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Whether you’re sending from your vacation abroad, for someone special’s birthday or just to share some awesome memories with the person who helped make them, the postcard can do no wrong! It connects two people in a gorgeously nostalgic way, with a cool design on the front and a heartfelt word on the back – not to mention the sweet sense of tradition that accompanies it. From its humble origins as a so-called calling card right up to the postcard we know and love today, it’s pretty clear that time has brought a lot of changes.

We’re celebrating the 150th anniversary of the postcard and are taking a look back at the long, changing story of how it became a must-have for Vacation and Co.

The Story of the Postcard: At the Beginning

The history of the postcard shares similar roots in each individual country, but there are also a lot of country-specific differences. Let’s take Germany. In Germany, the German Customs Union was founded in 1834 in order to improve economic conditions in the smaller states that made up the German Confederation (as it was known then). This meant first that weights were standardized and then currencies so that services offered could be better compared.

As part of general standardization, in 1865 postal orders and ‘open’ cards – which were no longer placed in envelopes – were introduced; these are generally regarded as the predecessors of the postcard. There wasn’t much space for anything other than an address, a return address, the date and a signature on them however, as they were primarily intended as notifications of business transactions or order confirmations. This so-called “open shipment” was extremely cheap, costing only four pfennigs.

During this time, the postal director, Heinrich von Stephan, suggested the German Postal Union to introduce the postcard in an attempt to make the postal system easier and quicker for everyone. This proposal steadily gained momentum – but not without considerable resistance.

Opposition to the Postcard

Although the benefits stated by the postal director were clear, concerns had also emerged. The Swiss Post, for example, was initially unconvinced, since the dispatch of postcards in the form of an open sheet would amount to just one third of the postage, meaning in other words significant economic losses.

Such instances of resistance proved unable to stop the triumphant postcard gaining more and more traction. On October 1st 1869 in Austria-Hungary the very first postcard was finally introduced as a correspondence card and from 1870 onwards the North German confederation and the southern areas followed suit.

The Postcard Takes Over

Its success was partly due to the fact that cards were even delivered on public holidays and that, thanks to the extension of the railway network, even people living far away could be reached, often by the following day.

Although the postcard could at first only be sent domestically, after the founding of the Universal Postal Union, they were commonly sent within Europe and from 1878 onwards even worldwide.

The Format of the Postcard

At this point, one side of the postcard was typically reserved for the address of the recipient while the message was written on the back of the postcard. The particular suitability of the postcard – already referred to as such in Germany from 1872 onwards – for short messages became increasingly clear with the arrival of various new types of postcard…

One of these soon became fashionable; the practice of decorating one side of the postcard with patterns and illustrations. This included painted views and, with the emergence of daguerreotype and later photography, realistic images also found their place within the postcard world. Since the front side was still completely reserved for the address, the space available for writing became smaller and as a result, the messages became shorter too. This did not, in any way, detract from the postcard’s popularity. True to the saying “less is more”, people now wrote around the photo or squeezed a short message next to it.

This situation remained the case in Germany until 1905, when a dividing line was first introduced on the addressee side. Now messages were written next to the address rather than in the space between illustrations.

The Postcard for Keeping in Touch

Even in its early years, the postcard was an essential means of communication. In the course of industrialization and its accompanying rural exodus, there was a greatly increased need for communication, which was basically sated by the introduction of the postcard, perfect since mobility and time were becoming more and more important.

The low postage of a postcard made it possible to keep in touch with relatives and friends, even if they were miles away. In this respect, the card certainly fulfilled an important social function.

Even today, the ever-popular postcard connects people with each other and delivers a message. At a time when we can rely on email, SMS, WhatsApp or other electronic media for a speedy message, we still love to write postcards from vacation to send our holiday greetings to loved ones from far away.

The Story of the Postcard: Happy Birthday!

Obviously, the postcard has a pretty exciting history of its own! And at the moment it’s caught in the middle of an exciting time: Between emails and social media, it gives us that sought-after feeling of familiarity and tradition – that exciting moment when you catch sight of the bright colors of a postcard between all those other bills and statements simply cannot be replaced.

Nowadays, cards are more individual and personalized than ever before: By using your own photos directly on your smartphone along with your personal words, your postcard acquires a new form of individuality and combines the digital aspect of the modern era with the analogous charm of a card.

Have you decided to leave everything behind for a while and go on a last minute citytrip but you don’t know how to organize it without missing a thing? Worry not, because this article has all the tips you’ll need to plan your getaway.

Last minute citytrip tip #1
Choose your destination

Last minute citytrip - The perfect destination

Before choosing the right destination you have to think about how you’d like to spend your time on your city trip. Attending cultural events and visiting museums? Tasting all the local delicacies in high-end restaurants and street-food markets or just taking lazy walks by day and hitting the dancefloor by night? Most cities have a little bit of everything but each one has its strong point. So the question is what it is you’re looking for.

Last minute citytrip - Solo female travel

 

You are planning a solo girls trip? But honestly, you’re not sure where to start with planning? I can recommend you to start by thinking about a destination which has a special meaning for you. Follow your heart and listen to yourself – what was your dream for a long time?

Last minute citytrip tip #2
Book your flight

Last minute citytrip - book a flight

Once you’ve picked your destination, booking a flight is your next step. As last-minute tickets are usually quite expensive, you’ll have to look harder in order to find the cheapest way to get to your destination. As the name implies, Lastminutetravel is a site that helps travelers find the cheapest flights and accommodation -yes you guessed it right- for last-minute trips. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Lastminutetravel.com, Skyscanner and Momondo will -as always- do the trick.

Last minute citytrip tip #3
Book accommodation

Last minute citytrip - The perfect accommodation

Spending your vacation in an accommodation you like is one of the most important aspects for an enjoyable trip. However, finding a room in a centrally located hotel may be a challenge. Chances are you either won’t find any or the ones you’ll find will be super expensive. So it’s time to start looking for some alternatives such as booking an Airbnb property or arranging a house swap. Homestay and Love Home Swap are some of the most popular sites for house exchange but keep in mind that you’ll have to do some in-depth research before finding a proper match.

Last minute citytrip tip #4
Book a tour guide

Last minute citytrip - Tour guide

If you’re arranging a last-minute city trip you’ll probably won’t have the time to do some proper online research in order to discover the most authentic experiences and less touristy places. So it might be a good idea to book a tour. Whether it will be a cultural tour, a gastronomy tour or a pub crawl it’s up to you, but in any case you’ll probably discover more than if traveling on your own. Each city has many professional tour guides and locals who are willing to take you to the most hidden corners. Tours by Locals and showaround are very helpful platforms for arranging such walks around the city.

Last minute citytrip - What to tip worldwide

 

 

It doesn’t matter what’s your next vacation – it’s always helpful to know when and what to tip in every country. Let’s have a look in our useful list about what to tip across the world

Last minute citytrip tip #5
Download helpful apps

Last minute citytrip - Download helpful apps

If joining a tour just feels too touristy for you and you prefer to plan your own route, make sure to download several useful apps before leaving home. Nowadays, there is an app for every need so that you will never find yourself unprepared. Citymapper or MAPS.ME are certainly among the most useful as they offer access to cities’ maps, Lonely Planet is one of the top travel sites for recommendations, Time Out offers top-notch recommendations for restaurants, bars, and cultural experiences, and the list could go on and on. So, find the app that suits your needs and the city you’re visiting best.

Last minute citytrip - Best apps for your vacation

 

Do you want to know which are the best vacation apps? Check them out, here is our list about the 10 most helpful holiday apps. And, of course, MyPostcard is one of them 😉 Send real postcards with your own vacation photos and your own text. Easy and super fast! 

Last minute citytrip tip #6
Check out events and concerts

Last minute citytrip - Search Events and concerts

No wonder small city excursions is a favorite kind of trip for culture buffs, history lovers and music enthusiasts. From temporary exhibitions in museums and art galleries to film festivals and music concerts, special events are always on the agenda of metropolises and smaller cities. Make sure to check out what’s going on during the days you’re planning to take your city trip and dive into the city’s cultural scene.

Last minute citytrip tip #7
Make a plan

Last minute citytrip - Make a list

If you don’t want to miss out on something while visiting a city make sure to make a plan beforehand. No matter how nice it may feel to just land in a new place you know little about, it can cost missing some really unique experiences and attractions. Visit A City is a website and app that lists some of the most significant landmarks in cities all over the world and suggests trip itineraries based on the time you’re planning to spend there. If none of them suit your taste make your own itinerary from scratch.

Last minute citytrip tip #8
Think who are you traveling with

Last minute citytrip - Choose the right Travel mate

Before planning your itinerary think who your travel companion will be. Especially if you’re traveling with kids you need to take into consideration that little ones wouldn’t really appreciate spending a lot of time in a modern-art museum or an experimental theatrical play. The same logic, of course, goes for the older ones, so make sure to talk with your travel buddies before making any detailed plans.

Last minute citytrip - Travel companion

 

 

You need a PERFECT MATCH! What to consider when choosing the perfect travel companion you can read here!

Last minute citytrip tip #9
Must-haves

Last minute citytrip - pack a suitcase

Packing the perfect suitcase for your last-minute city trip needs just as much planning as the rest of the trip. Make sure to pack both comfortable and stylish clothes because a city in the day feels totally different than in the night. You don’t want to forget your comfy sneakers if you want to enjoy endless walks around the attractions and neighborhoods, nor your high-heels if you want to experience the city’s nightlife. Travel size beauty products and cosmetics are certainly a must-have if you want to keep and look fresh the whole day.

Last minute citytrip tip #10
Shopping

Last minute citytrip - Shopping

You might not have shopping in mind while planning your trip, yet not many people return from a city trip without an extra piece of clothing in their suitcase. Cities brim with high- end boutiques, second-hand stores, and flea markets, so even if you want to resist the temptation of adding another t-shirt or fluffy sweater to your collection no one can guarantee you will actually manage. Therefore, make sure to leave a bit of space in your luggage and add a few extra bucks to your budget.