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Are AI trip itinerary planners good?

Within days of ChatGPT opening its API, artificial intelligence itinerary planning websites and apps were popping up on travel social media. But how well do these tools actually work? And would you trust an AI to plan your next adventure? Let’s try some out and see how they do.


Stravl’s site says it’s launching soon, so I assume the current features are just a beta or a MVP. Their process starts off by giving you a range of options to help narrow things down. I opted for South America in the summer. Under the type of experience, I went for: adventure, nature, and cuisine. For scenery, I did: mountain, rural, jungle. I also went for “active” on activity level, “balanced” on safety, and “off the beaten path” on popularity. 

AI trip planner website

Then the site took me through a Tinder-style matching exercise to swipe left or right on destinations. It brought up places like Santa Marta and Florianopolis, so it wasn’t totally what I was expecting when I selected “mountain” but they’re nice places. 

When I got my results, though, the first place it suggested as a dream destination was Sao Paulo. Which feels like the complete opposite of what I was looking for. The bot suggested some locations around Brazil, along with a stop in Santiago, Chile, and Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Stravl test results - AI travel planner

Cochabamba was the only spot on the list that felt like it met the criteria. It wasn’t clear to me how the places fit together or how I was going to get between them. Notably missing was a way to indicate the amount of time for the trip. 

Google Bard

Google’s Bard experiment is not advertised as a trip planner but it is within the realm of its capabilities, sometimes. When I asked it recently to suggest an interesting bar within a 10 minute walk of my hotel in Taipei, it suggested a bar that was a 50 minute walk away. But when I asked it to plan a trip with the inputs Stravl had asked for, along with an added time-frame, it did a relatively effective job. 

I asked Bard for: “a trip itinerary in South America, that focuses on adventure, nature, and cuisine. Please include places in the mountains and in rural areas. I want the trip to be active, with a lot of physical activity. I’d like to go to places off-the-beaten path. The length of the trip should be 7 days.”

And it gave me this itinerary for a trip to Peru:

Day 1:

  • Arrive in Lima, Peru.
  • Check into your hotel and leave your luggage.
  • Take a walk around the city center and visit the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral of Lima, and the San Francisco Monastery.
  • Have dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in Lima.

Day 2:

  • Take a day trip to Huacachina, a desert oasis located about an hour outside of Lima.
  • Go sandboarding or sand skiing on the dunes.
  • Relax in the natural hot springs.
  • Return to Lima in the evening.

Day 3:

  • Fly from Lima to Cusco.
  • Check into your hotel and leave your luggage.
  • Take a walk around the city center and visit the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral of Cusco, and the Coricancha, the Temple of the Sun.
  • Have dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in Cusco.

Day 4:

  • Take a day trip to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
  • Hike up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for stunning views of the ruins.
  • Return to Cusco in the evening.

Day 5:

  • Fly from Cusco to Iquitos, a city located in the Amazon rainforest.
  • Check into your hotel and leave your luggage.
  • Take a boat trip down the Amazon River.
  • Go on a night hike to look for caimans and other nocturnal animals.
  • Have dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in Iquitos.

Day 6:

  • Go on a jungle trek to visit a traditional Amazonian village.
  • Learn about the local culture and way of life.
  • Go on a canoe trip down a tributary of the Amazon River.
  • Return to Iquitos in the evening.

Day 7:

  • Fly from Iquitos back to your home city.

That is an itinerary many people do. I went on a hike to Choquequirao that had a group of people that had done that trip in reverse, from Iquitos to Cusco to Lima. There’s a lot of detail I would add to it, but it’s a doable trip within the timeframe. 


Tripnotes starts off by having you select a city and then you provide it a prompt. So I input “Cusco, Peru” and then prompted it with “7 day itinerary”.

It’s significantly more detailed than most AI itineraries, in that it recommends a specific restaurant for each meal and it provides content scraped from reviews for each restaurant or site it recommends. AI-generated trip itinerary for Cusco, Peru, example

I appreciate the bot’s plan to do a 4+ hour dinner and drinks extravaganza on the first night in Cusco, at 3300 meters (11152 ft) above sea-level. Going to another bar after Limbus is brave. But Limbus is home to Bardock Brewery, and my favorite beer in Cusco, so you’ll probably be satisfied with just staying there. That itinerary also had me in Aguas Calientes the next morning for a market tour and less than two hours to get up and back down from Machu Picchu. Robots don’t worry about hangovers.

Awareness of space and time is a challenge for trip planning bots (at the moment). I’d expect that to get addressed soon in future iterations. Planning travel times is something robots with internet access should be able to do more accurately than humans. 

So will AI become your travel agent?

Perhaps, if you were the kind of person that used travel agents before, and these bots get significantly better. However, I’m doubtful of whether any of these startups can make it out of their seed rounds given that Bard produced better results. If those apps don’t do more than scrape freely available reviews uploaded by the public, there’s not much of a differentiator to make you use them over Google, which can already aggregate reviews. Google will integrate Bard into search for free, and you’ll be able to input your trip parameters and Google will just find you all of the options for complete itineraries, like it already does for flights and hotels.

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