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AI Trip Planning Tools Making Travel Easier

Author: Selene Brophy - 8 May 2024

Last Update: 14 May 2024

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) trip planning tools has transformed the trip planning experience for travellers, particularly for wildlife safaris, enabling more precise and memorable adventures.

Several leading travel companies like Expedia, Tripadvisor, GetYourGuide, and Discover Africa are already offering travellers AI travel planning tools to make the process easier, and the trend is expected to continue.

When it comes to safari trip planning, being able to predict animal movements, weather conditions, and optimal viewing times maximises guests’ chances of witnessing nature’s marvels in the most impactful way possible. To this, tailored recommendations to satisfied seasoned adventurers and the ability to support conservation efforts are some of the added benefits.

Here, we explore five cutting-edge AI tools that are changing the travel planning experience. 

1. Google’s Trip Itinerary Search

Let’s face it: most travel planning efforts start with a Google search. The search giant has dipped into the realm of AI with Gemini, its Generative AI answer to ChatGPT, which took the world by storm just over a year ago.

Now, Google’s new AI-driven tools for Search and Maps assist travellers in creating detailed itineraries and exploring destinations more efficiently.

An experimental AI-based function in search crafts personalized trip itineraries, including suggestions for flights, hotels, attractions, and dining. The function links directly to travel company sites for bookings, According to this review by Skift’s Justin Dawes. 

The updates in Google Maps focus on delivering richer destination information with local recommendations and lists of top dining spots (currently only available in North America). Photos and reviews use AI-enhanced capabilities to help discover notable aspects of places and even identify local dishes. Additionally, Maps users can now organize personalized lists of their favorite spots, further enhancing their travel planning experience.

The introduction of a translation tool, allowing real-time content translation without app switching, further underscores Google’s push for travel planning convenience. 

Google AI Trip Itinerary Screengrab
Google’s new AI-driven tools creates detailed itineraries to plan around. Source: Google.

2. TripAdvisor’s AI-Powered Recommendations

TripAdvisor’s Trips has enhanced its platform with AI to deliver personalized travel recommendations, drawing from users’ past interactions and reviews.

It effectively uses natural language processing to distill and summarize key insights from extensive user reviews, making it easier for travellers to make informed decisions.

The platform also supports collaborative trip planning, providing tailored suggestions that accommodate the preferences of all group members. The AI functionality is only available for select destinations, but the potential for easy trip planning as a global tool is clear. 

Tripadvisor's AI Trip Planning screengrab
Tripadvisor uses natural language processes to simplify and summarize important information from detailed user reviews, helping travellers make informed decisions more easily. Source: Tripadvisor.

3. Herd Tracker: AI Prediction Precision in Safari Planning

Wildlife tracking app HerdTracker has launched a new AI tool to more accurately predict where to see East Africa’s Great Wildebeest Migration, arguably one of the most incredible natural spectacles on the planet. This precision significantly improves the chances of unforgettable encounters, maximizing the value of what can often be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The tracking app utilizes ten years of historical and real-time data to predict the location of wildlife herds. Developed with the safari-goer in mind, it allows tour operators and tourists to pinpoint the best times and locations for witnessing the Great Migration across Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara. 

HerdTracker also personalizes the safari experience with customized data-based recommendations for lodges close to the predicted areas and river crossings according to the user’s preferences.  Each itinerary is uniquely tailored to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities, aiding in managing expectations and trip planning efficiency.

Other wildlife tracking and data analytics players include WildTrack and SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool), which also utilize technology to enhance wildlife conservation and tourism. However, HerdTracker’s focus on the Great Migration and its integration of comprehensive historical data sets it apart as a specialized tool for safari planning.

HerdTracker AI Tracking Tool
HerdTracker uses an AI Clustering Technique accurately predict where to see the Great Migration. Source: HerdTracker.

4. Kayak’s Virtual Travel Assistant

Kayak’s AI-driven virtual assistant, Ask Kayak, ispowered by the online travel booking platform’s historical data and OpenAi’s ChatGPT. Users can ask specific questions about flight routes or destinations for planned trips. Key features include comprehensive displays of flight, lodging, and car rental options alongside tools that suggest the optimal times to travel and provide essential destination information. For now, its options for African destinations are limited.   

In summary, AI will continue to shape travel planning and booking as more companies leverage its capabilities to improve overall trip management and provide a more efficient and tailored travel experience. 

Ask Kayak AI Tool Screengrab
Ask Kayak displays essential destination information along side flights, lodgings and car rental. It’s options for travel to Africa are limited for now. Source: Kayak.

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