I asked ChatGPT to plan my Europe trip

The ChatGPT home page on a mobile phone screen

Planning an overseas trip, especially one with legs in multiple countries, can be a trying task. Besides the questions of where to go and what to do, you need to work out whether to get travel insurance, if you need to apply for visas, and so much more. 

So, I sought to leverage the power of OpenAI’s ChatGPT to help me plan a hypothetical trip to Europe

I told ChatGPT I want to go to Europe for two months in June and July. I want to visit the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Spain, Belgium, France and Portugal in the most efficient way possible to minimise travel time. 

I also told it that I was interested in the arts, food, and history and that I wanted to see a music festival while I was over there. 

Here’s what it said.

Planning a travel itinerary for Europe

ChatGPT: “Sounds like a great trip! Based on your interests and the countries you want to visit, I would recommend the following itinerary to minimise travel time:

1. Start in the UK. Spend about a week in London, exploring its museums, galleries and iconic landmarks like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Then head up to Edinburgh, Scotland to see its beautiful castles, museums and parks.

2. From Scotland, take a flight or train to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Explore the museums, canals and unique architecture of the city, and sample some of the delicious Dutch cuisine.

3. Next, take a train to Berlin, Germany. Spend a few days exploring its vibrant arts and music scene, as well as its fascinating history, including the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

4. From Berlin, take a train to Vienna, Austria. Spend a week here, enjoying its beautiful architecture, palaces, and museums. You can also indulge in its delicious pastries and coffee culture.

5. From Vienna, take a flight or train to Barcelona, Spain. Spend a few days here, exploring its beautiful beaches, Gaudi's architecture, and the lively food and arts scene.

6. Then, take a train to Paris, France. Spend about a week here, visiting its museums, landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, and enjoying the delicious French cuisine.

7. From Paris, take a train to Brussels, Belgium. Spend a few days exploring its museums, food scene, and historic landmarks like the Grand Place.

8. Finally, take a flight or train to Lisbon, Portugal. Spend a week here, enjoying its beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and delicious seafood.

As for music festivals, there are many to choose from in Europe during June and July. Some of the most popular ones include Glastonbury in the UK, Roskilde in Denmark, Rock Werchter in Belgium, and Primavera Sound in Spain. Depending on your itinerary, you could plan to attend one of these festivals during your trip.”

What should tourists watch out for when travelling to Europe?

A pickpocket pulling a wallet out of a tourist's jacket pocket

I wasn’t very surprised that its suggestions for things to do in each country were pretty stock-standard for tourists. So, I asked ChatGPT about tourist traps.

ChatGPT: "Yes, there are common traps. Here are a few examples:

1. Pickpocketing: Pickpocketing is a common problem in many European cities, especially in crowded areas such as tourist attractions, public transportation, and busy shopping areas. To avoid becoming a victim, keep your valuables (wallet, phone, passport) in a secure place, such as a money belt or a bag that you can keep close to your body."

Europe certainly does have a reputation for pickpockets.

Unfortunately, it’s not always clear if a travel insurance policy will cover you for pickpocketing incidents. While you might be able to find a policy that covers your passport or transaction cards if they’re stolen, pickpocketing is a difficult one for insurance providers to cover.

However, if this is a dealbreaker for you, make sure you give your prospective travel insurance provider a call to check how they treat pickpocketing claims.

If you’re a victim of theft, no matter what’s been stolen, your first port of call should be to contact the police to make a report, then let your travel insurance provider know what’s happened.

"2. Tourist traps: Some restaurants, shops, and attractions may overcharge tourists or provide low-quality services or products. To avoid falling into a tourist trap, do your research in advance, read reviews online, and ask locals for recommendations.

3. Scams: Some scammers may try to trick tourists into giving them money or personal information, often using tactics such as fake petitions, street performances, or offering to take your picture for a fee. Be cautious of people who approach you on the street, and never give money or personal information to strangers."

While travel insurance won’t usually cover you for scams, you can rest assured that there are numerous comprehensive travel insurance policies that offer cover if your transaction cards are used fraudulently.

Plus, depending on your credit card or debit card provider, you may also be covered by their in-built, anti-fraud protections.

"4. Overpacking: Packing too much can make your trip more stressful and expensive, especially if you plan to travel by train or other forms of public transportation. Pack light and bring only what you need, and consider doing laundry on the road to save space and money.

5. Not booking in advance: During peak travel season, many popular attractions, tours, and accommodations may sell out quickly. To avoid disappointment, book your activities and accommodations in advance, and consider travelling during the off-season to avoid crowds and save money."

While booking in advance is a great way to help ensure you’re booked in for accommodation and activities, there is a risk of needing to cancel for reasons outside your control and not being able to get a refund. 

Many comprehensive travel insurance policies offer cancellation and travel delay cover so that if you need to end your trip early, miss your flights, or your accommodation or activity provider goes bust, you may be able to recoup those pre-booked funds.

Can you take trains around Europe instead of flying?

As someone interested in slow travel, I thought it was interesting how earlier it suggested taking trains or planes between destinations when the option was there. 

I asked ChatGPT what the best route for my trip would be if I wanted to catch trains between my destinations.

ChatGPT: 

“1. London, UK to Amsterdam, Netherlands: Take the Eurostar train from London to Brussels, then transfer to a Thalys train to Amsterdam.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands to Vienna, Austria: Take an overnight train from Amsterdam to Munich, then transfer to a train to Vienna.

3. Vienna, Austria to Berlin, Germany: Take a direct train from Vienna to Berlin.

4. Berlin, Germany to Madrid, Spain: Take a direct train from Berlin to Paris, then transfer to a train to Madrid.

5. Madrid, Spain to Brussels, Belgium: Take a direct train from Madrid to Paris, then transfer to a train to Brussels.

6. Brussels, Belgium to Paris, France: Take a direct train from Brussels to Paris.

7. Paris, France to Lisbon, Portugal: Take a direct train from Paris to Hendaye, then transfer to a train to Lisbon.”

Visas, the Schengen Area and travel advice

An image of a European passport stamped with a Shengen visa

It dawned on me that I’d be travelling through a lot of different countries. Will I need a visa for everywhere I’m going? 

So I asked ChatGPT. Luckily for me, the countries I plan to visit are all within the Schengen Area, meaning I won’t need to get visas for each destination if I’m travelling for less than 90 days.

ChatGPT: “As an Australian citizen, you do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom for tourism or business purposes for a stay of up to 6 months. However, you will need a valid passport.

For Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Portugal, Australian citizens can travel for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa for tourism or business purposes. However, you will need a valid passport.”

ChatGPT also mentioned that visa requirements can change, so it’s always a good idea to check with the embassy or consulate of your destination for up-to-date information. 

Another great resource for Australian travellers to make use of is the Australian government’s Smartraveller website. 

Smartraveller provides the latest details on entry requirements, travel warnings, local laws, and so much more. It’s a resource worth getting acquainted with for any traveller going to any country.

What does ChatGPT say about travel insurance?

As someone familiar with the ins and outs of travel insurance, I asked ChatGPT whether securing a policy for my trip was a good idea.

ChatGPT: “It is highly recommended to get travel insurance for any international trip, including your trip to Europe. Travel insurance can help protect you from unexpected expenses and provide you with peace of mind during your trip. Some of the benefits of travel insurance may include:

1. Trip cancellation or interruption coverage: This can help reimburse you for non-refundable expenses if your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to unforeseen events such as illness, injury, or natural disasters.

2. Emergency medical coverage: This can help cover the costs of emergency medical treatment or hospitalization if you become ill or injured during your trip.

3. Baggage and personal belongings coverage: This can help reimburse you if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip.

4. Travel delay coverage: This can help reimburse you for additional expenses such as meals and accommodations if your trip is delayed due to weather, mechanical issues, or other reasons.

5. Emergency assistance: Many travel insurance plans include 24/7 emergency assistance services, which can help you with things like finding medical care, replacing lost passports, or arranging emergency transportation.

Before purchasing travel insurance, be sure to carefully review the policy to understand the coverage, exclusions, and limitations. It's also a good idea to compare plans from different providers to find the best coverage and price for your needs.”

ChatGPT is on the money: it’s super important to read through a policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) before you purchase it. Not all policies are created equal. So, some might be a better fit for your needs than others. 

If you want to know more about travel insurance, check out Mozo’s travel insurance guides, in particular our focus on how to choose a travel insurance policy that is right for you. 

If you want to check out some award-winning policies, head over to the best travel insurance page to read about the winners for 2023 or have a look at some of your options below.

Please note, we don't endorse using ChatGPT as a way to plan your travels. This article is intended to illustrate some of the top considerations to keep in mind whilst travelling only. ChatGPT's responses may have been edited for clarity and to reduce repetition.

Travel insurance comparisons on Mozo - last updated 23 June 2024

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