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Holiday Planning with AI

The New Generation of Travel?

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In the UK, eight in ten people are planning to go on at least one holiday this year, and more than 60% of people we surveyed in April 2024 are planning to go abroad. And who can blame them? A chance to unwind, de-stress and kick back without a care in the world.

We all need a little escape – the dream is to snap our fingers and be poolside, but the perfect holiday needs the perfect plan. We surveyed 2,000 UK adults who travel for leisure to understand their thoughts on travel planning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). So, when it comes to holidays, where do people start?

  • 60% of people are looking online to research their next getaway, and it’s not the only avenue people are exploring.
  • Four in ten people are seeking recommendations from friends and family – it beats reading reviews on TripAdvisor for sure.
  • 11% of potential holiday-goers are turning to Instagram for their next adventure.

But what if there was another way? Travel is changing in 2024 – but not in the way you might expect. 6% of people are currently using AI as their preferred method for travel research. And while adoption is slow, 21% of holidayers are likely to use it to plan their next trip.

Next Gen Travel: Planning Your Getaway using AI

Making travel arrangements is one of the trickiest parts of planning a holiday – especially if you’re organising your own trip. Using AI can help ease some of the stresses as it can provide you with a readymade itinerary. Two in ten Brits said they are likely to use AI to assist with upcoming travel arrangements – and one in ten have done so already with travel in the past.

For those who are already embracing AI for travel planning, the most used tools are:

  • ChatGPT, (45%) of people who used AI to help plan their travel used ChatGPT. They asked a question to ChatGPT, to which it provides tailored responses. For example, you could ask “What are the top holiday destinations for someone who loves nature?”
  • Roam Around, a travel planning tool used by 27% of people who have used AI to plan their trip. This AI travel assistant can create local itineraries depending on your travel destination and date.
  • Tripnotes, an “intelligent travel planner”. This tool was used by 26% of people surveyed who said they’d used AI to plan their trip. It’s designed to help provide users with activity recommendations, itineraries, and trip suggestions.
  • Guide.com,was used by 25% of AI users to help plan their next trip. This tool creates a customised travel itinerary, with the option to involve friends and family in the planning process.

While AI may be a capable travel planner, not everyone is ready to put their holiday solely in the hands of a digital text-based travel agent. It’s understandable: AI is an emerging technology, and depending on the AI you use not all information will be up to date. Based on our survey, people are using AI tools in different ways. 35% of people who have used AI for travel planning are using it to generate ideas and recommendations. The same number of people are using it to plan out travel routes between points of interest, including flight plans and return dates.

It doesn’t end there – one in three people who use AI for travel are capitalising on AI’s ability to assist with booking holidays, ensuring they get great deals and a personalised experience, without the middleman. 32% of people who utilise AI said they used it to choose their next destination. AI could even be used for simpler tasks – for example, you could use it to check the weather for a specific region and date (as 31% of people using AI chose to).

AI’s ability to scour publicly available data could make it a useful resource for gathering information. 34% of Brits who used AI leveraged this by having their travel planner create an itinerary for them. In theory, it’s a holiday plan, without the time-consuming nature of planning. Though, be aware – you may want to check the results a planner gives you as you can’t always guarantee the data is accurate.

Over 90% of UK travellers who are already using AI said they believed that AI enhanced their experience of organising a holiday, and 34% said that it did so very much.

The Age of AI: Who’s Using Travel Planners?

The average age group that uses AI to help with travel planning, trends toward younger demographics – mainly 18-to 24-year-olds, and 25-to 34-year-olds. Roughly two in ten 25-to-34-year-olds said they were very likely to use AI to assist with travel planning, with 15% of 18-to-24-year-olds saying the same.

These numbers drop rapidly as demographics get older, but why? For many, AI is still a mystery – something closer to sci-fi than a travel guide. In the survey, uncertainty about where to begin with AI and travel planning was a common concern – especially among older demographics. Half of people aged 65 and over said they wouldn’t know where to begin with using AI for travel planning purposes.

Younger people are actively using AI – but they’re also more interested in using it too, with one in five 18-to-24-year-olds saying they’re excited to start using AI in more of their travel planning. This is a similar response up to age 44, with a downtrend in ages 45+. In fact, only 5% of those aged 65 stated they would be excited to use AI for travel purposes.

AI Travel Planning by Region

Location is likely to affect people’s attitudes toward AI. In London, 83% of respondents used AI in general, followed by people from Scotland (73%) and the South East (69%). In contrast,
just over half of people (55%) from Yorkshire and the Humber, followed by, 50% of people from Northern Ireland, are using AI.

These attitudes have a direct impact on people’s willingness to use AI for travel, with nearly 21% of people in London using AI to research their travel already, and 54% of Londoners saying they’re likely to use AI on future trips. The next most likely were those from Scotland (27%).

In contrast, people in Yorkshire are the least likely to use AI for travel planning, with seven in ten people saying they are unlikely to use AI-powered tools. This trend continues, with similar statistics across both the East Midlands and East of England.

Navigating AI for Travel Planning: The Pitfalls of AI

AI may be able to help you navigate the globe, but navigating AI comes with its own twists and turns. AI has become a known term – but the technology itself is still shrouded in mystery to many. As a developing technology, AI is being closely monitored by parliament1 and attitudes towards it are complex.

As a result of this 26% of Brits are too concerned about privacy to use it for travel planning.

As it is a developing technology, AI isn’t always perfect. When using AI to plan their travels, 91% of UK travellers said they experienced some kind of constraint, limitation or shortcoming. This was broken down by 38% of AI users finding answers too generic and 37% finding that AI could not provide enough information. Roughly one in three people encountered incorrect information, demonstrating that in-the-moment, real-time travel advice may still pull ahead of AI travel planning.

If you decide to use AI for travel planning, you’ll want to take some steps to ensure your safety and ensure that the data is accurate. Here are some things to consider when using AI for travel:

  • Personal details. Don’t share financial or personal information with AI – there’s no reason why an AI module would need these things. This is especially true if you’re uncertain of how an AI tool will use or store your data. In addition, some personalised AI companions require access to travel history and preferences to offer their services, which you may not want to provide.
  • Beware of AI hallucinations. We aren’t the only ones who get things wrong sometimes – AI is trained on data; AI models learn to make predictions and find patterns in data. If the data it finds is biased or incomplete, it may come up with nonsensical results. It’s always worth double-checking the information an AI puts out.
  • Prompts. Learning to write clear prompts can get you better results in your search. For example, searching “find good holidays for water sports” may not turn out the best results compared to “find good windsurfing holiday destination ideas for a party of four in May.” You can always fine-tune search results too by giving the AI feedback. Treat it like a conversation by asking follow-up prompts to get more detailed answers.
  • Outdated information. Until recently, ChatGPT, the most used AI tool for travel planning, used data from September 2021 to form its responses. This meant that it didn’t know about any recent travel trends or important events. As of 2024, it’s accurate up to April 20232. Cross-referencing information provided by AI with your own research is essential. Depending on the tool you use, you’ll get different results – so understand the pros and cons and use them appropriately.
  • Use as a starting point. Using AI as a launch pad for suggestions and ideas could be an easy way to discover things to do for some, and it may be more efficient than searching for things to do through Google. AI could point you towards horizons you might not have considered, but it seems best to use it to inform your own research.

While AI isn’t perfect – just like any tool – it could make your travel a bit easier, and more enriching if used smartly. However, not everyone is ready to entrust an algorithm with their holiday plans. One in three people stated that if they were going to use an AI tool, they would prefer to do so with access to human support or assistance, demonstrating the importance of hands-on information and a human touch in holiday planning.

Travel Money Planning

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money bureaux offer just that – a place to exchange currency ready for your journey from our travel money advisors, with over 50 countries accounted for. With the public’s concern about safety – especially for private or financial information – travel money stores with real people are essential for peace of mind.

Stuart Briant, Head of Travel Money at Sainsbury’s Bank, says, “AI holiday planning tools have the potential to be great for holiday assistance and discovery. However, while AI can remove a lot of the stress from holiday planning, people will always value and trust human interaction first, especially when it comes to their finances – it’s important that we offer the human support options that people trust and want.”

Want to organise travel money for your next adventure? Sainsbury’s Bank can help:

  • Buy your travel money instore, over the phone or online with Sainsbury’s Bank, and get it delivered to your door or collect instore.
  • If you’re having your travel money delivered, ensure that it is secure. At Sainsbury’s Bank, we use special delivery, so you know when your money will arrive.
  • Get a variety of cash – paying in larger notes might not always be convenient.
  • When you organise your currency for travel, always take a mixture of cash and card.

Don’t share your financial information with AI tools, and only deal with vendors that you trust when it comes to travel money.

For help and advice with online finances and digital education, visit:

Citizensonline.org – for digital inclusion, help, and advice.
Good Things Foundation – Learn skills for digital inclusion.
NCSC.GOV – Cyber security advice.
.GOV SHARE Checklist – Cyber security best practice.
AgeUK – Get started online with helpful courses.
Lifeshare – Free online digital skills courses.

Methodology

  • Sainsbury’s Bank surveyed 2,000 UK adults who travel for leisure.
  • Conducted via OnePoll between 11th and 16th April 2024.
  • Asked questions about travel planning and AI.