It seems as if Google is taking over the world. Whatever you don’t know, wherever you are, you can get an almost instant answer in a snap or click – as my granddaughter says when I’m looking for information: “Let’s just google it!” Google offers two tools for planning travel that I thing are great. The first, and one that I use regularly, is Google Flights.
GOOGLE FLIGHTS is a great tool for something as simple as finding the cheapest flight or for some much more detailed planning. You can also search where to go and when the best time is to venture to that location. No searching between websites. No comparing prices between websites. Google does the work for you. That’s right Google! Google Flights will suggest flight swaps, time swaps and route changes that will save you money on your plane tickets.
Google Flights search engine does everything. It locates flights based on your desired outbound time, inbound time and number of stops and – the best part is it’s the same google technology that powers KAYAK and Orbitz without using the middle man.
If you are not sure where you want to vacation, just Google “flights to Europe” for instance and click the Flights tab below the search box. A map of all of Europe will be displayed along with prices. You will be able to compare how much it would cost to fly to London versus Paris, for instance and filter the even further by airline, flight length and the price you are willing to pay.
Google Flights can also tell you which flight is the best bargain for your money. The “Best flights” box tells you what flights are the best combinations of price and speed, so you won’t have to decide whether a layover is a good idea or if a nonstop is worth the extra money. Google also highlights its top pick in green. It’s like having a virtual travel agent inside your computer. It will show you the lowest price for a trip for every day of the month with the least expensive highlighted in green. A bar graph at the bottom indicates how prices may drop or rise over time. If you search for a flight that offers a less expensive option, the “TIP” bar will let you know how much money you can save if you are willing to change your dates or arrive/leave from a different airport.
GOOGLE DESTINATIONS TOOL
Destinations on Google helps you discover and plan your next vacation, right from Google Search on your phone. Here’s how it works:
Search with Google on your mobile phone for the continent, country, or state you’d like to visit and add the word “destination”. You will be able to see an easy-to-browse collection of options. Destinations integrates a list and options using Google Flights and Hotel search, so you will see available flight and hotel prices within seconds, instead of jumping back and forth between links and/or tabs to get the information you need. All you have to do is scroll through the information.
To find a vacation, search for a destination and something you’d like to do there, for example, “colorado skiing.” Google Destinations will suggest spots that fit your parameters.
If you are interested in vacationing in June or July, but not sure of an exact date, choose the “Flexible Dates” filter that lets you refine your search by month. It will show you when fares and rates are the lowest with your time range across multiple destinations. Select the “Explore” tab to see what the weather is like year-round and when your destination is most popular, based on historic visits from other travelers.
Once you’ve selected a destination, tap “Plan a trip” to see rates for hotels and flights. Google will show you highs and lows for the next six months, so you can find the right price. Slide left or right and the results updated in real time for rates. You can also customize your search to show preferences for flights, hotels, number of stops, class of hotel and number of people traveling with you.
If you aren’t sure how long to visit a destination, you can search for example “Spain travel” , click and see the most frequently traveled itineraries that are based on historic visits by travelers. Whether you’ve got five days or 12, don’t fret about figuring out where to go first or which spots you can’t miss. Simply search for “Spain travel,” and click the blue arrow icon to browse the most frequently traveled itineraries. The suggested itineraries are based on historic visits by other travelers to those places, so you can use the wisdom of the crowd and save time researching.
Once you get used to using both of these tools when researching and planning your travel, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them!