Today luxury travel largely consists of private jets and multi-million dollar dollar yachts, but neither is particularly easy on the environment. That's why a number of ambitious designers and thinkers have come up with a new crop of futuristic travel ideas that are not only easier on more sustainable, but lavish and full of every amenity that one could want. While some of these ideas may seem outlandish, it's well worth remembering that people used to think airplanes and cars would never happen at one time. Here are ten eco-friendly travel ideas that may come to fruition in the future.
1. Zaha Hadid's Unique Circle Yacht
This yacht looks like it's covered in a web, and that's not just for aesthetics. The Unique Circle yacht, which was designed by Zaha Hadid, is a concept for a 128 meter superyacht covered in its own exoskeleton. The exoskeleton would provide a connection between decks in addition to looking amazing. Hadid is aiming to actually build five full-fledged and constructed prototypes, although none have been started as of yet.
2. Vincent Callebaut's Oceanscapers
These floating islands, which designer Vincent Callebaut calls oceanscapers, would be the ultimate eco-friendly travel destination. Instead of going to Italy, the Grand Canyon, or Paris, you'd head to one of these floating villages that's 3D printed and made of plastic and algae waste. Creating these would take a really big 3D printer or some ingenious building techniques.
3. The Eco Friendly Boomerang Island
The purpose of this boomerang shaped, man made island's form isn't just to look distinctive but to maximize its sustainability and ability to create its own energy. The efficiently laid out island has everything you'd want on vacation, just with less environmental impact than going to a typical tourist island locale. Don't expect this one to come about within the next decade -- there's tons of red tape and technicalities to get through before even a prototype could be engineered.
4. Lilypad Floating Cities
The Lilypad, another futuristic travel concept from Vincent Callebaut, is shaped like a waterlily and quite incredible looking on the outside. Inside is a wealth of lavish details and accommodation, plus everything one would need to live in comfort. The island's design is supposed to float in the ocean, have zero emissions, and use tidal, biomass, solar, and wind energies to power it. As if that weren't enough, in addition to producing its own energy the Lilypad would absorb any CO2 surrounding it into its shell made of titanium dioxide. Apparently, Callebut doesn't think there are enough trees on the planet to do that job.
5. A Luxury Plane with a Pool
Many are thankful to get enough legroom on planes these days, but can you imagine flying on one that's not only spacious but runs silently and has a huge pool to splash in during the flight? Simply walking to the lavatory on most planes isn't a breeze, so it's not clear how this eco-friendly travel concept could be pulled off. However, if this plane is available in the future there's no doubt tons of people will want to reserve a seat and a spot in the pool.
6. Mac Byers' Aether Airship
This fantastic airship is called the Aether and it's the brainchild of Mac Byers, a UK based designer who wanted to come up with a new generation airships that's not only safe but sustainable. It certainly doesn't look like the Hindenburg of infamy, but there's no telling how it's supposed to get up in the air, either. The inspiration behind Byers' design was space shuttles, Star Wars, and Thunderbird 2.
7. Jonathan Schwinge's Tetrahedron Superyacht
Yachts have gotten increasingly impressive throughout the years, and it seems that those who can drop hundreds of millions on one are trying to outdo each other -- the vessels keep getting bigger and more outrageous. This superyacht would be an incredible charter or toy, and its concept is much different than other yachts. The Tetrahedron superyacht has an underwater base that would allow it to move faster than other vessels, cruise more smoothly, and end the threat of seasickness for anyone onboard.
Its creator, Jonathan Schwinge, packed a lot of features into the pyramid ship, but a physical prototype hasn't been constructed yet. However, the hull of the yacht is based on a hull that actually exists and has been proven to work, so this may be one of the more feasible ideas of the bunch.
8. Migaloo's Submersible Yachts
Yachts don't typically go underwater unless there's something seriously wrong, but this one from Migaloo is designed to do that and more. It's a movable floating island that's super expensive, super luxurious, and extremely complicated to build. Still, if it can be pulled off this would be a fabulous place to vacay. The Migaloo yacht's concept is designed to be moved anywhere in the world, and its creators insist that the idea is possible to execute.
9. Vincent Callebaut's Physalia H2O
The real physalia is known as the Portuguese Man of War or jellyfish, but Physalia H2O was designed to sail along the water like the animal and cleanse the sea as it moves. These proposed floating gardens would look beautiful, host research facilities, and offer the chance for exclusive eco tours. As the garden goes along rivers and waterways, it would not only reduce water pollution but act as a self cleaning vessel. If actually built, it will make use of photovoltaic panels on its roof and underwater turbines to create its own energy and be completely self sustaining and a perfect eco-friendly travel option.
10. Streets of Monaco
You could just go visit Monaco to take a vacation, but in case you want something that's much more exclusive or you don't like others around while you're lying on the beach, this may be an option in the decades to come. Streets of Monaco is a concept from Yacht Island Design, and it's a replica of Monaco aboard a yacht. The four story, 500 foot long yacht would hold just about everything that the real location does including a casino, sports courts, race track, underwater restaurant, waterfall, and a replica of the Hotel de Paris. The cost for all of this is expected to be about $1.1 billion, but if you can afford it then you'd have the water toy of a lifetime.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker