In the last 50 years, travel has had made more changes than ever before. Increased globalization and recent media portrayal of less-visited countries have entirely changed the way humans travel. In some ways, globalization has eased the burden of traveling, but in other aspects of traveling have hurt the global society.
Social media has made a competition out of people trying to see who can go to the places with the bluest water; it has distorted people’s mindsets that everyone is always on vacation and no one is doing actual work. Social media “influencers” are the number one purveyors of portraying the idea that you are doing something wrong with your life if you aren’t always on vacation in another country. Jay Alvarez and Alexis Ren were the first pioneers in the Instagram space of travel “influencers.” They portrayed this perfect fantasy of always being on vacation in the coolest places, without really being forthcoming of what precisely either of their jobs is, who is paying for the trip, or how they even got to these amazing places.
The Golden Age of travel was 50 years ago. Traveling was a luxury and an adventure; very much the Indian Jones era. The Pan Am and Concorde glory days are fondly remembered by those fortunate enough to afford it. Smoking was legal on planes, one seat was the size of 3 nowadays, and people dressed in their finest clothes. However, during that time there were drawbacks to traveling, and many people were scared of flying on airplanes.
Statistically, people were five times likely to be killed in a plane crash than today; it also wasn’t safe to land in fog, often resulting in mid-air crashes. It was incredibly dull to fly 50 years ago; there was no iPhones, iPads or in-flight entertainment to pass the time of the long flights, often taking days to travel and having to stop 3 or 4 times until it reached its final destination.
Advancements in transportation technology have made it easier than ever to allow people to travel quickly and (relatively) cheaply, depending on the mode of transport. Airplanes are now able to bring a large number of passengers across oceans in one go, without having to stop to refuel or change planes. Fast trains, highway systems, and city bike rentals have allowed people to move over land more efficiently. Ease of travel has effectively squashed fears, frustration and the burden of expense, relatively speaking.
Social media has inherently changed everything about how we travel, even up to 10 years ago. Facebook is generally used to ask people for recommendations on where to go, and Instagram is used to find the most photogenic spots and posts for everyone to see. Although it is a much easier and convenient way to communicate and see places, it has lasting effects on tourism.
Because everyone knows of all the “hidden gems,” nothing has stayed hidden - places have become filled with tourists trying to take pictures on their selfie-sticks, and have become tourists trying to cross places off their bucket-list rather than truly connecting with the culture, other people, and food. People have ended up seeing the places virtually through their phone screens rather than experiencing them with their own eyes.
Traditional media outlets have been instrumental in shaping the way humans travel. Because of the way media cycles are structured, the amount of negative reports in more traditional countries is astronomical. The way which the media portrays the horrific and inhumane terrorism and other atrocities in certain countries, they often leave out what the everyday people living in the same country think about it, leading most people to believe that the acts of terrorism are something everyone condones and believes in. This practice has been so prominent for so long that many people are afraid to travel in general, and especially to certain parts of the world.
But in reality, just like in the United States, there is a small minority of people committing the horrific acts, and the rest are just ordinary people. Anthony Bourdain was a modern pioneer in the idea that humans are more similar to each other than we think. Almost everywhere out the ordinary Bourdain traveled, people thought he was insane. But as each of his episodes' progressed, many people were shocked to learn that people talked, laughed and ate around a table with their family, just like us.
The US State Department has not helped to encourage people to travel. At this very moment, for almost everywhere in the world, there is a travel warning issued. The problem with the State Department system of travel warnings is that it gives warnings in countries with only a few terrorist attacks which are often the headlining news for weeks. But since the end of June, there have been 154 mass shootings in the United States, many of which only are headlines for a day or two, or have not made the news at all.
However, if you look at other country’s foreign advice, there are warnings about terrorism in the United States. This goes to show that everywhere and anywhere people travel they have to should follow basic precautions, but additionally to not take some of the warnings so seriously.
Humans have always traveled, dating as far back as written human history. With the continual advancement of technology, the way humans travel will continue to travel in unique and different ways the previous generation can only dream of. According to Conde Nast Traveler, in the future checking in will no longer be a necessity, wifi will get better on planes, biometric technology will speed up security lines, more international route will be offered, comparing flight prices will be harder, and airlines will be packing more people onto planes. Whatever the future holds for human’s ability to travel, rest assured all of it will change again within a blink of an eye.Itching to hear about one of these far-off places? Read our short guide to Germany.