15 Future Technologies That Could Change the Way We Travel

Traveling is a great experience, but few of us can imagine how technology will change the way we travel in the future.

Nobody can predict the future of travel. But we know technology will evolve, taking us to new heights or, in this case, new destinations. From self-driving vehicles, mobile apps, and space travel to augmented and virtual reality, the future looks exciting for budding travelers.

We’ve picked 15 of the most exciting, innovative ways that future technologies could change the way we travel.

1. Mobile Travel Apps

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If you’re of a certain age, you may have had the unpleasant experience of trying to open a gigantic paper or laminated map inside the car to plan your destination. Those days are gone.

Travel apps have revolutionized the way we plan our journeys. Even if you don’t have an in-car SatNav, open up Google Maps on your smartphone, input your destination, and the app will get you there. Today, Airlines have apps we can use to book flights.

2. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

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A decade ago, travel agencies were physical stores where you’d sit with a travel agent planning your trip. Today, it’s never been easier to travel anywhere in the world with 24/7 online booking platforms like Airbnb, Expedia and Booking.com.

You’re no longer at the risk of heading abroad to a half-built hotel. These platforms have reviews and ratings for all destinations.

3. Autonomous Vehicles

2021 Tesla Model S Long Range
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Even though it seems like a futuristic fantasy, self-driving cars will one day travel the roads as we sit in the back sipping cocktails or scrolling on our phones without risking other road users. Tesla is experimenting with autonomous cars, and some cities, such as San Francisco, are trialing driverless vehicles.

These cars can detect cameras and sensors and use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to navigate the roads safely.

4. Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Nissan Leaf recharging in Houston, Texas
Image Credit: CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The world is gradually transitioning to electric and hybrid vehicles to reduce carbon emissions and help the environment. Electric and hybrid cars create more eco-friendly and sustainable travel and reduce air pollution.

As manufacturers produce new cars, fewer fossil fuel vehicles will be on our roads over the next decade.

5. High-Speed Train Travel

South Korea's Incheon Airport Maglev
Image Credit: Minseong Kim, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

High-speed “bullet trains” capable of over 370 mph may be the future of train travel. These superfast trains, so named because of the bullet-shaped nose, will run on high-speed networks like the HS2 route in China, which will extend to 50,000 kilometers by 2025. Japan is investing $9 trillion in magnetic levitation (maglev) in a 178-mile line that will link Tokyo to Nagoya in only 40 minutes.

This technology is expensive, so it may be another decade before high-speed trains become the norm.

6. Space Flights

Virgin Galactic White Knight Two
Image Credit: D. Miller – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Virgin Galactic, founded in 2004, sells space flights. The initial ticket price was for the wealthiest, starting at $200k. In 2024, prices range from $450k to $600k, depending on whether you opt for business class. The first paid tourists flew to the edge of space in August 2023.

With over 800 people paid and on the list, it could be a while before you travel into space, and you’d need a good chunk of change to do so.

7. Ride-Sharing Services

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Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed the growth of smartphone apps for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. They are a better alternative to renting a car or hailing a taxi in the rain.

When you book a ride via an app, you know how much the ride costs, how far away the driver is, and how long you will have to wait. In addition, the service is prepaid, so no surprises.

8. Virtual Reality

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Instead of waiting at an airport for hours with a canceled flight, virtual reality enables tourists to travel to any destination in the comfort of their homes. Virtual reality provides an immersive experience to enjoy the benefit of travel without the logistics and hassle. You can interact with and explore your surroundings.

One benefit is you can check if the holiday destination is one you’d physically like to visit.

9. Augmented Reality

Man Wearing AR Headset
Image Credit: Kai Kowalewski, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Augmented reality (AR) is an immersive, interactive experience that combines computer-generated and real-world content. It is a multi-sensory experience for discovering travel locations spanning auditory, visual, and olfactory modalities.

The technology provides real-time information about destinations, attractions, and anything relevant. AR can help you learn about new places and navigate unknown locations.

10. Travel Sharing Platforms with User Reviews

Image Credit: TripAdvisor.

One of the fears about traveling to new destinations is that it may fail to live up to expectations. There’s little worse than having an awful holiday. Travel-sharing platforms like TripAdvisor with user reviews help remove these concerns.

You can discover user experiences of the exact location, hotel, attractions, and tours.

11. Blockchain Technology

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Blockchain technology can help with transparency and cybersecurity by storing passenger details on the blockchain. It will record identity and booking records on the decentralized blockchain (meaning no intermediaries are involved).

Technology can help reduce the increasing risk of identity theft, fraud, and data breaches. It can also help with payments by enabling P2P (peer-to-peer) transactions.

12. Biometrics

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Biometrics can significantly speed up the travel process by streamlining security checking aspects, which have become more stringent over the last few years. Biometrics include facial recognition, iris, and fingerprint scanning.

The demand for physical documents and manual verification will gradually decline, and airport security will be more efficient and safer.

13. Mobile Payment Solutions

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Globalized mobile payment solutions can revolutionize the travel industry. They reduce the need for cash and enhance the travel experience. One of the primary benefits is that travelers don’t have to deal with international banking and currency exchange.

They also open up digital payment options to people in countries without access to traditional banking.

14. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is already impacting the travel industry. Many companies have chatbots to help people gather information and book holidays. The sophisticated AI algorithms with machine learning can gather and analyze data to provide a highly personalized travel service based on user patterns.

For businesses deploying AI, it can identify demand patterns and market trends so that a travel company can promote to a ready audience.

15. Internet of Things (IoT)

William Ruh, CEO, GE Digital on IoT
Image Credit: Daniel Penfield, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that connects objects linked to the Internet with embedded devices using software, sensors, and other technologies. These could include hotel room controls, smart luggage trackers (no more lost luggage?), and other travel-related requirements.

IoT smart surveillance systems can also improve travel safety when carrying devices via IoT sensors.

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