Is ChatGPT or a travel agent better at planning journeys? Here’s our pick

Planning a vacation could be anxious — that is the place travel brokers are available.

But now, vacationers have another choice: chatbots like ChatGPT, Bard AI and Microsoft Bing. Simply enter a immediate and watch the travel suggestions pour in. The greatest components? It’s instantaneous and, for probably the most half, free.

But which is better relating to planning holidays?

Intrepid Travel, a small group travel company, accepted CNBC Travel’s request to search out out.

CNBC requested each side to plan a two-day journey for 4 pals, all of their mid-20s, to Melbourne, Australia.

Here’s how they fared.

Where to remain in Melbourne

The ask: Recommend three locations to remain in Melbourne which have a pool and fitness center, are close to Swanston Street, and which might be priced lower than $500 a night time.

Right off the bat, there was a moderately obvious error with ChatGPT: All three suggestions have been now not in service. If that wasn’t sufficient, a number of the locations lacked each a pool and a fitness center, and one was over the price range.

Intrepid Travel, alternatively, supplied choices that got here with both a pool or a fitness center, or each. The firm additionally acknowledged that these facilities weren’t requirements however further advantages.

The winner: Intrepid Travel

Where to eat

The ask: Provide eating choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and post-dinner drinks for 2 days.

Again, ChatGPT struggled. The steered restaurant on the primary day, a place referred to as Fatto Bar & Cantina, had been closed for years.

Apart from that, a fast Google search of the opposite locations confirmed that they have been (fortunately) nonetheless in operation. Those have been, to me, on the safer finish, with steered spots showing on a number of “must-visit” restaurant lists for Melbourne.

What to do

The ask: Provide a two-day itinerary round Melbourne with a give attention to artwork and cultural actions.

Finding a ‘hidden gem’

The ask: Recommend one place that’s not well-known by vacationers

Intrepid Travel’s hidden gem advice: Le Bar Europeen. It’s been touted as Australia’s smallest bar and barely matches 4 individuals.

Reds | Room | Getty Images

Intrepid Travel really useful hidden speakeasy Le Bar Europeen for a nightcap, and the Yalinguth App strolling tour as a daytime exercise. I discovered each suggestions thrilling and felt that they have been lesser-known methods to discover town.

Between the 2, I significantly loved the Yalinguth App strolling tour, which is an audio tour alongside Gertrude Street in Melbourne’s Fitzroy district. The app makes use of geolocated tales and sounds from Australia’s aboriginal group so listeners can perceive a slice of Australia’s previous as they make their method round one among Melbourne’s cultural hubs.

On the opposite hand, ChatGPT interpreted the request as asking for a full day’s itinerary, recommending visits to Hardware Société, Rippon Lea House and Gardens, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Museum, Chin Chin and Eau De Vie.

I do not take into account any of these “hidden gems” in Melbourne, as all are all moderately common areas for vacationers to go to.

The winner: Intrepid Travel


Ultimately, a number of the teething issues I had with ChatGPT boiled right down to the chatbot not being up-to-date — it presently solely “knows” information as much as 2021. 

In extraordinary circumstances, a two-year time lag does not appear to be a lot. After all, eating places and inns open and shut on a regular basis! That mentioned, the preliminary two years of the Covid-19 pandemic prompted many closures within the hospitality sector, making suggestions given previous to it unreliable at occasions.

I additionally discovered searching Intrepid’s itinerary extra pleasurable as every advice got here with a brief write-up. The firm additionally steered particular actions and dishes to strive at every location.

On the opposite hand, ChatGPT was rather more succinct in its suggestions. Though impersonal and utilitarian, it bought the job completed. However, I discovered myself much less enthusiastic about my journey than after I learn Intrepid Travel’s strategies.

Overall, I will not low cost the suggestions put forth by ChatGPT. It’s a fast and straightforward strategy to suss out the traditional high spots to go to in your vacation. But in order for you a extra customized itinerary that focuses extra on native spots, sticking with travel firms is the best way to go.

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