Tag Archives: travel

Helping COVID-19 responders find hotels

Meghan is an Intensive Care Unit nurse treating coronavirus patients in Indiana, and she’s been staying at a Hilton hotel with special accommodations for COVID-19 responders. As she explains, "Reducing the risk of bringing something home to my family has made a huge difference in my peace of mind.” 

Across the Atlantic Ocean, in London, Ruby is in a similar situation. She’s a doctor who’s also treating coronavirus patients. "I was really worried about being in the same space as my family,” says Ruby. “I wanted to find a hotel nearby that could host me, but it was difficult to find one.” 

Healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers like Meghan and Ruby can now find hotels with special policies for COVID-19 responders—like free or discounted rooms—using Google Search or Maps. For example, they can search for “hotels for essential workers in New York” or “hotels in New York” and narrow the results using a new filter for “COVID-19 responder rooms.”

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                                COVID-19 responder hotel room results on Google Search

On Google Maps and google.com/travel, a tip will appear at the top of the results if hotels in the area have a special policy for frontline workers. As on Google Search, there’s a new filter for COVID-19 responder rooms, which will show participating hotels. COVID-19 responders can then call the hotel directly to learn more about its policies and book.

To keep track of which properties are offering special accommodations, we’re working with partners including Choice Hotels International, Hilton, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, as well as the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Our initial efforts have focused on the United States and United Kingdom, and we hope to launch global coverage as soon as possible.

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Filter and and see hotels with COVID-19 responder accommodations on Google Maps

If you’re a hotel owner and have discounts or special accommodations for frontline or essential workers, let us know by signing into Google My Business and adding the attribute to your Business Profile, or get help from Google My Business support. 

Thank you to all the frontline, medical and essential workers who are helping others during this time and to the hotels hosting these heroes. We hope these updates make it easier and less stressful to find and book hotels if you need to right now.

Take a virtual travel day with Street View

As a program manager for Street View, I’ve had the opportunity to work in more than 20 countries around the world, collecting imagery that transports people to new places and powers Google Maps. 


You can even find my blurred face from time to time in Street View. I’ve trekked a desert in Abu Dhabi (with a camel no less) and walked around the Great Pyramids of Giza (I’m the blurred face to the right). You can see my reflection throughout the 152nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, as I operate the Street View camera, and you can see me playing tourist in the canals of Venice


Like many people though, life and work look different for me now than it did last year. While travel is now out of the question for many, that doesn't mean exploring and learning about our world has to stop. 


Over the past 60 days we’ve seen Google Search interest spike more than 700 percent for virtual tours worldwide. People are looking to discover world famous museums, with the Louvre, the Smithsonian and the MoMA among the five most searched virtual tours globally. Alongside museums, people are also searching for a little bit of whimsy and beauty with searches for Disney virtual tours and Versailles virtual tours rounding out the list.


Those destinations only scratch the surface of what you can explore in Street View. There’s more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery you can freely explore by yourself or with professional guides who are taking their walking tours virtual. Today, I’m inviting people worldwide to take time for a virtual travel day on Street View. 


When I drop into a new place with Street View, it shakes up my routine, broadens my perspective, makes me feel more creative and brings a smile to my face. If you’re like me, sometimes you need an idea of where to go before you, well, go. So here are a few virtual travel itineraries with pictures of my favorite places to travel to in Street View:


Picture perfect landscapes

Streets with a view

Places of worship

Ancient sites

Source: Google LatLong


Take a virtual travel day with Street View

As a program manager for Street View, I’ve had the opportunity to work in more than 20 countries around the world, collecting imagery that transports people to new places and powers Google Maps. 


You can even find my blurred face from time to time in Street View. I’ve trekked a desert in Abu Dhabi (with a camel no less) and walked around the Great Pyramids of Giza (I’m the blurred face to the right). You can see my reflection throughout the 152nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, as I operate the Street View camera, and you can see me playing tourist in the canals of Venice


Like many people though, life and work look different for me now than it did last year. While travel is now out of the question for many, that doesn't mean exploring and learning about our world has to stop. 


Over the past 60 days we’ve seen Google Search interest spike more than 700 percent for virtual tours worldwide. People are looking to discover world famous museums, with the Louvre, the Smithsonian and the MoMA among the five most searched virtual tours globally. Alongside museums, people are also searching for a little bit of whimsy and beauty with searches for Disney virtual tours and Versailles virtual tours rounding out the list.


Those destinations only scratch the surface of what you can explore in Street View. There’s more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery you can freely explore by yourself or with professional guides who are taking their walking tours virtual. Today, I’m inviting people worldwide to take time for a virtual travel day on Street View. 


When I drop into a new place with Street View, it shakes up my routine, broadens my perspective, makes me feel more creative and brings a smile to my face. If you’re like me, sometimes you need an idea of where to go before you, well, go. So here are a few virtual travel itineraries with pictures of my favorite places to travel to in Street View:


Picture perfect landscapes

Streets with a view

Places of worship

Ancient sites

Source: Google LatLong


Simpler summer vacation planning starts today

Over the next few weeks people will start locking in their summer travel plans—we see the biggest spike in Google Flights searches for summer vacation dates in early May. And since prices often rise in the three weeks prior to travel dates, you’ll want to start your research ahead of time. Here are some tips to help you decide where to go—and find the best flights and places to stay—wherever your travels may take you.

Pick your summer hotspot

Since the FIFA World Cup starts in June in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg top the list of popular places to visit this summer. If soccer’s not your thing, then Vietnam, Tanzania and Indonesia are other trending international destinations. In the U.S., Hawaii continues to be a top pick for summer travelers, and places like Providence and Santa Fe are rising in popularity.

2018 Summer Trending Destinations

To find out more about the city you’re interested in, you can search for “Things to do” and you’ll see a list of top sights plus articles with helpful travel advice. Our machine learning models determine the most relevant, high-quality travel articles for your destination, like activities to do with children and where to shop.

Things to do in Moscow

Find the best flights (and prices) to meet your needs

Once you’ve got a place in mind, you can find the best flights using the recently redesigned Google Flights. A simpler home screen and search experience on desktop—combined with flight price insights showing the cheapest dates to fly, alternate airport options to help you save money, and other tips all in one place—make it easier to make the right flight choice quickly.


Google Flights new desktop experience

Now that some flight fares don’t include carry-on luggage fees, it can be tricky to know what’s included in the ticket prices you’re looking at. Earlier this year, we made it possible to see what’s included in Basic Economy fares in the U.S. when you select a ticket for airlines like American, United and Delta. To see only ticket prices that include access to overhead bins—and help you compare similar ticket types—we’ve added a “Bags” filter. This filter is now available for U.S. flights and will roll out to itineraries outside the U.S. in the next few months.

Spot hotel deals and tips quickly

To help you find the right hotel, we’re using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical hotel data and reviews to organize and surface the most relevant hotel information.

In the “Hotels” tab, you’ll be tipped off if you’re getting a room rate that’s lower than normal or, similar to the feature in Google Flights, shifting your itinerary a few days earlier may save you money. When you’re ready, you can select bed type, see add-ons like free breakfast, and book a room.

Hotel tips

Don't let the summer fun pass you by—search for flights and hotels on Google to start planning your summer trip today.

Planning travel on the go just got easier

Planning a trip involves lots of searching for flights, hotels, things to do, itineraries and more. The process is often cumbersome because we have to use multiple tools to gather everything we need—especially on a mobile phone.

We’re evolving the way our hotel search works on smartphones to help users explore options and make decisions on their smallest screens. The new hotel search experience includes better price filtering, easier-to-find amenity information and the ability to book right from Google.


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We’re also rolling out new features in some countries on mobile search to make it easier than ever to check out your travel options when you’re on the go. In the next few days, you’ll see that if you search for a flight in Google Flights, you can click right in to “Hotels” at the top of the page. This lets you easily click over to check hotel availability and prices in your destination city for the dates you’ve already selected.


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And it works the same way if you start by searching for a hotel. You can easily click to the “Flights” tab to check prices and fare options, and easily book your flight when you’re ready.

The same options appear if you want to learn about a specific place, or when searching for things to do there. Let’s say you’re checking out a trip to Sydney. You can now easily click to browse available hotels or flights while you’re exploring the destination.


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Clicking on “More Destinations” in the top left will drop you into a new experience that lets you explore other destinations, weekend getaways and trips you might be interested in. We’ve also included a feature called Your Trips that helps you see, at a glance, all your upcoming and past travel reservations from Gmail. These results are private, and only you can see this information. You can email your trip reservations to friends or family right from Your Trips, and also make edits and access them directly offline with the Google Trips app (Android, iOS) when you’re traveling.

This feature doesn't just help you plan your travels, it also connects you to travel companies who help you square away those plans. As Jason Soss, co-founder of Last Minute Travel says, "We're always looking for ways to help travelers find the best hotel room. With Google's new navigation, more people can use Last Minute Travel to book their adventures!”

This year we’re focused on making your mobile phone an integral and useful part of your travel planning—and enjoyment!

Source: Travel


Get help with cheaper flights and potential flight delays this winter

Around this time of year, snowbirds fly out on tropical getaways, skiers and snowboarders take a weekend to hit the slopes, and potential flight delays are stressful for all travelers. Google Flights can now help you predict those flight delays, and we’re also introducing a new feature to help you feel confident about finding the cheapest fare no matter where you’re going.


New fare types like “Basic Economy” are great for people traveling on a budget, but it can be confusing to understand whether important options— like overhead bin space, ability to select your seat, and baggage fees— are included in the fare. Now Google Flights surfaces that information for flights on American, Delta, and United.
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One of the most stressful parts of traveling happens between heading to the airport and waiting to board your flight, as you start checking to see if your flight is on time. Flights already shows delays, and now we’re sharing reasons for those delays and delay predictions too. Using historic flight status data, our machine learning algorithms can predict some delays even when this information isn’t available from airlines yet—and delays are only flagged when we’re at least 80% confident in the prediction. We still recommend getting to the airport with enough time to

spare, but hope this information can manage expectations and prevent surprises. Simply search for your flight (“American 4442”) or the airline and flight route (“Air New Zealand Auckland to Singapore”), and these details will appear right in your search results.

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Don’t let uncertainty—whether it’s understanding the fine print of fare options or navigating potential delays—keep you from your next vacation. We’ll help you get to those sunnier skies.

Plan your winter getaway now with new features in Google Flights, Trips, and hotel search

The end of the year is fast approaching, but the fun doesn’t have to end after the ball drops in Times Square. When you’re ready to kick off your travel plans for 2018 and take a weekend getaway, check out our trending destinations for travel inspiration, and our new features to feel confident you’re getting a good deal.

Get tips when the price is right

Long weekends are a great excuse to escape to warmer weather, but worrying about getting the best price for your vacation can be stressful. A recent study we did indicated that travelers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacations – more than with any other discretionary purchase.

Google Flights can help you get out of town, even when you're on a budget. Using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical flights data, Flights displays tips under your search results, and you can scroll through them to figure out when it’s best to book flights. Say you were searching for flights to Honolulu, and flights from your destination were cheaper than usual. A tip would say that “prices are less than normal” and by how much to indicate you’d spotted a deal. Or, if prices tend to remain steady for the date and place you’re searching for, a tip would indicate the price “won’t drop further” based on our price prediction algorithms.

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Similarly, when you search for a hotel on Google, a new tip will appear above results when room rates are higher than usual, or if the area is busier than usual due to a holiday, music festival, or even a business conference. So if you're planning a trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas, you can make sure you're avoiding dates when big conferences are scheduled and hotel prices tend to be high.

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If you prefer to wait and see if prices drop, you can now get email price alerts by opting into Hotel Price Tracking on your phone—this will roll out on desktop in the new year.

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See the sights without breaking the bank

Vacation time is precious, and once you book your flight and hotel and arrive at your destination, it’s time to have some fun. Google Trips’ new Discounts feature helps you instantly access deals for ticketing and tours on top attractions and activities. Book and save on a tour of the Mayan ruins near Cancun, or get priority access to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. No matter where you’re headed (and if you need ideas, read on), Trips makes it easy to browse and access fun stuff to do on your vacation without breaking the bank.

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Head to the beach for MLK Weekend

People are already searching for flights for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, from January 12th to 15th. The top trending domestic destinations for MLK Weekend offer a warm climate—with Florida and Hawaii taking the lead. For folks heading out of the country, Cancun and Bangkok are top beach destinations, whereas Rome and Tokyo are top cultural destinations.

MLK Trends.jpg

Pick a tropical island or go across the pond for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ weekend is right on the heels of Valentine’s Day next year, so it’s easy to take time off to spend time with that special someone, celebrate singledom with friends, or maybe just treat yourself to a solo adventure. Tropical islands are the most popular for a domestic getaway, with three of Hawaii’s major islands—Oahu, Maui, and Kauai—all trending in flight searches. For international flight searches, Cancun and Bangkok still top the list, but classic European cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona are also climbing in popularity.

Presidents Trends.jpg

Amidst celebrations with friends and family this December, start dreaming about your next winter getaway in the new year. We’ll help you get there.

Plan your winter getaway now with new features in Google Flights, Trips, and hotel search

The end of the year is fast approaching, but the fun doesn’t have to end after the ball drops in Times Square. When you’re ready to kick off your travel plans for 2018 and take a weekend getaway, check out our trending destinations for travel inspiration, and our new features to feel confident you’re getting a good deal.

Get tips when the price is right

Long weekends are a great excuse to escape to warmer weather, but worrying about getting the best price for your vacation can be stressful. A recent study we did indicated that travelers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacations – more than with any other discretionary purchase.

Google Flights can help you get out of town, even when you're on a budget. Using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical flights data, Flights displays tips under your search results, and you can scroll through them to figure out when it’s best to book flights. Say you were searching for flights to Honolulu, and flights from your destination were cheaper than usual. A tip would say that “prices are less than normal” and by how much to indicate you’d spotted a deal. Or, if prices tend to remain steady for the date and place you’re searching for, a tip would indicate the price “won’t drop further” based on our price prediction algorithms.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Flights-Price-less-than-usual_2000x1224.gif

Similarly, when you search for a hotel on Google, a new tip will appear above results when room rates are higher than usual, or if the area is busier than usual due to a holiday, music festival, or even a business conference. So if you're planning a trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas, you can make sure you're avoiding dates when big conferences are scheduled and hotel prices tend to be high.

Hotel Mkt Insights

If you prefer to wait and see if prices drop, you can now get email price alerts by opting into Hotel Price Tracking on your phone—this will roll out on desktop in the new year.

Hotel Email Price Tracking

See the sights without breaking the bank

Vacation time is precious, and once you book your flight and hotel and arrive at your destination, it’s time to have some fun. Google Trips’ new Discounts feature helps you instantly access deals for ticketing and tours on top attractions and activities. Book and save on a tour of the Mayan ruins near Cancun, or get priority access to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. No matter where you’re headed (and if you need ideas, read on), Trips makes it easy to browse and access fun stuff to do on your vacation without breaking the bank.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Trips-Discounts_2000x1224.gif

Head to the beach for MLK Weekend

People are already searching for flights for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, from January 12th to 15th. The top trending domestic destinations for MLK Weekend offer a warm climate—with Florida and Hawaii taking the lead. For folks heading out of the country, Cancun and Bangkok are top beach destinations, whereas Rome and Tokyo are top cultural destinations.

MLK Trends.jpg

Pick a tropical island or go across the pond for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ weekend is right on the heels of Valentine’s Day next year, so it’s easy to take time off to spend time with that special someone, celebrate singledom with friends, or maybe just treat yourself to a solo adventure. Tropical islands are the most popular for a domestic getaway, with three of Hawaii’s major islands—Oahu, Maui, and Kauai—all trending in flight searches. For international flight searches, Cancun and Bangkok still top the list, but classic European cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona are also climbing in popularity.

Presidents Trends.jpg

Amidst celebrations with friends and family this December, start dreaming about your next winter getaway in the new year. We’ll help you get there.

Source: Travel


Flying during the holidays? Read this before you book

Millions of Americans will fly somewhere for Thanksgiving this year—and for many of them the search for flights will begin this week. Last year we saw a spike in Google Flights searches for Thanksgiving dates starting in mid-October. So whether you’re flying to visit family or heading off on vacation, here are a few tips from Google Flights to help with your holiday travel planning this year.

1. Avoid the busiest travel days. The last thing you need during the holidays is the added headache of long lines at the airport, flight delays or cancellations. Americans are pretty predictable when it comes to Thanksgiving travel plans—flight searches over the last two years indicate that Friday Nov. 17, Wednesday Nov. 22 and Sunday Nov. 26 will be the busiest days to fly, so pick other travel days if possible.

Thanksgiving 2017 busiest days to fly

2. Prepare for busier airports. If you’ll be traveling domestically, be aware that airports in these U.S. cities tend to be the busiest:

2017 Thanksgiving Busiest Airports

If it’s an option to consider alternate airports, Google Flights can help you identify other more affordable options that are close to your destination. Just tap on “airports” in the flight insights bar and move the map icon to see the closest airport to your final destination.

3. Get away instead of going home for turkey. While many people choose to go home for the holidays, it’s also an ideal time to get away from it all. Whether you prefer the warm beaches of Hawaii, or you’re interested in exploring a new European city like Brussels, Destinations on Google has travel guides on most popular destinations to help you figure out what to do. Search on Google for any of the trending destinations below to see travel guides complete with top sights, popular itineraries, weather, videos, and more.

Top Trending Thanksgiving Destinations

4. Book your flights before expected price increases. Flight prices often rise 21, 14 and 7 days in advance of travel dates. For example, if you’re looking at a departure date of November 23, you can expect significant increases in flight prices on Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and again on Nov. 15. So make sure to book your Thanksgiving flights by the end of October to get a better deal.

And while it may still seem far off, it’s time to start thinking about the end-of-year holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In fact, at this time last year end-of-year flight searches were already increasing worldwide. In order to avoid hefty increases in airfare you should book your flights for these holidays before December. If you’re not ready to book yet, keep track of flight prices with Google Flights and receive email updates when prices change.

5. Ring in the new year with a vacation abroad. Make the most of the extra time off over the holidays and take an extended vacation somewhere exotic. Looking for ideas on where to go? From Barcelona (check out our Barcelona travel guide) to Buenos Aires (see our Buenos Aires travel guide), these are the top ten cities rising in popularity for the Christmas and New Years break this year:

Trending destinations for Christmas and NYE

Whether you’re flying home to see family or going on a well deserved vacation, the holidays should be a time to relax and enjoy time with the people you love. Avoid the stress of last minute holiday travel planning—follow these tips from Google Flights, sit back and look forward to the festivities ahead!

Flying during the holidays? Read this before you book

Millions of Americans will fly somewhere for Thanksgiving this year—and for many of them the search for flights will begin this week. Last year we saw a spike in Google Flights searches for Thanksgiving dates starting in mid-October. So whether you’re flying to visit family or heading off on vacation, here are a few tips from Google Flights to help with your holiday travel planning this year.

1. Avoid the busiest travel days. The last thing you need during the holidays is the added headache of long lines at the airport, flight delays or cancellations. Americans are pretty predictable when it comes to Thanksgiving travel plans—flight searches over the last two years indicate that Friday Nov. 17, Wednesday Nov. 22 and Sunday Nov. 26 will be the busiest days to fly, so pick other travel days if possible.

Thanksgiving 2017 busiest days to fly

2. Prepare for busier airports. If you’ll be traveling domestically, be aware that airports in these U.S. cities tend to be the busiest:

2017 Thanksgiving Busiest Airports

If it’s an option to consider alternate airports, Google Flights can help you identify other more affordable options that are close to your destination. Just tap on “airports” in the flight insights bar and move the map icon to see the closest airport to your final destination.

3. Get away instead of going home for turkey. While many people choose to go home for the holidays, it’s also an ideal time to get away from it all. Whether you prefer the warm beaches of Hawaii, or you’re interested in exploring a new European city like Brussels, Destinations on Google has travel guides on most popular destinations to help you figure out what to do. Search on Google for any of the trending destinations below to see travel guides complete with top sights, popular itineraries, weather, videos, and more.

Top Trending Thanksgiving Destinations

4. Book your flights before expected price increases. Flight prices often rise 21, 14 and 7 days in advance of travel dates. For example, if you’re looking at a departure date of November 23, you can expect significant increases in flight prices on Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and again on Nov. 15. So make sure to book your Thanksgiving flights by the end of October to get a better deal.

And while it may still seem far off, it’s time to start thinking about the end-of-year holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In fact, at this time last year end-of-year flight searches were already increasing worldwide. In order to avoid hefty increases in airfare you should book your flights for these holidays before December. If you’re not ready to book yet, keep track of flight prices with Google Flights and receive email updates when prices change.

5. Ring in the new year with a vacation abroad. Make the most of the extra time off over the holidays and take an extended vacation somewhere exotic. Looking for ideas on where to go? From Barcelona (check out our Barcelona travel guide) to Buenos Aires (see our Buenos Aires travel guide), these are the top ten cities rising in popularity for the Christmas and New Years break this year:

Trending destinations for Christmas and NYE

Whether you’re flying home to see family or going on a well deserved vacation, the holidays should be a time to relax and enjoy time with the people you love. Avoid the stress of last minute holiday travel planning—follow these tips from Google Flights, sit back and look forward to the festivities ahead!

Source: Travel