Crowdsourced holiday plans

I’m looking for help.  No, not that sort of help… or that sort… I’d like you, dear readers, to help plan my holiday.  While this might sound entirely selfish I will be using it as an experiment in crowdsourcing:

delegating a task to a large diffuse group, usually without monetary compensation

In this case definitely without monetary compensation!

Here’s the details.  My brother and I fly out to San Francisco at the end of July and have 18 days to travel across the country to New York via lots of hopefully interesting places.  There’s more details over on my personal blog [Edge Hill University is not responsible for the content of external websites!] but I’ll repeat the key bit here and explain how I’m hoping it will work.

Here’s the initial route we came up with:

San Francisco, CA to Laguardia Airport - Google Maps

So: San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Grand Canyon, AZ; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Toronto, ON; Boston, MA; New York, NY.

If you’ve been to any of these places, or have heard of good things to see and do, let us know in one of the following ways:

How is this different to the usual way of planning holidays?  You’ll normally ask friends and family who’ve been before for suggestions and things to do and places to visit and my crowdsourcing plan is indeed very similar.  The difference is twofold.

Firstly the range of people I hope to reach out to for ideas is far greater.  Even before I made any real effort to spread the message I had people responding on Twitter with suggestions.  Some of them I’m never met in person but they’re part of my extended personal or professional “network”.

Secondly, by engaging people with the process of planning, I hope to get more people interested in what we’re doing and hence get more and better suggestions with different people’s ideas building on each other.

I’m not going to spam this blog with my holiday plans any more, but I might blog about some of my observations about the crowdsourcing process.  If it all goes well then I may even use the experience as the basis for a BarCamp session at the Institutional Web Management Workshop immediately before I fly out!

10 thoughts on “Crowdsourced holiday plans

  1. Hi Mike,

    I’m heading out to the US myself with a few others this summer as well for 18 days and we had originally planned to do the same trip as you: land in San Francisco and hire an RV and drive across, finishing in NYC for the flight home. When I asked a few ppl about this and looked on some message boards, a few ppl said that it would require a lot of driving and you wouldn’t get chance to see much, but I suppose it depends on what you want to get out of the holiday.

    One of the resources I found useful in helping plan was RoadTripAmerica (http://www.roadtripamerica.com). Well worth a look! In the end, we have decided to base ourselves in Colorado and travel through Utah, then onto Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, through New Mexico then back into Colorado (http://tinyurl.com/RVRoadTrip2009) then fly to NYC and spend a few days there before leaving. Will give us a chance to ‘see’ a little bit more rather than spending ages in the car!

    As for places to visit at each of your destinations, would definately recommend Niagra Falls whilst your in Toronto (see if you can get on the Maid of the Mist tour – well worth it). In Boston, see if you can visit ‘Quincy Market’ (http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com) Some of the restaurants there are fantastic and there is also a ‘Cheers’ bar. New York? Ground Zero is definately worth a vist and does a feel a little ‘eerie’ as well as the Empire (the view at night is fantastic, although very cold!)

  2. Mike you should de-tour 2 hours north of Chicago and head to Wisconsin Dells…aka American’s WaterPark Capital of the World!

    Its no big city and during the winter months its like a dead town, but during the summer its one of the biggest American holiday destinations. Its hardly mentioned in any of the Guides’ to the US books as in the grand scheme of things its pretty small and there isn’t a whole lot else to do in Wisconsin unless you like hunting deer or watching American Football!

    Back to the Dells though its just basically a really fun place, water parks, theme parks, jet boat rides, outdoor street entertainment, good food, good bars, loads te-shirt shops, campgrounds and hotels (all have free Wi-Fi haha), comedy shows and everyone who is there is there to vacation, so you don’t have the getting trampled feeling of the big cities!

    I’ve been going about twice a year for 5 years now and I still not done everything so definitely worth a one or two night stay, if you got time to de-tour!

  3. Thanks Pete! I know what you mean about spending all the time driving and not seeing the place. Our original plan started at Seattle and included going North to Vancouver as well as the route we’re now planning, and in one less day! I’ve accepted there’s going to be quite a lot of driving, but hopefully a few early starts and longer days will still give enough time in each place. Besides, a big part of the experience of a road trip is the driving!

    Good luck with your trip – looks like a good route!

  4. Las Vegas – you can see most things on the strip in one night – would recommend the water display at The Bellagio, inside Ceasars Palace and the shops there, also the Treasure Island outside show – the insides of the hotels are bascially just the same so once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all – they are just branded differently. New York New York had the most choice in terms of different bars and eating. Fremont Street and the old Las Vegas worth a visit too. The Rio for the mile long eat as much as you like buffet. Not sure how you plan to see the Grand Canyon but the helicopter ride is amazing (although expensive) and The Beatles show is worth a visit if it’s still on – cheaper than some of the bigger US stars.

    Would echo Niagara Falls and also the Toronto Islands – hire a bike to get round.

    Ground Zero was not what I was expecting because of all the building work but try and find the fella outside the WTC memorial museum who will tell you every conspiracy theory there is – and all the facts and figures. He was amazing. Rockefeller Centre was better than the Empire State in terms of view. Avoid Times Square – full of tacky shops and a real disappointment. Make time in NY to go to SoHo and some of the downtown areas.

    Have fun – I’m jealous!

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