It was about ten summers ago that Europe welcomed its first wave of millennial backpackers (although back then we were more commonly known as Gen Y…). And now, as another wave of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed explorers set out on their rite-of-passage Eurotrip this summer, we thought it would be fun to reflect on how much this iconic experience has changed in the last decade.
1. We had Facebook, but that was pretty much it in terms of social media. No Instagram, no Snapchat. And because status updates weren’t a thing yet, we didn’t spend our time obsessing over updating our Facebook profiles. We actually just experienced places.
2. We didn’t take selfies. We asked people to take our photo for us. Weird, eh?
3. We didn’t blog or update social media. We emailed our family and friends with updates about our trips, having to contend with slow connections and European keyboards at internet cafés, screaming things like “WHY CAN’T I GET AN AT SYMBOL?!” and “WHERE’S THE QUESTION MARK!?” while our time quickly ran out. It was fun.
4. Thanks to the lower adoption of the Euro, we changed currencies nearly every time we crossed a border.
5. Airbnb wasn’t a thing.
6. We used actual cameras instead of our phones to take photos, and panicked when we filled our memory cards and had to find somewhere to buy new ones.
7. The Schengen Zone didn’t exist, so we got pretty passport stamps every time we crossed borders.
8. Liquids and gels were still allowed in carry-on luggage, and said carry-on luggage wasn’t restricted to one item.
9. Prague was ‘up-and-coming’. Budapest was ‘off-the-beaten-path’. Krakow was virtually unheard of.
10. We read real maps.
11. There were actually a lot of places where English wasn’t commonly spoken, and definitely wasn’t used for signage in train stations.
12. Wifi? Huh? Yeah no. Most of us didn’t even take our cell phones with us…
13. People with Canadian flags on their backpacks were actually Canadian, not Americans pretending to be Canadian to be treated better.
But one thing hasn’t changed…