The Way We Were: How Traveling Has Changed in the Last 20 Years

by Julie on April 6, 2018

The rise of technology has changed everything from how we communicate to how we shop. It has widened our perceptions and allowed us to experience more with less – less time, less money, less effort. It has especially altered the way we travel. Take a look back at the way we were before the Internet changed everything:


The Way We Were: We visited a library and checked out books. We bought guidebooks from our local bookstore and/or hired a travel agent.

The Way We Are Now: Our mobile phones provide us easy access to unlimited sources of information. Not only are guidebooks now available online, there are also travel blog sites with firsthand advice on what to see and do, as well as where to eat and how to get there.


The Way We Were: We called an airline and booked an expensive flight and then took a taxi to the airport. Sure, they didn’t have baggage fees way back then or a million and one security measures, but the time we spent organizing how and when to get somewhere surely overshadowed either of those perceived advantages.

The Way We Are Now: We can book flights from home after searching for the best price. We can take Uber or Lyft instead of a taxi, hailing them in real-time from the convenience of our smartphones. It’s easier and cheaper!


The Way We Were: We rented a room at a hotel or stayed in our overpriced, hard-sold and outdated timeshare.

The Way We Are Now: Airbnb, VRBO and swanky inclusive resorts offer more options and better rates than the pricey, monopolized hotels of the past. And they exist right there at our fingertips on our computers. These days there are even web-based companies that can get you out of your old timeshare, leaving you available to take advantage of newer resorts with better amenities, better food and better rates. (If you don’t believe us, just check out!)


The Way We Were: We went to the bank to stock up on travelers’ checks.

The Way We Are Now: Nowadays we hardly give money a thought while traveling – except to question if we’re spending too much! Technology has enabled banks around the world to be remotely connected, allowing us the opportunity to withdraw and spend money however we wish.


The Way We Were: We purchased international calling cards or called home collect in order to stay in touch with loved ones.

The Way We Are Now: Mobile phones permit us to call long distance with much less hassle and much less expense. Seriously, when was the last time you even thought about a pre-paid phone card or called someone collect?


The Way We Were: We had five-piece luggage sets, partly because we didn’t have those aforementioned baggage fees on our flight(s) and partly because we had to carry the following travel necessities: camera, extra film, walkman/discman, tapes/CDs, stationery (for writing friends and family back home), travel documents, guidebooks and the 13 novels we want to try to read while we’re away.

The Way We Are Now: Our multiple devices have been replaced by the ubiquitous smartphone, thereby affording us the luxury of traveling much, much lighter! We can use our phone or tablet to take pictures, read books, save travel documents, research restaurants and attractions, email friends and even listen to our music.

Back in the day, it was harder to travel. But once you reached your destination, you were set to enjoy an escape from normal life. Nowadays, things are easier. There is less baggage, both literally and metaphorically. But today, traveling isn’t just about “getting away;” it’s about “staying connected.”

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