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4 New Ways Google Can Make Planning Your Next Trip So Much Easier

These new features came just in time for summer vacation!

It's hard to even imagine the time before the internet when planning a vacation entailed calling a travel agent and telling them what you wanted to do, and them getting back to you a few days later with itinerary options. It seems almost archaic but also kind of refreshing to not have to deal with the stress of scouring the web for the best deal, prime location, and most entertaining activities for your family. Fortunately, Google has set out to make the process of planning your next trip a whole lot easier—and although there are no travel agents involved, the company did not disappoint. Read on to find out how you can now use Google's new tools to make embarking on your next adventure as seamless as possible, whether you're looking to go on day-trip to the best swimming hole driving distance from your home or a romantic European vacation filled with food, art, and culture.

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You can now track flight prices based on location versus specific dates.

wing of a southwest airplane in flight
Hendrickson Photography / Shutterstock

You may already use Google Flights to check airfares for specific dates when planning an upcoming holiday, but did you know you can also opt in to receive an email letting you know if the prices significantly drop? And now, the service is allowing you to search based solely on location versus timing as well. Maybe you're finally ready to make your dream of eating truffle pasta on the streets of Rome after touring the Coliseum a reality, but you want to find the most affordable time of year to book a flight. Instead of putting in dates, you can now select your destination and Google Flights will let you know when is best financially and keep you updated via email if anything changes.

Explore what an area has to offer or find the best place to go based on your interests.

Black couple hiking in the forest together

If you aren't exactly sure where you want to go but you do know what you want to do on your trip (wine tasting? antiquing? just hanging on the beach?), Google has a new feature that will lay out what your options are in a certain area, big or small. If you want to look for the best hiking destinations in South America or simply the best hiking trails that are less than two hours from your home, you can use their explore tool.

"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,'" Richard Holden, VP of Travel Products for Google, explains in a press release. Also, if you know where you're going, this feature will help you discover what your destination has to offer, from natural wonders to trendy restaurants.

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Find exactly where you should stay.

Hotels in Myrtle Beach

Some travelers may argue that deciding where to go and booking the plane ticket is actually the easy part of planning a trip, while figuring out where to stay is the real doozy. Perhaps Google Travel's most exciting new feature is aimed at making this a lot easier. A slew of new preference options will lay out what a hotel or rental and the area surrounding it has to offer based on your selected needs—whether that is being kid-friendly, super scenic, or in the epicenter of nightlife.

It also features a description of the neighborhood, almost like a guide book, and helps you figure out what is in walking distance from each hotel. If you are looking to stay near a specific landmark, like a wedding or concert venue, you can now pop that address in the hotel or vacation rental search bar and see places that are within a 10-minute walk, 15-minute drive, or whatever you prefer from where you need to be.

Keep all your options in one place.

Cropped shot of a happy senior woman sitting alone and using a laptop in her living room at home

Finally, for all of you who have multiple folders or spreadsheets with links when you're planning a trip, Google Travel will now allow you to save any hotels or vacation rentals that you're considering in one place. "Just tap the bookmark icon on any hotel or vacation rental, and it'll be saved for easy reference," explained Holden. "To see your saved properties, look for the Saved tab on mobile or the right hand panel on desktop."

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