Posted by: MummyTravels | May 31, 2012

60 years of travel

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in the middle of a very isolated desert, you’ll probably have noticed that this weekend is the Diamond Jubilee. (If you hadn’t realised, Tuesday is a bonus bank holiday in the UK – no need to thank me).

So with lots of focus on what life was like in 1952, I rather loved this comparison of travel then and now from Holidaysplease.co.uk.

An average holiday to the Costa Brava? Improbably exotic for most back in the 50s, and with a price tag to match – a whopping fifth of the average annual salary, around £35 per person. That’s the equivalent of just over £1,000 in today’s money compared to around £550 for 2012 prices.

On the plus side, if you did have the cash to go abroad, you practically had the world to yourself – only around two million British holidaymakers travelled to foreign parts in the days before package holidays. In 2011, around 56 million of us headed overseas and even the recession hasn’t dented our love of a fortnight in the sun – while France, Italy and Spain haven’t budged from our favourite destination top spots in six decades, even if Switzerland has been pushed out by the USA.

The airlines flying us to our destination wouldn’t be completely unfamiliar either – Delta and United both figure in the top seven biggest airlines based on passengers carried, although Pan Am and TWA are long gone. And with low-cost flights changing the whole travel industry, it’s no great surprise to see Ryanair sneaking into seventh place.

And we can get there faster too – it’s not just long-haul destinations which are suddenly an option now you don’t have to choose a slow boat or a ruinously expensive air ticket, even travel to Europe takes less time, with a British European Airways flight from London to Milan taking 3 hours and 25 minutes in 1958, compared to just under two hours with BA today.

But we can’t take as much luggage (and not only when you’re travelling with Ryanair) – allowances have dropped from around 30kg in the late 1940s to 23kg with most national carriers, and even less with the budget airlines.

So what will the next 60 years bring? Another volcanic eruption which grounds planes and makes us rediscover slow travel? Or space flights becoming mainstream (please let that happen. Please). I just hope I don’t have to wait until I’m 95 – or a millionaire – to try it.

Image: cheelah/Flickr

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