Skift Take

Most of these expectations seem realistic for 2020, given how fast travel tech is advancing today. But space travel becoming commonplace in just six years?

Switchfly announced the results of its new survey of American travelers this week, and some of the findings may seem a bit out-of-this-world.

About 5% of Americans admit that they’re anticipating having space-traveled around low Earth orbit by 2020. What’s more, 3% of Americans expect to have visited the International Space Station or Mars by that year. The generation and gender contributing to these intergalactic aspirations the most are millennial men.

The other, more Earthly, finding is 72% of Americans expect travel to be personalized by 2020. Tailored offerings expected include computers default-booking your favorite place to sit in planes, along with your car and hotel preferences, 39%, making travel plans will require only one click of your smart device, 37%, travelers will use facial recognition software during check-in, 37% and computers will know who you want to travel with, 20%.

About 14% of Americans plan on booking travel on technology that hasn’t been invented yet in 2020. The same percentage, though, still plan to book travel through a travel agent.

Americans also have an optimistic outlook on how much traveling they’ll do in 2020 and where they’ll go. About 51% think they will visit more domestic destinations, and 38% say they’ll do more international travel. The study points out this is a significant change from a May 2014 report that found only 2% of Americans traveled internationally that month.

Robots are expected to have a larger role with 2020 travel, as 18% expect to talk to a robot they expect will be more helpful than a person, though 41% still expect to call a hotel or airline and speak to a human.

A majority, 66%, of respondents expect to call an airline or hotel directly in 2020, and 16% believe calling them will bring personalized offerings.

2020 Travel Expectations By Generation

Expected Travel Booking Method in 2020 Age Group Most Likely to Use Method Generation Represented % Who Said This
On a computer 35-44 Generation X 70%
Using a smartphone 18-34 Millennials 36%
With a travel agent 65+ Baby Boomers 18%
Using a technology not yet invented 35-44 Generation X 17%
Using a smart watch 18-44 Millennials and Generation X 6%
Using smart glasses 18-44 Millennials and Generation X 4%

Source: Switchfly

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Tags: future of travel, space travel

Photo Credit: The International Space Station orbiting over Earth. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr