Summer is coming…
Quick city trips, beach getaways, sports vacations to other countries, semesters abroad, tours around the world…
Traveling broadens the mind, allowing us to experience new places and cultures. It gives us the chance to meet new people we might otherwise have never met if we had stayed at home. Awesome, right?
How many countries have you visited in the last few months? Last year? Last five years? I guess the answer varies, depending on the person and her/his preferences. In general though, I am sure most of us have a lot of stories to tell when it comes to traveling our beautiful world.
But guess what? Traveling has not always been taken for granted as it is today. There used to be a time when traveling abroad was only possible for the wealthy (or wealthier) people. It took much more preparation than it does today. And when those people (mostly our grandparents) returned from their travels, those holiday snaps (some even assembled slide-shows) where highlights among families and friends. Today, holiday pics – even when taken at the world’s most remote places – are no longer blockbusters.
The ancient notion of traveling agencies
There were times, pre-internet times – yes, my dear readers, there was indeed a time when people had no access to the internet, because simply, THERE WAS NO INTERNET– when the only possibility for booking a trip of any kind was by going to a travel agency. After studying large amounts of catalogues (huge printed high-gloss magazines) for weeks, one could only rely on the travel agent’s recommendation (and yes, travel agents pretended to have visited every single country/location/hotel in their repertoire) to book your trip in an hours-long session in the travel agency. Thereby flights, transfers, hotels, as well as on-location tours would be handled. Sounds great, hm?
Nobody relied, or could have relied, on reviews of trips/airlines/restaurants/museums/experiences of large numbers of people (hello travel tripadvisor, yelp or other rating platforms) because again: no internet. If you wanted to write a (positive) review or file a complaint after your holiday, that was only possible in form of a letter (yes, on paper and via snail mail), which would never be answered or returned.
The holiday itself – faster, further, more remote
There was a time when traveling far distances was not natural for everyone. Today one can pick wherever they want to go. Whether we want to go on a weekend trip to a city close to home, or if we plan a trip to the other side of the word – all the top traveling destinations are literally just a click away. There used to be a time when family vacations did not imply a flight or a sophisticated cultural experience. Rather, it started with a bunch of stressed out people in a car, on the motorway for 6 to 8 hours, to drive to an overfilled beach. Once there, spread out on one of the hundreds and hundreds of beach chairs like sardines in a tin, the main goal was to get a tan to show off once you were back at home and (maybe) take the occasional stroll around the town center.
This does not make sense for the modern traveler anymore. Not that we don’t like to interrupt our traveling experiences with the occasional beach day, but today, traveling to neighboring countries is not that exciting anymore. We’ve been there, done that. We need the more challenging, more off-the-beaten tracks, the less-traveled destination, the more interesting. The more exotic, the better. Travel groups and tourist guides, which used to be a popular way people experienced unknown places – not in a million years. What used to count as “adventurous” almost counts as embarrassing today. Remote places, physically challenging journeys or extraordinary cultural experiences are on today’s travel itineraries. And even space traveling is becoming more of a reality 😉
Not a big fortune, only a little one
Not only did traveling become much easier thanks to online research possibilities (traveling without Google Maps, anyone? I guess not), the internet has allowed the possibility to compare prices, meaning we can travel on a budget. Planning ahead and researching online allows us to find the right offer for every wallet, big or small.
So, next time whilst you’re enjoying some kind of traveling, whether it be a short trip or a longer vacation, take the time to appreciate the former luxury that has become the new normal.
Have a good trip!
Cover image by Pixabay