Travelling has never been easier: we can go places faster, safer and more comfortable than ever before. But there is definitely room for improvement. There are some sci-fi gadgets every traveler wish they had but which don’t even exist just yet.
I love science-fiction, fantasy and travelling. What I love about the former is the imaginary worlds that go beyond “what life is” and into “what life could be.” What I love about travelling is that it allows me to see other cultures and countries (and eat good food!), and to learn new things.
Let’s see what technological advances could be made to make travelling even better! (Contains affiliate links)
- Luggage (Discworld)
Luggage was first introduced in The Color of Magic (Discworld), the very first of the Discworld series, and it very quickly became one of my favorite characters. It’s a chest made from Sapient Pearwood which only grows in a few places on the Disc. What makes the Luggage so endearing is its ability to follow its owner everywhere (meaning that I’d never lose it), to act as bodyguard (which means that I’d be safe anywhere in the world), and it also folds laundry and makes it smell of lavender (I really love lavender). Right now, I am looking at the pear tree in my backyard and wish it was sapient.
- A Foldable House (Kroniki Rozdartego Swiata Asystent czarodziejki, “The Sorceress’ Assistant)
The very definition of travelling is that it requires leaving home. We do of course have tents but they’re to a home what a picture is to reality, meaning not really adequate. But what if we could take with us a fully equipped and functioning house, complete with a little garden and a system that not only washes the dishes but also puts them in place? In other words, my dream house and if I can take it with me, all the better. Sorry, this book is only available in Polish. I hope not for long.
- Farcasters (Hyperion Cantos (4 Book Series))
Farcasters are basically teleports and can help citizens travel between planets. Moreover, very wealthy individuals could buy homes on different planets, with doors acting as farcasters. So for example, the bedroom would be on one planet and the kitchen in another. Even though interstellar travel is well beyond our technical and financial means right now, let’s consider the same concept on Earth. I think it’d be awesome, for example, to be able to join my parents in Poland for dinner just like that, or have them over to visit so that we could go out to dine, let’s say in Italy, don’t you think? Without giving anything away, the farcasters are not entirely harmless… but boy would they make travelling easier.
- Hermione’s beaded handbag Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
Hermione’s pouch had indefinite capacities. You could hide everything there. The pouch would be small, of course, and definitely comply with the harsh European flight regulations for luggage, but it could contain anything and everything! Enough of agonizing decisions over what to take with you on your journey or weighting t-shirts. Now you can take your whole wardrobe if you feel like it. This would be especially handy when travelling with kids because you wouldn’t have to argue about which toy to take with you. You can pack all of them. There. Peace restored.
- A coat with an indefinite number of sides A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel (Shades of Magic)
In a Darker Shade of Magic, Kell is one of the few magicians who can travel between worlds, or to be more exact between the different Londons (red, white, black and grey). At one points, Kell acquires a coat which has an indefinite number of sides. For the traveler, that means no longer taking a few coats, but just picking the side that suits you best for any given occasion. That, on the other hand would make travel easier and definitely less stressfull.
- A Hawking Mat (Hyperion Cantos)
A Hawking (yes, named after Stephen Hawking) mat is basically a motorized flying carpet with a field to prevent you from falling off. It’s brilliant. If you don’t feel like driving or waiting in traffic jams, the Hawking mat is for you: it doesn’t get into traffic jams. You don’t have to watch for other drivers, and did I mention it’s a flying carpet? Who doesn’t want to fly on a flying carpet?
One of the most amazing things about going abroad is the opportunity to learn new languages. One of the most annoying things about living abroad is the fact that, when you do not yet speak the language, you feel… stupid. A Babel fish would come in handy! Apparently, this is becoming reality, so we are making some progress! Although, on second thoughts, I am not so sure, as “…the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”
- A Time-Turner (Harry Potter)
For travelers, the time turner would have two very important uses: first of all, do you know all those travel bucket lists and all the places you need to visit before you die? Here’s how you do it: travel to place number 1, come back. Reset the time-turner. Then, travel to place number two, and so on. No need to quit your job to travel anymore! The second way to travel would be into the past and the future, which are probably as alien to us as other places.
- Aug technology Poseidon’s Children (3 Book Series)
There is no doubt that we’ve made a lot of improvements over the last years when it comes for example to photography. It used to be: pack films, take pics, get the pics developed and printed, then show them to people. Nowadays, it’s take your smartphone, take pics, immediately post on social media for everyone to see. But there is a better and it’s described in “Blue Remembered Earth”: Blink and by blinking, take a picture and send it to someone else. This is made possible by neural computer interfaces called augs. Yes please.
- The electronic Thumb (A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”)
I am not sure whether people hitchhike anymore, but for those who still do, and especially love to do it long distance (for example between spaceships), the “Electronic Sub-Etha Auto Hitching Thumb” is just the thing they need. It may be very simple, but it’s effective: if the green button is pressed in the vicinity of a spaceship, with the captain’s approval, one will be invited on board. However, it all depends on your luck, or else you could end up worse than you would have been if you hadn’t pressed the green button. But even on Earth, wouldn’t that be helpful? Getting a ride to your destination would be so much easier and we could say goodbye to standing at the road for hours with your thumb up while drivers ignore you.
Which gadgets do you most wish you possessed?