a person holding a phone

Things are changing rapidly these days, especially with tech dominating virtually everything. And while we move forward with positive changes to the travel experience – we must not forget where we came from. And by we- we mean everyone born after Y2K – which by the way, means nothing to someone born in the year 2000 and above. Without further adieu, here’s what people born after the year 2000 will never know about travel. Well, until now…

Nanjing Road street with many people and signsThe Airplane Phone

As (some) of you may remember – there once was a day, when each seat on the airplane did not have an entertainment screen – but they did have a phone. They hardly ever worked, and cost somewhere around $20 a minute – but they were there. Those big, chunky, beige phones are gone, we can’t say we miss them, and we’ll take this opportunity to say hello to lightning fast airline wifi.

Local Travel Agents

The thought of walking in to your local travel agent to book your next holiday seems ludicrous nowadays, but once upon a time – it was the only way. Thanks to the lovely internet, Expedia and a number of online booking sites, booking from the comfort of your own sofa is the new norm – and we don’t hear (really) anyone complaining. But keep in mind, travel agents can work miracles still.

a passport and boarding passPrinted Tickets

There’s something charming about a printed boarding card – but that’s not a printed ticket. Back in the day, travelers needed to be abundantly organized, ensuring they brought every last inch of printed stub to the airport. There were no e-tickets, so if you forgot it, you were going nowhere. Truly, your ticket was lost. What email? I mean, right? This is yet another oldie we’re happy to put past us.

Map Books

Let’s be honest –  thank goodness for Google Maps. Those born with an internet connection will largely have missed the days of printed maps for roads and cities around the world. Can you even imagine acting like a navigator, plotting your course in pencil, the night before – now? Mobile connections have saved us hours of sitting in queues and driving round in circles – and for that, we’re thankful.

Selective Photos

Once upon a time, those truly painful selfies you took would’ve cost at least $35 a roll. And a roll only had about 24 pictures by the way. Once upon a time, there were NO REDO’s – so whatever you took was whatever you got. And sometimes, to no fault of your own, the film would be expired, and you’d get nothing. So next time you line up that perfect selfie, take a moment to think how many people spent fortunes at the same location. You’re welcome.

a colorful buildings on a cliff by the water with Cinque Terre in the backgroundGuide Books

Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zagat, Fodors, Lonely Planet – HAH! Before 2000, only Zagat and Fodors existed, and they were in print. If you wanted to know where the cool bars, restaurants and attractions were- you needed to hope they’d still be cool years later from when the books were printed! Finding the new “cronut” or other of the moment trends didn’t exist – so exploring was a real “thing”. Again, you’re welcome.

Pre Facebook

Social media has revolutionized travel, and minus selfie sticks, it’s; mostly for the better. “I’ll be in Los Angeles next week, anyone going to be around?”. Instantly – recommendations, places to stay and great trip ideas. But before, you may have been in the same city as a close friend and had no idea. It’s not like roaming packages where a thing back then – cellphones barely were!

Do you have any travel nostalgia, from things past?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. BIG PLANE SEATS and the Kids section on TWA flights that were headed to MCO. The kids section had free soda and snacks and magazines that were geared towards teens, like Tiger Beat…..awwww the 80’s

  2. Traveled around SE Asia in the late eighties and early nineties with my trusty lonely planet guide..deffo around before 2000

  3. Your inclusion of travel agents as something outmoded is a little “old.”. Greatest growth for a traditional travel agent is the millennial. No, not grandma and grandpa, they are home trying to be “cool” spending 1.5 hours to make a domestic round trip air reservation.

  4. I sometimes miss the feeling of being far away. I was in Morroco in 2005 and really felt in another world. During this decade I’ve been further away and feel connected as any give day.

  5. Zagat and Fodors existed before 2000, bit not Lonely Planet?? ..

    I travelled South East Asia on a shoestring in 1988 with Lonely Planet in my rucksack, and at that time they had been around since 1972 🙂

  6. Meals in coach on every flight
    People getting dressed up to fly
    Going to the gate to meet an ariveing passanger

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