National Geographic has an interesting photo-slideshow of Famous Great Travelers
The travelers listed are from various time periods showing how travel and exploration have always been important to people all over the world. In fact of the 10 travelers mentioned only a few had the opportunity to travel by plane!
I haven't heard of all of these travelers but they all have an interesting story. Many of them were also authors.
Here is the list:
The Classical Traveler: Homer (Eighth Century B.C.)
The Mapmaker: Strabo (64 B.C.- A.D. 24)
The Passionate Pilgrim: Xuanzang (602- 664)
The Globe Spinner: Ibn Battuta (1304- 1369)
The Global Gastronaut: Thomas Jefferson (1743- 1826)
The High Flier: Isabella Lucy Bird (1831- 1904)
The Ultimate Nomad: Freya Stark (1893- 1993)
The Rugged Individual: Bruce Chatwin (1940- 1989)
The Nicest Nomad: Michael Palin (1943- Present)
The Boldest Adventuress: Kira Salak (1971- Present)
Check out full slide show and find out some info about each traveler on NatGeo HERE