'We used AI to plan our London day out - it got us out of our comfort zone'

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The travel bloggers were taken all across London by ChatGPT (Image: Paul Taylor / SWNS)
The travel bloggers were taken all across London by ChatGPT (Image: Paul Taylor / SWNS)

A travel expert who used AI to plan a day out in London says ChatGPT can help "push people outside of their comfort zone" and "find new things". Paul Taylor, 41, who travels the world alongside his wife, Chiaki, 42, a program manager, creating video content for his YouTube channel giving reviews and travel guides of locations, used the chatbot to organise an itinerary for a day trip to London.

He has lived in South East London, for over 20 years and wanted to see if ChatGPT was as good as his recommendations for people visiting London for the first time. The AI chatbot recommended Paul and his wife begin their day in Westminster - stopping at Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace for Changing of the Guards. followed by a quick stop at Borough Market for lunch, before visiting the British Museum.

Next up, was a trip to Covent Garden, where Paul said the AI "really came into its own" by suggesting a visit to a toy shop and a rooftop bar in the Royal Opera House.

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'We used AI to plan our London day out - it got us out of our comfort zone' eideziqkeiqhhinvThe couple let ChatGPT take the reins (Paul Taylor / SWNS)

Finally, dinner was served in the form of a fish and chip restaurant - which Paul says was "interesting" as he typically would only get fish and chips as a takeaway. Paul says that despite the initial part of the day feeling a little rushed, the AI was able to maximise the amount of time they had.

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Paul said: "I've always been quite interested in technology and, seeing that there is this AI and how it can be used to help you plan, I just applied it to my expertise in travel to see if was any good. I wanted to see if it was better than standard travel blogs or videos people normally use when planning a trip aboard."

Paul asked ChatGPT the following prompt 'please provide a detailed, varied, affordable itinerary for a first day in London.' He said: "I got it to take me to what it thought would be the best places to see in London. It took me to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, to watch the changing of guards at Buckingham Palace."

The chatbot advised Paul to see Borough Market - even selecting food for him to eat - and recommended he make a stop at the British Museum towards the end of his day. It also suggested the best fish and chip shop in London for his evening meal.

He said: "It gave us three or four highlights of things to see in the museum which made it more manageable. It was definitely a unique experience. It 's easy to look at a city through somebody else's eyes when you live there and take it for granted, as such. So, I enjoyed myself exploring London in a different light through ChatGPT's eyes. The way I think it works best is in your own city, to push you outside of your comfort zone and find new things that you haven't already seen."

But Paul wasn't completely impressed by AI instructions - saying some features "let him down". He explained: "It was vague in the answers it gave me sometimes, in the details it got lost. For instance, when I asked it where to stand to watch the changing of guards, it was just giving pretty vague responses like, 'get there early because the crowds will be huge.'

"Do you want to be waiting there for two hours, is that a good use of your time when you only have a day there? After having a look around the area, I figured out the best places to stand and what to do to get the best view which didn't entail what the AI had told me. But I mean, I get it, that's where human intuition comes into using AI."

Paul also claims ChatGPT's time management skills let him down too, with the bot struggling to work out how long it would take him to get from place to place.

'We used AI to plan our London day out - it got us out of our comfort zone'They were pleasantly surprised with the itinerary (Paul Taylor / SWNS)

"The activities it had given me before the changing of the guards hadn't accounted for the 30-minute queue, so I was only getting to Buckingham Palace at the time when the parade had started," he said.

But Paul believes ChatGPT is still a useful tool to assist people when planning a holiday and that what it had suggested doing wasn't so different from what he would've advised a first timer to the city.

"Plus, when you factor in the amount of effort you must put in to get this answer alongside filling the gaps through being a human, there is almost no effort in getting this plan made for you," he added. "But on the other end of the scale, you can have a much better day by taking a few days effort to really search to figure out what to do, see and eat."

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Paul says ChatGPT's biggest drawback is its information database, only being filled with references up to September 2021 as it is, meaning shops, cafes and restaurants it may recommend visiting may not be around anymore.

"This is especially bad when it comes to travel as you need things which are bang up to date. If it is ever able to get over this, in five or 10 years, then I can see it being used more widely and effectively in the travel world," he continued.

Paul believes AI won't be taking over the travel planning scene any time soon, as the Mirror concluded earlier this year when travel reporter Milo Boyd embarked on a mystery road trip planned by AI.

He said: "I don't think it will ever be better than watching something where a person is actually there living it - it lacks the human nature. For me at least, I find you get more of a sense of what a place is like through watching a video over using AI.

"I would recommend trying in it your hometown, where you live, or if you are interested in technology. I wouldn't recommend using it somewhere you don't know, you don't want your holiday ruined by factors out of your control."

The suggested AI itinerary

  • Start around Westminster area - Big Ben
  • A walk along the Southbank and then Westminster Abbey
  • Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace
  • Borough Market for lunch
  • British Museum
  • Covent Garden
  • Rooftop coffee bar in the Royal Opera House
  • West End show
  • Dinner in a fish&chip shop restaurant

Charlie Fenton

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