Today’s world is very different from when we grew up, but some things stay the same. The grass remains green, the sky is usually blue and there is no more excitement for kids than the idea of a school trip. Whether you are heading out to the local park to find different shaped leaves or you are travelling abroad on an exchange, the school trip is the pinnacle of the year, maybe only topped if one day a dog finds its way into the playground.
Of course, the school trips of today are tightly marshalled with health and safety at the front and centre. Children wear hi-vis vests to help them stand out and there is a legal ratio of approximately ten adults to each child. That may be an exaggeration, but the point is that our kids are well supervised in a way that we most definitely were not.
Here are some things that happened on every 1980s school trip:
1) Everyone had the same lunch.
In the 1980s it was the law that every child on a school trip must take with them egg sandwiches, which were then washed down with Capri Sun. Every single time. This meant that the coach stank like a sulphur factory from the off and that you spent much of the journey dodging streams of sticky yellow liquid as people’s ‘friends’ crushed those flimsy pouches, squirting their contents everywhere. At least, we hoped it was Capri Sun.
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Of course, everyone on the 1980s school trip had finished their entire pack-up before arriving at the destination at around 10am.
2) You filled the coach in order of coolness.
There was a very clear hierarchy that dictated where you needed to sit on the coach on a 1980s school trip. Cool/scary kids at the back, geeky kids at the front near the teachers so they could discuss trigonometry en route. The middle section was a sliding scale of the inbetweeners, each finding their suitable place in the pecking order.
3) Waving goodbye to that one kid.
The 1980s wasn’t entirely health and safety admin-free. There was one essential hurdle to leap before you were allowed on the school trip – the permission slip.
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On the day of the outing, there would always be that one kid who had discarded the slip into the depths of their bag, where it remained crumpled until the big day. They didn’t have their parent’s signature and they didn’t think quickly enough to forge it. As a result, you got to wave at them out the back of the bus as they trudged inside to spend all day working through a textbook under the hawk-like gaze of the receptionist.
4) Ignoring the fact your were representing your school.
The teachers knew it was pointless trying to give you the standard pep talk about how you needed to be on best behaviour because you were representing your school. You were caged animals, let out for the day and high on rotten eggs, sugary drinks and Sherbet Dib Dabs. As a result, you would spend most of the trip tearing around a museum and terrorising old folks while your teachers sat with their feet up on the coach, smoking fags.
5) Copying the clever kid.
There was always a factsheet that you needed to fill in on a 1980s school trip, but you rarely managed to do it. It involved trailing around all of the different rooms, spotting certain pieces of information and noting them down. You didn’t have time for that, you had important running around to do, not to mention the full two hours you needed in the gift shop to decide which book-shaped rubber to buy.
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The onus fell on the one clever kid who actually completed the task to allow their work to be handed around and copied word for word by everyone else.
6) Someone was always sick.
Wherever you went on a 1980s school trip, whatever the activity, someone always ended up throwing up. Whether it was from an excess of sweets, downing a whole bottle of Tizer or merely travel sickness on one of those bumpy old-fashion coaches, if there wasn’t one child who came home with puke spread liberally across their clothes, it wasn’t a real school trip.
As well as groups of friends falling out, which was pretty standard on a school trip, there was always one couple who got together. Maybe it is the romantic allure of ancient Roman drainage systems, but the couple in question would spend the day essentially eating each other’s faces and annoying the people they had sat next to on the outbound coach journey, as they now had to find another seating buddy for the trip home.
Extra points for your school if the couple who got together on your trip were teachers.
8) Bonus 1980s School Trip Experiences – Abroad
Occasionally schools ventured abroad, which threw up new challenges. On these trips, there was always one set of bumfluff-bedecked youths who managed to get served in a French bar, while everyone else hit the shops to bring home one or all of the common foreign school trip bounty items. These were knives, nudie playing cards and those pens with a picture of a woman in a dress that disappears when you turn it upside down, revealing her naked body.
Other Things That Happened on Every 1980s School Trip
What else happened on every 1980s school trip? Add your suggestions in the Comments below.