Travel was less frequent
Now, across the board, flights are less expensive than they were 25 years ago, especially with carriers like Norwegian and WOW Air connecting the US to Europe, Iceland, Asia, and beyond. Plus, traditional airlines have begun to offer much more competitive prices, too. And once across the pond, traversing Europe need not cost more than a $10 lunch, thanks to now-ubiquitous Ryanair and easyJet routes.
Flights are also much more abundant, something which partly accounts for an almost 300 per cent increase in the number of overseas trips taken by travelers since the early 1990s. The profusion of available flights has also changed the way we travel. Rather than the two-week-long “Big Trips” of the 1990s’, short breaks and one-week jaunts now reign supreme.
Travel was simpler, but less independent
Today, the mind-boggling array of data at our disposal enables wholly-independent travel experiences, from finding the cheapest flights on Skyscanner to researching Lisbon’s best restaurants on TripAdvisor. But such a wealth of information can be overwhelming—that’s where travel guides come in handy, cutting through the cacophony of online information and providing expertly curated, local advice.
It was all about the tick-list
And while tourists today remain keen on admiring those bucket-list sights, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Rome’s Trevi Fountain, so equally do we hanker to unearth a more authentic side to a city or country. That’s why, in our brand-new DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, we not only include must-see sights, but blend this with local, insider advice on the best experiences a destination has to offer.
Some European destinations have also seen an influx of travelers. In 1993, Eastern European countries were only just opening their doors. Fast-forward to 2018, and Prague, Budapest, and Warsaw are some of the continent’s hottest destinations, while Croatia is now firmly on most people’s bucket lists. Most of these new destinations would have seemed decidedly offbeat back in 1993, a time when European classics like France and Italy held near-total sway.
We kept in touch with postcards
Keeping in touch is a cinch for us 21st-century travellers, though; communication is near-instantaneous via applications like Skype and WhatsApp, everyone has a smartphone, and WiFi’s always on offer. Postcards are still sent—and still take yonks to arrive; some things really do never change—but have since assumed a retro charm.
Accommodation was limited
But Airbnb and its numerous imitators have subsequently changed everything. Now, not only can you stay in bonafide local homes, but also in bonafide local windmills, wagons, boats, lighthouses, and even lorries.
People took fewer photos
Yet soon, along came dinky digital cameras, the internet, and finally smartphones, devices whose excellent lenses and high-storage potential today allow for photos galore—and for immediately sharing these images via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Your carry-on bag was bursting at the seams
Life is simpler—and lighter—now. For one thing, we’re no longer weighed down by local currency: a proliferation of global ATMs and free-to-use-abroad bank cards mean we can grab cash on the go—and, since 2002, the euro has simplified Eurozone currency, too. Tablets also allow us to read books digitally, while phones host all our e-tickets and boarding passes.
Here at DK Travel, we’ve taken note of this lighter approach to travel. That’s why our updated DK Eyewitness Travel Guides now come in a smaller, lightweight format that will easily fit easily into your backpack.
You could smoke while flying
British Airways took until 1998 to fully outlaw cigarettes at 45,000 feet; by 2000, almost all other airlines had joined them. Today it’s rare to find a city bar where one can puff away, let alone a jumbo jet.