, which was a little easier to set up, but drew about as much attention to our neighbouring ‘park-and-have-coffee’-campers in their quick-and-easy caravans and campervans on the camp site.
As a kid, my dad had to travel to St. Martin (St. Maarten) in the Caribbean twice for work. Luckily for us, he brought the whole family. Living in the tropics was an amazing time for us. We discovered new plants, people, food, animals and learned lots of other things that we wouldn’t have known about if we’d stayed at home in the Netherlands.
Vintage Travel Photo Collection
The following photos are from my grandfathers parents. So they are REALLY old:
Here is the rest of the collection: