Google has a great new tool for travelers. It’s called Google Trips and you can use it to download and store all your vital travel information right to your phone or tablet before you leave home. The best part is, it works while you are offline, so you can access your tickets, travel schedules, booking numbers, and emergency contact information from anywhere even without an internet connection. When you get to your destination, its all there, ready to help you locate your accommodations, find your way to the places you want to see, or get to that great restaurant you heard about.
Travel is a wonderful thing but it can be disorienting. At home, you have desk drawers and closets to organize and store all your stuff. Your printer is nearby in case you need a hard copy of an important document. Your cellphone and tablets are all synced via the internet. All the information you could possibly need is available at your fingertips 24 hours a day.
But when you are away from home, you are separated from everything that is comfortable and familiar. Suddenly, you are in a place where nobody speaks your language and all the signs look strange. Worst of all, not all parts of the world have reliable internet access.
If you use your phone to connect to the internet, you may run up alarming extra charges while you travel. For instance, AT&T charges $120 for 800 MB of data. Many people choose to turn their cell phones off while traveling to avoid roaming and data chargers. Using your phone to find out how to get to a restaurant may cost you more than the meal itself.
More than two years in the making, Google Trips is the culmination of Google’s travel products.The app works on both iOS and Android platforms. Google hopes it will become the default way for travelers to organize trip information ahead of their travels and get around town once they have arrived. “We’re doing a great job on the planning stages, but we really need to help consumers when they’re actually at their destination,” says Richard Holden, the company’s vice president of product management.
Sign in with your Google account — you can switch between your personal and business accounts as needed — and GoogleTrips will show you a list of your upcoming and previously completed trips. Selecting a future trip will bring you to a screen with a colorful grid of options to explore. “Reservations” organizes your flights, hotel information, and any rental car reservations you have made. “Need to Know” has useful information about getting from the airport to the center of the city, the local currency, and what to do in case of an emergency.
The best feature of Google Trips is the “Things To Do” section. It allows you to build custom itineraries based on how long you’ll be in town, popular destinations, and anything that you’ve previously starred or saved on a Google service. You can select a general itinerary or access guides that focus on shopping, museums, or other activities. And each guide can be edited to include other destinations you’d like to visit.
If you are able to access the internet on your phone (Check with your phone provider. International calling and data plans are often confusing and expensive.), Google Trips will notify you which destinations are open or closed right now. It can also adapt to changes in weather. If the day turns cloudy or rainy, it will recommend indoor activities nearby. Tap the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button for recommendations about things to do locally or press the red “magic wand” for random highlights about the city you are in.
Google Trips currently works in 200 cities around the world, but its data retrieval features and map functions work anywhere. Just download your important documents and directions to places you want to go before you leave home and Google Trips will be there to assist you when you arrive at your destination, no matter where in the world you happen to be.
The app is free, which is a plus for most people. There are other services that charge for their use but they are geared more towards the business traveler. Whether you are a timid traveler or an intrepid adventurer, Google Trips can play an important role in making your next eco-adventure a happy, stress free, and economical journey.
Source: The Verge Photo credit: Google