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Plan your summer vacation with Google's suite of travel tools

Derek Walter | June 2, 2016
Google has gotten serious about helping you find flights, hotels, and keeping track of all the details.

Google loves to organize information. It’s the company’s mission statement, after all, and there’s no common life task that generates more details than planning a trip.

Flight itineraries, hotel reservations, car rentals, tour bookings, you name it. There’s a reason that sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation.

Organizing all of this madness is pretty well done by apps like Tripit, and in some respect, by Google Now. But Google has shown it wants to move beyond just saving your bookings into a neat package, as helpful as that is. With new tools like a dedicated travel app, enhancements to Inbox, and more services for flights and hotels, you can now create your entire itinerary and get some suggestions about what to do when you get there all through Google's servers.

I looked more deeply at the options available while planning some upcoming trips for both business and pleasure. In essence, you can go Google for most of what you want to do, though the experience isn’t quite yet thorough enough to completely ignore the other good travel services out there.

What’s your destination?

Google has a very underrated service for searching flights. Google Flight Search is similar to other aggregators like Expedia or Travelocity, with the secret sauce being that it will mix and match different airline routes and travel sites to try and find you the best deal. But you can also save flights to your Google account and then check back on them later to see if the price has dropped or risen.

Google Now will ping you from time to time about this, particularly if there’s a big drop. I used this when booking a flight to Europe this summer, although unfortunately I kept watching the fares rise instead of fall. You also can return to the flight search at anytime and see your saved itineraries and find out how they’ve fared.

google flights search
Google Flights is an excellent service, which lately has tried to act more like a digital travel agent.

While there’s no dedicated mobile app, the tools work well in Chrome on Android if you head to flights.google.com. The web app is being tweaked all the time, with Google dropping in more suggestions for trips and what to do when you get there. The company has built up a tremendous amount of data with Maps and other services, so there’s even more potential here to make this a top-rate service if Google were to account for what you like to do by allowing you to create a profile of your preferred activities.

 

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