The first human beings on Earth were natural-born travelers, but their goal of traveling was very different from ours because instead of having fun and collecting experiences they were fighting for survival. The Medieval Ages brought little change to travel because it was still rather a necessity than a goal in itself. Merchants, doctors, pilgrims, soldiers and even kings were all traveling with a purpose in mind and this purpose was far from leisure and cultural exchange.

The touristic sphere as we know it started to develop with the advent of the railway in the 19th century and planes in the 20th century. Not to say that there were no tourists before the 19th century, but back in those days, there were few adventurous people who would travel to the unknown lands risking their lives.

The real traveling boom happened when the means of transportation became affordable for the common man and technology connected us and gave us an excellent virtual infrastructure and means for traveling. And nowadays the touristic destinations which were striving to attract more and more tourists in the past are forced to limit their numbers because they've started to do more harm than good.

With such a dynamic development of tourism during the last decades, it gets very interesting what the future of traveling will look like.

We will start from the ancient caves of our predecessors and end with the colonies on Mars to show you the past, present, and future of traveling which lured and will always lure humanity.

20 Past: No Tourism Whatsoever or "Caveman Tourism"

The picture you see above is a very romanticized version of caveman times. In fact, it was a very dangerous period in the history of mankind because the first human beings were basically fighting for survival. Needless to say, there was no such thing as tourism. No money, no boarding tickets, no planes, no trains, no cars, and even no wheels.

The first human beings on Earth were traveling by feet just to find food, safe places and protect their "families" from myriads of dangers which surrounded them. Although we can't call it tourism, our far predecessors were the first to explore the beautifies of Earth.

19 Future: Overtourism and its Consequences

Cavemen had absolutely no idea how many people will populate Earth by 2018. In fact, since the first people decided to travel and with further development of tourism, most of the touristic destination have striven to attract as many tourists as they possibly could.

The situation changed with the advent of the second millennium. Now Venice, Barcelona, Paris, Kyoto, and Bali (just to name a few), are overcrowded with tourists to the extent that there's a necessity to set the limits on their numbers. Even the Mount Everest has "traffic jams". Can you imagine?!

Numerous measures were already taken to regulate the number of tourists visiting a certain destination. We'll see what the future of this issue will be.

18 Past: Kings Needed 4 Weeks to Complete a 240 Mile Journey

Let's get back to the past again. In the medieval times, there was still no tourism as such, and it is believed that peasants hadn't seen anything beyond the 20-mile radius from the place where they were born. Even though peasants didn't travel, pilgrims, merchants, soldiers, diplomats, mendicants, and kings did traveling.

Only novels and rich people were privileged to ride horses. Everyone else was riding donkeys or walking by feet. It is remarkable that it took four weeks for a king with an army to cover a 240-mile trip and 12 to 20 days in a good weather and with no difficulties to cross France.

Back in those days, when you went traveling, your family had no idea if they'd ever heard from you again.

17 Future: High-Speed Trains, Hyperloop, and Supersonic Flights

With the introduction of the railway in the 19th century, the journeys became much faster. According to Asa Whiteny, an American merchant who lived in the 1840s, travel time to China was reduced from 153 days to around 30 days.

I can imagine Asa's face if she would hear about High-Speed Trains, Hyperloop, and Supersonic Flights. The high-speed train can go as fast as 350 miles an hour, but this speed would appear sluggish compared to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, which would go as fast as 800 miles per hour. With a technology like this saying "fast as lightning" becomes quite literal.

As for the supersonic flights, scientists and engineers are almost ready to roll out this technology. We have to wait just a little bit before they make it happen.

16 Past: Flying Was a Luxury

After the invention of trains and the development of railways, the next new big thing in traveling was the airplane flight. It wasn't something that only rich could afford. There were fewer airlines, no low-costers, the speed of the aircraft was lower and flights were less frequent.

At the beginning of the flying era, going on a holiday by plane was a big thing and was considered a luxury. You couldn't buy the tickets without a travel agent and parents had to save money to bring the whole family on holidays.

Nowadays, we don't think about it, but the choice of carriers and the current flight fairs are a blessing compared to how it was in the past. We can buy a ticket today and jet off tomorrow. Ask your parents and they will tell you that it would be considered a miracle when they were young.

15 Future: Cruise Ship-Style Aircrafts

People want to go further with everything they do and for this reason, we should expect the increase in the level of air travel comfort. Now, if you travel with low-costers, most probably you have little space in the plane and you can bring a big suitcase only if you pay for it.

With the invention of new planes and ship-style aircraft, this situation is bound to change. Of course, at first it will be a prerogative of the rich, but like all things, with the passage of time, it will become affordable for the common man.

These new aircraft will have plenty of food, big pools, water aerobics, rock climbing walls, themed buffets and everything that's necessary to keep passengers satisfied and entertained. It will be a radical change in how we travel by planes.

14 Past: Physical Maps & Guidebooks

I still remember the times when you had to use a map and guidebook to orient in foreign countries and find the places you need.  No Internet, hence no Google Maps and Google Trips, no Yelp and even Instagram and TripAdvisor. Just you, your partner and a map! I hope it doesn't sound like a horror movie for you.

Nowadays, travelers don't need to study maps or spend hours reading the guidebooks because they have it all on their smartphone. With the advent of new technologies traveling became easier, but less adventurous. Probably, the comfort is for the better if you don't spend your whole vacation making photos of the food you eat.

13 Future: Personal Traveling E-agent Who Lives in Your Smartwatch & No Check-In Lines

According to Daily Mail, by 2030 we can expect a lot of innovations in the sphere of travel. What about a personal e-agent who lives in your smartwatch or ring? Imagine a virtual assistant who has a personality of your favorite character or movie star and who would appear as a 3D hologram to give you the best advice on your forthcoming trip. This is something that we can have by the end of the next decade. 

Chances are high that technological innovations will also eliminate the long check-in lines as there will be facial recognition systems installed. As for the baggage control, there will be molecular scanners able to scan your luggage in seconds.

Clearing customs may take less than a minute with advancements like this.

12 Past: Travel Agencies & Magazines

In the past, making a decision about where to travel was difficult without paying a visit to a travel agency. Only after talking to a travel agent and looking through various travel magazines you would be able to book a trip. Flights, hotel reservations, and visas were also handled by travel agents. Although a lot of people are still using the services of travel agencies, the number of tourists who book their trips themselves has soared dramatically.

Everything performed by travel agencies can now be done by any tourist without going anywhere. They can do it from the comfort of their favorite sofa. Now it's not even necessary to book every overnight stay in advance because it can be done once you arrive at your destination point. What a shift of perspective.

11 Future: Exploring the World via Virtual Reality

I'm not a great supporter of virtual travels, but it would be stupid to deny that technologies will bring us smarter and more sophisticated ways to explore our planet from the comfort of our homes. It would be especially attractive for those who can't afford travel. After all, some people may decide if virtual travels simulate smells, sensations, and visuals, why going for all the hassles of real travels?

On the other hand, VR headsets may also be useful for those who prefer real traveling, because they can give them the taste of their destination. They will be able to watch the 360-degree videos and get themselves ready before they perform an actual trip. That's smart.

10 Past: International Calling Cards & Phone Booths

We quickly get used to cooling things, aren't we? I think that's the reason why we scratch our heads when we hear "international calling cards" because it takes us a while to recollect what it really is.

Back in the days when there was no Internet and even travels sims, people called their friends and relatives from the almost extinct phone booths upon their arrival to the airport. Or they called from a hotel room. No wonder that with the appearance of international calling card people became so happy because they could call their relatives from their personal phone. In the past, it seemed like a miracle but today it looks so outdated.

Now, all you need to connect with your loved ones is WiFi and a smartphone.

9 Future: Instantaneous Translation

A huge problem of traveling was and still is a linguistic barrier. Although it's a problem only for introverts and shy people, while extroverts and adventure seekers may find it a compelling and thrilling experience to try to make sense of what people are saying in the language that they don't understand.

Anyway, this problem will be solved very soon making pocket dictionaries and even smartphone apps obsolete.  The device that you see on the picture above is pilot earbuds which translate the foreign speech in real time. Imagine something like Google Glass, which immediately translates all the foreign words you see. We'll have plenty of these in future.

8 Past: Traveler’s Checks & Exchange Booths

Another rudiment from the past which some of us have forgotten and many of us don't even have a clue about. A traveler's check was a way to replace money so that travelers don't need to travel with cash. You could exchange these checks to cash when you needed it in banks or other institutions. Travel checks were very useful before the ATMs were introduced, but soon after the ATM era started they were left to oblivion.

As for the exchange booths, they still exist and prove themselves useful, but in the times when there was no Euro and exchanging money was a headache for travelers, exchange booths were a big thing.

7 Future: Pilotless Drones to Take Us Anywhere or Even a Drone Holiday Home

Even today, there are many inaccessible areas around the world which only a few tourists dare to travel to. Places like Arctic Circle, Siberia, Patagonia, Papua New Guinea or the Sahara aren't the ones that you see in average adventurer's bucket list.

This may change in the future with the introduction of pilot-less drones which can transport its owners into the wilderness. These drones have the potential to bring tourism to the most remote corners of the world. With the recent presentation of Dubai drone taxi service, it can become a reality faster than we think.

And what about a drone holiday home taking you to different places with a push of several buttons? Just take a look at this if it sounds too futuristic for you.

6 Past: No Alternative to Hotels

The only accommodation which travel agents could offer you in the past were hotels. No matter if it's a simple hotel room or a luxury suite, a hotel is a hotel and it can't satisfy the desire of modern travelers to 'stay like a local'. Airbnb company was founded in 2009 and it took both hotels and travelers by storm because it allowed us to book igloos, castles, villas, bungalows, caves and experience the unique housing options which were never available before.

None of this was available in the era when hotels were the only accommodations that you could rent if you went abroad.

5 Future: Luxury Hotel in Space

Is the sky the limit? Not anymore. Of course, you won't get tropical beaches, mesmerizing sunsets by the fireplace or your favorite Asian meals in a Space Hotel, but for those who had it all, there's nothing more refreshing than looking at the Earth from your orbital hotel room. If Aurora Station will get off the Earth, it promises its client Wi-Fi, VR, a perfect view of our planet and a genuine astronaut experience.

This is a project by Orion Span technology startup which is expected to launch in 2021 and start hosting tourists by 2022. You can expect to experience the outer space in just four years if Orion Span will be able to realize their plans.

4 Past: Develop a Film Before You See the Photos

Let's get back to Earth again and recollect the times when you had to develop a film before you could see the photos. If you ask me, I would tell that there was a certain charm in this process as well as in having a limited amount of shots. You needed to be more attentive to each picture and more consciousness about the things that your camera captures. And you needed to buy a new roll of film every time when the previous one ran out.

But for comfort's sake, modern cameras are much more convenient. No more film rolls and AA batteries, because we have iPhones and selfie-sticks. I wish it was possible to unite modern technologies with the responsible attitude to photography of the past. But this is not something that selfie-obsessed generation can handle.

3 Future: Mobile Islands

The research of the Future Laboratory shows that we can expect man-made mobile islands, giant airships and intelligent hotel rooms closer to the end of this century. Can you imagine a coastline with floating resorts? I know it's difficult, but you can at least try.

It's quite possible that these artificial islands will produce their own water and food and they will definitely be completely sustainable leaving no environmental trace whatsoever. A very important feature considering all the harm that we're doing to our planet right now.

Unfortunately, few of us reading this will be able to see these technological marvels, but imagine how fortunate our children and grandchildren would be.

2 Past: Comeback Was a Big Thing

Remember when I wrote about the Medieval Ages, I mentioned that when someone was leaving for traveling, their family had no idea if they'd ever heard from their traveling relative again? Of course, in the past century traveling was a much safer experience, but because of the limited communication opportunities, there were real goodbyes at train stations and airports. On the brighter side, upon traveler's arrival, his or her family and friends would organize a huge party to celebrate the comeback. The stories were anticipated and everyone was looking forward to the gorgeous photos that the traveler had made.

In the past travelers used to send letters and postcards which could take weeks to reach the recipient. And sometimes tourists even arrived faster than their message did. In this situation getting a reply was almost impossible unless you had a fixed address.

Today with all the various messengers and social media, you feel like you're always in touch with the person on the other side of the world. You see their impressions, photos, stories, and experiences and you always know how they're doing. And even though, comebacks are still warm and important, they're not as emotional as they were in the past.

1 Future: Participate in Colonization of Mars

If the sky is no limit then who said that the Earth is the limit? Although there's no other welcoming planet in our solar system, there are plans to make Mars a nice place to live for humans as well. And there are several big projects to start making it happen in the following decades.

And that is goodbye tears can get real once again, because the Mars One Project aims to send a group of adventurous space travelers to Mars by 2022, without a return ticket. This project has received over 10.000 applications so far. They came from determined people who are ready to build a colony on Mars and make the red planet their home for the rest of their lives. Although for now Mars can hardly be named a touristic destination, we can surely call Mars One Project a unique case in both traveling and space traveling history.

Traveling is developing with outstanding tempos and if we have the approximate forecasts for the next 80 years of travel, the next century remains a real terra incognita for us. At least for the next 80 years, there's plenty to see and a lot of experiences to live through.

References: Wanderlust, Daily MailResponsible Travel, Travel and Leisure, Huffington PostTelegraph