Planning the perfect vacation can take a lot of work. There’s so much to see – you don’t want to miss anything. Thankfully, new technology can help. For your next trip, you may like to consider using a ChatGPT travel itinerary.

What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool. Specifically, it is a generative AI tool consisting of a large language model that uses algorithms to provide text-based responses. That may sound technical, but using it is quite straightforward: you type questions and ChatGPT provides written responses. It’s essentially a chatbot. You may have used chatbots before to receive help from companies online, but ChatGPT is highly sophisticated and has many different capabilities. It can do everything from writing poems and articles to creating travel itineraries.

How Can You Access ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is run by OpenAI. To use the tool, you need to go to the OpenAI website and create an account. Follow the instructions to sign up using your email address, Google account, Microsoft account, or Apple account. A basic account with ChatGPT is free, but you can sign up for the paid option if you want fast response times even during peak usage times and priority access to new features and improvements. As of June 30, 2023, the paid version (called ChatGPT Plus) costs $20 a month. If you decide to opt for the free version and it’s running slowly, stop and try again another time.

Once you have an account, you can go to the ChatGPT webpage to use it.

How to Use ChatGPT

To use ChatGPT, you need to enter questions or commands called prompts. At the bottom of the page, there’s a bar labeled “Send a message” – this is where you need to type your prompt.

Good prompts tend to be specific and provide context. For example, if you write “give me a recipe,” you’ll receive a recipe – but it might not be one you like. A better prompt might be, “I’m cooking dinner for four people tonight. One of my dinner guests is vegetarian and one is gluten intolerant. Give me vegetarian and gluten-free recipes for main courses and side dishes that I can prepare in less than two hours.”

If you don’t receive the response you want, rework your prompt. You can also provide follow-up information to clarify your prompt. When you want to start a new chat, use the “New chat” button in the top left corner.

How to Use ChatGPT to Create a Travel Itinerary

To have ChatGPT create you a travel itinerary, you need to provide the program with all of the necessary information and give it a clear prompt. This may include:

  • The dates of your trip
  • Where you’re going
  • Your mode of transportation
  • What you want to do
  • Anything else you think is relevant, such as your budget or any disabilities that could impact your plans

For example, we typed in the following prompt:

“I am traveling to Portland, Oregon. I will arrive at the PDX airport at 4:00 p.m. on July 7, 2023, and my plane departs from the airport at 7:00 p.m. on July 9, 2023. I am staying at the Paramount Hotel. I will need to use public transportation or a taxi or Uber to get around. I would like to go shopping in the downtown area, eat at several highly-rated restaurants, visit the zoo, and go to at least one art museum. Please give me a travel itinerary.”

ChatGPT gave us the following response:

“Sure! Here’s a suggested travel itinerary for your trip to Portland, Oregon:

Day 1: July 7, 2023

4:00 p.m.: Arrive at PDX airport. Collect your luggage and head to the ground transportation area.

4:30 p.m.: Take a taxi, Uber, or the MAX Light Rail (Red Line) from the airport to downtown Portland.

5:00 p.m.: Check-in at the Paramount Hotel and freshen up.

6:00 p.m.: Explore downtown Portland and do some shopping. Pioneer Place and the Pearl District are popular shopping destinations.

8:00 p.m.: Enjoy dinner at one of the highly rated restaurants in downtown Portland, such as Le Pigeon, Ox, or Andina.

Day 2: July 8, 2023

9:00 a.m.: Start your day with breakfast at a local cafe, like Tasty n Alder or Mother’s Bistro & Bar.

10:00 a.m.: Take public transportation or a taxi/Uber to the Oregon Zoo, located in Washington Park. Spend the morning exploring the zoo and observing the various animals.

1:00 p.m.: Grab lunch at a nearby eatery, such as Café Nell or The Original Pancake House.

2:00 p.m.: Head to the Portland Art Museum, located in downtown Portland. Spend the afternoon appreciating the art collections.

5:00 p.m.: After the museum, take some time to relax and freshen up at the hotel.

7:00 p.m.: For dinner, try a highly rated restaurant like Beast, Tusk, or Pok Pok. Make sure to make a reservation in advance.

Day 3: July 9, 2023

9:00 a.m.: Enjoy breakfast at a local spot, such as Screen Door or Pine State Biscuits.

10:00 a.m.: Spend the morning exploring more of downtown Portland, visiting Powell’s City of Books (a famous bookstore) or browsing through the boutiques in the Alberta Arts District.

1:00 p.m.: Have lunch at a popular eatery like Lardo, Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen, or Blue Star Donuts.

2:00 p.m.: If you have extra time and are interested in nature, consider visiting the International Rose Test Garden or the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

4:00 p.m.: Head back to the hotel, collect your belongings, and check out.

4:30 p.m.: Take a taxi, Uber, or the MAX Light Rail back to PDX airport.

7:00 p.m.: Depart from PDX airport for your onward flight.

Please note that this itinerary is a suggestion and you can modify it according to your preferences and the operating hours of the attractions/restaurants. Also, be sure to check for any COVID-19 related restrictions or closures that may be in place during your visit. Have a great trip to Portland!”

Tips and Warnings for Using ChatGPT

As the response itself states, this is only a suggested itinerary – you should modify the itinerary you receive as you see fit. In addition, there are a few extra things you should do to prevent possible problems:

  • Check the news! ChatGPT does NOT have access to the internet and therefore does not have current information. Events or closures could impact your travel plans. Check the weather forecast for any severe weather or natural disaster warnings that could impact your plans.
  • Make reservations! ChatGPT sometimes recommends making reservations. Even if it doesn’t, you may need one.
  • Verify everything! Here’s the big warning: ChatGPT sometimes makes things up. These fabricated pieces of information are called hallucinations. For example, if you say you want to go to an art museum in a particular city, there’s a chance ChatGPT will make up an art museum that doesn’t exist. Although ChatGPT often gives excellent responses, don’t just take ChatGPT at its word – independently verify everything.

Think of ChatGPT as a starting point. If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of creating a travel itinerary, ChatGPT is an easy way to get started. It can suggest locations and create reasonable schedules. It’s a great way to get ideas for your trip – but you may not be able to use the itinerary ChatGPT gives you exactly as it is.

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