How travel has changed over the last 10 years? [2020]

In travelling, since 2010 there has been a lot changed compared to 2020
Travelling has become a lot easier over the last 10 years. On the timeline, 10 years is not much when we consider that travelling is nothing new and man has been travelling the world for thousands of years. However, the simplification and acceleration of travel in the last decade are remarkable.

Most of the simplifications and changes have a technical origin, which in the end are very beneficial for the individual traveller, but morally and ethically many of them are quite a horror for countries with 1000-year-old cultures, which have to slowly but steadily and mercilessly bend and adapt to globalization and pressure from the masses of travellers.

Many changes may seem positive at first glance, but at a second glance some of them are very sad to watch.



19 Facts about how travelling has changed over the last 10 years (2010-2020)?

Technological development is at a point where it is by no means clear where it will go, but rather at a stage where we are experimenting and learning to deal with it. Technology should make things possible.

With the Internet and the rising trend of visiting the less-visited countries, the locals in these destinations and are going to change slowly but steady and adapt to serve for tourism. In the last 10 years, there has been a huge learning curve in many countries which are not well known to tourism yet. The biggest driver of all of these changes can be identified as "the internet and social media".

We have to admit, yes it does things make possible and easier, but doesn't it also change (or can we say destroy) things and cultures?



1. Tourist Visa's to countries are easier to get

Once hard to get is in 2020 very easy Many countries had almost impossible requirements to get a visa. And even if the requirements were fulfilled, the administration was a barrier which overwhelmed many potential visitors. Not going to dig in the detail that some countries still do this for purpose. Over the last 10 years, many countries lowered the requirements and made them easy to understand while showing them to the public on the internet.

It only gets better in regards of Visas all over the planet: The next generation of travellers will not even have to bother anymore with hikes to embassies, as online visa applications and pre-authorizations are available for more and more countries, even for once very very difficult ones, like Angola, Saudi Arabia or Iran.

It's a bit sad to see how more and more Visa Stamps and Stickers are going to vanish in the future.




2. Food has commonized

Food is all over the same on the planet

When walking through the streets of any given country, the food has commonized more and more with the other parts of the world. Pizza, burger and pasta are easily available anywhere on the planet. Sure there are mostly still local food options and in rural areas and the burger variety is limited, but even in very rural areas people tend to start selling burgers and pizzas, food which has brought in by demand of tourists and expats.

Especially in many countries in Africa, I noticed the rise of Lebanese fast-food restaurants, which serve high-quality chicken-fries-burger-pizza-beef-steak-doner-meals in buffet style, for affordable prices, in clean places with A/C. The Lebanese have and will strongly influence the African kitchen and the food behaviour of the locals in the future.



3. Uber and Airbnb - even in Africa

Airbnb and Uber changed the whole travel industry

10 years ago Uber and Airbnb didn't even exist and only within the last few years, they expanded to a huge amount of countries (Airbnb more than Uber). But even when Uber and Airbnb are not yet available in all countries due to regulations, the concept is already adopted by local companies. So instead of Uber, the apps may have a different name but with the same purpose. Airbnb is a bit more welcome as it doesn't harm as much Uber does to the Taxi industry.

Uber will definitely have a huge impact in Africa in the future, as there are countries where most cars on the streets are taxis.


4. Hotels are easy to find and contact

Hotels are not ghosts anymore. The internet gave us the opportunity to easily locate a well-situated hotel and get in contact with them from the couch back home. Or even before getting in contact, knowing the prices via the website of the hotel in the remotest place somewhere in an Asian jungle.


5. SIM cards with internet for small money

Travel Sim cards are easy to get SIM cards, the tiny cards could be god-sent and the same time be a product of the devil. They are the gate for us the cure our internet addiction anywhere in the world and same time waste time enjoying the scenery of the perfect sunset while scrolling through the internet on the small screen.

In most countries, it's easy to get one of these for a few coins.

When not already promoted after exiting the plane, it's not even difficult to find a store who sells them. The stores know what we tourists want before we even enter the store. Many don't even ask for ID anymore and hand it out ready-to-surf after 10 minutes and a few finger twists of exchanging the SIM card.


6. Travel adapters with USB charger

Yes, 10-15 years ago they didn't exist in the form they do today. They evolved over the last decade: The power adapters for any power socket in the world with built-in USB charging option, but for sure they were very heavy, expensive and hard to find a reliable one. Nowadays they are cheap, have multi USB fast-charge ports and dimensions of a matchbox.



7. Powerbanks

Remembering 10 years back, one needed to be back home in the hotel before the mobile phone turned black (or carrying a second battery).

The last years have been the golden age of the powerbanks. They originally came out in bulk and heavy dimensions and were very expensive. Nowadays they are thrown at us for almost free. Even at the beaches of third world countries where the beggars used to sell stolen sunglasses and belts, they sell now powerbanks at the beach.


8. Navigation with offline data on smartphone

The standalone GPS navigation systems had their rise 10-15 years ago. Now they are going to die as being replaced by smartphones with, typically, google maps and its offline functionality. Simple to use and even includes the saved spots and pins, which are downloaded together with the actual offline map.


9. Bus and Tours online reservations

Even in Africa bus reservations via Online is not difficult anymore

Thinking back 10 years, I don't remember having reliable reservations systems for bus journeys in third world countries. Nowadays they are becoming the norm, even in Africa. I was surprised to see how well it worked, even in countries and routes from Nigeria to Togo. (Nevertheless, the day of departure was a mess anyway as the bus stations still have the noise and chaos level which is unhealthy to the human body.)


10. Next-generation flight search engines

Big difference in flight searches since 2010

Flight search is no magic anymore. The search platforms for flights and buses have evolved and probably everyone uses them who is going on vacation. Back 15 years it was necessary to call the airline or a travel agency.

Nowadays, everything is taken care of and the flights can be compared with dozens of filters, all within seconds. Nowadays, we don't even have to know the destination country anymore. If we are too lazy to think about where to go next, we simply tell the approximate months or approximate continent, whereas the search engine shows flight duration and prices on a world map, ready for us to select the final destination.


11. Power sockets in restaurants, airports and planes

Over the last 10 years, restaurants and airports started to build power sockets right next to the tables and airports built USB and notebook charging sockets to the waiting areas. Even many planes started to have inflight USB charging options on every seat. 10 years ago, no one ever would have thought this would happen.


12. WiFi on the plane

This is something I hoped it never is going to happen. Planes started to allow passengers having (free) internet access during flights. Even though it can be very handy having the possibility to check the status of the connecting flight or arrange airport pickup with the hotel. But the thought of having a seat neighbour who is constantly talking on the phone right next to me in the middle of the night is a nightmare. I wish this is not going to evolve further.


13. Flight delays have increased

Even when not having statistic data in this, it's easy to notice that there has been a huge increase in flight delays and cancellations. The huge amount of new travellers and their faster travel style has caused many airports to overload and therefore causing flight delays or even cancellations. It has become the norm and surely will worsen in the next decade.


14. Travel-Reviews on Youtube and TripAdvisor

With all the social media platforms and review platforms like TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet, no agency or hotel can hide anymore from unhappy guests.

If customers get scammed or being given the wrong room in a hotel, when the service was not as promised, the customers can use this powerful weapon. The internet gave all travellers the opportunity to learn from mistakes and scams by sellers, without the necessity of experience it by themselves. Ratings on the internet have become a very powerful weapon against lazy or even criminal agencies and hotels. 10 years ago, this may have already existed, but the big data and masses of reviews have given the whole system a whole new quality and reach over the last 10 years.




15. Internet forums have gained a lot of information

Same as review platforms, all the internet forums like the ones on TripAdvisor or LonelyPlanet gained a lot of information and questions and answers from travellers. For most countries its nowadays easy to simply push out a question on the internet and get someones to answer or recommendation by people who have been, and which can be discussed by other travellers and their opinion.


16. People are used to travellers taking photos

Next Generation has no problem anymore being on photos of travellers

When travelling in African or Asian countries which have not that many visiting tourists, it's only a matter of time until some police officer or any local is shouting from any direction, making it clear that photography is not allowed (even when the object is a random tree or a stone).

I usually noticed that most of these screams and dislikes come from persons in the older generation. I never experienced any younger generation yelling or telling me that taking images is not welcome. The reason is probably the adaption of smartphones with cameras and internet by all the younger local generations, who are constantly taking photos by themselves.


17. (Almost) everybody is using WhatsApp and Social Media

Everybody uses Whatsapp and Internet while travelling This is in relation to the point above, that younger generations all over the world are more and more taking a lot of images and put it on the internet to share it with the world. Even in very poor countries, people are using smartphones and social media.

Also, I started to notice that the youth is adopting the style of walking around with smartphones and earplugs like zombies, sitting there in groups of youths and everyone in the group is watching on their smartphone. A square next to the youths is a group of seniors who are discussing, chatting and laughing together and to each other (without smartphones).

10 years ago this style of interaction via smartphones started to happen in western countries and arrived now in almost all countries in the world. Sad to see this.




18. Car pollution has decreased 

Old european cars are the new African cars. Reduction of pollution is guaranteed.

Without going into science or proven facts that pollution, in general, has decreased in poor and underdeveloped countries, like many countries on the continent Africa. I noticed even over the short timeframe of 10 years, the (visible) pollution caused by fumes from cars, has lowered.

The high traffic roads in many African countries contain more and more cars which are not harming the climate the same way anymore as it did 10 years ago. As we in Europe are constantly exporting our old cars to Africa or the middle-east countries, these cars are put in service there again. Even our old cars are very bad in regards to reducing pollution, but it's way better than the cars and busses that they were using 10-15 years ago, cars which exhausted black clouds every time the car continued driving from an intersection.


19. Chinese products are available everywhere 

When travelling in Africa its obvious that China is increasing their presence

Even though the expansionist behaviour of the Chinese is very questionable in terms of the exploitation and future of poor countries (especially in Africa), the Chinese also bring many benefits to Africa for daily living of the people.

Poor countries and their people in Africa need tools and everyday items (lamps, pans, pots, fans, toilets etc). European manufactured and imported goods are definitely too expensive for the average people and here the Chinese with their cheap (good quality) products provide a very good added value to make daily life in Africa easier.

On the other hand, will the Chinese continue to sustain Africa the same way after there are no more resources available to exploit? I hope so.




Surely there are many more aspects of how travelling as changed and made things different over the last decade. Feel free to add any comments, highly appreciated.

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