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Hyperloop and holidays to Mars: what tourism could look like in 2050

The Future of Travel


By Sophie Barton, Love Exploring

Underwater hotels, robotic butlers and space flights to Mars – travel is changing, and fast. We bring you some of the most exciting innovations that could take you to infinity and beyond.




Space travel

Virgin Galactic’s mission is to make space travel accessible to everyone – as long as you can afford it, of course.

Around 700 wannabe astronauts have already forked out $250,000 (£191,500) in the hope that they’ll one day have a two-hour flight aboard SpaceShip Two. The craft carries six passengers and two pilots.

Travelers will be blasted towards the cosmos at three times the speed of sound, wearing bespoke suits and sitting in seats custom designed to fit their own bodies. Once in space, they’ll be able to gaze at the Earth from afar and float around inside the ship, before re-entering the atmosphere.

Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher and Tom Hanks are among the celebrities who are reported to have signed up. While Sir Richard Branson is reluctant to commit to dates, he says he’ll be “disappointed” if a test flight doesn’t reach space by the end of 2018.




Air taxis

Back on Earth, road rage could become a thing of the past, if Project Vahana is a success. It aims to create urban skyways populated by millions of small, self-flying air taxis. Dodgy drivers needn’t worry, they’re fully automated and able to sidestep obstacles. Best of all, they could exist by 2020.




Affordable helicopter taxis

Airbus are exploring several seriously cool innovations, but they’ve already changed the face of transport in São Paulo, Brazil, with Voom. It's a booking platform that enables you to order a helicopter taxi online. The cost? About the same as a private car transfer.




Hyperloop

The clever bods at Hyperloop One say their travel system will “eliminate the barriers of time and distance”, and they’re not wrong. If successful it could cut the hundred mile journey from Abu Dhabi to Dubai down to 12 minutes, and connect Helsinki to Stockholm in just 28 minutes. That’s a massive improvement on the current 3.5-hour flight time.

The system is essentially a long tube suspended above the ground, which houses a 28-foot long passenger pod on a track. Travelers are loaded into the pod, which quickly accelerates and lifts above the track using magnetic levitation. A recent test run in the Nevada desert saw the pod reach speeds of up to 192mph, but it should be able to reach a whopping 500mph over longer distances.

With 11 proposed routes in America, nine in Europe, plus Russia, India and the UAE, Hyperloop One could connect billions of people in hundreds of cities, making a hundred mile commute as easy as pie.




Jet packs

Even big kids dream of being able to fly and this jet pack by JetPack Aviation could make that a real possibility. Strapped to your back, it’ll enable you to fly for 10 minutes at speeds of up to 60mph, plus it’s small enough to be stashed away in the boot of you car.

Aussie pilot and inventor David Mayman has used his JetPack to glide his way around the Statue of Liberty in New York and over the Thames in London. It’s hoped that by 2019 you’ll be able to buy one for around $257,500 (£200,000).




SkyTran

With its two-man pods whizzing above the traffic at 155mph, SkyTran’s computer-controlled monorail could squeeze a two-hour journey down to 10 minutes. The track runs 20ft in the air and can even be designed to go through buildings.

The best bit? You'll be able to summon a pod on your smartphone, making this like an extreme version of Uber. SkyTran hopes to build tracks in Abu Dhabi, Israel, France and India.




Concorde's baby brother

With speeds 10% faster than Concorde and 2.6X faster than regular planes, the brilliantly named Boom is a supersonic jet that could radically shake up air travel.

The supersonic jet could slice the seven-hour flight from New York to Paris in half, and at $5,000 (£3,800) for a business class ticket, it’s fairly affordable. Over 70 jets have already been ordered by airlines, and they should be zipping around our skies by 2023.




The hoverbike

Star Trek fans will be thrilled to know that the Hoverbike may not be confined to science fiction for much longer. Russian company Hoversurf has created a flying electric motorbike called the Scorpion 3. It might not look quite as cool as the one in this picture but, in time, Trekkies could be living out their dreams.




The flying bus

CityAirbus might look space age, but it could fly for the first time as soon as 2019. The four-person aircraft is powered by battery and electricity, and with its ability to take off like a helicopter it could revolutionize city transport.





Adventures on Mars

He’s already pioneered Tesla cars and PayPal, now businessman and inventor Elon Musk has set his sights on Mars. The SpaceX entrepreneur hopes to build hundred-man spaceships that can take travellers on the 30-day flight as early as 2023.

Musk’s ultimate goal is to enable a million humans to colonize Mars, and his spaceship is set to have cinemas, lecture halls and a café. Tickets would cost £153,000 ($200,000), but even if you have the cash, it remains to be seen how humans would live on a planet where the temperature can drop as low as -125°C.

In the meantime, SpaceX intends to pioneer passenger flights around the moon in 2018. Two intrepid travelers have paid a rumored $73 million (£56m) for the first 400,000-mile flight aboard the Dragon capsule, which would make them the first people to visit deep space in 45 years.




The Hyperloop tunnel

Not content with colonizing Mars, Elon Musk recently announced that his Boring Company (that’s boring as in tunneling) has had verbal government approval to build an underground Hyperloop tunnel. It would use Hyperloop technology to connect New York to Washington DC in just 29 minutes, instead of the current journey time of four hours.




The Hyperloop Hotel

In even more Hyperloop-related developments, imagine a hotel room that doubles as a Hyperloop pod, ferrying you from city to city at breakneck speed while you sleep, work or eat. Inside, you have your own office, living room, bedroom and bathroom.

When you reach your destination, your pod docks into a static hotel – from there, it’s up to you whether you explore the big wide world or stay in your room. The brains behind this idea, architect Brandan Siebrecht, is shortlisted for a Radical Innovation Award; he believes his innovation is eminently feasible.




Robotic hotel staff

Futurologists foresee a world of radically high-tech travel. In research for Hotels.com, futurist Dr James Canton predicts that before long, holidaymakers will have their very own R2-D2 – robotic butlers who’ll greet, them, act as a concierge and even offer entertainment.




Futuristic spa treatments

Dr Canton also believes spa lovers will be able to enjoy the experience on a whole new level, with treatments tailored to your own DNA and specially designed to help you live longer. Instead of a detoxing massage, you can look forward to a total mind refresh.





Beds that control your dreams

Insomniac travelers could see restless nights become a thing of the past, with hotel beds that let you choose your dream. Dr Canton predicts that, thanks to future advances in neuroscience, guests will be able to decide whether they want adventure, excitement or even romance.




Portable treetop hotels

One thing’s for sure – by 2050, advances in transport and building will mean travel has become more sustainable. Florida architecture firm EoA has designed Living the Till, a portable treetop hotel. It’s in the running for an award from Radical Innovation, a contest that seeks out game-changing ideas in hospitality design.

The concept involves tented pods, suspended 30 feet above the ground and connected by a series of wires. The design means they can be hung seasonally in remote areas, with far less environmental impact than a traditional resort. They’ll encourage sustainability by composting and using natural ventilation instead of air conditioning.





The underwater luxury hotel

If scuba diving’s your thing, you might want to start saving your pennies for a stay in the Water Discus hotel, which is slated for construction in Dubai. Divided into two sections, one 98 feet underwater and one 22 feet above, the UFO-like structure combines ultra luxury with ocean adventure.

The above-water area has a restaurant and spa, but it’s under the water that things get exciting. The hotel will be surrounded by coral reefs, in tropical waters. In James Bond style, the dive center has an airlock system, so divers can swim directly in and out of the ocean.

Bedrooms will have awesome ocean views and, just in case you haven’t had your fill of watery adventures, there’s a gigantic swimming pool on the top deck.

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Travel Magazine: Hyperloop and holidays to Mars: what tourism could look like in 2050
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