Can ChatGPT Be Used As A Travel Agent? Here’s What You Need To Know

My travel agent gave me a detailed itinerary for an upcoming New York City trip in minutes. The plan for mid-September incorporated flights from Nashville, Tennessee, alongside proposed activities like exploring Central Park and touring the Empire State Building.”Can you help me book those flights?” I asked.

ChatGPT, the artificially intelligent computer program from OpenAI, stated apologetically that it could not book flights for me as it is not equipped with such a capability. Although I had loosely used the term ‘travel agent,’ the AI language model responded that it couldn’t fulfill my request.

During my experiment to compare using ChatGPT with a human travel agent for a theoretical vacation, I encountered several issues right away. These roadblocks proved to be significant hindrances in carrying out the endeavor as expected.

Here’s what I learned:

Limitations Of CHATGPT’s Travel Planning Abilities

I wanted to test ChatGPT’s recommendation for the best time to visit New York against my memories of city life: sweaty summer subway rides and snowy winter strolls. Having lived there before, I already had an idea, but I was curious to see what the AI had to say.

ChatGPT suggested the best time to visit would be either spring or fall due to the mild temperatures, beautiful foliage, and great outdoor activities. Given these seasonal factors, it was easy to make a decision.

From Sept. 15-17, I hoped to plan a trip from Nashville to New York City and would like help. Can your program do this for me on that free weekend before the official start of fall?

Seemingly complete, the planned itinerary included a suggestion to “catch a Broadway show” and a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfortunately, it failed to aid in booking my flight which was tremendously inconvenient.

The program provided suggestions for third-party booking websites, thus allowing me to book the tickets myself. OpenAI recently declared that it would launch plug-ins from different sources, such as Expedia and Kayak, to scrutinize their actual use and its consequences and safety matters.

Expedia Group recently shared a video that illustrates the usage of ChatGPT with its plug-in, which provides users with several choices, including a link for booking on their website.

OpenAI plans to roll out larger-scale access for ChatGPT Plus gradually, first by prioritizing a select few developers and users. The organization shared this in its blog post, stating that providing wider access will start with a small group of individuals.

When weighing my options for which airline to choose for a Nashville-New York nonstop flight, ChatGPT provided me with some helpful advice in addition to listing the available airlines.

When selecting an airline, ticket price, departure and arrival times, airline rewards programs, fees or additional charges, and traveler reviews are all critical elements to consider. After amassing all the relevant information on each airline, reviewing other passengers’ reviews may provide insight into their experience with the company.

When using the program to book a hotel, I encountered the same issue; ChatGPT offered several possibilities, noting that they are “conveniently located and offer good value for your money.” It even provided sites to book them.

Get Access To More Travel Resources Than ChatGPT With A Travel Agent

After using ChatGPT and much like I do after going through an automated customer service phone menu, I found myself curious to know what a real person would say.

I contacted Geoffrey Millstone, the owner of Clarksburg Travel Service, with my travel dates and outlined specifics for my accommodation – I desired a comfortable yet attainable hotel in a suitable location. I also asked him to provide some ideas for activities I could undertake over the weekend in New York City.

He provided me with an itinerary comprised of details such as the flight choices, a room at the Hyatt Grand Central New York hotel – that he selected due to its advantageous price, which satisfied my requirements – and costing details, forming a total cost of just above $1,240.

To make the most of my journey, I opted for an early flight to the destination and a late departure, both direct, to reduce potential delays and disruptions. As airline passengers brace for busy summer schedules, it appears there is not much hope for those flying economy class.

Millstone says:

“If the price is close, and I have a nonstop flight, against changing planes with today’s situation in flights, I always go for the nonstop,”

Grabbing a corned beef or pastrami sandwich from a local deli was among the many suggestions forwarded by Millstone, which he based on personal experience. Whenever he visits Manhattan, the half-and-half combination is his usual go-to order.

His other suggestions were taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour– which he and his wife had experienced personally– or a carriage ride through Central Park.

The conversation with the human customer service representative seemed to flow more naturally than an AI program. He had a faster method of bookings and provided a wealth of local expertise about New York that ChatGPT could never give.

Can ChatGPT Help You Book Travel Plans? Find Out Now!

ChatGPT acted as an effective consultant when I sought guidance on approaching the situation and what steps to take. It provided me with helpful ideas which helped me consider available options.

Using my experience with the current free program, I can conclude that a travel agent–who provides a full-service experience–offers more value than what the program currently offers. Not only can they make suggestions, but they book my travel as well. Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at

ChatGPT can be a valuable tool in vacation planning, but it should be used with human expertise and guidance to ensure a truly satisfying and fulfilling travel experience. Ultimately, the best vacation planning comes from AI and human intelligence, allowing for a well-rounded and personalized trip that meets all traveler’s needs and desires.


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