A Brief History of Travel Agents

It is believed that the first instance of what would now be known as a travel agent sprung into existence in the second half of the 19th Century in much the same way that a spring onions into any self-respecting sandwich.

The very first tour offered was a trip from 19th Century Loughborough to 19th Century Leicester, both of which as you may know tend to be situated in 19th Century England. It doesn’t sound like much but apparently the enterprising Thomas Cook managed to convince 500 people to pay for and consequently go on this 12 mile journey. The art of travel agency continued on in a similar fashion for approximately two whole centuries with little change.

This period of time saw a great and industrious workforce of the smartest men and women inventing new methods of transport after decades of research, only to find out that travel agents were somehow already offering package holidays in which the main method of transport was the very same one they had just invented. It is claimed the inventor of the first practical blimp—the Brazilian, Alberto Santos-Dumont—was infuriated to find an advertisement in a local paper for a blimp visiting the Black Forest in Germany dated a week before he had actually invented the damned thing. Travel agents were equally quick if not quicker to accept bookings by new forms of communication. They accepted bookings by telegram a fortnight before it existed, by fax two years before the inventor of the fax was born and accepted bookings over the internet before either travel agencies or the internet existed in 1300 BC which was unfortunate as due to lack of demand this service was discontinued after 669 years, thus rendering the time periods where travel agents accepted bookings over the internet and the internet being in existence, mutually exclusive.

Aside from a few such hitches everything went smoothly enough for quite a while. Lazy customers would pay for someone else to decide where they should go. The real revolution happened when the agencies realised that people were willing to pay more for a better experience. It became a science. Rival agencies hired the best and brightest from every discipline: they had scientists, programmers, mathematicians, engineers, historians, marketers, designers and hired lawyers by the metric fuckton. Eventually one company designed the perfect programme of holiday designation which would assign and often even create the best experience possible for that individual and as a result world happiness was said to have increased by 50% (although this figure is speculative as no one was around to record it, everybody being on holiday and all that).

Another company, however, by tweaking their optimisation strategies managed to make the best programme to get the most money from the most people in the least amount of time. They had a monopoly within a week. Their customers believed they were going to get a great experience and for the record quite a few did.

With great cash flow comes great frivolity so naturally it did not take long for this company’s R&D department to invent time travel. They now offered package holidays like Be a gladiator in ancient Rome and showcased great testimonials from the winning clients. Their dirty secret was that the losing opponent was also a client but for lack of hand nor head could not leave the two-star review they intended to. The less thrill-seeking clients could sit in the stands for these events and all of them ended up being packed full of time-travelling tourists. Somebody had to provide for all these fans so unlucky clients would be sent back to provide food and wine, some were sent back even further to build the Colosseum and any upstanding citizen who may have been wont to cause the company trouble was simply sent back as a child, a baby or even a zygote to be brought up to fulfil whatever cruel fate the company deemed necessary.

It took a while for the company to realise that they had actually been, were and were going to be responsible for the existence and role of every single person who had ever lived. As this is slightly confusing but only requires around five minutes of thought to get straight in your head the general public have already forgotten.