A brief history of travel

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone! A cliche, of course, but most cliches’ have more than a grain of truth to them. In this case the thing we’re all missing is travel. Who could have guessed that meandering around our beautiful blue dot would be off the menu? It was inconceivable that it would be a pleasure that would be withdrawn. Short of WWIII breaking out, I don’t think many people would have foreseen our current situation. I think most of us took it for granted that foreign travel would be a luxury to enjoy every year. It got me thinking about travel and what is it that we love so much and why it’s seems an entitlement for those lucky enough to be able to afford the diversion. Our long distant ancestors, who were very closely related to humans, were hunter-gatherers for 5.5 million years until roughly 11,000 years B.C. when the agricultural revolution began to change the way of life. Homo Sapiens date from around 200,000 B.C. and spent 189,000 years of that time as hunter-gatherers. A typical band of nomads would explore a vast territory in search of food, water and shelter. Never staying in one place for too long, they were constantly on the move. This way of life necessitated that possessions were pared down to the bare minimum. Things changed when humans were tied to one spot with their crops and their animals once the agricultural revolution became the dominant way of life. That is quite a significant change.It was a huge adaptation that bought about it’s own disadvantages but it became the new norm for the vast majority of humanity. I’m not suggesting that wandering around searching for the essentials to stay alive was a holiday but it was a way of life that offered variety and change. For millions of years it was not feasible to stay in one place. The essentials to stay alive would soon be exhausted if a few square miles of land was constantly harvested. You could speculate that a change of scenery and a nomadic yen is hard wired into our DNA. It wasn’t until the age of exploration and empire building that the world was opened up to the possibility of experiencing foreign lands. Captain Cook, Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus and other great seafarers paved the way. The industrial revolution ushered in steam locomotion, ships and the combustion engine. The age of tourism was born. At first it was the privileged few and the Aristocracy who could take advantage of the possibilities but it wasn’t very long before travel became cheap enough for the middle classes and working classes to follow suit. The English seaside thrived as mobility became accessible to all. It was the jet engine that really opened the world up. The late 50’s and early 60’s saw an explosion of relatively cheap package holidays. All of a sudden the age of mass travel was upon us. Most people with the desire to travel took full advantage. Long haul destinations were in reach, it was a revolution. It seemed we’d come full circle. The desire to wander was obviously a world away from the hunter gatherers motivation but the desire to do so wasn’t so different. New flavours, new experiences, new vistas are appealing to humans no matter what millennia they exist in. Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith is the Owner of SkiBoutique and SunBoutique. SkiBoutique was founded in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength. SunBoutique opened its doors for business in 2019. Dan specialises in high-end, luxury ski chalets in the Alps and luxury villas in several locations around the Mediterranean. Dan also ski guides in Zermatt, his winter home. Dan spends his summers in Mallorca so it’s fair to say he has his finger on the pulse of both winter and summer destinations. Dan is very much hands on with his clients and quite a few have become close friends. Dan is always looking for new properties that meet the high bar he has set for both winter and summer accommodation.

Did you enjoy this article?

Receive similar content direct to your inbox.


  1. Who could have imagined like this could have happened? Travel coming to an almost complete standstill.

    I enjoyed this and look forward to “A brief insight into the future of travel”(!!) as surely there are going to be some very interesting changes that lie ahead, both in the short and long term.

    1. Jasmine, thanks for your comment. Re a ‘Brief insight into the future of travel’ I for one hope I see the day when we can spend time in low orbit around the Earth. I would absolutely love to stare out of the observation deck of the Space Crusier while we circle the planet. Imagine the the awe and wonder of looking down on the continents and the oceans. Bring it on!

  2. Great read, Danny! It’s amazing to think how travel has evolved, even in just the last century. I mean… to think we even used to smoke cigarettes on a plane of all places???!!

    1. Nicholas,

      Thanks for your comment. “The only constant thing is change”, a phrase coined by Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher. Who knows what we’ll be doing on a plane in the years to come. I’m looking forward to the glass plane with 180 degree views.

  3. It is really fascinating to see how much things have changed. Travelling was not a luxury and privilege back then. Our ancestors travel to survive and look for new places to hunt. Today, we do it to relax and spend our vacation in new places. Advancement in machinery and technology have made it easier for us to go from one place to another and it will continue to develop in the future. However, we should also take note that travelling gives us an opportunity to learn more about the world. It allows us to emerge in different societies, explore different cultures, and appreciate nature more than ever. Let us always remember these things whenever we travel.

    1. Kenny,

      Thanks for your comment. Travel is without doubt a mind expanding activity for anyone with a shred of curiosity. The act of travel has gone a long way towards achieving a more tolerant global society.

  4. This was one of the better posts I’ve ever read here! I think it’s so important to sometimes look back at history to better understand our place in the world today. To think of how we got here is stunning and inspiring and makes me appreciate being alive. That’s the whole point of travel!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *