Google Trips: Our Favorite App to Plan And Track Your Travels
Between flights, hotel bookings, rental cars, trains, and restaurant reservations, it can be a nightmare to keep track of all the information you need for your travels. You could spend hours sifting through your inbox. If only there were a one-stop shop to seamlessly track and monitor all this information, right?
There is, and go figure it’s from Google. The web giant launched Google Trips a few years ago. Yet it remains relatively unknown among travelers.
I think it’s the absolute best tool out there to keep every aspect of your trip organized. Watch the video below for a quick overview of what the app and service are all about. You can download the app in the iOS App Store or on Google Play. And we’ll walk you through how to get the most out of this great app.
What is Google Trips?
Google Trips is a free smartphone app which the company calls 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, bus, train, reservation 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 network.
The service also has the ability to enter in reservations manually. This is a great feature as there have been times in the past where I haven’t received an email confirmation for travel I have booked, and thus, the reservation did not pull over to my Google Trips interface.
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 or added manually in chronological order. Whether it be a flight, hotel, train, restaurant reservation, etc., Google Trips will store this information here for easy access.
To add a reservation manually, simply click the purple plus sign in the bottom righthand corner of the screen.
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, Local Favorites, On A Budget, For You and more 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 or any other information you may need.
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 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 still use TripAdvisor or Yelp for this primarily, but it is another nice feature to have within the Google Trips app.
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, rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft, and even public transportation.
In this section of the Google Trips app, you will find discounts on different things around your specific city. As you can see below, there are a number of discounts available in Tokyo during my upcoming trip. These are largely for tours, and other activities around your destination city.
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. This is one of my favorite features in the app and one of the first things I check when I am on the ground in a foreign country.
The Health and Emergencies section provides great medical care information should you get sick or injured on your trip. This is 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.
As we first saw during this year’s Super Bowl. Google is in the business of making the world a smaller place. Google Trips is my favorite travel-related app on my smartphone, and it certainly does just that. Download it today and keep all aspects of your next trip in order.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.