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Travel: Then and Now

The dog days of summer are here, which means you may be planning your own well-deserved vacation! Since summer is the time of year when most people decide to take a personal holiday, it presents us with the perfect opportunity to take a look at travel: then and now. How has planning a vacation changed? What was the travel culture like in the past? We’ve explored all that and more! Read below to find out how the travel experience has evolved over the past 50 years.

Travel: Then and Now

Flight Attendants

In the 1960s, flying on a plane often came with luxurious amenities. Enjoying a seven-course meal on fine china was routine, and passengers were waited on hand and foot by beautiful stewardesses. Flight attendants were dressed to the nines, donning colorful dresses, short skirts, hats, and heels. The requirements to be a flight attendant in the 60s and 70s were much more strict than today’s standards. The following ad, which aired on a Los Angeles radio station in 1969, reveals the attributes airlines looked for in a potential stewardess:

Right now, PSA, the airline that is famous for its stewardesses, is looking for girls – Yes, girls – to fill a cute orange mini-uniform. Girls who smile and mean it; girls who give other people a lift. Now if you’re single, 18 1/2 to 26 years old, 5 foot 1 to 5 foot 9, 105 to 135 pounds, have a high school diploma or better, come in for an interview at the Los Angeles International Airport stewardesses department Tuesday or Thursday. 

Back then, flight attendants were treated like movie stars. There was even a television series in 2011 that showcased the glamorous lives of 1960s stewardesses!

Today, the job requirements for flight attendants have changed quite a bit and are based solely on safety. In the 1990s, all United States airlines dropped weight limits for flight attendants, specifying only that flight attendants must be able to fit in the jump seats without extended seat belts and be able to fit through the emergency exit window. There is also no gender bias for today’s airline crews, and the uniform has taken on a more professional look.

Booking Vacations

In the past, booking a vacation typically required visiting a travel agency. Travel agents would help you figure out where to go, how to get there, and which hotel to call home. With the technology available today, booking flights, finding hotels, and planning activities can all be done with the click of a button on your smartphone or computer. No need to arrange an appointment with a travel agent – with the Internet, you are the travel agent!

Modern-day vacation planning is made simple with companies like Kayak, Travelocity, and Hotwire, which allow you to book flights, hotels, and even rental cars while finding the lowest prices available. You can even plan ahead and place reservations for restaurants before they get booked, and buy tickets to amusement parks or concerts that will be ready to pick up when you arrive. Comparing travel: then and now, it’s clear that the evolution of technology has made planning a vacation easier than ever. Plus, you still have the option to work with a travel agent if you like!

Top Travel Destinations

Celebrating their 40th year in 2011, Travel and Leisure Magazine covered the top travel destinations over the past four decades. The following are some of the top vacation destinations of the 1970s:

  • Mexico
  • Europe
  • Haiti
  • St. Tropez

Although the 1980s began in a recession, excess prevailed as travelers booked trips to the following popular destinations:

  • New York
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Beverly Hills

In 1992, the economy started booming, allowing people to spend their hard-earned money on traveling to the following decadent destinations:

  • China
  • Miami
  • Prague
  • Moscow

By the 2000s, technology made the means to plan a trip as easy as pie! The following are the top vacation spots of the millennium:

  • Italy
  • New Orleans
  • Costa Rica
  • Dubai


Back in the day, checking in with friends and family during a vacation took time and effort. You either had to send postcards, which would arrive up to a week after mailing, or you could make long-distance phone calls, which were expensive. In today’s technology age, new means of communication have emerged, allowing you to stay in touch no matter where you are. With smartphones, you can quickly call, text, or even video chat from just about anywhere in the world.

When it came to sharing photos of your trip, in the past, you would have to develop film from your camera or get everyone together for a slideshow presentation. Nowadays, you can take photos and send them in real time. Or, you can share them via Facebook or Instagram so that friends and family can keep up with what you’re doing!

Sharing Photos

In the past, sharing photos of your trip meant you’d have to develop the photos from your disposable camera or have the images put on slides to present them through a projector. Today, cell phones allow you to take and share photos through text or on Facebook, so your friends and family can keep up with what you’re doing!


Although the travel experience has changed immensely, the desire to make one-of-a-kind memories with friends and family has stayed the same. How has travel: then and now, changed for you?

If you enjoyed looking into the past with our exploration of travel: then and now, you may like our post on how movies have changed over the years.

Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? If so, be sure to check out Hearthside Senior Living Place, located in Bartlett, Tennessee. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. For more information, please call 901-854-6590. We look forward to meeting you!

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