Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


How to use ChatGPT to plan a vacation

ChatGPT can double as your personal, on-demand travel agent. Here's how.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Reviewed by Min Shin
Trip planning illustration
Malte Mueller/Getty Images

Because ChatGPT can perform many technical tasks such as writing, coding, and researching, a lot of the hype surrounding the chatbot has been on its ability to revolutionize the workspace. However, ChatGPT's assistance can also be used for other, more exciting projects, such as vacation or trip planning. 

If you have ever planned a vacation, you know how stressful the entire ordeal is. From finding the right destination to having everything booked to having an orderly itinerary, there are many things to consider to have a good vacation -- that's where ChatGPT can help. 

Also: How to use ChatGPT to do research for papers, presentations, studies, and more

Over the summer, I took a trip to Europe and used a travel agent because I was so overwhelmed I didn't even know where to start. When I was sharing my plight with other tourists I met on the trip, multiple times I was met with, "Oh, we just used ChatGPT." 

ChatGPT can help with every step of the way, answering all your questions the way a travel agent would by searching its robust database and outputting a conversational response. 

If you're daydreaming about your next vacation or planning your next getaway, here's how you can use ChatGPT or other AI chatbots to do the heavy lifting. 

Quick note: I am using ChatGPT for this article because of its popularity. However, the instructions work for any of the many AI chatbots on the market. 

It's worth using a chatbot that has internet access, such as Bing Chat or Google Bard because you will not only get the latest prices, recommendations, and more, but you'll also get clickable links you can visit yourself. 

How to plan your vacation with ChatGPT

1. Find a destination

The first step in planning a vacation is figuring out where to go. Even though you might not know the exact city or country that you want to visit, you probably have a general idea of what you want to experience. 

For example, if you want a summer European vacation, you can ask ChatGPT for destinations that fulfill that desire. 

Also: How to write better ChatGPT prompts for the best generative AI results

For the prompt, I said, "Can you give me destination ideas for a European summer vacation?" Within seconds, ChatGPT provided a list of 15 destinations to choose from.   

You can continue to narrow down your choices by asking follow-up questions. Once you have a detailed idea of where you'd like to go, like a specific country, you can ask ChatGPT to help you narrow down what city to visit. The possibilities are endless. 

Finding a location using ChatGPT
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

2. Find things to do in each location

Once you pick a location or narrow it down to a few, you can ask ChatGPT to help you figure out what the must-see sites of that location are. This can help you decide on a location because if the must-see sites aren't for you, it may be time to pick a different location. 

Also: 4 ways generative AI can stimulate the creator economy

I asked ChatGPT, "What are some things I need to do if I visit Porto, Portugal?" Then, it listed 15 places I should visit and things I should do. The list was very comprehensive, and I can vouch for its accuracy as someone who just visited the city over the summer. 

ChatGPT's list included everything I did, from sites I saw to food I ate and shows I watched. To put my list together, I read countless travel guides, watched YouTube videos, and even bought travel books. Instead, all I could have done to have the same itinerary is type in one sentence into ChatGPT and wait 15 seconds. 

Things to do in Porto prompt
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

3. Figure out what area to stay in

Since most of the research is already done, all that is left is booking your lodging and flights. Whether you want to stay in an Airbnb, a hostel, or a hotel, you need to know where you want to stay, and ChatGPT can help with that decision. 

Just ask ChatGPT where you should stay, and it will give you different areas of the city as well as an in-depth description of what to expect there. 

Also: My two favorite ChatGPT Plus plugins and the remarkable things I can do with them

I asked ChatGPT, "When visiting Porto, what area should I stay in?" and it provided a list of six different neighborhoods. You can also get more detailed recommendations by including price limitations, what you'd like to see in the area, the night scene, noise levels, or more in your initial prompt. 

Where to stay in Porto prompt
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

4. Find flights and hotels

Lastly, you have to iron out all of the final booking details. You probably want to fly into an airport that is near where you want to stay (if visiting a city like NYC with multiple airports) and book a stay that has the accommodations you want. 

For both of these tasks, I will shift to Bing Chat since it is connected to the internet. Since ChatGPT is limited to information before 2021, it won't have information on flights or recent hotels. 

For the flights, I asked Bing Chat, "Can you find me flights for a five-day trip to Porto in July from NYC?" Within seconds, Bing Chat provided me with a sample date and links I could click to book a flight. 

More helpful, however, is the hotel booking assistance because it lists different hotels, describes them for you, and gives you links to their individual sites so that you can look for dates, compare rates, and do more yourself.

Also: What is Bing Chat? Here's everything you need to know 

I asked Bing Chat, "What are some hotel options in the Boavista region of Porto, Portugal?" and was met with two hotel options as well as a map that displayed many different hotels and their rates. Bing Chat also provided me with a link to Microsoft Bing Travel. 

Bing Chat Bing Chat trip booking
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

5. Plan what to eat

Now that you have your city, hotel, flights, and attractions picked out, the only thing left on the itinerary is picking out what and where to eat, and ChatGPT can help you do that. 

Also: These are my 5 favorite AI tools for work

I asked ChatGPT, "What are some places I should eat during my trip to Porto, Portugal?" and was met with a list of 12 items that included both the city's cuisine staples and actual food locations worth visiting. 

After reading the recommendations, if you want a list specifically of recommendations for restaurants or places to purchase any of the food from, you can follow that up on ChatGPT, and it will continue to generate suggestions until you are satisfied.  

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

6. Figure out what you need to pack and make a list

Hopefully, you used ChatGPT as your AI travel agent, and it is now time to take the trip. ChatGPT can help you with the final piece of your trip planning -- creating a packing list. 

One of ChatGPT's most underrated features is composing basic lists, which you can leverage to figure out what to pack. 

Also: ChatGPT vs Bing Chat vs Google Bard: Which is the best AI chatbot

All you have to do is ask ChatGPT to generate a packing list for the city you are visiting, which has you covered. I asked, "What should I pack for a trip to Porto, Portugal?" ChatGPT generated a thorough list with subsections with different item groupings and explanations for each item. 

What to a pack for a trip ChatGPT
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
Editorial standards