In 10 years, the United States will be a far better travel destination. Here’s why

12 May

I’ve said have mixed feelings about the travel experience in the USA – the gargantuan, transcontinental nation whose influence has dominated western culture for over half a century. On one hand, it’s a big, diverse and beautiful country filled with amazing national parks, as well as some of the western world’s most iconic cities. On the other hand, it’s an ugly country too in many places. There’s way too much urban sprawl, which has brought about way too much dependence on the automobile. It’s the only developed country where public transportation is so foreign to so many, and where riding a bus will get you labeled “poor”.

Consequently, the US doesn’t lend itself well to European-style backpacking. When people come here, they rent cars to drive around, or they stick to one of the few major cities that does have good transit (Chicago, DC, Boston, or New York).

The 2020’s however, will change all that, thanks to new technology as well as several social trends here:

  • Self Driving Taxi services, using Google’s self driving car technology, will be far cheaper than a taxi today. Robotic taxi services will start popping up around the country after the first self driving cars are released to the public. Though taxi drivers will lose their jobs, life will get better for just about everyone else. Less people will feel the need to own cars, and the giant parking lots that are a concrete stain on US cities can be replaced with new developments.
  • The American dream is no longer the suburban home. It is the city. Today, more and more young people are tiring of suburban life and are moving into cities instead. Since cities tend to be more interesting for tourists, the revitalization and liveliness of US downtowns will make the overall travel experience here better.
  • Airbnb is changing the way Americans travel. The sharing economy has been one of the most exciting new developments of this decade. Though it’s run into regulatory troubles here and there, ultimately it is here to stay. Airbnb is the flagship website of the sharing economy, where users rent out their rooms to travelers. There’s an increasing number of sharing sites for other purposes too, from meals at someone’s home to 3d printer services.
  • Food Trucks. They’ve popped up in many US cities over the past few years and they are likely here to stay. Just like the drive-thru was in the 1950s, the food truck today is an innovative dining trend that began here. Food from food trucks tends to be cheaper and often healthier than from restaurants.

I have faith that America will be a better place to travel in 10 years. Though inequalities and political polarization may continue, the US will continue to evolve as a travel destination, in many ways for the better.

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