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This is the Future of Travel

©istockphoto/izusek

©istockphoto/izusek

Lonely Planet knows a thing or two about traveling. The travel guide company might not have access to a crystal ball, but they’ve used their insider knowledge to predict some major trends for the future of travel.

A lot has changed since the first commercial flight took place a hundred years ago, but what’s even crazier is how quickly change is taking place. Case in point: according to Lonely Planet, 65 billion people have flown in the past hundred years—and that same number of people will travel in the next 15 years.

For those of us inflicted with wanderlust, this is an exciting time. A lot could happen within our lifetime—we will almost definitely see some of Lonely Planet’s forecasts come to life. Here’s a look at what you might expect to happen:

The New Normal
For most of us, travel is a luxurious experience. Not everyone is lucky enough to hop from country to country, exploring the world’s wonders. But in the future, Lonely Planet predicts that the concept of travel could very well shift from being a luxury to becoming the norm. In other words, travel will no longer be reserved for the elite: it will be accessible to all.

A frequent flying businessperson might tell you that this is already happening. Commuting by plane is becoming increasingly common with globalization—but then again, so is virtual commuting. A counter-prediction then might be a decrease in physical travel, with people “experiencing” far-off lands from the tablet in their hands. It’s hard—and a little scary—to imagine a world where virtual traveling replaces the real deal.

Going International
Despite the prevalence of technology in our lives, people still know that there’s no YouTube clip that will replace being there in person. That’s why people are making a point of traveling to check out major festivals, sporting events, and concerts—even if they’re taking place across the globe.

Lonely Planet thinks that this trend could just be getting started. Perhaps your next big trip will be centered around the Olympics, Tommorowland, or the next World Cup…

No-Frills Gets Frillier
We know that first class travel options are only getting fancier—but unfortunately, most of us only know this from reading about other people’s experiences. Things are a little different for those of us back here in the budget-friendly class.

But that could be about to change. Lonely Planet is thinking that a little healthy competition will encourage travel providers to provide a few extra perks, even for the most economical classes of travelers. We’re going to have to wait to see this one to believe it.

Airports Get Fancy
Let’s be honest: most airports are pretty drab. Overpriced food, lifeless décor, and never-ending corridors to boot—but that’s starting to change.

Through architecture, art, and amenities, airports are coming to life as dynamic hubs offering a whole lot more than crowded waiting areas. Expect to see airports step up their games—then who knows, maybe layovers won’t be such a bad thing!

Thinking Green
Travel as we know it today is far from being an eco-friendly activity, but Lonely Planet thinks that will change. We hope it does: from airports to hotels, tour operators to restaurants, everyone will need to do their part to make travel environmentally friendly.

Virtual Reality
With apps that serve as virtual concierges and the advent of Google Glasses, few would be surprised to hear that technology will continue to reinvent the way we experience travel. We’re all for gadgets that will make travel more interesting and accessible—but of course, every now and then it’s important to unplug and just live.

The New Escape
On that note, Lonely Planet predicts that unplugged getaways will become the most coveted type of travel. As our trips become increasingly satiated with filtered pictures and—sigh—emails from the boss, remote and exotic locales (sans WiFi) will become especially enticing.

Travel Like a Local
From crashing on a local’s couch to seeking restaurant recommendations from an insider, we already love experiencing the non-touristy side of travel. If this trend picks up, as Lonely Planet suggests, then the lines between visitor and resident could become increasingly blurred.

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