Zip Travel was originally formed by David Ruddall who was a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and a Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education at Bayero University Kano Nigeria. Initially David would arrange travel as a sideline to his university work, but this rapidly expanded as word got around of his ability to understand the requirements of travellers' needs. He was heavily involved in charity and voluntary organisations, especially VSO. Due to the increasing workload due to recommendations David took on a helping hand, Terry Lovell and so Zip Travel was formed.

Originally the company operated out of the back room of David's home in Edgbaston, Birmingham. After David's death the organisation moved to Moseley (1991) and more staff were brought in to cope with demands as it continued to flourish. In 1993 Zip Travel became ZIP AIR LIMITED T/A Zip Travel, led by Terry, Kay Massey and Bill Jackson.