In 1863

Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Charles Dickens founded The Arts Club, Jules Verne published his first novel, and Gerard Adriaan Heineken planned to buy his first brewery.


Publisher Karl Baedeker had set the standard for authoritative guidebooks and tourist handbooks

  • His style popularized the notion of ‘sightseeing’ and tourist obligations

Entrepreneur Thomas Cook had pioneered the all-inclusive trip in 1855, birthing commercial mass tourism

  • He also created the first hotel vouchers and tourist brochures

Francis Frith and other early travel photographers began to make the world feel a smaller place

  • Accurate representations of distant lands fuelled appetite for travel
Roll over the spots to reveal city names
Cairo, Egypt Paris, France Davos, Switzerland Jerusalem, The Holy Land Niagara Falls, Canada Nice, France Rome, Italy Oslo, Norway Bath, England Shanghai, China
Bangkok, Thailand London, England Paris, France Singapore, Republic of Singapore New York City, USA Istanbul, Turkey Dubai, United Arab Emirates Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Hong Kong, China Barcelona, Spain


  • • The Victorians bemoaned the lack of good tea abroad, and resolved to bring their own, in order avoid ‘detestable foreign concoctions’.
  • • Breakfast posed a similar problem: “a man wants more for breakfast than a little thimbleful of coffee or chocolate and a morsel of bread.”
  • • Today, poor airline food tops many list of complaints.
  • • When travelling by sailing ships, arrival times were dictated by the weather and impossible to predict.
  • • World’s First Airport sustained international service starts flying from Hounslow Heath, London 1919
  • 41,821 total number of airports in the world, 2013
  • • Today, delayed or cancelled flights and missed connections cause similar headaches.

In 2013, the most efficient major airports in the world are:

In 2013, the worst performing airports in the world are:

  • • Passports were not required to enter or leave Britain, but were required to enter Europe.
  • • The Times declared that: “An Englishman believes that his presence in the shape of five feet nine of respectability is proof enough that he must once have been born, and had a name.”
  • • Customs were decried as “a tyranny most repulsive to our British notions.”
  • • Today, overly invasive airport security is still a common concern.
  • • Travellers are often advised to arrive a full 3 hours before their flight departure.
  • • U.S. Customs now use full body scanners and fingerprint scanners.
  • • The Victorian solution was that Europeans must learn English.
  • • In 1849, one traveller remarked: “as for places English is not spoken, there are very few… almost every tolerable hotel has some person whose business it is to speak English.”
  • • Today, more of Europe speaks English than ever before.
  • 51% of the EU

  • • Victorian travellers often made the final leg of their journey on horse-drawn stagecoach.
  • • These were decried as “rickety, dirty, filthy, conveyances”. Britons often paid more to secure a separate, larger compartment.
  • • Today, a lack of legroom and uncomfortable seats top the list of flyers complaints.
  • • People continue to pay more for extra space.
  • Many of the Victorians’ biggest gripes are no longer seen as major issues:
  • • Damp beds and fleas were such a severe issues that many travelers packed leather sheets or mattress protectors
  • • Most hotels had no toilets – guests could request chamber pots or use the hotel courtyard
  • Today, our technology has given has a whole new range of things to complain about. Some of the most common:
  • • Exorbitant cell phone roaming charges
  • • Hidden ATM and online-booking fees

In 1900, a US citizen
would travel an average of

340 miles per year

(by steam & electric railway)

Today, the average US citizen travels
50 times as far:

16,000 miles a year

(mostly by car and airplane (a 50-fold increase)

Gallons needed per 1000 passenger miles:

Despite this, fuel consumption has increased roughly

40 times

since 1900.

This is because population has nearly quadrupled and each person travels about

50 times

as many miles per year.

Until the first scheduled jet flights in 1958, steamship was the predominant means of crossing the Atlantic (Liverpool to New York).

Normal jet aircraft make the crossing from London to New
York in around 7 hours.

  • From 1976 to 2003, Concorde offered a supersonic service that took less than 4 hours!
  • The fastest recorded flight is just 1 hour 54 min!
    (1974, USAF Blackbird)
  • A company called ET3 has plans to develop Evacuated Tube Transport, a high-speed transportation tube technology that uses magnetic levitation. The ETT can theoretically travel at speeds of up to 4,000 miles per hour

Travelling from the east to the west coast of the USA
(New York to California) took weeks.

Normal jet aircraft travel coast to coast in 5.5 hours;
NYC to LA is one of the most popular domestic air routes.

  • Evacuated Tube Transport, a high-speed transportation tube technology that can theoretically travel at speeds of up to 4,000 miles per hour, would cut this time to just 45 minutes.

A round-trip transatlantic crossing in 1863, via steamship, adjusted for inflation:

A round-trip transatlantic crossing, flying

Thomas Cook’s 21-day all-inclusive Swiss tour (one of the first all-inclusive holidays):

In 1863 cost $1,400*

Following the same route, including 9 meals but excluding flights/trains:

Today costs $2,700

*adjusted for inflation

In 1865 an attempt was made to unify the currencies of a number of countries.

It failed, and was abandoned in 1927.

In 1999, another attempt was made – the Euro was introduced. Today, it is the official currency of 17 countries:

It is currently faltering due to the debt crisis.

Pound Sterling

United States Dollar

Fixed to the Gold Standard, there was almost no exchange rate fluctuation in Europe. Between 1839 and 1914, the exchange rate between

GBP and USD changed by less than 1%

Today, large fluctuations in exchange rates are the norm. Between 2002 and 2012, the exchange rate between

USD and the Euro changed by nearly 35%

In 1863, many Victorian travellers would carry an array of gadgets, such as:

Today, all of these items have been supplanted by the smartphone. This item has also somewhat negated the need for translators, tour guides, postcards, and calculators.

Space travel is currently on the horizon.

Virgin Galactic

is currently taking bookings for the first
commercial space flights,

with tickets costing


This is over 50 times the cost of the first
scheduled airline flight, tickets for which sold for

US $5,000(adjusted for inflation)

and which departed
St Petersburg on January 1st 1914.
The first public Virgin Galactic flight is scheduled for 2014, 100 years since this first scheduled airline flight.

The Tourism 2023 Project
envisaged a number of scenarios:

Travel website Tnooz
made a series of predictions about the future of travel retailing:

A Different World?

An almost unfathomable amount of progress has been made in the last 150 years. Some things – such as the means by which we travel, and the technology we use – have changed beyond recognition. And yet, in many respects we have a lot in common with our Victorian counterparts. We face many of the same problems, and – crucially – we travel for many of the same reasons.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
St Augustine