By 2040, international travel will be faster, easier and more sustainable than ever before. In addition, the trips will be a much richer experience. The number of air travelers will double by this time, our faces will be on our passports and boarding passes thanks to facing recognition systems, and virtual travel reports, hotel rooms, and museums will be commonplace, according to a recent report 'The Future Travel Experience'.
The report is part of the futurology series 'The World in 2040'. The study, written by internationally renowned futurologist Ray Hammond, presents realistic developments and trends that are likely to affect international travel and the travel experience over the next 20 years.
The report identifies the key trends that will significantly change international travel by 2040:
Virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR)
Virtual Reality appeals to different senses and enables holiday planners to "enter" the hotel room from the comfort of their own sofa, visit street festivals, explore museums and see restaurants from the inside. This trend will rather spark the desire for real experience than replace it.
Fast check-ins thanks to new technologies
Facial recognition systems are already being tested at some airports. In 20 years' time, these computer systems will be so advanced that facial patterns can be reliably recognized, allowing check-ins to go smoothly.
Although some luxury hotels will not miss the opportunity to greet their guests personally, many business and budget hotels will make use of automated check-ins and electronic, software-controlled "room pages". Some of the hotels will also have autonomous baggage carts that will take the luggage to the room.
Significantly faster trains
International train future travel will be better and smoother in many parts of the world. Computer networks and the "Internet of Things" (IoT) will coordinate national and international rail networks, allowing trains to travel at shorter intervals. Trains will also achieve higher speeds on most networks.
3D-printed clothing at the holiday resort
In 2040 it will be possible to inform the hotel at the destination of your own clothing size before arrival so that large and bulky items of luggage (e.g. raincoats or shoes) can be printed out on site. This will also significantly reduce the amount of baggage that tourists will have to carry with them in 2040. The low cost of 3D-printed garments also means that tourists can leave them behind on departure and recycle them.
Cruise ships will be much more environmentally friendly than today's ocean liners. The ships are powered by liquid natural gas, a light fossil fuel with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. This makes cruises one of the most ecological ways to travel. The destinations of the cruises will be even more varied, especially Asia will profit from it.
Space as a normal holiday destination
In 2040, the world will no longer be able to offer some travelers exciting destinations. It is to be assumed that there will be regular travel traffic to and from the moon until then since the tourists would like to see the earth from space.
Ray Hammond explains the changes that tourists can expect by 2040: "Travel as we know it today will change dramatically in the next 20 years. The number of air travelers will double by this time. This means that the tourism industry is under pressure to provide travelers with faster and more efficient travel experiences. By 2040, the software wizards will be so advanced that they can help travelers book their trips online. They will also be able to coordinate complex multi-destination trips, taking into account the needs of travelers. Future travel experiences will also increasingly be about relaxation, dream fulfillment and learning new skills, rather than just ticking off a destination on the map."