Travel expert who posts her top tips on TikTok uses ChatGPT to plan her entire European backpacking trip

Madison Rolley used the AI tech tool to plan her whole trip on a $1k budget

A travel expert who has gained thousands of followers on TikTok by sharing her top holiday-related tips has used ChatGPT to plan her an European backpacking trip. Madison Rolley, aged 24, who refers to herself as a ‘digital nomad coach’’, regularly posts tips for finding the cheapest flights and best hotels to her 30,000 TikTok followers.

She decided she wanted to do something a little different, and asked AI tool ChatGPT to plan her two-week trip to Europe, giving the bot a budget of $1,000 (around £800) per person for two people. She specified her requirements to ChatGPT, which stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, to plan her holiday, saying that she wanted to visit four cities and have her travel and accommodation included in the overall price she paid.

ChatGPT is an online tool that allows people to have human-like conversations with an AI system, and can be used for things like answering complex questions, translating sentences into different languages or writing out whole essays. It has been growing in popularity since it was released to the public on 30 November.

Rolley, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, United States, also asked ChatGPT to give her three activities in each location. In response, the software set out a route using planes and trains. The software originally recommended Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen, but Rolley changed this slightly to suit her whims and is now visiting Stockholm, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam.

Travel expert Madison Rolley, who posts her top tips for travel on a budget on Instagram and has used ChatGPT to plan her next holiday.Travel expert Madison Rolley, who posts her top tips for travel on a budget on Instagram and has used ChatGPT to plan her next holiday.
Travel expert Madison Rolley, who posts her top tips for travel on a budget on Instagram and has used ChatGPT to plan her next holiday.

‘It was brilliant for setting a timeline that was easy to follow’ - but there are limits

Rolley said planning this trip would have taken her days, but the software did it in minutes. She believed that the most “impressive part” of the software was that it gave her travel inspiration but it could "easily be tweaked further to show free attractions or unusual ones".

She added: “It was brilliant for sorting it out logistically and setting it in a timeline that was easy to follow. “It very much laid out a path that made sense to travel and it also showed how you would go about booking everything, which I thought was really cool.”

ChatGPT recommended that Rolley and her friends visit a number of well-known tourist attractions during the trip, including the Anne Frank museum and the Van Gough museum in Amsterdam and the Louvre and Eiffel Tower in Paris. It also suggested some lesser known activities such as a canal cruise in Amsterdam. For the trip for two people, ChatGPT allowed $1,300 (around £1,045) for 13 nights accommodation, $300 (around £240) for 12 attractions and $500 for travel, bringing the total spend for the whole trip to $2,100 (around £1,688) for two - not including a flight home. Rolley and her friend have booked their trip to begin on 3 July this year.

Rolley said: “I was on ChatGPT and I was like ‘Oh, you know what? I should see what it will spit out because people have been testing this for the most crazy things. One of the things it came with was, in Amsterdam, it was like ‘go on a canal cruise’ I would have never really thought to do that.” She added that she would recommend using the tool if you’re planning a holiday, especially if you’re looking to do it on a budget. 

She did acknowledge, however, that the software is “limited” because “it's not going to know you”. She added: “You're the only person that can know what you'll like and what you won't like, but it can at least give some very solid inspiration for planning your next trip and maybe helping you with generalising a budget. Then you can go from there and actually book things and do your research.”

Rolley started travelling as a student and has since been to Europe, North and South America and other countries around the world, all on a budget. She uses airline notification services and online sites that fill vacant hotel rooms to travel as cheaply as possible, and shares her best hacks online.