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Is she really on holiday? In 20 years’ time, we’ll be able to ‘visit’ international destinations through virtual reality technology. Photo: Getty
Luggage-free travel, boarding queues and self-flying planes will be commonplace for travellers in 20 years’ time. You’ll even be able to go on a holiday without leaving your couch.

The bold predictions have been made by futurologist and author Ray Hammond, who further says we’ll be taking trips into space for fun come 2040 – although that will, for now, be reserved for those with a fair bit of loose change to play with.

Hammond forecasts that within the next two decades, airline passenger numbers will double, placing increased pressure on the travel industry to efficiently adapt to demand.

“By 2040, personal software assistants will be sufficiently intelligent to help travellers book their trips online, and they will be able to cope with all the complexities of multi-destination travel planning in order to meet the needs of the traveler,” Hammond, who is based in the UK, said.

“Travel will also become more about rejuvenation, adventure, fulfilment and learning new skills, rather than just ticking off places to see from a list.”

According Hammond’s predictions, which were published in the Future Travel Report by Allianz Insurance, these will be five of the biggest changes to travel we’ll see in 2040.

Flying to the moon and back

Savage Garden may well be able to fulfil the promise to their baby – Hammond says that by 2040, some tourists will have been there, done that on Earth and will be looking for the next travel frontier. He says it’s likely tourists will be flying to and from the Moon on a regular basis.

Your face, please

We’ve already heard that passports could be extinct, as airports move more and more into the land of facial pattern recognition systems at check-in gates. Computer systems that can seamlessly scan your face and check you into your flight will be standard in 20 years, the report notes.

Source: Allianz

Hands-free flying

When you board your flight, after checking in with your smiling dial, don’t expect to be greeted by the pilot. Hammond bets that planes will be flying themselves in 2040. No pilots and no supervision. It’ll play well for the next venture of plane travel – ultra-long haul flights, which have raised concerns about the exhaustion tax it could place on aircraft staff. Are you freaking out at the thought of a plane under its own control? You’ll be calmer by the time you step aboard, Hammond says. We’ll already be conditioned by self-driving cars.

Luggage successfully printed

When you do arrive at your destination and check into your accommodation, there won’t be a porter carrying your luggage to your room. By 2040, we’ll have the capability to send our clothing measurements to our hotel ahead of our arrival, where they’ll have a 3D printer ready to print out our clothing. This will particularly apply to bulkier items like shoes and jackets, Hammond says. When we check out, our clothes will be shipping off for recycling.

The new normal is not travelling at all

Virtual reality will be so advanced within 20 years that it will allow us to experience other countries and destinations without stepping foot outside our door. The report says, “Multi-sensory virtual reality technology will allow armchair travel planners to ‘step into’ virtual hotel rooms, visit street carnivals, explore museums or walk into restaurants”. However, it won’t kill the real-life tourism industry – instead, it’s expected to give it an even bigger boost.

Source: Future travel: No luggage, no pilots and no queues | The New Daily