Here’s How Tourism Worked in the 1860s

One of the only constants: Paris is popular.

The English city of Bath was one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the 1800's
The English city of Bath was one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the 1800's Kotomi_

In the 21st century, the average U.S. citizen travels about 16,000 miles a year. In 1900, the average American only traveled 340 miles. In the late 1800s, most hotels didn't have toilets. And, however bad traveling by bus might seem, it is infinitely better than traveling for days in a bumpy stage coach.

In 150 Years of Travel, the people at HotelClub (“a global online accommodation community for travelers in the know”) compare tourism as we know it today with the industry at its origins. The company suggests that, with the advent of guidebooks, photography and all inclusive trips, modern tourism began in the 1860s. But traveling before it was cool (or, at least, quick and readily available to the masses) wasn’t always a picnic. From io9:

[The infographic] covers everything from common complaints, cost, time, currency, and technology. They even gathered predictions for what travel will look like in the future.

Among the bits of information included in the inforgraphic [sic] is that Victorian British complained about the lack of people speaking English, with their solution being that more Europeans speak it. According to the statistics, 51% of the EU now speaks English.

Language aside, there were a few pluses to being a pioneering tourist. At least in Britain, a passport was not required to enter or leave the country. (The rest of Europe was not so lackadaisical with borders.) (You can see the rest here.)

Tourists' destiantions have changed, too. We're more likely to go to big cities, like New York or London, than places like Niagara Falls or Bath, England. The only place that has retained its popularity? Paris.

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