A Concise History Of Business Travel From 4000 BC – Present

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Sir Isaac Newton famously told his pal Robert Hooke, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants," and at TravelManor we feel quite the same way about business travel these days. See, while it's easy to assume that business travel is a modern invention, it's actually not - at all.

In fact, ancient business travel inspired most of history's biggest moments! Let’s take a walk along our collective memory lane to see where it all got started, shall we?

It all started around 4000 BC when the first stone-paved streets roads were built in Mesopotamia, which we now know as Iraq, mainly to ease foot traffic. Rudimental CBDs established themselves around these streets. Then, around 500 years later, the wheel was invented, and things really started rolling on a local level in many countries around the world.

In 3000 BC major maritime trade routes formed along the Arabian Sea to move goods like wood, copper ore, incense, wheat, cheese and barley. This mode of travel continued to develop, and today we still get a glut of container ships ferrying our goods to and fro from one continent to the other.

By the 13th century Marco Polo took to the famous Silk Road through Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and all the way to China (it took his crew 24 years!). Skip ahead give or take 5 centuries, and we find the first steam railway creating the commute between the towns of Darlington and Stockton in England at a whopping 15 miles per hour in 1825.

Then, in 1935, the DC-3 commercial plane again changed the course of history by making quick flights accessible for business folk. It allowed US business travellers to travel from coast to coast in the space of the day (with an overnight stop), instead of spending a week in a car or on a train. Just more than two decades later, these same business folk would be able to take these planes overseas thanks to Pan Am's 707s.

By 1979 business-class flight tickets were introduced, providing these travellers with extra space and more quiet to do work in transit in return for a higher fare. And there you have it - the quick, condensed version of business travel as it developed from 4000 BC in a (very tiny!) nutshell.

Fascinating, is it not? If you would like to take advantage of corporate travel-planning services that combine the teachings of those wise travellers that went before to future-proof your travel plans for the century that lies ahead (hello, commercial moon flights!), feel free to contact us to find out more about what we do at TravelManor and how it can benefit your team.

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