What will our holidays be like in the future? Will we be travelling Robinson-family-style through outer space? We've taken a look in our crystal ball and discovered what the future of travel holds.
Strange flying machines
Flying cars might have seemed like pure science fiction when Marty McFly took flight in his DeLorean in Back to the Future II in the 1980s, but you no longer need to be McFly to experience the future of travel.
The world's first bio-fuelled flying car, the Parajet Skycar, is already in production. Similar in concept to the microlight, it has an enclosed cabin, room for two people and a maximum air speed of 175km/h. After landing, you simply fold down the wings, pop them in the boot and continue on to your destination by road.
While the Parajet's reach is somewhat limited (its longest flight to date has been from London across the Sahara to Timbuktu), the development by 2024 of the Cosmoplane a successor to the Concorde will make it possible for adventurous travellers to go farther and faster.
Developed by Russia's Institute of Applied Mechanics, the Cosmoplane will shave hours off long-haul flights with a flight from Moscow to New York slated to take only 50 minutes (it currently takes nine and a half hours). While the craft will take off and land like an ordinary plane, it will be more like a spacecraft, reaching an altitude of between 100km to 200km and with speeds of 30,000 km/h. Marty never had it so good.
Holiday in space
We earthlings have long dreamed of travelling into space. Yet while tourist flights into orbit have been a reality for a few years now with Virginia-based Space Adventures offering a 10-day trip aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule or a 16-day stay complete with space walk, the $20 million price tag has meant space travel has only been in the grasp of a lucky (and rich) few.
But with Virgin Galactic recently entering the market offering suborbital flights at $200,000 a pop and Space Adventures quickly undercutting them by half, it's clear the race for space is truly on.
Going hand-in-hand with space flights, a private space tourism company, Galactic Suite, has announced they will be opening the first space hotel in 2012. The zero-gravity resort will orbit earth at 48,000km/h, circling the planet once every 80 minutes, while offering visitors 15 sunrises per day.
You'll have to have deep pockets though, with a three-night stay already being sold for €3 million ($5.5 million), but just imagine the view from your room.
Earth-bound hotels room are also slowly evolving. As we reported recently, mobile phones are currently being tested as room keys so you can check in via your phone and bypass the front desk.
But imagine going to a hotel where the wallpaper changes colour to suit your mood, the bed automatically fits your comfort needs, robot staff serve you drinks and hotel rooms clean themselves? According to Victoria University of Wellington tourism futurologist Professor Ian Yeoman these may become a staple of future hotels by 2050.
More incredulous is the notion of a flying luxury hotel (think Battlestar Galactica meets the Hilton) that's been widely touted about in the media recently. Not only does it look an unlikely shape for hotel-cum-spaceship, but the use of hydrogen gas to get it airborne has us worried anyone remember the Hindenburg?
But no matter what the future is for the humble hotel, while the personal touch will be sadly lacking, at least you'll save money on paying tips!