Sometimes I wonder what the future of travel will look like. Will drones become the new selfie stick? Will virtual reality take us to places like Antarctica and other remote places in the world that we normally can’t get to? Will hotels increasingly become more of a place where travelers and locals mix? Will travel become increasingly hands on – we no longer will be satisfied with seeing something, we will want to actually do it ourselves? Will Uber actually launch flying cars? Will passports become obsolete replaced by biometric data? Will Indian cities be filled with driverless cars and rickshaws (and will they know that cows have the right of way!)? Speaking of driverless – what about our airplanes – will pilots be obsolete? Will an around the world trip turn into an ‘around the galaxy’ trip eventually including stop on Mars?
I know some of that may seem far-fetched, but the world is changing fast, and so is the world of travel. Just as an example, when I started living on the road and traveling full time in 2006, the world of travel was quite different.
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What Travel Looked Like in 2006 and How it’s Changed
When I left in 2006 I called my website a travel journal not a blog. There was no Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram. I didn’t travel with a laptop, and instead frequented internet cafes to stay in touch with family and friends. In fact, when I got on the plane to Kenya for my year of traveling around the world on my self proclaimed career break, there weren’t even smart phones. I left with a flip phone and a world sim card only for emergencies.
That means the word “selfie” wasn’t a part of our vocabulary. And in general as we traveled, we were very outward facing showing people what we saw in a picture or in front of us. However, now our whole society is inward facing – we show people us traveling and experiencing a country – we are the ‘star’ of the story – and often that story is now captured live.
There are times when I wish it was simple again, like when I started out. But the reality is that digital is here to stay and it’s also helped me in many ways too. In fact, it’s thanks to technical advances I’ve been able to stay on the road and live nomadically while running a business for a decade.
Current Struggles in Travel
I consider myself a professional traveler, I’ve been living out of a suitcase now for 10 years moving around the globe, sharing it with the world, and working with travel companies and destinations. I feel like I’m kind of different than the average traveler/consumer.
I didn’t leave my corporate career becuase I hated it, I was just burned out. I still have a big interest in business and technology and that’s still the lens I tend to view the world through. I see and understand the struggles of travel companies who are caught behind the ball of the new digital world trying to understand where to put their investments and changes to stay ahead of the times. Or more likely to just try to keep up with the times and the Millennials!
Have you ever been on vacation and thought about a hotel or tour company, ‘they just don’t get it, they are living back in the 00’s of travel.’ I have that feeling all the time. I wish I could sit down and give them feedback at times! Feedback I know would make it somewhere and help them improve their experience for the next traveler after me!
For example, just recently the United fiasco in the news about overbooking flights; who didn’t watch that video and think of a million other better ways to handle that situation! You just wanted to tell the CEO and Management of United your thoughts…now you can. Your travel experiences and opinions can be heard and put to use to improve the world of travel! Oh yes…and you get rewarded for providing your travel expertise!
Your Travel History Can Change the Future of Travel
Embark is a new USA Today endeavor that is partnering with travelers, like yourself, to guide world-class travel companies and the USA Today editorial team as they explore emerging travel trends and new business ventures. You can bestow your one-of-a-kind insight while you illuminate future travel coverage and travel brand roadmaps.
Simply fill out a travel profile, and Embark members are matched with specific questions launched by travel brands. Members will receive an email with questions and will be asked to submit feedback online.
If I try to describe it based on my old world of corporate – this is a new modern digital focus group of sorts. A chance for you to provide your insight into the future of travel!
How Embark Works
Even though membership is free, your times isn’t, I love the idea of earning benefits for your contributions! The benefits currently are given in the form of giftcards, so you can utilize them for things you need and want.
Want to know more? Read the FAQ’s Here
Sign Up Now
And just think, maybe your feedback will lead to a hotel in space one day! Or maybe just free Wi-Fi in all hotels. I’d be fine with that too!
This post was done in partnership with Embark, however all opinions expressed here are my own.