Covid 19. Bet you’ve never heard of that one before!
Covid has changed everything, the way we work, the way we exercise, the way we shop and even the way we travel. Travel has been restricted for a while now, with travel decreasing from 4.5 billion people in 2019 to 1.8 billion people in 2020. Recently, things have started to open back up and tourism is on the rise again. However, the way travel has existed before is starting to change, from safety precautions, to new technologies to even the prospects of space travel!
How, you ask? Well, let’s take a look.
Although not an entirely new concept, as countries like Uganda, Cameroon and many others require proof of yellow fever and other vaccines, it is becoming more and more common to require vaccination passports. Most countries are requiring people to be vaccinated and show proof of their vaccines with a CDC vaccination card before entering their borders. In response to this, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has initiated the IATA Travel Pass which informs travelers on which tests and vaccines they need to travel and can allow them to share their results with airlines to make travel easier. (This pass is still in the trial phase, so, for the time being, only participating airlines can validate the travel pass!).
Since the Covid lockdown began, we’ve all been restless to do something, to see something, to travel. Although travel is starting to open up now, there was a time in which none of us was able to leave are homes, and even now, for those at risk, it is still dangerous to leave. With VR, we are able to hike the Andes, see the Roman Baths, experience the Louvre and maybe even swim with the sharks, all from the comfort of our own homes! Virtual reality allows us these experiences without the risk of Covid exposure.
Internet of Things (IoT)
As big changes are being made in the technology of travel, the Internet of Things is changing the tech we use on a regular basis to make our travel experiences much easier. From apps to help plan trips to pass to sense and track suitcases, to tolls and ticketing, to even the IATA Travel Pass, everything is moving to be technologically based to make travel much simpler!
Travel on a daily basis due to the pandemic as well. Since the lockdown, we all had to transition everything, from work to school, to an online platform. And at first, it was hard since we didn’t have much opportunity to leave our homes but it did have a pretty good impact on the environment. There were no more daily commutes for most people which not only lessens the Carbon footprint, it also gives you the extra hour and half you would spend crawling through traffic on your way to work. Even now that restrictions are opening up, people are choosing to continue to work from home and no longer commute.
Civilian Space Travel
On July 20th, 2021, Jeff Bezos boarded Blue Orgin’s New Sheperd rocket and took flight into space along with his brother, Mark, and the both the oldest and the youngest people to go to space. July 11th, Richard Branson fulfilled many people’s lifelong dreams and made a trip into space as well. Civilian space travel is becoming more and more realistic for the future. Axiom Space is hoping to create the first private space station where space tourists can reside for multiple days and many other space programs are following suit in allowing for space tourism. Maybe someday soon, we’ll all be eating continental breakfast up in space together!
What most people don’t know about Richard Branson’s trip to space was that it was a publicity stunt for the high-speed pods he is creating with his travel focused company, The Virgin Group. Each pod will be able to hold up to 28 people and will run at up to 621 mph! Branson is hoping to have these pods open for commercial travel by 2030. Other companies, such as Hardt Hyperloop, based in the Netherlands, are also working to create hyper-loops as well. As more and more research emerges on the topic of hyper-loops, hopefully travel will be able to be much more time efficient and sustainable in the future!