Why did people travel in the middle ages


Most of what we know about the middle ages comes from whatever people from the era or those that came after them wrote down or whatever was passed down in folklore down generation that lives through those times. However, judging solely by recorded history, we can answer with some certainty some questions like what motivated people to travel during the middle ages.

To explore new lands and cultures

The middle ages, i.e., the period between 5th and 15th centuries was an age of immense exploration. While the general public stuck to well defined routes, many adventurers ventured off the beaten path and explored a great of the world as we know it today. In fact, the Americas were discovered and explored during this age.

For trade

Traveling for trade was something of a necessity for people living during the Middle Ages as they couldn’t find many daily life essentials like spices sugar, precious metals etc. in their own location. Tradesmen usually traveled far themselves to acquire such materials though state-sponsored trading vessels usually traded goods with other countries around the world on the behalf of their own sovereign.

To meet relatives

Since tourism didn’t really exist as a concept back in the middle ages, most people that traveled far only did so to meet relatives. Each trip to and from the destination lasted a good few weeks and each stay lasted an entire season or a few months at least.

For pilgrimage purposes

For the general public, traveling too purely for leisure didn’t really exist as a concept. In fact, the only form of tourism that existed in the true sense of the word was one that focused on religious activities or pilgrimages. These pilgrimages were undertaken by people in large groups and it usually took people a few months to complete each journey.