This Is How 20-Somethings Traveled 30 Years Ago

India | Sally Pierce / Culture Trip
Lucy Pierce

Over the years, travel has become easier, countries more accessible and flights more affordable. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of passengers flying per year has increased by 1.51 billion in the last ten years alone! What else has changed over the last three decades?

The media

Thanks to the internet, we have a vast array of information at the tip of our fingers. According to Social Media Today, teens spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, and thus, millenials begin to lust after exciting adventures. In the past, however, it was more a case of knowing you wanted to go somewhere, whether inspired by word of mouth, travel adverts in newspapers, books or TV documentaries and films.


Tracking your finances

Word of mouth & travel guides

In the past, contacting friends and relatives in advance was common, so you could make arrangements. However, from time to time, you wouldn’t be able to reach each other, making it necessary to rely on recommendations from your guidebook, directions from locals or maps. Now, it’s much more efficient to pre-download maps like or Google Maps, as well as the option of roaming services on your phone or buying a foreign SIM card.

Nepal & Burma

Booking accommodation

Without the ease of booking accommodation on smartphones or on the previous hostel’s wi-fi, 30 years ago it was more a case of delving into your travel guides (which other travelers would beg to use), rocking up at a hostel and hoping there was a spare bed. If not, on to the next one!


With Kindles, Netflix, Spotify, iPads and smartphones, we have plenty of things to keep us entertained on long bus or train journeys, yet still complain about how bored we are. Want to try traveling in the good old days? You really would have been short of entertainment when you finished your book or ran out of things to talk about with the person sitting next to you!



Want to keep in touch with all your friends and family on the other side of the world? Yes, it was possible, but the availability and cost made it a rarity. It was possible to use a telex, which would send a written message to someone else who owned a telex. Otherwise letters and postcards were the main source of contact, sometimes taking weeks to arrive, if at all! There was no pinging an instantaneous message to someone over one of the many social media platforms we have now. The cliché, “getting away from it all” used to mean exactly that. If and when you encountered a problem, you had to sort it out yourself!

The best surprise of all!

If you have managed to keep all your film intact, once you’d returned home, you would have the delight of reliving all your wonderful experiences again as you flicked through your pictures. As long as they had all come out properly, which was a risk!

Puri, India

In hindsight, we are extremely fortunate to be able to research and book everything with such ease. However, we have lost a little of the magic of really being on the other side of the world, out on a limb and having to wing it. Thus, having a real authentic experience due to the situations you get thrown into and the people you meet along the way. That’s not to say all travelers are glued to their phones, but maybe next time you’re traveling, see if you can live without your smartphone for a week! Good Luck!

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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