What Was Travel Like in Ancient Times?

Travel has been an integral part of human history for centuries. Since ancient times, people have been traveling for various reasons, including trade, exploration, war, and diplomacy.

However, traveling in ancient times was vastly different from the modern-day experience. Let’s take a look at what travel was like in ancient times.


In ancient times, people traveled on foot or by animal transport. The most common mode of transportation was by horses or camels.

Horses were used to cover long distances quickly, while camels were used to carry heavy loads through the desert regions. Some wealthy people also used chariots as a means of transportation.


In ancient times, travelers had limited options for accommodation. They either stayed with local families or slept outdoors in tents or under the stars. In some cases, travelers could stay in caravanserais (rest stops) along the way if they were on a trade route.

Food and Water

Food and water were essential for survival during travel in ancient times. Travelers carried their own food supplies and relied on natural sources such as streams and rivers for water. In some cases, travelers traded goods for food and water with local populations along their route.

Trade Routes

Trade routes played a significant role in ancient travel since they facilitated commerce between different regions and cultures. The Silk Road is one of the most famous trade routes that linked China to Europe via Central Asia. Other notable trade routes include the Roman roads that connected various parts of Europe and Asia Minor.

Dangers of Traveling

Traveling in ancient times was not without its dangers. Bandits often roamed the highways ready to prey on unsuspecting travelers.

Disease outbreaks such as bubonic plague could wipe out entire communities along the way. Additionally, natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and storms could derail travel plans.


In conclusion, traveling in ancient times was a perilous and challenging endeavor. People had to rely on their own resources and wits to navigate the unknown territories. Despite these challenges, ancient travelers were able to explore new lands, establish trade routes, and exchange ideas that helped shape the course of human history.