Trip planning: The next big thing

Scott Adams thinks he has it: the next big thing for vacation travel. The idea is to have something like a dating service that will match families planning a vacation with the actual experience of the ‘been there, done that’ crowd.

My theory is that people are rational with their vacation budgets and avoid travel to places that are hard to research. Most people would pay extra to avoid the risk of the unknown. (If you’re a natural adventurer, your mileage may vary.) So imagine what will happen to the travel industry when it is just as easy to plan an exotic vacation as an obvious one? That day is coming.

In other words, when it comes to travel, knowledge is a substitute for money. And thanks to the Internet, our knowledge about travel options is about to explode. The effect of that change is that the cost of travel will appear to drop a great deal while the enjoyment gained from vacations improves. That will cause a boom in recreational travel.

The key is how to collect that knowledge and prepare it for matching to the requirements of someone planning a family vacation. Scott envisions a phone app for vacationer’s phone that tracks their movements to catalog travel routes, places visited, costs, and anything else that can be collected or inferred from what was done on the vacation. That data would then be processed to provide an vacation profile without personal data organized for easy matching to trip planning goals.

The app’s primary purpose is documenting your vacation for your own digital scrapbook. But push a button and the app converts your personal vacation file to something more generic that can be published for anyone looking for a similar type of vacation. Facial recognition software could automatically masks the identities of your family members. And the app could allow you to easily remove any other information you find too personal. Then you publish. It takes you five minutes to document and publish your entire trip.

Travel diaries have other uses as well. See JB and Jo Harrison Travel Diaries here for information about trailer travel in the 50’s and 60’s. That’s a bit dated for anyone planning a North American adventure now but interesting as a comparison and contrast. Another example of travel planning is being prepared for a more modern perspective. That is a southern deserts trip where the I’net was used to help plan fuel stops, weather and road conditions, sites to see, day length, and other things. The recent photo galleries added to the website are a part of that modern travel guide that others could use to help plan their adventures.

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