by Roman Bilusyak, Vas Mylko
Overtourism was harmful to the destinations. It suddenly seized to exist. The world will never be the same again. COVID-19 outbreak cemented the point of no return. Life is postponed for a bit, but travel will be back. The rise of independent travel has been expected and now is the moment. There are so many cool spots on our planet, so many possibilities. There is no need to mimic others en masse. Future travel will be smarter, safer, independent.
Independence & Health
We announced our strategic vision and long-term play with automobiles in September 2019 in the post Curiosio Play. We specifically addressed health and safety for the future. There was a whole section entitled Healthy Play; here is an excerpt from it:
In mass transport, you are one in hundreds. You sit with other passengers, you breathe the same air for hours. Infections mostly spread from person to person. The more contact you have with people, the greater the likelihood you are exposing yourself to infection. Beware of closed space only and don’t worry in the fresh air. Link.
On the Route
There were measured aspects that we wanted to improve. Long distance trips during several days often looked like the fastest FedEx routes. Or 13 day trips were returned to a user instead of 5 days or so. Also, sometimes short trips had routes similar to each other like clones, e.g. all the same worms along California 1.
Besides that, we noticed that users were expecting the higher density of the automatically proposed points. Additionally to the current itinerary, users asked for the points on the route, without breaking down to See & Do. They want to decide themselves how to drive, where to stop, for how long. This is high flexibility and more independence.
Below are three real-life cases to demonstrate how new Curiosio improved.
Long Distance in Several Days
Our friend traveler wants a 6 day itinerary with a route from New York City to Las Vegas via Chicago and Kansas City for 4 people within $5,000.
# points, first is start, last is finish
New York City
Kansas City, Kansas
Las Vegas# constraints
Previous version proposed only long journeys with fat points, could not make itinerary for 6 days. New version can do that distance for 6 days, proposes both fat and slim points. Slim points are called “on the route”. Take a look mainly at the headers for comparison.
More Captivating Route, More Points “On the Route”
Traveler plans a road trip along the West Coast in the US, starting from the South of Oregon. Initial intention is to drive U.S. Route 101. Some road travelers strongly suggest to take California 1. Other suggest to visit inland national parks. They propose many cool points, some classic, some less known. The traveler did not specify any duration, so we can try different options. Let’s search for 7 days. Here is what Curiosio made: old version with 14 points on the left, new version with 24 points on the right.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Planning On the Route
A family travels from San Francisco to Palm Beach, Florida. They made it to Houston, Texas and are asking for suggestions how to drive further between Houston and Palm Beach. So let’s make them a cool 5 day itinerary.
Palm Beach, Florida
Next steps are visual. We will do UX update, to integrate all those “on the route” points into itinerary. Then we will make visual updates for the route. You can notice right away our experiments with the small version of the route, when you get multiple search results. There are star markers for the start and finish, the line is sharper. After that we will upgrade the map, because Mapbox discontinues the current version by 1st of June 2020.
We are still working on the travel knowledge graph (ETA in May or so). There must be higher density and higher quality of the points and places. There will be classic and freaky points and places. There will be a lot of nature. This knowledge graph must work well for ad hoc geofencing and be themed.
Stay healthy. We will overcome this bad outbreak. We will stay socially distanced. Think of domestic travel by car, avoiding crowds. True off-the-beaten-path starts after we were beaten by the pandemy. Think of the future travel — safer, independent, smarter.
Several months ago one VC said the road travel market was not big enough. That was how the world worked. How the world will work? The last sentence is the same as in Curiosio Play post. Though we are thinking about multi-modal transportation periodically, now we are focused on the road trips.