A personal travel assistant on your smartphone? The travel app you didn’t know you needed

Travel restrictions are easing around the world and travelers are clamoring to make up for lost time and book the vacation they could only dream of for the past two years. Some people like to plan every detail of their vacation, while others prefer someone else to make the decisions.

There is no doubt that travel is making a comeback; the World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that more than $1.1 trillion will be spent on travel this year, with the bulk occurring in June, July and August.

Yet researching unique destinations and planning new itineraries can be exciting, nothing beats the power of artificial intelligence (AI) combined with the experience of the best travel curators in the industry. Meet Origin, the trip planning app you never knew you wanted.

Full-service trip planning right from your phone

I used to like to plan my own vacations. The excitement of researching a new destination, checking flight routes, booking excursions and tours, and finding that gem of a restaurant that only locals know about is what I live for.

And then I was introduced to the Origin travel planning app and travel curator Christian Gibney who planned my family’s dream trip to Portugal. All of our communication was done on the Origin app using the 24/7 chat feature. There was no sorting through the email correspondence loads; we could talk in real time, which meant we could easily make decisions, and the whole process was efficient.

There are so many handy features on the app, but the chat feature is probably the best.

A full itinerary of each trip is easily accessible within the app with various shortcuts that make it incredibly user-friendly. Payments are all made within the app, and if you’re looking for inspiration for your next vacation, there’s an “explore” feature to keep you busy for days.

An itinerary in Portugal that travel dreams are made of

Imagine a private boat cruise along the Rio Douro, admiring the sunset while sailing under the Dom Luís I Bridge. Fancy a hike through the breathtaking vineyards of the Douro Valley followed by a sumptuous lunch with food and wine pairings from the region?

Better yet, an electric bike tour from Porto to Matosinhos with a gourmet picnic prepared by your private guide while you relax in the afternoon sun. Here are some of the excursions that were part of our Portugal itinerary, all suggested by Origin. The private luxury boat cruise was a highlight of this trip and a spectacular way to end our vacation.

A photo from our trip to Portugal of my two young sons lying on the bow of the boat with their hands behind their heads, looking careless, shows how we all felt on our vacation.

Personalized trip

Technology has made endless travel options available to us in our time. Unfortunately, while this gives us more choice, it also makes things more complicated and time consuming for the average consumer. There is now a noticeable gap between having access to more travel options and being able to customize them to suit your own needs and desires.

This is where having a personal travel assistant comes in handy. Origin’s tech-based travel startup is shaking up the industry by offering personalized service 24/7 while its team of travel curators tailors every trip to perfection. It turns out to be a game changer. The more you travel with Origin, the more personalized your experience becomes.

Alternative destinations to avoid summer crowds

With record numbers of travelers returning to international travel this summer, some destinations will be packed with tourists, so why not take Origin’s expert advice and let them plan your dream vacation away from the summer crowds?

If you were hoping to take a last-minute trip through the Italian countryside or to another in-demand destination, fret not. The curators at Origin have compiled a list of five countries they recommend for phenomenal vacations that aren’t totally overbooked.

Instead of Tuscany, try the Douro Valley, Portugal

If sipping wine surrounded by hills of vineyards sounds like your kind of vacation, look no further than the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. The river of the same name meanders through the mountains, making it not only one of the best wine regions in Europe, but also one of the most picturesque.

Instead of the Dolomites, explore Vestland, Norway

Summer in the mountains means cooler temperatures, hikes to scenic viewpoints and flowing rivers for bathing, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking location than western Norway.

Instead of Rome, go for Rio

Get the big-city vibe without the high-season crowds and scorching temperatures in Rio de Janeiro. June, July and August are the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, but it never really gets cold thanks to Brazil’s tropical climate, and winter is also the dry season, so even lying on the beach can be part of your regimen.

Instead of the Amalfi Coast, visit the Costa del Sol, Spain

The Costa del Sol in southern Spain raises high expectations with a name that translates to ‘Sunshine Coast’. However, with around 320 days of sunshine per year, it lives up to its name.

Instead of Sicily, travel to Crete

Stories from Greek mythology are tangible in Crete, where you can walk through the cave where Zeus was born or visit the ruins that housed the legendary Minotaur. Each beach is somehow more breathtaking than the last on more than 600 miles of Mediterranean coastline, but move inland and it becomes dramatic mountains and gorges.

Durability values

Origin strongly believes in having a positive impact on the world and the places its members explore. That’s why the company offsets the carbon emissions of all its members’ trips and prioritizes accommodations and destinations that strongly connect to the local community and share Origin’s sustainability values.

Origin recently joined the Conscious Travel Foundation, another indication that the company is working to reduce the travel industry’s impact on the planet.

“We want to be part of a seismic shift in the travel industry and promote travel as a force for good. Our goal is to create trips that take nothing away from our environment, but actively give back to destinations, local communities and our planet,” wrote Tamar van de Paal, co-founder and COO of Origin on Medium.com.

How to book travel with Origin

Download the Origin app (available on Apple Store), create a user profile, and submit a travel request with your desired destination, itinerary, and budget. An expert trip planner will then contact you via the app’s chat to start planning your trip. Imagine your dream vacation, completely planned using an app on your smartphone.

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