New Google Travel Features Could Make Trip Planning Easier Than Ever
Google has been steadily trying to improve the trip planning process, and it's about to roll out some major updates.
Earlier this year, the search engine released new flight and hotel search features and added vacation rentals to its hotel search function. Now, Google Trips will organize your searches and reservations at Google.com/Travel and make it easier to find information relevant to your trip at Google Search and Google Maps, regardless of whether you're searching on desktop or mobile.
Say you're planning a trip to Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot (which I currently am). When you book your flight and hotel, it'll be automatically added to your trip timeline and your Google calendar. If you go to the "My Trips" page, Google will show links to relevant articles about the area, listings for sights to visit, day plans, events happening on your travel dates, popular restaurants and even the weather forecast.
Make a restaurant reservation through OpenTable or Resy and, as long as it's linked to your Gmail, it'll automatically be added to your trip timeline. You can now make edits to your trip timeline and — in just a few weeks — you'll also be able to manually add new reservations, which will come in handy if you're traveling to a place where you still need to book a table the old fashioned way, by calling.
Planning ahead? You can get a jump start on researching a trip that's weeks or months away and Google will save your searches so you can return to them later. All of your trip planning info will be private to you, but you can easily share it with family and friends by email. Of course, you can also opt out if you don't want to see private search results.
Google is also trying to make it easier to find things to do on-the-go, after you arrive in a destination. Since last year, Google Maps has been showing you things to see and do in the area. Now, it will also point out popular neighborhoods and what they're known for, helping you get the lay of the land in a new city. In a few months, your reservations for hotels and restaurants will be accessible in Google Maps, too.