106 innovations that improved travel

Technological changes have deep impact on many aspects of our lives, including the way we travel. Some technological innovations take a lot of time for massive adoption. Because of that the recent developments that we see today may look less significant than they actually are.

But, when we look back into history we see that our predecessors did amazing job in making travel a lot easier and convenient today. It also sheds light on the greatness of some innovations that may seem to be only a small step forward, but without which travel would be impossible. In fact today we are witnesses and users of radical innovation.

What is radical innovation?

Radical innovations are developing revolutionary new technologies, markets, and business models that change the world according to Maru/Matchbox. To define radical innovation even better, it’s good if you make a contrast with incremental innovation which tries to improve existing systems and products to make them better, cheaper or faster according to Maru/Matchbox.

The key difference here is the focus. The former is focused on something new, the latter on improvement of existing systems.

Radical innovation examples

In this article, we’ll provide you a chronology and 106 examples of radical innovations. While you read the list you can also get yourself reminded how much and how long it took us to get where we are now:

YearInnovation
1414Passport
1640Taxicab
1643Barometer
1683Museum
1714Thermometer
1772Travelers’ check
1800Battery
1804Lifebelt
1818Ocean liner
1820Quinine
1820Bus
1825Railway
1832National park
1837Sleeping car
1837Indoor swimming pool
1839Bicycle
1844Telegraph
1847National weather service
1850Ski technology
1854Elevator
1854Luggage
1864Travel insurance
1865Medical emergency service
1869Suez Canal
1873Electric street light
1875Automobile
1877Telephone
c. 1880Restaurant car
1893Glass fiber
1885Gasoline filling station
1895Discount coupon
1896Escalator
1900Zeppelin
1900Michelin guide
c. 1900Gliding
1902Air Conditioning
1907Caravan
1914Passenger aircraft
1916Snowmobile
1916Instant food
1919Air traffic association
1922Highway
1929Sunglasses
1930Air hostess
1936Paid holiday
1936Shopping cart
1938Credit card
c. 1940Air bed
1944Sunscreen
?Bivouac
1946Computer reservation system
1947Microwave
c.1950 Electric sauna stove
1950Minibus
1950Snow canon
c.1950Immunization program
?Travel voltage converter/adapter
1951Backpack
1952Kettle grill
1954Solar cells
1956Shopping mall
1958Carbon fiber
1959Automatic teller machine (ATM)
1960Automatic door
c.1960Family dome tent
c.1960Dry ski slope
c.1960Recreational drug
1963Instamatic pocket camera
1963Inflatable life raft
1965Snowboarding
1966Bar code
1967Pool-cleaning robot
1968Computer tablet
c. 1970Scents technology
c. 1970Space tourism
1972Loyalty program
1972Lonely planet
1973RFID
1974Sous-vide (under vacuum)
1974Mini-bar
1976Gore-Tex
1978Airline deregulation
1978Hotel Key Card
1983Camcorder
1983Mobile phone
1983Selfie stick
1987Rolling luggage
1989Robotic lawn mover
1989World Wide Web
1990Consumer protection
1993Online maps
1994E-ticketing
1994QR code
1995Schengen Agreement
1997Social media
1997Blogging
1998Viagra
1999Common currency – euro
1999Augmented reality
2000GPS
2003Genetically modified golf turf
2006Micro blogging
2007Body scanning
2008Artificial weather
2008AirBnb
2012Avatar – embodied agent
20195G

Closing thoughts

If you are a fan of modern adventures, family travel, or just want to have a relaxation and rest at some remote destination, could you imagine how hard it would have been for you to realize your desire without the travel inventions above.

That’s why the examples above represent true disruptive innovation examples. Let’s see if the inventions of the 21st century will also bring such positive drastic changes into our lives.

For additional up to date insight into the travel-tech world you can read the top 5 travel and tourism trends in 2020 article.

References

Hjalager, A., (2016). Innovations That Transformed Tourism. [online]. Semantic Scholar. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Innovations-That-Transformed-Tourism-Hjalager/0c719df0abeb94a0e737172134ec21fe74bf597e

Dorsi, S., (2020).  Things That Have Emerged in Tourism Over The Last 10 Years. [online]. Tourism Review News. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.tourism-review.com/inventions-that-emerged-in-tourism-news11338

Stimac, V., (2020). A Definitive History of Space Tourism & Human Spaceflight. [online]. Space Tourism Guide. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://spacetourismguide.com/history-of-space-tourism/

Venema, V., (2015). How the selfie stick was invented twice. [online]. BBC. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32336808

Youn, S., (2020). Discover 7 brilliant inventions that changed travel forever. [online]. National Geographic Society. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/lists/7-brilliant-inventions-that-changed-travel/

Wikipedia., (2020). 5G. [online]. Wikipedia. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G

Vidal, B., (2019). The New Technology and Travel Revolution. [online]. We Are Marketing. [Viewed 27 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.wearemarketing.com/blog/tourism-and-technology-how-tech-is-revolutionizing-travel.html

American Oil and Gas Society., First Gas Pump and Service Station. [online]. American Oil and Gas Society. [Viewed 23 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.aoghs.org/transportation/first-gas-pump-and-service-stations/#:~:text=S.F.,station%20opened%20in%20Pittsburgh%2C%20Pennsylvania.