Sunday, July 21, 2024

How to use AI to plan your next vacation

Computer scienceHow to use AI to plan your next vacation


Beyond LLMs, there are also tailored tools available that can help you to work out the kinds of conditions you might encounter, including weather and traffic. If you’re planning a city break, you might want to check out Immersive View, a feature for Google Maps that Google launched last year. It uses AI and computer vision to create a 3D model depicting how a certain location in a supported city will look at a specific time of day up to four days in the future. Because it’s able to draw from weather forecasts and traffic data, it could help you predict whether a rooftop bar will still be bathed in sunshine tomorrow evening, or if you’d be better off picking a different route for a drive at the weekend.

How to use it: Check to see if your city is on this list. Then open up Google Maps, navigate to an area you’re interested in, and select Immersive View. You’ll be presented with an interactive map with the option to change the date and time of day you’d like to check.

Checking flights and accommodations

Once you’ve decided where to go, booking flights and a place to stay is the next thing to tackle. Many travel booking sites have integrated AI chatbots into their websites, the vast majority of which are powered by ChatGPT. But unless you’re particularly wedded to using a specific site, it could be worth looking at the bigger picture.

Looking up flights on multiple browser tabs can be cumbersome, but Google’s Gemini has a solution. The model integrates with Google Flights and Google Hotels, pulling in real-time information from Google’s partner companies in a way that makes it easy to compare times and, crucially, prices.

This is a quick and easy way to search for flights and accommodations within your personal budget. For example, I instructed Gemini to show me flights for a round trip from London to Paris for under £200. It’s a great starting point to get a rough idea of how much you’re likely to spend, and how long it’ll take you to get there.

How to use it: Once you’ve opened up Gemini (you may need to sign in to a Google account to do this), open up Settings and go to Extensions to check that Google Flights & Hotels is enabled. Then return to the Gemini main page and enter your query, specifying where you’re flying from and to, the length of your stay, and any cost requirements you may wish to share.

If you’re a spreadsheet fan, you can ask Gemini to export the plan to Sheets, which you can then share with friends and family. 

Practice your language skills

You’ve probably heard that the best way to get better at another language is to practice speaking it. However, tutors can be expensive, and you may not know anyone else who speaks the tongue you’re trying to brush up on.

Back in September last year, OpenAI updated ChatGPT to allow users to speak to it. You can try it out for yourself using the ChatGPT app for Android or iOS. I opened up the voice chat option and read it some basic phrases in French that it successfully translated into English (“Do you speak English?” “Can you help me?” and “Where is the museum?”) in spite of my poor pronunciation. It was also good at offering up alternative phrases when I asked it for less formal examples, such as swapping bonjour (hello) for salut, which translates as “hi.” And it allowed me to hold basic conversations with the disembodied AI voice.  

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