Posted:
(Cross-posted on the Google Official Blog)

While winds howl, frost bites and snow falls, people dream of getting away from it all. Every year around this time, we see an uptick in searches for spring and summer travel from people who have had it up to here with winter. And in the middle of one of the coldest, snowiest, iciest winters on record in the U.S., you better believe people are gearing up to grab their suntan lotion and their carry-ons, and hop on a plane. Enter Google Flights, which makes it easy to plan the trip that’s right for you. Here are a few tips to help you book this year’s dream vacation.

Flexibility is key when finding great deals There’s a travel myth that you can always find the best deals on Tuesday. But actually, you can find good deals any day of the week—especially if you’re flexible with your travel dates. Though it’s sometimes hard to pull the trigger because you’re afraid the price will drop tomorrow (or next Tuesday, maybe?), our experience shows it’s usually best to book right away.

Regardless of which day you sit down to plan your trip, you can use the calendar in Google Flights to scroll through months and see the lowest fare highlighted for each day. If you’re planning even further out, use the lowest fares graph beneath the calendar to see how prices may fluctuate based on the season, holidays or other events. You can also set preferences (such as direct flights only) and our calendar will adjust to show you just those flights and fares that fit the bill. Finally, if you can save more by using a nearby airport or flying on a different day, we’ll show you a tip at the top of your results.
Not sure about your destination? No problem
Sometimes, you know exactly where your destination needs to be—say, when you’re taking a business trip, or headed to a wedding or family reunion. But there are times when all you know is that you want to go somewhere. Maybe you want to go somewhere with a beach, but don’t care if it’s in Greece or the Caribbean. Or you want to visit Southeast Asia, but aren’t sure which countries to visit.
Our research shows more than half of searchers don’t know where they’re going to travel when they sit down to plan. With Google Flights, you can search for regions or whole countries, like “Flights to Europe” and “Flights to Mexico." Or, expand the map to scan the entire world and see accurate prices for all the different cities you can fly to, along with filters for your flight preferences. If you’re in a particularly adventurous—or lazy—mood, select the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the map and we’ll suggest ideas for where to go based on popular destinations and your past search history.

But… cheaper isn’t always better We all love a good deal, but when it comes to choosing flights, cheaper doesn’t always win—and no wonder, when sometimes that means two connections instead of none. On Google Flights, the vast majority of people choose one of the Best flights—considered to be flights that are the best combination of price and convenience. Try it out next time you’re looking for something that fits your schedule, not just your budget.
So once you’ve warmed your hands on that cup of hot cocoa, put them to work on your keyboard or phone. Google Flights is ready to find the best destinations, dates, fares and flights for you to get away from it all.

Posted:
Last June we introduced you to Google My Business — giving you an easy way to improve your hotel's presence on Google and connect with customers, whether they're looking for you on Google Search, Maps or Google+.  

Starting today, you can tell us which image you’d like to appear when customers search for your hotel on Google. You can even add photos specifically for food and drink, rooms and common areas. It's easy! Just log in to Google My Business on the web or in the Android or iOS apps, and visit the Photos section.

If you haven't already done so, visit google.com/mybusiness to verify your hotel and get started. For more information, you can read the full blog post on the Google and Your Business blog.

Posted by Ashwath Rajan, Product Manager, Travel

Posted:
Whether you’re traveling from Geneva to Barcelona, Zurich to Sydney, or you’re not sure where to go, Flight Search can offer inspiration and help you find the best flights available. Starting today, you can use Google to quickly and easily compare and book flights — from your mobile device, desktop or tablet. Try searching for [flüge von zürich nach barcelona] on google.ch, ask Google to show you flights from Geneva to Tenerife, or go directly to www.google.ch/flights.

More information and flexible features to help you find the best deals
If you haven’t decided where to travel next, expand the map in Flight Search to scan the entire world and see live prices for all the different cities you can fly. It’s a great way to explore the world around you and find somewhere new to travel.
You can easily find the least expensive time to travel if your dates are flexible; just use the calendar or the lowest fares graph below that shows you when it’s cheapest to fly.
Scan the similar flights timeline to compare available flights — grouped together by airline, price and number of stops. You can also quickly determine which flights are the best tradeoff between price and convenience by looking at those labeled Best flights.

Google can also monitor flight prices for you, to make sure you don’t miss a good deal. Check out your list of saved flights within Flight Search to see if the prices are trending up or down, how often they change and by how much. You can also let the Google app on your Android or iOS keep tabs for you. When the price drops for itineraries you’ve previously searched for on Google, you’ll see a Now card that notifies you of the airfare change.
Want help keeping track of travel itinerary details for upcoming or past trips? Try searching for [My trips] within Google to see a summary of your flight, hotel, car and restaurant reservations — in one convenient place.
Flight Search gives you more information faster, so you can make informed decisions about the best flights for you. Give it a try and let Google help you with all your 2015 travel plans.

Posted:
Still looking for somewhere fun to ring in the new year? With a few tips from our experts and money-saving features in Flight Search you can still find a good deal -- even to popular New Year’s Eve destinations like Las Vegas or New York City.

Tools to help you stay on budget

  • Expand the map within Flight Search to see lowest fares for all the different places you can visit and explore your flight options. 
  • Be on the look out for a “TIP” with your flight search results — letting you know if you can save by using a nearby airport or flying on a different day.
  • Consult our calendar to quickly scan the lowest fares highlighted for each day and pick the best date.
  • Use the lowest fares graph below the calendar to see how prices may fluctuate — and find the least expensive time to fly.
  • Choose one of our suggested “Best Flights” in the results, that show you flights with the best trade-off between price and convenience.

Tips to save on flights during the week of New Year’s Eve

  • Consider booking a flight that arrives on New Years Eve. It's less expensive overall, saving you an average of 15%*. Certain destinations such as Fort Lauderdale or Denver may save you an average of 35%*.
  • Return on New Year’s Day. You may have to limit the champagne toasts but, for some destinations like Miami, San Juan, or Madrid, you can save an average of 16%*.
  • Shift your travel plans by two days and save 15%* on average (for example, try leaving on the 29th vs. the 27th). 

OK -- let’s put all this advice into action and show you how you can use Flight Search to find a frugal flight this New Year’s Eve. Let’s say you live in Denver and you want to watch the ball drop in the famed Times Square. In this example, our “TIP” shows you how you can save over $100 by departing a day earlier and returning a day later.


By looking at the calendar and lowest fares graph, you’ll see you can save even more if you arrive on New Year’s Eve and extend your stay a little.


While we can’t guarantee these low fares will last for long, we hope these money-saving tips and features have inspired your sense of wanderlust. What are you waiting for? Use Flight Search to figure out the best flight deals and book your New Years Eve getaway.


*The above data was obtained on December 15, 2014 by using Google Flight Search for 2-10 day trips, with departure dates of December 26th through December 31st.

Posted:
Break out the stretchy pants: Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Before settling in for a day of family, football and food coma, many weary travelers earn their eats through another time-tested holiday tradition: travel. This year, plan a different kind of holiday — one where you can enjoy your meal on the fly (literally). Check out our jet-setting, turkey-day-travel-itinerary that takes you across 4 historic American cities named after your favorite Thanksgiving eats, like Cranberry Country, WI and Pie Town, NM. Planning your adventure is easy with Google travel tools that can help you quickly find the best flights, hotels and things to do.

You can use the itinerary we’ve saved as your recipe for adventure or go to www.google.com/flights to quickly and easily plan your own multi-city meal — selecting the destinations and portions that appeal to you.
Take our suggestion and start your edible itinerary with the star of the show: the turkey. Fly into AMA (Amarillo, TX) and drive to the small town of Turkey, TX. With a population of less than 1,000 and an annual festival honoring native son and Western Swing musician Bob Wills, it’ll be a leisurely visit. Swing by the dry goods shop on Main Street, or check out the Bob Wills Museum, with twice-weekly live music shows.

Once you’ve had your fill of Turkey, TX, hop a flight to JAX (Jacksonville, FL) and make the quick 50-minute drive to Spuds, FL to indulge in everyone’s favorite starchy side dish. Primarily a farming community, the main crop in Spuds is — you guessed it — potatoes. Only 20 minutes away is St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the country. You can enjoy a variety of historically themed activities to indulge your turkey day traditionalist, including the Colonial Quarter and the Florida Agricultural Museum.



Up next? A visit to Cranberry Country by way of MKE (Milwaukee, WI). Take a relaxing drive on the scenic Cranberry Highway with nearly 50 miles of cranberry bogs, some that have been functioning farms since the 1870s. You can also take a 2-hour drive to Chicago where there are plenty of Thanksgiving-themed events to keep you entertained. Bundle up on Thursday morning to watch the 81st Annual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, featuring floats, local celebrities and marching bands.

When the tryptophan finally kicks in, ask Google to show you “Hotels in Chicago” and you’ll see several options available. Select your preferred hotel and quickly book with one of our travel partners. Hit the town early the next morning for a day of Black Friday deals along the famed Magnificent Mile, where for over 50 years, the trees along Michigan Avenue have been draped with thousands of twinkling holiday lights.



There’s no better way to end your meal than in aptly-named Pie Town, NM. After landing in ABQ (Albuquerque, NM), settle in for a 2.5-hour drive to the tiny community made famous for its proximity to the Continental Divide and its pie. Try Pie-o-Neer Pies, a Travel + Leisure featured restaurant. It’s known for chocolate pies, butterscotch pies and New Mexico Apple pie made with green chiles and pine nuts. Sure, it’s a bit of a departure from tradition, but after this whirlwind Thanksgiving food tour, a spicy slice sounds just right.

Hungry yet? Why don’t you invite a friend to join you on this tasty, turkey-day trip. Select “Share this itinerary” and your friend will receive an email summary like the one below. When they select the blue button reading, “View on Google”, they’ll be directed to Flight Search where they can see the full itinerary and quickly complete their booking so they can join you on this multi-city, meal march.

Whether you decide to follow our recipe or plan your own Thanksgiving adventure, we hope you’ll see how fast and easy it is to use Google to find the best flights, hotels and things to do on your next trip.

Posted:
Halloween is coming up -- and that means it’s time to get your spook on. Dress up in costumes, tour haunted attractions or visit a real-life haunted house. With a few simple voice prompts and taps, Google can help you plan a trip to some of the spookiest places around.

You might consider visiting the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum -- a 19th century, abandoned asylum in Australia rumored to have nearly 9,000 souls haunting its halls. Or travel to Ireland, in pursuit of Halloween’s Celtic roots. You could visit the Ross Castle -- believed to be one of the most haunted castles in Ireland.

If you’re really daring, you can stay the night in the 1851 Marshall House in Savannah, GA -- where water faucets turn on and off, doorknobs wobble, unseen children are often heard playing in the halls, and staff and guests routinely see men wearing Civil War uniforms.

It’s easy to visit these haunts no matter where you live. Just ask Google to show you flights or begin your search on google.com/flights. You can quickly compare the cost to different destinations, find tips to save money and choose the “best flights” -- based on price and convenience. Live in NYC? A weekend trip to Savannah might be in your future.


With a few taps, you can select your outbound and return flights, and complete your booking on our partner’s website.

When you’re ready, ask Google to show you the “closest hotels to the Marshall House” and you’ll see a list of nearby hotels, including -- of course -- The Marshall House. You can view photos of the hotel, peruse user reviews and digitally explore the surrounding area with Street View. If you’re dying to stay here, simply tap one of the booking links to complete your reservation.


Now that you’ve seen how frighteningly fast and easy it is, let Google help you plan your next trip.

Posted:
If you often fly on popular air routes -- like Los Angeles to San Francisco -- you’ve probably faced the challenge of sifting through long lists of nonstop flights, all with similar prices. In fact, routes like these have over 50 nonstop flights every day. While having all the information in one place is convenient, the choices can be overwhelming -- especially on a mobile device.

Now Flight Search offers a new way to shop for flights on popular routes that makes it much easier to scan available flights and quickly determine which is best for you. Instead of displaying every flight individually, Flight Search groups together similar flights, then displays those departure times on a one-day timeline. Flights are grouped by airline, price and number of stops -- and Best flights highlight those options that are the best tradeoff between price and convenience.

Best flights with new similar flights timeline.


Expanded list of similar flights.


To use the timeline, tap on a circle to select a single flight. Alternatively, tap anywhere else in the similar flights box to expand the full list of individual flights. You can then select a specific flight, or tap on the similar flights box again to collapse the list.

We think this unique display will make it easier and faster to find the best flight possible, whether you’re shopping on a mobile device or desktop. Timelines only appear on busy air routes with many similar flights. Give it a try on your next business trip or vacation on one of these busier routes.