How travel has travel changed in the last 20 years

How travel has changed in the last 20 years

My first trip abroad was to France and travel has changed in the last 20 years.  Twenty years of travel and over 60+ countries has taught me a lot about myself. Its amazing to see how travel has changed so much in last twenty years.  This is how travel has changed in the last 20 years.

travel has changed in the last 20 years

Travel agents

My first trip abroad was solely planned through a travel agent as the internet was not widely used. I didn’t even buy a guidebook as it was a school organised trip I relied on our leader to take us to the sights. Our guide would tell us we’re off to Normandy and tell us the history of the place and what we would see. I didn’t do much research (other than what I had learned in History or French class). The information was just not as readily available and at your fingertips.


When I first went to France I couldn’t google the Eiffel Tower and look at thousands of images of it or look at suggested sights. I’d heard of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees but not Mont St Michel or Chartres before I left but there was an unexpected freedom in not having planned every great detail down or seeing thousands of images ahead of time of where you were going to visit. I remember one of the best nights I had in Paris was in our hotel room with a balcony on a small Parisian back street where we bought a bottle of wine to share and we just hung out talking about our trip and telling stories.


When you walked into a hotel or hostel 20 years ago you didn’t see a bunch of people sitting around on their phones checking facebook or email and not really talking to people. You saw a few people at the concierge planning their tours, some in the restaurant having a meal, and some at the bar having a drink after a long day of sightseeing. Now you can walk into the lobby and see a bunch of friends sitting there all on their devices not even acknowledging one another. I miss getting a drink in the lobby and talking to someone about their travels and where they’ve been. And asking if they have any recommendation or tips they can pass onto me.

Staying in touch

While I was on my first holiday abroad one of the things I would do when I would arrive in a new city was to seek out the Post Office. Now, its actually a place I avoid. Who wants to send a letter these days? But 20 years ago one of the best things to do when you travelled was to send a post card from the places you visited. It was a great way to keep in touch with my family and let them know I was still alive. I would also go to the Post Office to buy international phone cards. These prepaid phone cards would let me go to any phone booth, insert it into the phone and dial the country code and phone number and voila you were making an international call. You’d always dread getting down to your last few minutes and hearing the ladies voice come on the line to let you know your call would soon be ended.

There are many thing about travel that have changed in the last 20 years.  What are your observations on how travel has changed in the last 20 years?


Nicole LaBarge is a travel expert who has been traveling internationally for over 25 years and she has visited over 115 countries all while working a 9-5. She has lived in England, Scotland, Japan and New Zealand. Check out her detailed destination guides and travel product guides.

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