Saturday - Sep 23, 2017

How We Travelled 20 Years Ago

How We Travelled 20 Years Ago

We have just stepped into a new decade, the second one of the 21st century. It is amazing to think that 1990 was already 20 years ago. Back then, the internet was only a young enterprise and the world was definitely not as interconnected as it is today.

The way we travel today is very different from how we travelled 20 years ago. Back then, we searched for the best transport deals through travel agents, and trusted them to perform our travel bookings for us as well. Transactions had to be conducted at offices or over the phone, and we certainly did not have the luxury of purchasing a ticket over the internet. Today, online travel planners increase the number of information sources we can go to for planning. This has led to a significant decrease in travel calls.

One thing that has not changed is that cars and four-wheel drives are still one of the most commonly used modes of transport. Nevertheless, oil prices have spiked over the past 20 years due to dwindling supply and other market forces, causing individuals to be more concerned over petrol consumption. Newer cars employ better technology today, using better fuel to reduce environmental pollution.

While bicycles are becoming less common in fast developing cities, they remain a popular travel option for covering short distances. In environmentally friendly European countries, citizens encourage biking instead of driving to work in order to cut down fuel consumption. The climate change scare in the past 20 years has certainly enhanced this mindset.

Air travel has certainly increased by leaps and bounds in the past twenty years, thanks to the availability of low cost airlines. Around 50 per cent of US adults travelled by air for leisure or business purposes lately. Access to low airfares has driven a huge growth in air travel all over the world, connecting human beings from different continents.

Budget airlines only started to become the rage in the 21st century. Prior to that, air travel was not an affordable option by many from the lower middle classes, especially in developing countries outside of the US and UK. Today, zero cost airfares are even available during promotional periods, and bookings can be easily made online. While 20 years ago, online check-in systems were never heard of at most airports, today, a fee is charged by certain airlines if passengers without checked-in baggage opt not to check-in online. This has certainly sped up airport procedures and increased air travel efficiency.

Locally, public transport systems around the world have been vastly improved in the past twenty years. Better train networks have been built in order to encourage public transport usage. Smartcards were also introduced to replace bus tickets in countries such as Singapore and Australia, and maglev or magnetic levitation trains were developed extensively since their introduction in the 70s.

In the future, travel trends suggest that consumers are moving towards greener modes of transportation, such as vehicles powered by electricity and solar panels instead of fuel. Environmentally-friendly travel companies which offset their carbon footprint are also becoming more acceptable choices among travellers as individuals try to do their part in curbing environmental pollution. These challenges were less prominent twenty years ago, and the changes we have seen in the way humans travel since then show how society has morphed and progressed along with the times.

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