When you’re going on a night out, as well as deciding what you’re going to do and who you’re going to do it with, you always have to think about a few logistics. How will you get where you’re going? What about the journey home?
Already things are so much simpler and quicker than they were ten years ago. Back then, you’d have to plan ahead and book a minicab to pick you up at an arranged time and venue, and risk finishing the night earlier than you wanted to because you had a cab waiting. Alternatively, you could leave it open, but then risk standing around waiting because you’d be trying to hail the same taxi as half the people coming out of the club.
Now, thanks to apps like Uber, wherever you are, whatever time it is, you can ‘virtually’ hail a cab by logging into your account and requesting a car to pick you up. Not only is it all much easier to organise – it’s cheaper too. According to a report by Voucherbox, the cost of a ride home has fallen significantly compared to ten years ago thanks to the availability of services like Uber. And what’s more, you don’t need to have cash ready for your ride – your account is linked to your credit card, so you’re billed that way.
What about a night out in 2026?
Looking forward, travelling to and from a night out might become even easier and more customised. Already this year Chinese company EHang unveiled a prototype drone at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas that is capable of carrying one person on a 23-mile trip. It’s not too difficult to imagine that drone technology will be refined enough in a decade’s time to rival Uber as a taxi service. Wherever you might be, you could tap in coordinates for a drone to come and pick you up and take you to your next destination – or deliver you back to your door when you want to call it a night.
Another possibility is that the driverless cars that are just in testing phases now will become mainstream and that one of their uses will be transporting people to different venues for a night out. A driverless car might mean you can start the evening earlier with a few drinks with your mates in the vehicle while you’re travelling to your first destination – it could give a whole new twist to the traditional pub crawl. Whether you travel by drone or by driverless car, both of these futuristic options would certainly signal the end of having to make small talk with the driver!
A lot of the changes we’ve witnessed in the last ten years around going out simply couldn’t have happened without the invention and adoption of the smartphone. The first smartphone came out in 2007 and today, it’s estimated that there are over 2.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. And according to an Ericsson’s Mobility Report, there will be more than 6 billion smartphones in circulation by 2020. Already, you only have to think about your average day compared with ten years ago to see how smartphones, apps and online services have changed things. Whatever you need to do, from buying tickets for a concert or film, ordering take-out food or putting up all the best pics from your night out onto Instagram or Facebook, it’s likely that you do it all from your phone. What a huge difference that little gadget in our back pocket has made to our lives!
The truth is that we don’t know what will happen in the development of smartphones and travel services during the next ten years. The way we do things today via our phones and apps like Uber just feel normal now, but ten years ago we probably didn’t envisage being able to do half these things. We may not be able to predict exactly how different arranging a night out on the town will be a decade from now, but the chances are that it’ll be even easier, and even more personalised.