Holidays, we all love them. But what we don’t love quite so much is how our bank balance takes a huge knock when planning them.
And with UK holidaymakers spending £4,000 on holidays per year on average, it can be easy to feel like you simply can’t afford to jet off anywhere.
So, what to do if you’re looking to keep costs done and get some sun?
Ask Chat GPT, says TikTok creator and digital nomad coach, Madison Rolley (@madisonrolley). She used the AI programme to help her plan a trip around Europe, asking it to keep costs as low as possible.
And interestingly, it delivered.
“I’m planning a trip to Europe right now and I wanted to take you along with me [and show] how I find the most budget-friendly hacks.
“I’m not breaking the bank, but I’m still doing all the things that I want to do. Usually, there’s a very long process for finding deals, using a lot of different software tools and apps, but Chat GPT sped that process up.”
OK, so how does it work?
The TikTok creator wanted to travel in and out of Stockholm, Sweden, and had a two-week timeframe to then see other places in Europe.
So she typed in the following on Chat GPT:
‘Please create a travel itinerary for two weeks in Europe, where we would fly into and depart from Stockholm. I want to visit anywhere from four to six cities across Europe. Please include the means of travel, estimated cost of travel, estimated time to travel between locations, estimated cost of stay per night in each location, and the average cost per meal in each place. Please also include three attractions we should check out in each place and the costs associated.’
Did it work? “It spat out gold!” she says. “It picked four cities: Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen, and it produced what I asked for in every single city.
“To show an example, it wants me to fly from Stockholm to Amsterdam, and the estimated cost of travel is going to be $150-200 per person for a one-way flight to take two hours. The estimated cost per stay is going to be $80-120 per night. And it gave me the budget accommodation option.”
What if you’ve got a very tight budget?
“If you’re a budget traveller and you want to be on a specific budget, you could ask the exact same prompt and then add in ‘and only spending under $1,000 for the whole trip’ and it will give you different budget accommodation options,” adds Rolley.
“For meals, it says it’s going to be $15-30 per meal for budget food options. And then there are the attractions it’s suggested, like the canal cruise or the Eiffel Tower, which can both be cheap or free if you wanted to just walk the canals instead of doing a cruise.”
What are the cons?
Chat GPT can be a little… boring at times. Ask it to come up with places to see in Europe, and it’ll usually throw out generic tourist hotspots like the Eiffel Tower (as evidenced above!), the Colosseum in Rome, or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – all beautiful, but very popular highlights.
To combat this, be super specific with your Chat GPT prompts. Ask it for spots off the beaten track or lesser-known tourist highlights in your chosen city.
The AI programme obviously isn’t keeping up on its news either. When a journalist from Euronews Travel asked it to come up with a ‘dream trip’ around Europe, the programme recommended Paris, but forgot to mention the protests there.
It might also recommend for you to visit unsafe areas in certain cities – so do your own research before heading anywhere.
While not perfect, Chat GPT can provide some ideas and a rough guide to your trip, that you can tweak and build on to create your perfect budget break.
Meanwhile cheap flight newsletters like Jack’s Flight Club can also help to keep costs down.
Maybe a cost-of-living-friendly holiday isn’t out of your reach after all?