As travelers, we have access to the seven continents of our world. We can visit modern cities, the countryside, jungles and we can go far remote from any sort of civilization. We have the opportunity of getting there by car, ship, plane or train. And we can do it all in a relatively short period of time.
Sometimes it seems as if we have the world at our fingertips and there aren’t many more original travel dreams left to be had. So what exactly does the future of travel hold for us? The answer is, a lot. The travel industry is constantly striving to bring consumers the next big thing, to keep them interested in their products and to keep business alive. Pushing the boundaries of what it means to travel is in their best interest and big plans are in the works.
From destinations that have been typically closed off to much of the world, like certain places in the Middle East, to technological advances that will allow for cosmic travel, there are plenty of opportunities to look forward to in our lifetime that are new and different.
The needs and desires of travelers are changing. We all want to do more for less and if we don’t get what we want, the travel industry is going to take a big hit. Rest assured, they will not allow that to happen.
Recent forecasts and predictions by travel industry experts, technologists and futurists indicate that one of the many ways in which travel will evolve in the near future is by making once expensive destination far more affordable. Some of the less traveled locales on the further reaches of our planet will be much more accessible to the traveler of average means. No frills packages to places like Moscow, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town will be readily available from anywhere in the world. Places in Europe, like France and Italy, will be vying for top billing with destinations increasing in popularity, like the Middle East.
Countries like Syria and Qatar, realizing the importance of the tourist dollar to their economy, will make themselves an appealing, affordable and safe destination for travelers. The same goes even for countries like Libya and North Korea, the latter of which is finally allowing small, controlled groups of foreign tourists in. Many less-traveled countries in South America, with their fantastic beaches, rugged terrain, lively cities and vibrant nightlife will also gain in popularity among travelers.
But the future of adventure travel goes far beyond the likes of exotic countries that are opening up their doors by making themselves more appealing. There are opportunities to be had unlike any we’ve ever experienced.
The race into space, commercial space travel that is, has been heating up for many years and as early as 2011, thousands of travelers will be able to venture outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
In a short matter of time, wealthy travelers paying as much as $200,000 will be launched into space to experience the joys of commercial space travel. The interest among those who can afford such a luxury is high, but what about those who can’t pay such high prices? The major obstacle that stands in the way of affordable commercial space flight is not technology, but a mass market for space tourism that will drastically reduce the cost to travelers. That mass market will be available once prices are affordable, making it one of the biggest Catch-22’s in all of travel.
Beyond the actual flight itself, the next step is in building a space hotel for travelers to stay at. Adventure-seekers can’t wait, but the hotel industry is currently quite skeptical of such a venture. Still, with a fleet of reusable launch vehicles in place that can repeatedly take tourists into space, the opening of a space hotel is inevitable. And in this day of billionaire visionaries and risk takers, all it takes is one investor with deep pockets to make the whole thing happen. Architects who have consulted with scientists and already begun work on prototype designs for space hotels believe that that they will be able to have many of the comforts that gravity-rich Earth provides. Flushing toilets and flowing faucets including showers are within the realm of possibility.
Another aspect to futuristic travel is one in which you never even have to leave the comfort of your home.
As we navigate the future pathways of travel, there is no doubt that technology and travel will go hand-in-hand.
The ability to capture 3D images of tourist destinations already exists. So does the ability to interact with these images in 360 degrees, giving you at least a good impression of what it is like to really be there. The street level navigation of a virtual reality environment allows for exploring physical places in space and time without physically being there. It is highly likely that within the next decade, much of the world will be documented in this 3D/360 reality and available at the touch of a fingertip. With technology rapidly advancing, the quality of virtual travel could improve to a level where taking a virtual vacation instead of a real one is a viable and appealing option.
Besides the fact that it will be cheaper, it will also be more eco-friendly, which is a very important thing to consider as we navigate the world in the future.
Thinking about what the future of travel holds is an exciting prospect. The potential for new and great adventures unlike any we have ever known is well within reach.
But with world populations growing and numerous locales increasingly experiencing the negative effects of the tourism industry, it is important for travelers to be aware of their impact on the lives of locals. Travelers, no matter how lightly they tread, have an environmental and economic impact on their host destinations. And when we travel somewhere, we are not only visiting the location, but the people as well.
More than ever before, the key to having success in future travel endeavors is to take into consideration sensitive eco-systems, use local infrastructures in moderation and look to avoid using goods and services that are direct byproducts of tourism. With such a disciplined travel ethic, the final frontiers of the world can be experienced at their best for generations to come.