5 Retrofuturistic Travel Predictions That We’re Still Waiting For

Back in the mid 20th Century the only thing more exotic than the increasing ability of people to travel around the world was the potential of what vacations might look like in ‘the future’. We’re currently living in that future, with our smartphones allowing us to capture almost unlimited photos and videos of our travels and keep them in our pockets, but we’re still lacking some of the more adventurous inventions that our predecessors thought we’d have by now.

Here’s how they thought we’d be travelling the globe today:

Cross-Country Cruise Ship

Back in 1957, cruises were still in their heyday as one of the best ways to see the world in style before the convenience and speed of large scale jet air travel took over once and for all. So it’s no surprise that sci-fi illustrator Frank Tinsley created something cruise-related for Mechanix Illustrated magazine to show how that industry could diversify. Why stick to just water on your cruise when your ship could also go on land? That was the principle behind his cross-country cruise ship, using “sausage-like” airbag tyres for a gentle transition from water to land.

Amphibious Campervan Concept

The opportunity to use the same transport on land and water was certainly something people thought a lot about in the mid-20th Century. Ten years before Tinsley’s design, Robert Zeidman invented this “civilian amphibian” vehicle, inspired by some of the experimental amphibian machines used in the Second World War. Luxury was the name of the game here though, with room inside for a bar, a fishing cockpit, a TV and special heaters under the seats to warm up your food. Just don’t forget to turn them off before you sit down again.

Underwater Tour Bus

Way back in 1932, long before James Bond drove his Lotus Esprit into and under the sea in The Spy Who Loved Me, a French engineer was dreaming of a vehicle that could do the same thing. His underwater tour bus was designed to drive on tractor treads beneath the surface of exotic waters so passengers could enjoy the underwater sights in comfort. If the bus broke down, the passenger cabin could be released to float safely to the surface.

Vacation House of the Future

With the advent of Airbnb, there’s all manner of interesting and luxurious vacation homes available to stay in around the world, but none are quite so cool as this design by James R. Powers from 1957. Certainly none come with his ‘airphibious’ jet cars that he thought we’d be driving/flying by now. There’s definitely a James Bond/Iron Man feel to this shoreside luxury home, complete with an underwater observation deck.

Space Colony Holiday

Of course, the one place people in the 20th Century were convinced we’d be vacationing at by 2020 was SPACE. By 1977 man had landed on the moon and Star Wars was out at the cinema, so clearly interstellar travel was going to be the next big consumer activity? NASA clearly thought so because they commissioned artist Rick Guidice to visualize what vacations in space could look like, with huge glass domes, lots of greenery and buildings floating around up in the air. It’s safe to say, even Elon Musk hasn’t quite made this happen yet.

Which of these designs would you most like to see happen first?

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