Google Trips – A Revolutionary New Travel Planning App
I have often said that one of the biggest shortfalls when it comes to travel is the existence of an app or service that seamlessly manages every aspect of your travel arrangements. Whether it be flights, rental cars, trains, restaurant reservations or hotels, most travelers usually end up with a plethora of information in different places when they are planning their trips. Back in April, I wrote an article on the ten best travel apps in which I included TripIt. While I think TripIt does an OK job at building and managing your travel itineraries, I generally think that it leaves a lot to be desired. Earlier this week, Google announced the launch of their new travel planning & management app, Google Trips, which I think is going to revolutionize how people travel.
What is Google Trips?
Google Trips is a new app from which they are calling a “personalized tour guide in your pocket” aimed at helping people better plan and manage their vacations and other travels by automatically syncing from their gmail account. The service pulls all of your hotel, flight, rental car, etc. details from your email account and automatically builds individual trips within the service to help you manage every aspect of your travel. It also uses a combination of data from Google Maps and crowdsourced contributions from other users on restaurants, points of interest, tourist attractions and more. As is mentioned in the video above, cities can be downloaded to be used in offline mode, which is incredible if you are traveling somewhere in which you will not have access to data and/or a WiFi.
This weekend I will be traveling to Chicago for a quick weekend getaway. When I first heard the news about Google Trips, I was excited to download it and give it a try. As you can see from the image below, there are different tabs to help you with different aspects of your trip (reservations, things to do, day plans, saved places, food and drink, getting around & Need to Know). Each will obviously help you with different parts of the trip which I will outline below.
This is the section of your trip in which google will do all of your itinerary storage. All aspects of your trip will be synced from your gmail account in chronological order. Whether it be a flight, hotel, train, restaurant reservation, etc., Google Trips will store this information here for easy access.
Things To Do
Google is using crowdsourced data in this section to help you find things to do during your travels. There are many different categories such as Top Spots, On A Budget, Live Music, Local Fashion, Dance Clubs and even Selfie Spots which should appeal to a wide range of people. The best part? If you download the city before your trip, all of this information is still available with or without cellular service.
Once you have figured out different points of interest you want to visit on your trip, you can save them in the saved places section for easy access. This will make it very easy and fluid to access these for directions, etc.
Google Trips can show you the most popular day plans and itineraries for the top 200 cities worldwide. This information is actually based on historic visit data from other travelers, which Google has assembled into lists that include the most popular sights and attractions. You can add a spot you want to visit to your plans, and you can even tell the app if you have only the morning or afternoon available for this outing. The app can then show you other attractions near that original spot. However, one of the coolest things about the day plans feature is the optional automation. For example, you can pin a spot you would like to visit to your itinerary. If you wish, Google will then automatically fill in the rest of the day for you based on location, time and a number of other factors.
Food & Drink
Quite self explanatory, this section will give you an overview of the dining scene in your specific city. There are many different recommendations separated by category (Family Friendly, High-end Dining, On a budget, etc.). I am very excited to try this out, as this is something I have historically used TripAdvisor or Yelp for.
This section provides great information about navigating your specific city. Whether it be from the airport or just getting around once you have arrived at your hotel. There is great information about walking and biking, ride sharing programs like Uber and Lift, and even public transportation.
Thrifty Tip: Always check out the various modes of transportation and their approximate prices. Mr. and Mrs. TT took a cab in Zurich yesterday which cost $83 (yikes!), but if they would have taken public transit, it would have only cost around $25. Google Trips can save you huge money if you do a little research in advance.
Need To Know
Lastly, The Need to Know section provides information that oftentimes gets overlooked when planning travel. For example, there is a money section that will key you into the ins and outs of the local currency and etiquette on tipping restaurant servers. The Health and Emergencies section provides great medical care information should you get sick or injured on your trip. This would be extremely useful if traveling abroad. Lastly, the Shopping category provides useful information such as store hours and different info about the shopping districts and markets.
On the surface, it appears that Google hit the nail on the head with this new application. It takes all the best things from a number of different travel apps such as TripAdvisor & TripIt and brings them into one central location with a beautiful user interface. I can’t wait to try it out this weekend while visiting Chicago and on future trips abroad.