How ChatGPT Became My Personal Travel Advisor

In this post, we're going to see how AI was able to create a solid travel plan for my recent Toronto visit and how it also created a Calendar format which helped us experience the beautiful city.

How ChatGPT Became My Personal Travel Advisor
Nathan Philips Square - Toronto, Ontario (Shot on iPhone)

Introduction

Finally, we did it, My wife and I live in Canada and since last year, we've been saying that we want to visit Toronto this summer. It was always a discussion rather than an actual plan. Last week, my parents came to visit here, so we all decided to book a nice hotel room and just drive to Toronto without going into the plan details.

After a nice 7-hour drive (with ONroute stops), we arrived late at night. My wife and I have been to the city before, but it was extremely cold so we didn't really enjoy walking around and exploring the nice areas and places. So, this time around the weather was great for walking and we wanted to revisit the nice things with the parents, but we didn't have a plan.

Creating the Plan with ChatGPT

As with most parents (I presume), my folks were constantly asking what's the "plan" for tomorrow. I usually just discover things on the go with my wife but the folks like to have a solid plan in advance. Since we had nothing organized, I went straight to ChatGPT and typed in the following prompt:

Plan a one day trip in Toronto from 8:30 AM to 11:30 PM that includes seeing the most important tourist attractions. Things to note: A car will be used for transportation, the weather is good for walking, optimize spending, and finally the plan is for four people.

To which ChatGPT immediately responded with this:

Certainly! Here's a carefully planned one-day trip in Toronto, optimized for seeing the most important tourist attractions, making the most of the weather for walking, and optimizing spending for four people. Since you have a car, this plan will help you cover a lot of ground efficiently:

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM: Breakfast
Start your day with a quick breakfast at a local café or bakery. Grab some pastries, coffee, and sandwiches to-go.

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM: Toronto Islands
Drive to the Toronto Islands Ferry Terminal and take a ferry to the Toronto Islands. Enjoy a leisurely walk or rent bicycles to explore the beautiful islands. Visit Centreville Amusement Park (optional, depending on interests).

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM: CN Tower
Head back to the mainland and drive to the CN Tower. Purchase timed tickets in advance to avoid long lines. Spend time exploring the CN Tower, including the observation deck and the Glass Floor Experience.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM: Lunch
Drive to the St. Lawrence Market and enjoy a diverse range of lunch options from various vendors. This is a great place to sample local foods.

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM: Distillery District
Drive to the Distillery District, a historic area with charming cobblestone streets, art galleries, shops, and cafes. Explore the unique atmosphere and perhaps do some souvenir shopping.

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Drive to the Royal Ontario Museum and explore its diverse exhibits, which cover everything from natural history to world cultures.

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM: Kensington Market and Chinatown
Drive to Kensington Market and explore its eclectic shops, vintage boutiques, and vibrant street art. Then, head to Chinatown for some shopping and a cultural experience.

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Dinner
Drive to Queen Street West and choose from a variety of restaurants offering different cuisines. Queen Street is known for its trendy dining options.

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM: Harbourfront Centre
Drive to Harbourfront Centre and take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. Enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline.

9:00 PM - 10:30 PM: Toronto's Entertainment District
Drive to the Entertainment District and catch a live performance or show, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling area.

10:30 PM - 11:30 PM: Dessert and End of Day
Head to a local dessert spot or ice cream parlor to satisfy your sweet tooth before concluding your day.

Please note that this itinerary is quite packed, so feel free to adjust the timing and activities based on your preferences and the pace at which you like to explore. Make sure to check the opening hours and any COVID-19 related restrictions for each attraction before your trip. Have a wonderful day exploring Toronto!

Optimizing the Plan

Perfect, ChatGPT provided me with a properly formatted and logical plan for the day. I especially like the fact that it recommended things like the Harbourfront Center during sunset since nighttime views are better (in my opinion). I then Googled every item on the plan to look at pricing and opening hours among other details just to be safe. I then asked my wife and parents whether they'd like to replace some things with others and so I asked ChatGPT for a couple of updates to the plan as needed.

Magic Time

With the final plan in hand, I wanted a nice way to add everything with time slots to my calendar on the iPhone, so I did what every person would do and asked ChatGPT the following:

Convert to ICS for Calendar
💡
If you don't know, the iCalendar format (or .ics) is a universal and standard format used by several email and calendar software. Usually, after you book a flight or an event you get a nice prompt to "Add to your Calendar" which converts the plan to a .ics file which you then open using your calendar app to add the event details to your calendar.

ChatGPT then responds beautifully to my request as follows:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
PRODID:-//YourAppName//YourAppVersion//EN
CALSCALE:GREGORIAN

BEGIN:VEVENT
UID:unique-identifier1@example.com
DTSTAMP:20230804T083000Z
DTSTART:20230804T083000Z
DTEND:20230804T090000Z
SUMMARY:Breakfast
LOCATION:Local Café or Bakery
END:VEVENT

...

END:VCALENDAR

Using the ICS format, I was able to save it and transfer it to my calendar manually. I have a shared calendar with my wife so she got access to the plan details as soon as I added it.

Conclusion

In less than 15 minutes, I was able to create a customized plan for tomorrow, which was also beautifully added to my calendar and shared with my wife. I decided to write about this experience to share with you one of the many ways that AI is transforming our behavior - both digitally and physically. Most of the plan was suggested by ChatGPT, which we followed by physically visiting the locations, taking pictures, and creating memories. All thanks to our secret travel planner, ChatGPT, who made it all possible in record time.