What travel will look like in 2024

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2014 file photo, Associated Press Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay poses wearing Google Glass in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Barbara Ortutay, an Associated Press writer, poses wearing Google Glass in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Do you wonder what travel will be like in 2024?

The travel search site Skyscanner.com is giving us a peek into the future in a report released today called “the future of travel 2024.” The report predicts how we will plan, book, and experience travel in the future.

Travelers in the ‘20s will use wearable intelligent technology. A “Digital Travel Buddy” or “e-Agent” will accompany us at all times inside, say, a watch or piece of jewelry. The buddy will be connected to the web and know our personal preferences.

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“It could have the face, voice and personality of our favorite actor or comedian and appear to us as a 3D hologram image, or inside a virtual environment, at our verbal command,” said Daniel Burrus, author of “Technotrends: How to Use Technology to Go Beyond Your Competition,” in the report.

We are seeing the beginning of this technology in Google Glass, a wearable computer that presents hands-free information. By the ‘20s, these wearable devices will shrink down and gain more capabilities—making the “Digital Travel Buddy” a reality.

Virtual reality headsets will allow us to experience potential destinations from the comfort of our homes. Want to sample Hawaii by taking a 3D stroll along a beautiful Hawaiian shore? No problem. You may even “feel” the sand between your toes with the aid of haptic technologies.

Gone will be the days of sitting, hunched over your computer, typing destinations and travel preferences on several websites and comparing results. Semantic websites, with the aid of speech recognition technology and facial coding algorithms, will enable us to book using speech and body language. Our Digital Travel Buddy will connect us to the sites.

“Travel services such as Skyscanner will be able to deploy online semantic and intuitive tools that will know your preferences: that you are a regular business traveler, that you only ever take carry-on, that you always fly first-class and like to stay in a four-star hotel no more than a mile from your meeting,” said Filip Filipov, Skyscanner’s head of B2B, in the report.

If all of this sounds far-fetched, it’s not, say the experts. The technology is already there. Here are just a few examples from the report:

-- Intel’s RealSense 3D camera is being designed to read our facial expressions and body language to gauge our mood and respond.

-- 3RD Planet has developed a CGI tool that lets you take a realistic walk through the streets of a city.

-- Disney’s REVEL gives tactile feedback through vibrations from virtual 3D objects.

-- Tech firm Affectiva is creating a facial coding algorithm that will enable travel search sites to read your expression.

Said Dr. Ian Yoeman, a travel futurologist, in the report: “Our young children will think that it is completely natural to talk to a machine that understands them without tapping a keyboard or touching a screen.”