Google’s new Destinations feature lets you plan trips right from its search engine on mobile, making it easier than ever to plan a trip or vacation by looking up destinations, complete with flight and hotels prices.
The service is only available on mobile — Google explained that oddity by saying it saw a 50 percent spike in travel-related questions on mobile devices last year — but, beyond convenience, it is intended to offer discovery, too.
Destinations include activity suggestions, in the form of curated itineraries, for an initial 201 cities worldwide. So, if you want to visit a new place but are not 100 percent sure what to do there, Google hopes to give you some ideas and convince you to book that ticket.
On the subject of bookings themselves, Google Destinations sends users to airline websites to complete their purchase, but it does offer some nifty features before that step. In addition to estimating the cost of a flight and hotel, it allows users to switch their travel dates to help show when prices are at their lowest, or the cost at a particular time of the year. There is also an ‘Explore’ tab to give you a snapshot of the weather at each destination, an important factor when planning a trip.
Google Destinations is initially available in the US and a handful of other countries. From our time using it, we found it to be quick and useful. It remains to be seen if people will pay for large ticket items spontaneously via their phone. If nothing else, Destinations is a far better way to fill five minutes of downtime on the bus than Candy Crush.