Google Made New Tools For Anyone Who Isn’t Sure What A ‘Good’ Travel Deal Is
The most nerve-wracking part of planning a trip is the cost — biting the bullet and paying for a plane ticket and booking a hotel. So most people do a couple of initial searches for flights. You find one that looks like a decent price, and you consider it. You close the search browser window and think, “I’ll wait a little longer.” Then, you open a new window and repeat the entire process over again. We’re definitely guilty of this, too. It’s difficult to know whether you’re picking the best flight deal or the best bargain on a hotel.
Enter: Google. You probably already know all about Google Flights (and if not, what are you using to search for your airline tickets?), but the tech company just added two new features that are about to make your travel planning so much easier.
The first new feature is about to change your wanderlusting forever. Do you ever sit on the Explore page of Google flights just looking at random destinations around the world? Just us? Well, if you haven’t started using Google to plan trips where you’re flexible on both timing and location, now is the time.
Google engineers realized there are a lot of people out there with the travel bug who know they want to go somewhere for a week, but they don’t have their hearts set on one destination in particular — they want to pick whatever is cheapest.
So Google Flights is upgrading to cater to that exact type of traveler. Before, Google Flights was ideal for searching for the lowest price to a specific destination, but now, you can search more broadly. You can filter your results by trip type — weekend, one week and two weeks — and approximate dates. And then you just zoom in on the area of the map where you’re interested in going.
Then Google takes it from there, highlighting the best trips you could take to fit your filters. And they even call out the best available deals. These aren’t sale tickets or inflated markdowns — these “deal” prices are compared to average flight costs over the past two years. Google only calls a flight a “deal” if it’s significantly below the normal price.
This means you can search around the world for an affordable dream trip in the specific time you’re available to travel without needing to have 14 different search tabs open. Think of it as a way to prioritize your extremely long travel bucket list based on flight costs. You can simultaneously check the regions of the world that are high on your to-travel list and see which ones would be the best value right now.
The second Google tool is specific to holiday travel. Don’t look now, but the calendar is creeping toward September, which is the best time to book flights home for the holidays. And holiday flights can bite deep into your budget for pies and presents, so Google wanted to simplify that, too.
The data team at Google analyzed a couple years’ worth of holiday flights data to find the cheapest days to fly and the cheapest days to book your flights. The results weren’t all that surprising (you want to avoid peak weekend holiday flights and book in early September), but you can see how the prices change in interactive graphs in case you’re tempted to put off your purchase.
The holiday tool will also let you know whether a flight price is low, average or high for each search you make in the interface, based on flight prices for 2017 and 2018. You can do the same with Google Hotels and see whether your preferred hotel is trending low, average or high.
Not feeling like going home for the holidays? Google also put together a list of destinations with abnormally low hotel prices around the world in case you want to skip the family turkey dinner or bring the family with you on an adventure abroad.