It’s 2016 and that time of year where we trawl the internet looking for deals on holidays in family resorts in Europe or in more exotic destinations around the world. But have our holiday habits changed greatly over the years? Or are we still looking for the same things when we jet abroad?
Let’s jump back in time. Holidays were very different in early Britain, such as the Tudor period when only the very rich and royalty were able to travel for leisure and travel itineraries (called a giest) were printed in June each year – much like those brochures you used to pick up from the travel agents and paw over.
Inns became commonplace in the UK for travelers around the Renaissance era but weren’t for holidaymakers, who, if travelling for leisure, would stay with friends or relatives. This was of course also the time when voyages across the ocean began taking place and people were exploring further ashore – of course, there were no package deals yet.
The Industrial Revolution kicked things up a notch as people were able to use steam trains to travel around the country, with many choosing to spend their money getting to the seaside and spending around three days there – creating the long weekend holiday many of us have returned to now.
This was the time of donkey rides, ice cream carts and wearing full clothing on the beach even in warm weather. This Victorian period saw leisure travel become available to not only the wealthy, but the working class masses too. Blackpool and Southend became the most popular destinations as they began offering evening entertainment too.
As time went on, the wealthier were able to explore further destinations in boats and then the airplane came in to mix the whole holiday habit up even more, allowing people the opportunity to go further than ever before. 1928 saw the first commercial air travel take place.
The 20th century was when the concept of holidays really started to take off and Butlins was the founder of the Great British seaside resort in 1936 in Skegness. Billy Butlin wanted to create a holiday destination where the British weather wouldn’t affect the fun, after experiencing a particularly wet stay in Wales. Over 80 years the resort has developed to become a household name in the UK with over 1.5million guests visiting Butlins each year.
After Butlins came the package Spanish holiday which rose in popularity in the 1970s, where families would purchase all inclusive accommodation and spend two weeks by the pool, on the beach and drinking while watching entertainment in the evening. We’d send postcards back home to family and friends, use travellers cheques to pay for things and try to find the nearest English restaurant to visit in the evening.
Package holidays adapted to tempt different categories of holidaymakers and the 18-30 crowd started to jet off for weeks of partying in Ibiza and honeymooners took advantage of deals to far off places.
Fast forward to 2016 and we have the whole world at our fingertips. While package holidays are still popular for those on a budget, you can tailor your holiday to cater to you and use services such as Airbnb to find cheaper and more authentic places to stay in a bustling city just for the weekend. We take advice from bloggers on where to go, are more likely to try the local cuisine and are much more active – taking walks and hikes in the nearby landscape.
Postcards have been replaced by Facebook updates as all hotels offer free Wi-Fi and we no longer go away for two weeks at a time but perhaps one week away and a few weekends spread throughout the year.