Posted: 7/2/23 | July 2nd, 2023
Planning a trip can be tedious. And I say that as someone who loves trip planning. Hunting for cheap flights, looking for things to see and do, creating an itinerary, getting visas, buying gear. The list goes on.
It takes a lot of time and energy to plan a trip — regardless of whether it’s a trip for two weeks or two months. Between reading guidebooks, travel blogs, and checking social media for tips, most people spend dozens of hours planning a trip.
Now, companies are looking to simplify that process by using the latest rage: AI.
With the rise of AI, there are now more and more tools available to travelers to help them make the most out of their travels.
The best of those tools I’ve seen is GuideGeek.
What is GuideGeek?
GuideGeek is a personal AI-powered travel assistant created by Matador Network – a leading travel and adventure publisher that has been around as long as I have.
They’ve created a sophisticated AI that blends OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, real-time travel info (i.e. live flight search) and human curation from their in-house travel experts.
You can ask GuideGeek about pretty much anything:
- Local customs & slang
- Places to eat
- Things to see & do
- Safety tips
- Budget tips
- And more!
It’s 100% free – just go to guidegeek.com and use the QR code to connect with GuideGeek via WhatsApp (it runs via WhatsApp, so you don’t need to download a separate app).
If you don’t have WhatsApp, they’re planning on launching on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and SMS soon (though since the world outside of the United States runs on WhatsApp, it’s worth installing if you’re planning on spending any amount of time abroad).
GuideGeek provides tips and advice to help you decide where and when to go, plan an itinerary, and get suggestions for what to see and do. In tandem with travel guides and/or travel blogs, it’s a powerful tool that will streamline your trip planning.
But does it actually work?
I wanted to test and see if it actually worked. For starters, here’s what it looks like when you start using GuideGeek:
Now, since I recently moved back to NYC, I thought I would ask it for a few suggestions to see what it comes up with. I know NYC well so I wanted to see if it would give BS or real answers:
What’s super interesting is that it didn’t just spew out generic info. It asked me to get specific so it could better tailor its suggestions to my travel style and interests:
This is a good start, but let’s get even more specific and ask about history-focused museums and sushi restaurants:
In addition to museums, I also asked about some colonial history sites (something I’ve read about and researched myself):
With our history covered, let’s ask about food — sushi, in particular.
These are some top-end sushi places and not super affordable. Let’s see what we can find that’s more budget friendly:
These are pretty solid suggestions, and definitely a good place for visitors to start getting the ball rolling. (To be fair, I’m a sushi snob, so I’m hard to impress!)
Fortunately, each response only takes a few seconds to get and you can ask it pretty much anything when it comes to things to see and do (and places to eat).
An Example Trip
To see just how helpful (and accurate) the tool is, let’s use it to plan a two-week trip from scratch.
First, let’s assume you have time off in October. Let’s ask it where we should go:
It suggested New England, Munich (for Oktoberfest), Bali, Japan, and Patagonia. All great suggestions and October is a good time to visit each of these places. Assuming we don’t want to stay in the USA, let’s continue our planning:
With that information in hand, let’s narrow it down even further:
Bali it is!
This screenshot shows about half of the suggestions GuideGeek offered, giving me plenty of suggestions I can then dive deeper into via guides and blogs to learn more and see what I want to prioritize.
With my activities outlined, it was time to ask about where to stay:
I can now take these suggestions and check them out online via websites like Booking.com and Hostelworld to check out pictures and reviews and see what works best for my travel style and budget (it did send me clickable links, but not for about an hour after I sent my question).
Using this tool, I have found somewhere to go, things to see and do, and accommodation — all with just a few quick questions sent to GuideGeek. It not only helped me narrow down my search but gave me some solid information I can use to go deeper and make bookings, likely saving me a good chunk of time.
The travel industry is constantly changing. By embracing easy-to-use AI tools like GuideGeek, you can save yourself countless hours while arming yourself with a powerful personal travel assistant that will ensure you make the most out of every trip.
Is this going to replace blogs and people and travel agents? No, not yet. Maybe in the future. But not now. But it does add another free, easy-to-use tool to your arsenal as you plan a trip.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.