I just know I will do a blog posting on this soon!
I backpacked 10 years ago extensively, and now for the past 3.7 years non stop. A lot has changed.
Ten years ago it was me, an overpacked backpack, and a big guide book. And, yes, eyes wide open.
Now it's me, a laptop, a mobile phone, a still over packed pack and not so big guide book. And, yes, cynical eyes a watching.
Aside from costs, there's more that has changed.
Visa's are harder to get (overlanding it, longhaul)
People book hostels through the internet.
Travelers meet and then arrange over their mobiles to meet again. And stay in touch.
People seem more worried about travelling now, medically speaking anyway.
There are more cliques traveling.
Online banking, need I say more
Pay to be a volunteer is huge.
Blogs are the thing to communicate home with. Email is still there for the immidiate family. But the blog rules for all.
SKYPE is the thing to do to call home. No more payphones. Head to the internet cafe, or to your dorm with the laptop and tell the world your conversation.
PDA's appear out of people pockets in the middle of nowhere as they plan their route through gps.
Peoples sense of geography and ability to research a trip seems to be lacking (ok, that what a personal jibe)
I am not cynical enough to continue on for fear people may think this is a negative topic. While there are some out there that would prefer the old way of travel. No phones, or gizmos's. Just backpack on and off you go. And I do appreciate that myself. I also like having a phone, and the ability to blog my travels for myself, if for no one else.
That's just a few things I have noticed. What have you noticed? And what do you think about the evolution of travel?
I think that people are using travel agents less, and doing more researching and planning themselves. When I was a kid whenever we used to go on family holidays my parents would always go the travel agents and book flights/accomodation/tours .etc. Now that the Internet is such a fantastic resource I think more people are doing this for themselves - with almost all airlines you can now book online, same for hostels as outcast said. I think TP alone is evidence enough of people researching and booking travel on their own! I guess it comes down to the convenience of the Internet and the desire to try and get off the beaten track, not wanting to go to the same places as everyone else.
[ Edit: Edited on Aug 13, 2008, at 3:43 AM by soliqa ]
I have found the main difference to be that a long time ago i would get on a ferry from dover and then a train to wherever i was going with my tent and turn up at a campsite that i had seen in a 5 year old book of european campsites hoping it was still there and with some space for me and my tent. nowadays i research everything on the internet, go to the airport with my guide books and knowledge of where i am going and then check into my already booked hostel in whatever country i am going to.
I think basically the internet has taken the unpredictability out of travelling and made it much easier for far more people to travel. it is now cheaper to fly long distance and stay in a hostel than it used to be to go camping around europe.
I'm not saying it was either better or worse before, just very different.
Great post Outcast.
Times change indeed and it all appears logical to me what you mentioned.
About two things: visas and geography
1. For some countries, the visa rules have been much less of a problem. Doesn't matter if you are overlanding it, long haul, or visiting for one day by plane. Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia (well, the latter might be more tight right now) are good examples of countries that don't require you to have a visa if you are from certain countries. Others don't require you any more to have all your nights booked in advance or maybe just one night.
2. Geography. That's what surprised me the most, that experienced travellers don't seem to know about countries, capital, distances and just some basic info. I don't expect people to know how many seconds it takes to travel between Ouagadougou and Timbouktou, but at least some idea of our planet would be nice. Also, I am surprised that people only seem to be interested in where they have been and where they are definately going (booked things or so), but don't have the slightest idea about countries and places and what else are options. What I mean? Well, sometimes I just go to the nearest book store to read about countries, even withouth the smallest plans of getting there....ok, maybe in the far future.
Cliques traveling and paying to be a volunteer.....just makes me laugh
Yeah--what's up with paying to be a volunteer? I get that you need to be housed and fed, but it seems a little extreme.
I agree with Utrecht--far too few people know about geography in general. And now more of them are actually up and travelling. It's kind of odd. I remember one of the smartest girls in our high-school class thought Florida was the capital of California--and EVERYONE here travels to Florida at some point. t didn't seem to be on the "practical info" list so I guess she didn't focus on it too much.
I wonder if it's got to do with different levels of curiosity--people who travel to see the world versus people who travel to strictly for a particular experience. After all, some people travel every year for decades--to the exact same place!
I remember traveling through large parts of Africa and only being able to get cash in the capital cities with travelers checks. Glad those days are largely behind us.
Yeah--what's up with paying to be a volunteer?
I totally agree. The marketers grabbed the term volunteer and have turned it into something else. I volunteered in Africa for over two years and had accom and a basic wage given to me. I met people signing up from abroad paying upwards of 1000 Euro a month to pay for a lesser experience
Then in Nepal I met people who paid 4000GBP for 6 weeks volunteering. They stayed in the same monastery as backpackers who just showed up for free. They were non too happy with the agency.
For some countries, the visa rules have been much less of a problem
You're right Utrecht. I remember east Europe being particularly easy, and Europe as a whole, if you have a euro passport that is. An Ozzy I met was having a nightmare. I think China has become harder due to the games, which is strange and for sure Russia. I would love to head into Russia, but do not want a tour!! nor pre book all my accommodation in expensive government hotels. Maybe I could lie, and have them follow me around
halfnine Yes I am glad the for ATM's too! I couldn't even find a place to cash them in Europe, poland aside. ATM is the way. Though having a stash for back up, I would like
It's interesting what bwiiian and soliqa says about the unpredictability going out of travel and the internet's influence. I am in two minds about this. The world is getting smaller, no doubt. We can research even the most backwater of places. It's harder to find that unknown country for sure. But, I think this is a good thing. It spurs us as a world culture on to greater things. Pushing the boundaries of exploration. Space is next. Mr. Branson is seeing to that. Meanwhile the rest of us still have great swathes of areas not populated by tourists now the internet. Mongolia anyone?
Cultural understanding is another thing that bothers me about a lot of travelers these days too. Girls in bikini tops in central Turkey? As a redblooded male I don't complain But seeing the looks of some locals watching the girls 'carry on' was a little embarrassing. Same goes for the drunken loutish guys btw.
I like to respect the culture of the country I am going to. I overheard one of the above mentioned people say "Is it Muslim here?" It seemed they carried a guide book, but never opened it.