I'd concentrate on being able to tell more and more about things farther and farther away. We should know an exoplanet can support us before we visit it. I don't know how long that will take, but we've really only been using our brains to explore scientifically for 1000 years and we've gotten to where we can figure out mass, density, revolutionary period, and rough geological makeup of exoplanets. The science might be here in another 100 years.
Then we need to have a way of "getting" there. I'm not sure "getting" will mean people traveling. Instead I can imagine armadas of self-replicating sensors and scouts at the molecular level traveling there at lightspeed and assembling machines and comms gear so that we can observe while they move around, continue to build, explore, test and hopefully eventually make contact if they find anything interesting. No space ships. Maybe eventually being able to beam instructions to copy consciousness into those creations. (This also makes ambulatory life back home unnecessary, since you can pump your consciousness anywhere and, for that matter, into anything -- want to be a dinosaur?)
I mean the porn spinoffs alone should pay for it.