REVIEW: Inspirock travel planner
Is planning your next trip becoming an internet-based admin nightmare? This itinerary-generator is comprehensive, yet needs more global coverage
The concept of an online ‘vacation itinerary planner’ sounds too good to be true. Can I really just pump in the name of a country or city and get an automatic itinerary of all the major – and even the minor – sights and sounds? Or is Inspirock merely a nicely designed front for a travel agent?
Happily, Inspirock is independent – and darned useful. A startup backed by one of India’s largest travel booking sites, Inspirock is designed to automatically create customised itineraries. You can use it to plan the city breaks in specific towns, or, better still, the country or region and let it decide on a wider and more in-depth itinerary.
What kind of trip?
First, you put the destination in, followed by the dates you will be in that region. Then you choose between adults, teens, or kids, and in the activities section you choose between popular, balance, and hidden gems, fast-paced, medium or slow & easy. Activities then include culture, romantic, outdoors, relaxing … you get the idea.
Creating a plan
Et voilà! You get a detail itinerary with short summaries, links to restaurants and, of course, hotels. The latter is handled by Booking.com, which is no surprise, but seeing as many of us already rely on that site (and Agoda.com), it seems sensible. Plus, these links aren’t intrusive at all.
How does it work?
Inspirock applies algorithmic approaches to build its Travel Graph and in its Planning Engine, using the latest advances in big data, machine learning, distributed systems, and related technologies. Inspirock’s Travel Graph covers tens of thousands of attractions and thousands of destinations, each with 100s of metadata attributes.
‘Trillions of possibilities’
Building a plan typically involves exploring trillions of possibilities, which is unsuitable for any known theoretical approach. Inspirock’s algorithms reduce problem complexity to millions of possibilities without sacrificing quality, and upon combining these with engineering innovations, Inspirock is able to build a plan in seconds.
Trouble is, in Inspirock only works in the USA, Europe, Asia and, rather bizarrely, the South Pacific. At the time of this review I was planning a trip to Morocco from Europe – hardly very adventurous – but Inspirock couldn’t help. I also noticed that it doesn’t cover any India, or China – with the exception of Hong Kong – though I did find itineraries for Singapore and Bangkok. But not Vietnam’s not.
Zero-in on Europe or the USA and Inspirock is a great tool, but it does need a map on the front page denoting which areas it actually covers. Such a map would also help with building a multi-stop itinerary, which for now is text-based only (wouldn’t it be easier to click on places rather than type them?). No more trawling Google for ‘hidden gems’ and itineraries on other travellers’ blogs? No more guidebooks? Well, not quite. This unique vacation itinerary planner is flawed, but a really useful tool – and it doesn’t bombard you with advertising.