Lonely Planet's 10 Predictions for the Future of Travel


Future vacations will be stress-free AND technology-free. (Photo: Thinkstock)

We may not be able to predict the future, but Lonely Planet can.

In a move usually reserved for mystics and fortune tellers, Lonely Planet and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) partnered up to release 10 predictions for the future of global travel.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of commercial aviation, the list is a way to honor our past by forecasting our traveling future — and some of the predictions will surprise you.

Unplugged travel will become the norm, with people seeking remote hotels that DON’T have internet or phone service. Today, a hotel without Wi-Fi is all but avoided, but it appears that our overreliance on technology will create a group of travelers truly seeing to escape. In the future, people will attend more international festivals, as flights become faster and cheaper from country to country. That means events like Carnival in Brazil, the Running of the Bulls in Spain, Oktoberfest in Germany, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans may see more global guests.

Related: Does Technology Ruin Travel? A Social Media Addict Comes Clean


Festivals like Mardi Gras may draw a larger international crowd in the future. (Photo: AP)

The lists also calls for a future where travel is a more integrated part of life, and where increased competition will force airlines to improve the experience for economy fliers. Winning!

But some of the predictions weren’t necessarily groundbreaking. Lonely Planet forecasted that as more airlines go paperless, our smartphones will become the key to planning and tracking travel. (Clearly, that is something that many travelers are already experiencing.) Travelers will plan their upcoming trips by sitting on their laptops and using Google Streetview. Again, this kind of virtual planning is a tool that many people already use: Yahoo Travel has even written about how now people can check out the pyramids a Egypt without ever leaving their sofa.

Related: The Dog That Got Run Over and Other Crazy Google Street View Photos

Still, the list got us thinking about the future of travel and what we would like to see change. Check out Lonely Planet’s full list of predictions, and then tell us what you think the future of travel will look like.

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Predictions for the Future of Travel: 

1. Travel as life, not luxury. The concept of travel as a rare escape is outdated. Obstacles that prevented people traveling, like high costs, continue to fall away; for those with the means, travel has become a lifestyle.

2. International festival fever. With flights faster and cheaper than ever before, travelers are taking advantage of a global calendar of events.

3. Flights of fantasy. Lie-flat seats, meals prepared by celebrity chefs, wine lists to make a French sommelier salivate… recent years have seen flights becoming ever more luxurious for well-heeled travellers. But more interesting than the upswing in luxe in-flight experiences are the perks available to smaller budgets. 

4. The evolution of airports. The image of airports as chaotic and impersonal is disappearing. The success of airport spas and green spaces is sure to bring even more leisure activities within the airport experience: shiatsu or infinity pool before take-off, anyone? 

5. The rise of experience hotels. Whether it’s cultural immersion or shock value, travelers look set to demand much more from their accommodation in coming years.

6. Smarter sustainable travel. Green travel has hit the big time as a new generation of travelers builds sustainability into every step of their journeys.

7. Travel planning in your palm. Synced-up app experiences are becoming increasingly the norm for travelers.

8. The lure of unplugged travel. True escapes are becoming highly valued, and remote hotels are starting to make a feature of their lack of internet and phone signal.

9. Return to local knowledge. Travelers’ hunger for secret coves and local trattorias is emboldening them to embrace face-to-face recommendations.

10. Virtual travel. Glimpsing a virtual world or exploring on Google Streetview is a catalyst for a generation of travelers itching to explore for themselves. And the past century’s great strides in transport and new technology have shaped a global community of explorers who are bolder and more curious than ever before.

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