Say Hello to Your Future Travel Companion: AI

Can you REALLY use AI to plan a camping trip?

If you have been following the news this year, you have heard much about the debate around artificial intelligence—that is using a machine to do things humans do—be it writing, painting, or solving problems that require human reasoning.

AI has become intertwined with every aspect of our lives. For the last 60 years, countless scientists and philosophers have worked hard to advance the field to what it is today. 

Say hello to your future travel companion—AI is here to make traveling both easier and more enjoyable. In the coming years, AI will transform nearly every step of the journey from planning your route and booking campsites to navigating unfamiliar destinations. Are you ready to let an AI assistant help manage your next road trip?

Wall Drug, a South Dakota roadside attraction © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hello AI

Artificial intelligence is slowly but surely making its way into every aspect of our lives including the world of travel. Increasingly sophisticated AI assistants are poised to become your traveling sidekick, help with the planning, recommend sightseeing spots and roadside attractions based on your interests, and provide anything else you may need along the way.  

AI technology aimed at assisting travelers has been in development for the past 5-10 years. Many of today’s major tech players like Amazon, Google, and Apple have been incorporating AI into their products to improve the travel experience.

However, AI travel assistants have only started to gain mainstream adoption in the last 2-3 years as the technology has matured. Improvements in machine learning and natural language processing have allowed AI to become more sophisticated and useful for tasks like trip planning, navigation, and travel advisories.

The future looks promising as AI continues improving and more startups enter the space. Within the next 5-10 years, AI assistants could essentially handle every part of planning and executing your road trip with little to no input from the traveler.

Truth BBQ in Brenham, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

AI travel assistants: Your virtual tour guide

While traveling, AI assistants act as your personal tour guide. They can provide route directions and recommend restaurants and attractions based on your preferences. AI assistants can also offer real-time alerts about road construction delays and other travel advisories.

While traveling, AI assistants act as your personal tour guide helping you navigate unfamiliar surroundings and find what you need along the way. Their capabilities include:

  • Turn-by-turn navigation: AI helpers provide step-by-step walking or driving directions to your destination, identifying the optimal route in real time
  • Personalized recommendations: Based on your stated interests, previous travel history, and ratings of venues, AI companions suggest restaurants, attractions, sights and activities that you will enjoy the most
  • Transit: Many AI assistants can provide transit info and ticket purchases
  • Real-time advisories: AI keeps you up-to-date on local news, road disruptions, traffic conditions, weather alerts, and other travel-related information that impacts your journey
  • 24/7 assistance: AI travel assistants are available around the clock to answer questions, provide guidance, and handle any issues that arise while you’re traveling
A road trip on the Potash=Lower Colorado Scenic Byway near Moab, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

AI assistants are making road trips easier to plan and more enjoyable

The convenience of having an AI companion handle many of the planning and navigational tasks of traveling frees you up to enjoy your road tip. You no longer have to stress over finding your way around an unfamiliar city—your AI assistant can provide turn-by-turn driving and walking directions and even alert you to interesting sights along your route. The goal is to make travel simpler and more carefree through the help of artificial intelligence.

By taking on many of the time-consuming and stressful tasks involved in planning and executing a road trip, AI is allowing people to truly relax and enjoy their road trips.

Camping at Palo Casino RV Resort neat Temecula, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some of the ways AI companions are making travel more pleasant include:

  • Reducing pre-trip planning hassles: AI assistants compare route and campground options, make reservations
  • Providing guidance and recommendations: AI helpers recommend tailored restaurant selections, sightseeing options, and activities based on your interests leading travelers to unique discoveries
  • Taking navigation duties off your plate: AI companions provide turn-by-turn directions, construction and traffic alerts and notifications of nearby points of interest freeing travelers from constantly checking maps

By automating so many of the hassles involved with planning and executing a trip, AI travel assistants allow people to spend more time actually experiencing a destination on its own terms. The technology aims to make our road trips as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Touring the Museum of Appalachia near Clinton, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The functions your future AI travel companion will handle

As AI continues to get smarter and more sophisticated, the range of tasks that AI travel assistants will be able to independently handle during your trip will only increase. Some of the functions your future AI companion may take on include:

  • Planning full itineraries: Future AI helpers may autonomously schedule activities, tours, events, and meals based on your interests similar to what a personal travel planner would do
  • Making camping/dining reservations: AI travel assistants in the future could make campground/RV park and restaurant bookings for you based on your stated preferences for amenities, type of camping site, cuisine type, price range, and more
  • As AI continues to become more sophisticated over time, you can expect your future AI travel companion to essentially take complete control of planning and executing your vacation so that you can truly enjoy your time away without being distracted by trip logistics.
Touring Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery near Bardstown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

AI will transform every stage of your journey

In the coming years, AI technology is poised to revolutionize the travel experience from start to finish. Sophisticated AI assistants already on the market today represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible. The further integration of AI into our travels promises to make road trips less stressful and more memorable enabling you to focus your full attention on having an amazing experience.

Cautions to relying solely on AI

One of the problems with using AI will be similar to the use of GPS for mapping. People will rely on these results without independently thinking or confirming results. GPS can direct you to take a desolate dead-end road or railroad tracks. And AI can recommend (and possibly take over your vehicle where systems are integrated through smart devices) routes and events that AI wants you to use. Who can forget HAL in the movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey?

Touring Jungle Gardens on Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved=

AdventureGenie went live May 1, 2023

AdventureGenie is the first RV planning program powered by AI. The company was co-founded by Scott Lengel, a former Microsoft senior technology executive and David Greenberg, AdventureGenie’s chairman, a veteran CEO/investor. Both men are RVers: Scott and his wife Lisa travel in a Newmar Ventana and David and his wife Becky in a Newmar NewAire. 

According to Lengel, the story of building AdventureGenie is a familiar one. See a need, fill a need. After spending years planning extensive RV Adventures across the continent, they found it painful to use planning tools to answer these simple questions:

  • What to do?
  • Where to stay?
  • How to get there?

The program pulls on a database of more than 25,000 public and private campgrounds and pairs it with proprietary AI-based algorithms to take planning the details of your next RV adventure to a new level.

Worth Pondering…

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. […] It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.

—Stephen Hawking