The first extragalactic diffuse interstellar band (DIB) detections were of λ4430 in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC) in the 1960s and 70s. Driven mainly by the increased sensitivity afforded by 8-10 m-class telescopes, the last 13 years have witnessed an explosion of DIB discoveries throughout the nearby and distant universe. This review focuses on the history of extragalactic DIB studies, including some of the important results that have come out of this field, and looks to the future for what can be learned about DIBs in external galaxies with the next generation of large telescopes. So far, DIBs have been observed in the Magellanic Clouds, starburst galaxies, DLAs, and nearby (≤30 Mpc distant) spiral galaxies, and are found to be ubiquitous in the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM) of extragalactic environments wherever dust is present. Important results include the finding that DIB carriers are significantly more closely related to dust than to neutral hydrogen, and that the λ6283 DIB tends to be anomalously weak in low-metallicity sightlines.