It’s no secret technology is an essential cog in the immense wheel of the travel industry. Mobile boarding passes are expected, and real-time travel alerts are delivered to our smartphones. Airports, airlines and destinations will continue relying on innovative products to make life easier for travelers on the go.

New tools and applications are continuously being rolled out, and the R&D pipeline is steadily flowing. Even the first stop on your travel itinerary – your airport parking facility – must adopt new tools and features to enhance the guest experience. Fast Park recently partnered with Flash, a cloud-native technology platform, to digitize its parking tools, which will roll out to all Fast Park facilities in the coming year. Features such as pre-paid reservations, faster transaction times, license-plate recognition technology and deeper rewards program integration will be on the horizon.

So what travel tech might you encounter the next time you travel, and what are the futuristic opportunities to keep on your radar?

Facial Recognition

Like the days of opening your iPhone with a home button and password are behind us, so are certain instances of flashing or swiping your photo ID cards and passports.

If you’ve flown internationally recently, you’re probably familiar with the cameras used at the gate to verify passengers’ identities before boarding the plane. Facial recognition isn’t just being used to validate identities, however. The end goal for this powerful tool is to enable greater security and safety measures. In 2019, the Department of Homeland Security estimated 97% of air passengers would have their faces scanned into its imaging surveillance database after four years, so it’s almost certain your face will be in the system the next time you pass through airport security or customs.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) devices make the world feel a lot smaller than it is, seamlessly connecting people with different experiences, sights and other humans thousands of miles away. While VR travel will never replace the real thing, it is successfully being used to enable remote walkthroughs of destinations and facilities before we visit them. VR travel is also being recognized for its ability to extend powerful experiences to older adults who may have mobility restrictions or who are experiencing cognitive decline. AR experiences, on the other hand, can take the tourism industry to the next level with unique, immersive and interactive experiences.

Smartphone applications and headsets are only beginning to scratch the surface, too. The potential is nearly unlimited, and only one real question remains: Can travel go virtual? Read more from McKinsey and Company to learn which industry components are being “metaversified.”

Space Travel

Space travel is another exciting reality in store for the industry’s future. A group of billionaire investors paved the way for this initiative and pioneered its maiden voyage. As such, the exclusive, hot ticket experience requires hefty sums of money, leaving many adventurous travelers only dreaming of zero-gravity vacations.

So if you’re saving up for a bucket-list, once-in-a-lifetime experience, why not think big? Perhaps, hold out until 2030 when the first space hotel expects to open its doors to intergalactic travelers. If you’re booking more traditional domestic or international travel in the coming months, be sure to secure your parking reservations.

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