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AI is Ruining Your Vacation

AI is Ruining Your Vacation

Posted in: Education, Travel on June 15, 2024.

Slop, Slop, Everywhere There is Slop.

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere. It’s been embraced by every major tech company. But the problem with AI is that it’s not always accurate. (Although sometimes pretty hilarious.) And all this low-quality AI slop flooding the web could be ruining your vacation.

AI code on a screen

Photo by Mitchell Luo via unsplash.com

How AI Works. Very Simplified.

Here’s the problem: Large Language Models (LLMs) are the type of AI that are used to scour the web and generate text about any subject. They work kind of like the auto-complete function on your phone. And to be fair, it is very impressive technology. However, since it’s mostly concerned with making grammatically correct, complete sentences and paragraphs, it will often just “make up” whatever is convenient for the article it has been asked to write. This phenomenon is called “hallucinating.” And when you search on Google for travel ideas and it summarizes what the internet says about that location, you can get a lot of hallucination. And it can be even worse when you visit a travel site that has used AI to generate itineraries.

A man lost in Zion National Park

Photo by Red River Ranch via Midjourney. An AI-generated image of a man that is upset that his AI-generated itinerary ruined his AI-generated vacation. Plus, he’s probably upset that he has three feet.

So How Bad Is It?

A recent study found the following when looking at a representative sample of AI travel itineraries:

  • 90% of AI-generated travel itineraries include at least one error, according to the research.
    Over half (52%) suggest visiting at least one attraction, restaurant or cafe outside of its opening hours.
  • Nearly one in four (24%) recommend going to at least one restaurant, cafe or attraction that is permanently closed or closed until further notice.
  • 30% of errors include a references to a Michelin-star restaurant.
  • 1 in 4 (25%) of itineraries display a lack of logical planning, requiring travelers to backtrack or take unnecessary detours in order to reach places.

That can make for a pretty inconvenient, increasingly frustrating, and often more costly trip. So what can you do about it?

A screenshot of the NPS website

Photo by nps.gov. The National Park Service is your friend.

Find the Right Sources.

It can be a nightmare to try to determine what is AI-generated slop and what is good, old fashioned travel advice. So start with the prime sources as much as possible. Since the guests at the Lodge at Red River Ranch are coming to tour Southern Utah (and if you’ve read this far in the article we are assuming you’re also interested in a trip to Southern Utah) they should visit the official web pages of the national parks for all the most important information. Here’s the pages for Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Capitol Reef.

Then check out the official tourism website for the state, or city, that you wish to visit. For us, that website is visitutah.com.

And finally, rely on established brands that have been writing travel itineraries for years. The Lonely Planet website, National Geographic guide books, Frommer’s, etc. There is no guarantee that they won’t switch to AI, but they have a lot of brand-equity built into their continued reliability. Which means hopefully they fact-check things.

A screenshot of our itineraries

Photo by Red River Ranch.

And What About The Lodge? You Have Itineraries.

We do have itineraries, thanks for noticing! And we worked hard to make sure that they are accurate. You can check them out here. We also have about a billion blog articles which you can read here. All of which can help you build a better vacation.

And no, we don’t use AI to write anything on our website. We do it all by hand! But… we did use AI to make the main image on this blog post. It seemed fitting to use AI to make an image of a guy messing up his vacation by using AI to plan his trip.

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