Google’s new travel tools help save you money and find the best hotels

The improved flight price tracker is especially useful

Summer is fast approaching and COVID restrictions are significantly reduced in more places than last year. If you’re planning an international trip, it’s best to make those reservations sooner rather than later; Google says search interest for “passport appointments” increased 300% in 2022. The search engine also offers a host of useful tools to help you plan and organize your trip. Its Travel website has just been updated with a handful of helpful new features — most notably a flight price tracker that finds deals for any dates.

The flight price tracker has been around for a while. It’s pretty straightforward to use; Enter your destination and desired dates, and Google will email you if prices drop. Now, you’re able to toggle the new “Any Dates” slider and get notified if fares drop below their typical levels in the next 3 to 6 months.

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While the other features announced in Google’s blog post are fairly useful, this one seems most useful for people who aren’t tied down on when they can jetset.

If you have decided on a location, but aren’t sure what to do there, the ‘Explore nearby’ tool will suggest popular spots within a few hours’ drive. Of course, your mileage will vary by where you’re looking at; for example, searching anywhere in England will simply list all major English cities. However, it can be useful if you’re totally unfamiliar with your destination.

Slightly more useful are the new map filters that appear when selecting a hotel. You can start by looking picking out have the best options for dining, shopping, or sightseeing. From there, you can view all properties within a 15 or 30-minute distance by walking or driving. You can also bookmark hotels or holiday rentals for easy reference.

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