To me, technology is the future of travel and the future of travel is technology.
When I think of the “future of travel”, I think of things like “green” technology, travel being powered by solar, wind, and water sources, virtual reality (VR) (where you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to see the sights of the world), robots running the service industry (and everything else), high speed everything, trains, planes, buses, and automobiles, even weird things like teleportation, submarine and deep-sea exploration trips, and space travel.
Where does your mind go?
It is hard for me to picture the future of travel because I can barely imagine what it was like traveling in the past. Months long boat travel, inability to communicate with friends and loved ones (except by Morris code), telegram or snail mail, massive cruise ships and trains powered by coal and steam, having to take weeks or months to get somewhere that now only takes hours or minutes to get to…it is really unimaginable.
We already use the internet for just about everything, from price comparisons to researching travel destinations, to learning about visa requirements, to reading travel magazines like “Griots Republic” for advice, tips, and suggestions of travel destinations, to booking travel and hotel/Air BnB stays and much more. People already use VR to see and experience places they have never been, and you don’t even have to have a virtual reality set up when Google earth exists because it allows you to see in real-time any place in the world you want to see. These types of options will only become more refined, more advanced, and more available to more travelers.
The rise of Artificial Intelligence is on the near horizon as well. While seemingly a futuristic concept, AI is very much a part of our daily lives already. For example, anytime you use a booking website to browse potential travel destinations and travel options, look at google maps, or ask Siri a question, it is AI that is responding to and assisting you. AI is already studying your travel preferences. There are programs using the language you communicate in and analyzing what you currently search for in order to make predictions about your future travel decisions so that it can make recommendations based on the preferences that will serve you as a consumer. It’s looking to potentially entice you to buy from travel industry service providers who are their clients. In the future, AI technology will go into high gear and become the only method by which you can interface when it comes to researching and booking travel.
Travel in the future will also mean innovations like jet lag cures where you can travel across multiple time zones and be unaffected. It will also mean checking in using only facial recognition, getting used to smaller accommodation spaces as the world’s population bulges and our individual space becomes smaller and ultimately more “efficient” (and ideally greener). Self-driving cars and so much more are all in store for us. To me, technology is the future of travel and the future of travel is technology.
However, there is a flip side to all of this technology and modernization.
These days people feel more and more overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the need to maintain an active social life and an active social media life. Honestly, it really is a bit too much. Within many travel circles, I hear a lot of conversations around “digital detoxing” or “unplugging” and taking meaningful breaks from social media and technology. As a result, I predict there will be a rise of technology-free vacations, as in no cameras, no cell phones, no computers, no social networking, etc. In essence, one would be truly disconnected from the digital realm and therefore able to fully tune back into themselves, others, and better able to fully appreciate and immerse themselves in the travel experience.