Tag Archives: travel

I’m excellent at planning vacations — steal my tips

I once read that the happiest part of traveling is the planning, and I couldn’t agree more. Before I board a plane, I spend hours researching and documenting the what, where and how of my vacation. Over the past two years I’ve traveled far less than usual, but this year my husband and I decided to go to Italy. It was our first time there, and one of our biggest trips since COVID hit, so I took prepping to a new level. Here’s how I, a self-proclaimed travel nerd, used Google tools to get ready for my getaway.

  1. Get everyone on board with Google Slides.

About a month before our trip, I realized we’d done it all wrong. We weren’t going to have enough time to go hiking, and we were adding unnecessary hours of driving — and with increasing gas prices, that would end up costing way too much. Telling your travel partner you want to start over mere weeks before your trip is tough, and I knew I needed to really sell it…so I made a Google Slides presentation.

A screenshot of a Google Slide presentation in edit mode. The main slide on the screen shows a photo of a Google Map route through Italy and text to the left of the map shows a run down of vacation days segmented by how “chill” they are.

One of the many slides I used to convince my husband we needed to replan our trip.

I’ve used Slides for vacation planning in the past, too — and not just to blow everything up and start over. I’ve also presented what I’ve learned about various travel destinations we’re considering to make a decision. This helps me think clearly about what I want out of a vacation; it feels a bit like I’m vision-boarding the potential trip. And apparently it’s a great selling point, because my husband was completely on board by the end of the presentation.

2. Go off the beaten path with Google Maps.

I often find myself aimlessly “wandering” around Google Maps and Street View, looking for unusually shaped peninsulas or clicking into 360-degree photos that seem impossible to have captured. It’s a great way to cure wanderlust from home, but it’s also an effective way to plan travel. This was how I found a few of our stops in Italy.

Animated GIF of a Google Map showing Italy; the cursor zooms in to Lake Garda revealing the small town of Sirmione.

A little Google Maps “wandering” led me to the town of Sirmione. It caught my eye because it’s basically an island in Italy’s Lake Garda: A narrow road connects Sirmione to the mainland; it’s so tiny that most people park on one side and walk over to the rest of the city, going by foot or golf cart.

An aerial photograph of a town surrounded by water.

An aerial shot of Sirmione taken by my husband.

It’s a place I’ve never heard of, and likely never would have gone.

This is also how we found one of our favorites hikes. The Dolomites are massive — choosing where to visit was overwhelming. But my husband noticed an interesting looking area on Google Earth called Seceda (the fact that it was labeled “Seceda famous view” on Google Maps didn’t hurt our interest either). That was enough for us to add it to our itinerary, and I couldn’t be happier that we did — see for yourself.

A photograph of a mountain landscape, with a dramatically slanted mountain in the foreground that reveals a green pasture on one side and a rocky wall on the other.

3. Take organization to another level with Google Sheets.

Using Google Sheets to organize various parts of a trip is admittedly very obvious compared to my first two tips, but here’s how I like to set things up: I have three pages in a Sheet file — one that functions as a list of things to do in each location, one that lists all of our reservation information and a last tab to collect expenses as we accumulate them while planning and during the course of the trip.

A screenshot of a Google Sheets document showing a list of cities in Italy with various attributes across the sheet listing things like dates, food options, bars, etc.

I like to think of everything listed on this first tab as something potentially worth checking out versus something that’s set in stone. This way, we don’t have to waste time while there looking things up — now if we’re ever wondering “what should we do here?” we can turn to the list for quick, easy access to already researched options.

4. Hit the Search bar…and then the Save button.

I’ve always found it easy to find amazing restaurants and shops when I want to travel, but not quite as simple to grasp what the best outdoor areas are — I want to find the best spot for a sunset, or a viewpoint for an afternoon walk. I’ve found more than a few breathtaking sights by heading to Search and simply entering the name of the city I’m visiting. On the right-hand side, there’s a Knowledge Panel about the location with information like the weather, elevation and local time. Below this is a section that says “Plan a trip,” and underneath that a camera icon next to the words “Things to do.”

And that is how I found arguably the cutest landmark in existence, this “Kiss…Please” sign in Sirmione.

A screenshot of the “Things to do” tab on google.com/travel that’s pulled up the “Kiss…please” landmark. The panel shows various photos and a save option in the right hand corner.

I saved the location straight from this panel so it automatically saved to google.com/travel, and we easily found it when we stopped in the city.

Two people standing in front of a sign that reads “kiss…please” and shows two icons kissing. The two people are also kissing. There is a lake and walkway in the background.

We had to!

5. Stay on budget with a bunch of Google tools.

Traveling is expensive, and while this was definitely a trip we planned and saved for, we were very conscious of not exceeding our budget. I used three Google tools to help us do that. First up, Google Flights. Ahead of buying our flights, I created various alerts to airports in Italy to find the best price and timing. (I also used this feature to price hotels.) Then, while we were there, we used Google Maps’ toll feature, so we could avoid more expensive routes. And of course, there’s the aforementioned Google Sheets tab to collect expenses.

All of these things helped me plan (and thoroughly enjoy planning) my trip — and obviously enjoy the trip itself. Whenever you take your next vacation, hopefully these tips are just as useful for you.

Source: Maps


I’m excellent at planning vacations — steal my tips

I once read that the happiest part of traveling is the planning, and I couldn’t agree more. Before I board a plane, I spend hours researching and documenting the what, where and how of my vacation. Over the past two years I’ve traveled far less than usual, but this year my husband and I decided to go to Italy. It was our first time there, and one of our biggest trips since COVID hit, so I took prepping to a new level. Here’s how I, a self-proclaimed travel nerd, used Google tools to get ready for my getaway.

  1. Get everyone on board with Google Slides.

About a month before our trip, I realized we’d done it all wrong. We weren’t going to have enough time to go hiking, and we were adding unnecessary hours of driving — and with increasing gas prices, that would end up costing way too much. Telling your travel partner you want to start over mere weeks before your trip is tough, and I knew I needed to really sell it…so I made a Google Slides presentation.

A screenshot of a Google Slide presentation in edit mode. The main slide on the screen shows a photo of a Google Map route through Italy and text to the left of the map shows a run down of vacation days segmented by how “chill” they are.

One of the many slides I used to convince my husband we needed to replan our trip.

I’ve used Slides for vacation planning in the past, too — and not just to blow everything up and start over. I’ve also presented what I’ve learned about various travel destinations we’re considering to make a decision. This helps me think clearly about what I want out of a vacation; it feels a bit like I’m vision-boarding the potential trip. And apparently it’s a great selling point, because my husband was completely on board by the end of the presentation.

2. Go off the beaten path with Google Maps.

I often find myself aimlessly “wandering” around Google Maps and Street View, looking for unusually shaped peninsulas or clicking into 360-degree photos that seem impossible to have captured. It’s a great way to cure wanderlust from home, but it’s also an effective way to plan travel. This was how I found a few of our stops in Italy.

Animated GIF of a Google Map showing Italy; the cursor zooms in to Lake Garda revealing the small town of Sirmione.

A little Google Maps “wandering” led me to the town of Sirmione. It caught my eye because it’s basically an island in Italy’s Lake Garda: A narrow road connects Sirmione to the mainland; it’s so tiny that most people park on one side and walk over to the rest of the city, going by foot or golf cart.

An aerial photograph of a town surrounded by water.

An aerial shot of Sirmione taken by my husband.

It’s a place I’ve never heard of, and likely never would have gone.

This is also how we found one of our favorites hikes. The Dolomites are massive — choosing where to visit was overwhelming. But my husband noticed an interesting looking area on Google Earth called Seceda (the fact that it was labeled “Seceda famous view” on Google Maps didn’t hurt our interest either). That was enough for us to add it to our itinerary, and I couldn’t be happier that we did — see for yourself.

A photograph of a mountain landscape, with a dramatically slanted mountain in the foreground that reveals a green pasture on one side and a rocky wall on the other.

3. Take organization to another level with Google Sheets.

Using Google Sheets to organize various parts of a trip is admittedly very obvious compared to my first two tips, but here’s how I like to set things up: I have three pages in a Sheet file — one that functions as a list of things to do in each location, one that lists all of our reservation information and a last tab to collect expenses as we accumulate them while planning and during the course of the trip.

A screenshot of a Google Sheets document showing a list of cities in Italy with various attributes across the sheet listing things like dates, food options, bars, etc.

I like to think of everything listed on this first tab as something potentially worth checking out versus something that’s set in stone. This way, we don’t have to waste time while there looking things up — now if we’re ever wondering “what should we do here?” we can turn to the list for quick, easy access to already researched options.

4. Hit the Search bar…and then the Save button.

I’ve always found it easy to find amazing restaurants and shops when I want to travel, but not quite as simple to grasp what the best outdoor areas are — I want to find the best spot for a sunset, or a viewpoint for an afternoon walk. I’ve found more than a few breathtaking sights by heading to Search and simply entering the name of the city I’m visiting. On the right-hand side, there’s a Knowledge Panel about the location with information like the weather, elevation and local time. Below this is a section that says “Plan a trip,” and underneath that a camera icon next to the words “Things to do.”

And that is how I found arguably the cutest landmark in existence, this “Kiss…Please” sign in Sirmione.

A screenshot of the “Things to do” tab on google.com/travel that’s pulled up the “Kiss…please” landmark. The panel shows various photos and a save option in the right hand corner.

I saved the location straight from this panel so it automatically saved to google.com/travel, and we easily found it when we stopped in the city.

Two people standing in front of a sign that reads “kiss…please” and shows two icons kissing. The two people are also kissing. There is a lake and walkway in the background.

We had to!

5. Stay on budget with a bunch of Google tools.

Traveling is expensive, and while this was definitely a trip we planned and saved for, we were very conscious of not exceeding our budget. I used three Google tools to help us do that. First up, Google Flights. Ahead of buying our flights, I created various alerts to airports in Italy to find the best price and timing. (I also used this feature to price hotels.) Then, while we were there, we used Google Maps’ toll feature, so we could avoid more expensive routes. And of course, there’s the aforementioned Google Sheets tab to collect expenses.

All of these things helped me plan (and thoroughly enjoy planning) my trip — and obviously enjoy the trip itself. Whenever you take your next vacation, hopefully these tips are just as useful for you.

Source: Maps


3 things to ask as you prepare for summer travel 2022

Summer 2022 is nearly here, and vacationing is on many minds. But it’s not as easy as deciding you're ready to hit the road — or sky. We took a look at some Google Search and Flight trends and came up with a few questions you can ask yourself as you start planning to go…somewhere, anywhere besides your home. And to help you answer those questions, we’ve got plenty of travel-related Google trends that can guide you through settling on your next journey.

Who should go on the trip with you?

So far in 2022, search interest in “girls trip destinations” is up 300% and “good bachelor party ideas” is up 200%, so group trips are certainly on our minds. Expecting parents would be wise to take one last couples trip — in fact, in the U.S., search interest in “best babymoon destinations usa” increased 170% in the first four months of 2022. And there’s nothing wrong with going solo; look no further than the 600% spike in “singles cruises” from January through April 2022.

What’s the goal of your getaway?

Once you’ve settled on who you want to travel with, the real fun can start and you can decide what kind of trip this will be. Well…is this a trip, or a vacation? Do you want to rest up, or rev up? Are you treating yourself or trying new adventures? Or maybe a little of all the above!

According to Google Trends, lots of people are looking to experience the outdoors: The top-searched summer attractions in the U.S. include Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, as well as Lake Tahoe and the Grand Canyon.

Glamping is also a popular option for those who want to get outside without totally roughing it (that’s glamorous camping, for the uninitiated). From January 2019 to April 2022, search interest in glamping near me” spiked more than 500%. Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Tennessee are the most-searched destinations for glamping.

Where should you go?

Whatever kind of traveler you are (or plan to become this summer!), landing on the right destination is key. And if you’re excited about an international adventure, you’re in great company! Search interest in “passport appointments” increased 300% over the first four months of 2022, and Google Flights trends show that five of the top 20 destinations people in the U.S. are searching for are in Europe — London, Paris, Rome, Athens and Lisbon. Here’s a look at the complete list of the 20 top-searched summer destinations on Google Flights:

1) Orlando

2) Cancun

3) Las Vegas

4) London

5) New York

6) Los Angeles

7) Paris

8) Seattle

9) Honolulu

10) Denver

11) Rome

12) Miami

13) San Juan

14) Fort Lauderdale

15) Chicago

16) Boston

17) Athens

18) San Francisco

19) Lisbon

20) Portland

Looking to stay stateside? Domestic travel trends show people looking for flights to Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, L.A. and Seattle, among other great U.S. cities. So if you want to hit the trendy spots, you know where to go…and if you want to avoid the trendy spots, you know where not to go.

Traveling isn’t stress-free, and for anyone who’s already feeling overwhelmed by the options, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a staycation. In fact, looking at January through April 2022, “luxury hotels near me” has over two times the search interest it had during the same period in 2019. No passport required.

Plan your summer travel, with help from Google

Summer is fast approaching in most parts of the world, and there’s a familiar travel planning buzz in the air. Whether you have a destination in mind or are just dreaming about an escape, Google has tools to help you get inspired and research your options so you can book with ease when the time is right. Read on for new features that’ll make travel planning a joy, this summer and beyond.

Track flight prices for any dates

On Google Flights, you can track prices for specific dates between two cities. Just search for your destination, toggle to opt-in, and we’ll email you if prices drop substantially for those dates. But maybe there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and you just want the best deal possible (dream trip to Rome, anyone?). Beginning today, you can start tracking prices to find deals for any dates, and you’ll get an email if we detect lower than typical fares in the next 3-6 months. As they say, good things come to those who wait!

The Google Flights interface on a web browser, with a search entered for New York City to Rome. The animation shows a mouse cursor opting into price tracking emails for any dates.

Browse destinations within driving distance

Not sure where to visit? The Explore tool lets you browse locations around the world with filters for things like budget or trip length. In the default view, Explore will show flight prices, but now you’ll also see a pink dot and a bubble that reads ‘Explore nearby’. Tap this feature to narrow your search to places you can drive to in a few hours, and select any destination to see helpful information including average hotel prices or what kind of weather to expect. If you do decide to take that road trip, there are plenty of ways Google Maps can help.

Find the perfect place to stay

Once you know where you’re going, it’s time to decide where you’ll stay. You can search for hotels on Google or head straight to google.com/travel. Heading to a new city? It can be overwhelming to choose what neighborhood to stay in, but with new interest layers on the map, you can quickly see which areas have the most options for dining, shopping or sightseeing. For more popular destinations, you can also tap ‘Where to stay’ under the search filters, for a handy neighborhood guide.

For some trips, you may want easy access to a certain landmark or address. Beginning today, you can enter that location in the hotel or vacation rental search bar and you’ll see a toggle to show properties within a 15 or 30 minute trip by foot or car. This might be helpful if you’re going to an event, like a wedding or a conference, and want to stay near the venue.

Stay organized along the way

For the vacation dreamers and planners, we’ve introduced a new way to keep track of properties that pique your interest so you can pick up your travel planning right where you left off. Just tap the bookmark icon on any hotel or vacation rental, and it’ll be saved for easy reference. To see your saved properties, look for the Saved tab on mobile or the right hand panel on desktop.

Here’s to safe and happy travels!

Southeast Asian travelers are back

Before COVID-19, the countries of Southeast Asia were some of the world’s most popular travel destinations. The pandemic changed that in a matter of months — with devastating repercussions for the region’s $380 billion tourism industry. In early 2022, though, the tide started to turn again. Southeast Asian nations have eased travel restrictions, and the region’s travelers are eager to make up for lost time. They’re committed to traveling more frequently, open to new destinations, and determined to make the most of the opportunities that are now opening up.

To understand these travelers’ preferences and expectations — and the opportunity that resurgent demand creates for the region’s tourism operators — we took a closer look at some recent Google Search trends.

Resurgent demand

In Southeast Asia, inbound travel demand – visits by non-residents to a country – has experienced the fastest upturn in the Philippines and Indonesia, based on search volumes. In March, inbound demand for the Philippines had already surpassed pre-pandemic figures (hitting 104% of pre-pandemic search volumes), while Indonesia is close to a full rebound too (94%). These two countries have also seen the fastest resurgence in outbound travel – visits by their residents to other countries – with search volumes bouncing back to 70% of pre-pandemic levels. Singapore is in third place for both inbound and outbound travel demand.

Chart that demonstrates inbound and outbound travel demand for each Southeast Asian country in March 2022, with Indonesia and the Philippines showing the fastest rebound, followed by Malaysia, Vietnam,

Travelers crave luxury and care about sustainability

While the surge in demand is welcome, it’s important that the industry understands and caters to travelers’ changing needs. Search trends make it clear that the travel environment today is more complex than it was before the pandemic.

  • People are spending more time researching, planning and finding options, seeking peace of mind, and making sure they’re covered for unexpected changes. We saw year-on-year growth of more than 165% in travel insurance-related searches in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • Tourists are keen to stay longer when they do travel: interest in vacation rentals among Southeast Asian travelers rose by more than 1010% year-on-year.
  • “Revenge travelers” — those most eager to make up for lost time — are ready to pay for premium travel options. Among travelers from the Philippines, searches for “luxury resorts” and “beach resorts” are up 60% year on year.
  • There's growing consciousness of sustainability across the region — and particularly in Singapore and the Philippines. Searches related to sustainability have grown by 45% since 2019, while searches related to greenhouse gas emissions have increased by more than 163% in Singapore and by more than 156% in the Philippines.

How we’re adapting Google tools to help

We’re committed to helping travelers find the long-awaited travel experience they’re looking for, while navigating the complex environment. On Google Travel, the Flights, Hotels and Things to Do sections now provide more information on COVID — and give travelers the option to search for flexible booking options. The Google Travel Help website makes it easier for people to understand travel policies, restrictions, and special requirements. And for travelers seeking out new experiences, we’ve added more destinations to the Explore tab — including smaller cities and national parks — and options to filter by interests like outdoors, beaches or skiing.

We’re also helping travelers make more sustainable choices when they research and book, including giving hotels the ability to show an eco-certified badge next to their name and share details about their sustainability practices, plus providing carbon emission estimates for flights.

Supporting the industry recovery

In addition to evolving our tools for travelers, we’re doing a lot of work to help our industry partners tap into travel insights and plan for the future. Using Travel Insights with Google, businesses, governments and tourism boards can make decisions based on up-to-date information and move quickly when an opportunity arises.

To help smaller businesses in the travel industry reach potential customers on a large scale, we’ve made it possible for all hotels and travel companies to show free booking links in their profiles — and see how many people clicked on those links by generating reports on Hotel Center.

This is a pivotal time for the industry. People are finally booking trips, having dreamed about it (and saved up for it) for so long. They have higher expectations, including for seamless digital experiences throughout their journey. But they’re ready to spend more money and time on travel than they would have in the past. And the resurgent demand we see in Southeast Asia is just the beginning, with major destinations like China and Japan yet to re-open.

Looking ahead, there’s an enormous opportunity for travel businesses who can understand their customers and give them relevant, personalized experiences. We’ll keep doing everything we can to help, and to contribute to a strong, sustainable travel recovery across the region.

New tools for hotels to reconnect with travelers

The travel industry has faced steep challenges since the pandemic began two years ago. But now, there are signs of real recovery. Search interest in “spring vacation” and “flights to hawaii,” for example, is close to what it was in 2019.

As travel interest rebounds, businesses need easy ways to connect with potential customers. So today, we’re announcing new tools to help hoteliers find people who are ready to book their next trip.

Drive more bookings on Google for free

Launched last year on google.com/travel, free hotel booking links will now show up on the Search results page and Google Maps — helping travel partners extend their reach, and giving consumers a more comprehensive set of options. After clicking on these links, travelers can complete their booking directly on the partner’s website.

Since the introduction of free booking links, partners of all kinds have seen the benefits of increased user engagement, from individual hotels to large online travel agencies. For example, the booking engine myhotelshop used free booking links to drive 30% incremental bookings for their hotel clients during the summer of 2021.

Free booking links for various hotels and booking engines that appear under “All Options” on the Google Search page

Now, new click reporting in Hotel Center shows partners how many people clicked on their free booking links. We will expand the report to include other insights, like free booking link impressions and booking value, in the coming weeks.

Hotels interested in using free booking links can visit our website for more information, including a list of our integration partners and how to extend your reach even further with Hotel Ads.

Laptop showing reporting for free booking links in Hotel Center, including performance metrics like 27,000 impressions, 100 clicks and $23K booking value.

Easily onboard to reach new customers

We’re also making it easier for hoteliers to share their rates and availability on Google — without complex technical requirements. Beginning next month, individual hotels that meet eligibility requirements can manually input their rates through their Google Business Profile to participate in free hotel booking links.

Complete our interest form if you'd like to learn more about adding your rates and availability directly to your Google Business Profile.

A desktop view showing multiple ways to manage rates through Google Business Profile, including an “Edit profile” link on the top left and a “Manage your rates” link on the lower right.

Highlight your unique hotel offerings

Health concerns, flexibility and availability are top of mind for today’s travelers. It’s important for hoteliers to pay attention to new signals and remain agile. Local Posts for Google Business Profile allow owners to share timely updates about their hotels, such as:

  • Changes due to COVID-19, including whether the hotel is open or closed, and updates made to amenities or policies
  • Descriptions of special features that are uniquely available at the hotel
  • Compelling images and videos
Desktop version of Local Posts for Google Business Profile popping up over the Search page, showing an image of food and beverages by the pool

The world looks different than it did a few years ago, but our mission to be a trusted source of travel information hasn’t changed. To learn more about our solutions for hotels and to keep up with our latest news, visit our website.

Winter is coming: 9 ways to enjoy it with Google

As a native Oregonian, I thought living in California would be an incredible break from the nine months of rain I’d endured growing up. What I didn’t realize was that 70-degree winters felt…wrong. Where were the mittens? The down jackets? The occasional snowy days? I’ve since moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve had a renewed appreciation for winter weather.

In fact, I enjoy the chilly months of the year so much, I’ve put together a few ways to make the most of the cold weather.

  1. I love snowshoeing, and I always want to find new trails. I use Google Maps to look for mountain biking and hiking trails that are covered in snow in the winter. (Just look for the hiking icons, or the light dash lines that indicate trails.) If I come across a good one, I label it on Maps so I know how to get back.
Animated GIF showing trails on Google Maps and how you can select and label them; this one is being saved to a list called “trails.”

2. I’m a year-round runner, but once the temperature dips below 50 Fahrenheit and the roads get wet or icy, I need new gear — all of which I can find in one place using Google Shopping. You can select the Sports & Outdoors tab to browse — and turn on the deals filter for discounts.

3. And when I’m returning from a chilly run, I can use the Google Home app to turn on my Nest Thermostat before I get home, so I know I’m not wasting energy while I’m out and the house will be toasty when I come in. I also use Home & Away Routines so that Nest knows when I’m out and can adjust my temperature automatically.

4. OK fine, there’s one downside of winter weather, and that’s how early it gets dark. I use Google Assistant to notify me an hour before sunset so I can get outside for some sunshine before the sun goes down.

5. We’ve started cutting down our own Christmas tree, which is actually pretty easy to do. A quick Google Search for cutting down a tree on federal land will help you find a map (and how you can purchase a permit). Then you can just use Google Maps to take you to the right area.

6. If I’m feeling really adventurous and ready to hit the slopes, I’ll check out the Explore tool on google.com/travel. I can set my home as the point of origin and then select “skiing” under the Interests filter and see what ski towns I can visit.

Animated GIF showing the United States on Google Maps. The arrow selects the “interests” tab and then “skiing” to surface ski towns in different parts of the country.

7. I love a good Google Alert to stay up to date on what’s going on locally. Once November rolls around, I set one for “Oregon winter festivals.”

8. Pixel cameras take incredible photos in dimly lit areas, so using Night Sight for shots of light displays or snowy nights is a no-brainer. And if you’ve already snagged a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, those photos will look even better: The new Pixel camera lets in 2.5 times as much light as the Pixel 5, and you can try out the new Motion Mode setting to capture an artsy falling snow pic.

9. Most winter nights, I make a real fire — but when I don’t feel like hauling in wood, there’s always a YouTube version, complete with crackle.

Find flights with lower carbon emissions

Last month, we shared new sustainability initiatives from our travel team, including ways you can find eco-certified hotels on Google. Now, we’re bringing information on carbon emissions directly into Google Flights.

Beginning today, you’ll see a carbon emissions estimate for nearly every flight in the search results — right next to the price and duration of the flight. So when you’re choosing among flights of similar cost or timing, you can also factor carbon emissions into your decision.

Google Flights shows estimated carbon emissions in the search results.

These emissions estimates are flight-specific as well as seat-specific. For instance, newer aircraft are generally less polluting than older aircraft, and emissions increase for premium economy and first-class seats because they take up more space and account for a larger share of total emissions. 

To put these estimates in context, flights with significantly lower emissions will be labeled with a green badge. And if you want to prioritize carbon impact, you can sort all of the results to bring the greenest flights to the top of the list.

An image showing search results for flights from Dublin to Munich on Google Flights, sorted by estimated carbon emissions. A pop-up window shows how one flight's emissions estimates compares to the average for that route.

You can sort results by carbon emissions and see how each flight compares to the average.

To produce these estimates, we’re combining data from the European Environmental Agency with the flight-specific information we get from airlines and other providers such as aircraft type, trip distance and the number of seats in each seating class. To learn more on how we estimate emissions, visit our Help Center.

It’s critical that people can find consistent and accurate carbon emissions estimates no matter where they want to research or book their trip. That’s why we recently joined the Travalyst coalition, where we’ll help develop an open model for calculating carbon emissions from air travel and promote standardization across the travel industry using this framework.

This update to Google Flights is just one of the many ways we’re helping people make sustainable choices in their everyday lives. Read the latest in this post from Sundar Pichai.

Celebrating World Tourism Day and a bright travel future

Over the summer, I finally reunited with my family in France after almost two years. I live in another country, and traveling to see them has always been fairly easy. But when borders closed during the pandemic, visiting my family was no longer possible. In that moment, I realized just how essential traveling is — not only to my own life, but to the entire human experience. Travel supports everything from business opportunities to stronger bonds in families that live apart. Not being able to see my children made being far from them more unbearable — and it helped me appreciate the travel industry more than ever before. 


On September 27, we celebrate World Tourism Day, and how travel helps us recharge and build meaningful connections with people around the world. And after a year of mostly social isolation, people are especially eager to take a trip. As research from Google and Kantar shows, a leading motivator for booking travel this year is visiting friends and family. Other major reasons include getting away and "treating oneself," and disconnecting from screens and the "everyday, at-home" life. 


As vaccination campaigns have advanced and countries are reopening, we’ve seen increased optimism and readiness to make up for lost time and travel. Since the beginning of the year, the top-searched European tourist destinations on Google Maps are the Eiffel Tour (France), Sagrada Família (Spain), Louvre Museum (France), Europa-Park (Germany) and Colosseum (Italy).

A list of top searched destinations on Google Maps in Europe and blue illustrations of each

While the pandemic has hit the travel industry particularly hard, there are hopeful signs that travel businesses are slowly but surely getting back on their feet. According to new research from ForwardKeys, international flights to European destinations in July and August reached 39.9% of pre-pandemic levels — a 13.3% increase from last year. 


This is good news for the travel sector, which had to adapt to ever-changing COVID restrictions and border closings in the last year. For many travel businesses, technology and data insights have become lifelines to understand the shifts in travel demand and better connect with potential visitors online. Throughout the pandemic, Grow with Google has continued to provide digital skills trainings for small and medium travel businesses in the region so they can use online tools to attract new guests and grow their business.


Les Courtines, a charming gîte (a French cottage) with breathtaking views of the Larzac Mountains in France, participated in one of these digital skills programs. Marc and Corinne Levitte opened the cottage after their retirement in 2018 as a serene getaway for visitors eager to spend time in nature and away from the bustle of city life. Even though Marc didn't have much experience with technology, our French Grow with Google program — Google Ateliers Numériques — helped him optimize their Google My Business listing to make their website more visible. The effort paid off, and the cottage was completely booked for the summer season. 


Earlier this year, we launched free hotel booking links to give hotels and travel companies a free way to reach potential customers. So far, these free hotel booking links have led to increased engagement across both small and large travel partners. For example, hotels working with the Greek booking engine WebHotelier saw more than $4.7M in additional revenue from free booking links this summer. Travel Insights with Googleis a zero-cost website for tourist destinations that features Destination Insights,real-time local data on how tourism demand is changing. Another tool, Hotel Insights, shows where interest for hotels and the region is highest. These resources have been useful for tourist organizations around the region.

Image showing quote from Dimitris Fragakis, Secretary General of Greek National Tourism Organization

As more people want to travel sustainably and look for eco-friendly services, we also recently announced that we’re making it easier to find planet-friendly options when traveling. Now, you can find information about a hotel's sustainability measures when you use our hotel search tool on google.com/travel. Eco-hotels like Scandic hotels Hamburg in Germany can now share more about their sustainable practices. 


On this World Tourism Day, we remain optimistic that the travel and tourism industry will re-emerge stronger and more sustainable. And if you’re inspired to plan your next trip, check out Italy's capital of culture, Dubai's heritage and the explorer’s paradise of South Africa on Google Arts & Culture.

Helping travelers discover new things to do

While travel restrictions continue to vary across the globe, people are still dreaming of places to visit and things to do. Searches for “activities near me” have grown over the past 12 months, with specific queries like “ziplining” growing by 280% and “aquariums” by 115% globally. In response to this increasing interest, and to support the travel industry’s recovery, we’re introducing new ways to discover attractions, tours and activities on Search. 

Now, when people search on Google for attractions like the Tokyo Tower or the Statue of Liberty, they’ll see not just general information about the point of interest, but also booking links for basic admission and other ticket options where available. In the months ahead, we’ll also begin showing information and booking links for experiences in a destination, like wine tasting in Paris or bike tours in California. 

Ticketing options will show what rates each partner prices their tickets at.

Select ‘Tickets’ to see ticketing options available from partner websites.

There are a variety of partners that we’re working with, including online travel agencies and technology providers, to make this information available on Search. If you operate any attractions, tours or activities and want to participate, learn more in the Help Center.

Our goal is to help people find and compare all the best travel options, which is why partners can promote their ticket booking links at zero cost — similar to the free hotel booking links introduced earlier this year.

While it’s still early days, we’ve found that free hotel booking links result in increased engagement for both small and large partners. Hotels working with the booking engine WebHotelier saw more than $4.7M in additional revenue from free booking links this summer. With more than 6,000 active hotels, WebHotelier shared that they were "pleasantly surprised to receive reservations right from Google at no additional cost." This is one of the ways Google can support your business during recovery. 

Introducing a new ad format for things to do

We’re also introducing a new ad format for things to do that will help advertisers drive additional revenue and bookings as recovery continues. With more details like pricing, images and reviews, these new ads on Search will help partners stand out and expand their reach even further. Read more about how to get started in our Help Center.

This shows ads as the first search result and helps our paid partners get to the top of the page.

Ads to promote discovery of things to do and drive bookings.

It’s more important than ever to get the right insights, education and best practices you need as the travel landscape continues to evolve. In July, our team launched Travel Insights with Google in the U.S. to share Google’s travel demand insights with the world. And tomorrow — Thursday, September 23 — we’ll host a webinar to share tips and tricks for using Travel Insights with Google to help you better understand evolving travel demand. 

Across our new product updates and ongoing feature enhancements, we look forward to partnering closely on the travel recovery effort and preparing for the road ahead.