In 10 years, travellers will be able to test out the waters of the Great Barrier Reef or the Dead Sea using virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift before booking their trip.
Language barriers will break down thanks to wearable technology like smart contact lenses, which will be able to provide immediate translations, while a virtual travel companion akin to Siri will take the stress out of holiday planning.
These are among some of the striking predictions made by The Future Laboratory and 56 trend experts and futurologists in a report entitled “The Future of Travel 2024," commissioned by online booking site Skyscanner.
In a fictional scenario set in 2024, TOM (Traveler of the Millennium) has just come off a series of 60-hour work weeks and is burned out.
His digital travel companion, Siri, meanwhile, has noticed this and of its own accord, suggests he take a holiday by streaming travel ideas on his windows – underwater hotels, a safari to see elephants in the wild before they become extinct, or a holiday at one of the new space hotels in low orbit.
With one sentence, “Book me a seat, Siri,” the holiday planning is complete.
Sound familiar? The concept may be reminiscent of the Spike Jonze movie “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix.
The first in a three-part series, the report looks at what the planning and booking process may look like in 2024. According to the experts, the three major trends will be digital travel buddies, virtual reality travel and personalized, bespoke travel planning.
Here’s their breakdown:
Virtual companions and wearable intelligence
In addition to a smart, digital companion, wearable technology will evolve from Google Glass. In 2024, travellers will wear contact lenses, for instance, that can provide live translations when traveling abroad and break down language barriers.
In addition to virtual reality technologies like Oculus Rift allowing travellers to "test-drive" destinations, Haptic technology will also allow travellers to sample the texture of their hotel’s bed, or the plushness of an airplane seat. Haptic technology provides tactile feedback.
Online holiday planning will become even more customized thanks to intuitive and nuanced technologies. For example, tools like facial coding algorithms will allow search engines to read human expressions and adjust their results based on the user’s reactions and response.
“The travel industry has evolved a great deal over the past ten years so trying to predict what the next ten years has in store has been fascinating,” said Skyscanner’s head of B2B, Filip Filipov.
“With so many emerging technologies it is mind-boggling to imagine just what their impact on travel could be. This report is a sneak peek into the future and it’s only the start of the journey.” – AFP Relaxnews, April 13, 2014.