Google is undoubtedly one of the most popular search engines around today. However, they also have a plethora of apps. Some of which I find useful for planning a trip. Being the type A person that I am I enjoy being able to see all the details of a trip on my mobile device. If you are a fanatical scheduler then you are in the right place. Keep reading to find out how to plan your trip with Google from start to finish. (No, I do not work for Google, I just love the company).
I’ve written more in depth info about Google Flights in the article linked here. This website gives you the ability to view multiple flights over specific dates or you can search without dates using their “explore” feature. There’s even the capability to search based upon your interests (i.e. adventure travel, beaches, ecotourism, food, etc… ). You can not book your tickets through Google Flights, however, they will allow you to visit the airline’s site or that of an OTA to complete your purchase.
Google Inbox is like Gmail on steroids. Seriously, this app is great. Inbox automatically bundles all the emails regarding a trip into one itinerary. Some of the things included in the bundle are hotel reservations, flight confirmations, and booked excursions. You also have the ability to manually add emails to a trip bundle. Once you’ve finished compiling your trip you can email your entire itinerary in an easy-to-read list to anyone you desire (mom, I’m looking at you).
Google Drive is cloud storage at its finest. This app allows you to upload and build documents that can be accessed offline. I find this tool valuable for saving any documents related to my trip and a digital copy of my passport. This app also allows you to share your documents with whomever you choose and collaborate on a project at the same time. If you are planning a group trip this is a great way for everyone to upload sites they want to see, restaurants they’re interested in, and other areas of interest all to one document simultaneously.
Google Now is an app that is built into Android devices. Accessible from the Google search bar, Google Now allows you to see all of your trip info at glance. Some of the key information displayed is your flight details with your flight departure time, terminal, flight status, and even the time it will take for you to get to the airport from where you currently are. Upon arrival to your destination Google Now will display popular photo sites in the area, recommended activities, and even nearby restaurants. If you are in an international location the app will display a currency converter, clock with the time in your home country, and even a translator.
Google Translate is one of the most useful apps I have used when traveling. The app allows you to translate audio, typed text, and handwriting from one language into over 100 others. This service has proved invaluable when translating menus, signs, and even for having conversations with locals. Disclaimer: the translation is not always 100% but it being improved every day. If you don’t plan to use data on your trip, Google offers you the ability to download languages in advance. This gives you the freedom to translate while on Airplane Mode.
Other navigation apps, I’m gonna let you finish, but Google Maps is the best navigation app of all time. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration. But I’ve tried a ton of other navigation apps abroad and they’ve all failed me. Google Maps allows you to get directions, create custom maps with locations of interest, and download maps for offline viewing. You can look up directions for walking, driving, and even transit. The app also allows you to send addresses and directions to your phone from the computer and see a street view of locations.
Google Voice allows you to choose a phone number that is not tied to your mobile phone. You can receive texts and calls on any device which has the app downloaded. This allows you to text and make calls from your computer, phone, or tablet. Another feature the app includes is transcription of your voicemails.However, the most useful feature of Google Voice is the ability to make calls over wifi. Some cell phone service providers include this service for free. However, if you have a carrier that does not feature Wi-fi calling this is a great workaround. Calls are not as clear as if you were to be calling over a 3G or 4G connection, however, it’s great for keeping in contact with loved ones while abroad.
Google Hangouts allows you to text over wifi and place calls from your Google Voice number. The app allows you to view transcribed voicemails, texts, and Google Chat conversation all in one place. You also have the ability to share pics, videos, or your location. Video chats can be launched in the app as well with one person or a group.
*For more info on how Google apps can help you with your trip planning visit http://googletravel.blogspot.com/