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9 Inventions That Have Changed The Way We Travel

1) Atlas

Gerardus Mercator, a cartographer, began to use the word Atlas for the map book in the sixteenth century. At that time, the creation of atlas was a collective work of mathematicians, astronomers, cartographers and artists (sea monsters in the oceans). Maps were very expensive, and naval nations like the Spanish or Portuguese nation regarded them extremely valuable and they were usually one of the favourite pirate’s prays. Often maps were deliberately charted wrongly to mislead the rivals. Maps are even nowadays the first step in planning a new trip.

2) Sunscreens

The ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, the Greeks, the Romans were appalled by the idea of exposing their faces or, god-forbid, their body to the sun. The darkened tan was the attribute of peasants and slaves who had to work in the fields. Pale skin tan marked a noble status. In medieval England face masks were worn not to allow the sun to shine directly on the pale tan of court ladies. With the arrival of the industrial revolution when peasants became transformed into workers, stopped working outside and moved in the stuffy and dark factories, sunbathing became a trend. Since then, the bronze tan is a trait of those who are on vacation or do not have to work. In 1929, the first sunglasses were designed for Atlantic City walks, and in 1936, L’Oréal launched the first sunscreen. Today a sunscreen industry is a billion-dollar business.

3) Vaccine

Travel is an ideal way to pick up exotic illnesses. Over ninety percent of the local population of pre-Columbus America was completely unprepared, in terms of immunology, for the arrival of the conquerors. They became ill and died of various illnesses introduced to them by the Spanish conquistadors.

In Europe in 1721, Lady Montague, wife of the British ambassador at the Ottoman Court, presented the first pre-vaccine to the West. Today, vaccination prevents the possibility of an infection in some of the most dangerous areas of the world and never before has the health industry provided so much protection against some of the deadliest diseases.

4) Bikini

There is a small Bikini atoll on the remote Marshall Islands. After the war in 1946, this small atoll became known for nuclear bomb testing. That summer, at the peak of the season in Cannes, small patches of fabric connected by a string were presented to the world. The bikini was born to the terror of the Puritans who considered even Esther Williams’s attire, similar to an athletic jersey, to be immoral.

It experienced the real breakthrough in the world of fashion eight years later when Roger Vadim, the director, gave it to an unknown star, Brigitte Bardot, when he sent her to enjoy the sun on the Riviera in St. Tropez. Monokini was later designed in Austria in 1964. but it has never reached the glory status of its scarce predecessor.

5) Camera

Ever since ancient times the human beings wanted to record what they saw. Even the cavemen dipped their fingers into various powders and drew scenes from their hunting experiences. Later on, throughout the centuries, painters were the main celebrities. The invention of the photo camera has democratized the recording of the moment and made an artist out of all of us.

The first fixed photo was created by the obscure camera in 1827. The procedure was improved continuously so by the end of the century travellers have already brought the first daguerreas (after Daguerre, the painter who worked the most on this process) from their travels to Egypt.

George Eastman, who invented the first film and later the mass market photo camera, launched the advertising slogan at the beginning of the last century: “You photograph and we will do the rest.” Today, the only artists are Kodak freaks heirs. At this time of total connectivity, it is estimated that about 4 billion photos are uploaded daily to social networks.

6) Souvenirs

The word Souvenir derives from French word that denotes memory. A proof from a distant location that we brought home to recall beautiful moments and brag about them to neighbours and friends. Collecting souvenirs was brought to fashion by various conquers – the British Museum in London proves that point by being itself the world’s largest exhibition of souvenirs plundered during the long years of royal army’s touristic travels.

Souvenirs are bought by almost everyone, regardless of whether they are sparkling plastic gondolas from Venice, T-shirts with the inscriptions “I get drunk in Tijuana” or stolen heads from the monuments in Angkor Wat. Most of the mementoes never end up on our shelves, and they last for a couple of years before we re-gift them or simply throw them away. The value of the souvenir drops rapidly in relation to the distance from the point of purchase.

7) Guides

By switching from horses to trains, the travel in Europe quickly became much simpler. Thus, there was a need for information on some country in the native language. In 1839 the first travel guide was printed. German publisher Karl Baedecker is the father of the tourist guides we know today. For over a hundred years his name was attributed to all guides.

Books with red covers, later copied by Michelin, were true encyclopaedias of data and instructions. The Baedecker company’s headquarters and its valuable archives were destroyed in bombarding in Leipzig. The company began to publish again five years later, and soon it was bought by American Fodor’s – also a travel guide publisher.

For decades, guides were colloquially called Baedeckers. Today, the most popular travel guides are by far Lonely Planet and Rough Guide, especially for trips to other continents and they cover almost every place on our little planet. Without them our travels would be significantly less fulfilled and interesting. In today’s age of online information travel guides still have their place on the shelves and in travel bags.

8) Internet

Internet has brought the complete democratization of information so they are now accessible to everyone free of charge. In the old days, tourist agencies and people working in them were the most important source of information. Their experience even today cannot be replaced by consolidators and various search engines that offer accommodation and various types of transportation.

However, many travellers feel better if they organize their travels by “themselves”. Of course, every web site that sells something is an agency just like any other, and it works on a certain commission. This has resulted in the enormous growth of agencies such as, Expedie, SkyScanner and others at the expense of TUI, Thomas Cook and other classical companies. In some countries such as America, England and Scandinavia, tourists are returning to the agencies for personal contact. In recent years, the so-called “economy of sharing” is becoming more and more popular.

Because of the new business model of agencies such as AirBnb, Uber, FridayFlat, and websites such as Bla Bla Car, Homeexchange and the like, the way the business operates in the world is changing. To the joy of consumers and to the regret of the companies and their employees who are left out of work and the states that lose various taxes. Similar course of events is happening in publishing and journalism as well. The print media is disappearing and web portals are taking their place. Anyway, everything is changing rapidly so it’s exciting to follow the changes.

9) Low Cost Carrier

Low Budget Air Carriers are the brand-new business model that has been in development for decades only to arrive and be presented in the shape we see it today in Europe. The largest LCC is the US Pacific Southwest company that since the 1970s offers discounted air fare prices in local traffic. In Europe, that is Ryanair that was the result of the deregulation of airspace in Europe in 1997.

Today 350 engines of the same type 737-800 fly to 32 European countries, in addition to Morocco and Israel. The idea was to connect smaller regional airports near major cities or crowded regions. Tourist centres pay large sums to LCC companies, and these in return bring tens of thousands of visitors who would probably never come if not for LCCs and who are statistically better consumers than those coming by other forms of transportation.

Savings are made on planes as well. For example, new Ryanair airplanes come with seats that cannot be adjusted, that have no pockets and emergency instructions on flyers. Lifejackets are in the luggage compartment, not below the seats, which speeds up the cleaning and shortens the time aircraft is forced to be on the ground. Also, on the plane everything is additionally charged so that it can be expected that one will soon be charged for the use of the toilets.

The LCCs have contributed immensely to the number of passengers. Practically overnight, many people who did not travel because of the high prices of air tickets, began to travel. The other reason is that LCCs connect destinations that previously required long lasting and expensive travel budgets. For example, if there were no direct flight from Dublin to Zadar, you would have to change 3 planes and travel the whole day.

So far, there have been several attempts in trans-continental flights by LCCs. This year the Icelandic WOW, and since recently Norwegian, offered such service but the development of that segment has yet to be monitored.

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