Using custom ChatGPTs to create personalized travel itineraries

Custom Chatgpt

Over the weekend, we decided to test the waters with the new ChatGPT feature which allows users to create and then talk with mini subject matter experts by crafting personal ChatGPT Bots. 

In the ChatGPT portal, the @ symbol in the prompt will conjure up an option to “Create a GPT”. Follow this prompt, and you will be guided to a screen that allows you to configure a new bot: 

The ChatGPT configure screen

We created an “AI Travel Agent” to gauge the practicality of AI in crafting travel plans, and to see if it could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the expertise of professional travel consultants. Here’s how the journey unfolded, complete with takeaways and tips:

Step 1: Configuring the AI Travel Agent Bot

We started by setting up the AI Travel Agent with specific commands to curate travel itineraries based on destination, budget, and trip length. 

We told the bot to create three different packages depending upon a traveler’s budget: 

  • Royal Prince Package: For those with an unlimited budget, the bot designed itineraries that included luxury accommodations, private tours, and exclusive experiences.
  • Comfortable American Package: Tailored for a daily budget of $500, this package balanced quality and cost, offering comfortable stays, key attractions, and authentic experiences.
  • Broke Digital Nomad Package: This budget-friendly option, capped at $1500 total, focused on maximizing value, including affordable lodgings, free attractions, and local eateries.

We also instructed the bot to provide eco-friendly options for those concerned about their trip’s environmental impact. 

Tips for Improved Output:

  • Budget Definitions: Clearly defining the budget categories to the bot ensured the suggestions were financially viable.
  • Duration Clarity: Specifying trip length allowed the bot to distribute activities and expenses evenly across the itinerary.
  • Preference Parameters: Including preferences on cultural exposure, adventure, and relaxation helped tailor the itinerary to personal tastes.

Step 2: Test Run with a Sample Itinerary

We then tested the bot using the “Comfortable American” budget tier and ask it to craft a five-day itinerary that would provide a comprehensive Chiang Mai experience. 

The bot curated a diverse itinerary that included temple visits, local markets, an ethical elephant sanctuary visit, a Thai cooking class, and a day trip to nearby attractions.

Each day was balanced with activities, meals, and downtime, considering the traveler’s comfort and interest in eco-friendly options: 

Chiang Mai “Comfortable American” Package

Tips for Enhanced Output:

  • Detailed Itinerary Requests: Giving the bot precise information on interests and restrictions led to a more tailored itinerary.
  • Local Insights: Asking the bot to incorporate local knowledge and eco-friendly options resulted in a more authentic and responsible travel plan.
  • Adjustment Based on Feedback: After reviewing the initial itinerary, tweaking the bot’s parameters refined the final plan.

Reflections on the AI Travel Agent Bot Creation

The process of creating the AI Travel Agent bot was enlightening and showcased the value AI can bring to travel planning. While the bot provided rapid and diverse suggestions, it was clear that the human touch was necessary to add depth and personalization that only came from experience. 

For example, the bot lacked nuance that only comes from experiencing something personally and then describing the interaction. The bot suggested taking a red truck to visit the temples. This is a great suggestion because red trucks are the default taxi cab in Chiang Mai. However, the bot did not know or explain that when you take a red truck, you are sitting in the bed of an open pickup truck. While this may be a good mode for some, if you are traveling with children or the elderly it’s probably not advisable. 

This type of detail and nuance is hard for an AI Bot to capture with its current capabilities. 

Our Co-Founder in a Red Truck

Key Takeaways:

  • AI as a Starting Point: Utilize AI to generate initial ideas and frameworks for travel plans.
  • Real-World Alignment: Always assess if the AI’s advice is feasible and applicable in real-life contexts.
  • Human-AI Collaboration: Enhance AI suggestions with personal expertise and insights from travel professionals.
  • Complexity Awareness: Be wary of oversimplifications and ensure to delve into the details for more complex travel planning.
  • Expert Review: Before finalizing plans, seek validation from seasoned travel experts to confirm the viability of the itinerary.
  • Iterative Process: Treat AI-generated plans as drafts to be refined through feedback and actual travel experiences.

To test out our bot, use this link: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-GOT9TYbXg-ai-travel-agent 

-WL

Authors

Anthony Shallat

Anthony Shallat

Anthony Shallat is a digital nomad attorney and WanderLawyer co-founder. Anthony believes travel unlocks potential and opens minds. He’s been wandering and lawyering since 2014.