In the last quarter of 2016, Google introduced its latest innovation: Google Trips. This free app, which is available for Android and iOS, aims to provide personalised recommendations by tapping on a myriad of Google services—most of which you probably already use (think Gmail, Google Calendar, and the likes).
So here’s the pitch:
Google Trips is a supposed trip-planning genie of sort. With just a few swipes and taps on your mobile screen, the app allows you to easily manage all your holiday plans in one place. Google Trips aims to efficiently consolidate and organise your travel data (flight, hotel, and activity bookings) by sieving them out from your other accounts and integrating them into the app.
That sounds pretty nifty to us! So one of our resident writers, Sofia, let Google Trips have a go at being her virtual tour guide. Here’s how it went:
Google Trips: The Road Test
Some of you may have never heard of Google Trips, and that was the case for me three months ago, before I embarked on a solo trip to Sri Lanka. I found myself sick of having to repeatedly pull out details like my flight numbers and the address of my booked hotels, and all on different booking channels too!
That’s when I discovered Google Trips. I tapped “install” and the test drive began.
Upon successful download, I got my first pleasant surprise. I was prompted to log in using an existing Google Account, and to my astonishment, immediately all my current reservations, flight information, and hotel bookings were reflected under the “Reservations” tab!
I love that the app (which runs on a mere 51.5MB of storage, by the way) classified my data into six key tabs: Reservations, Need to Know, Things to Do, Day Plans, Getting Around, and Saved Places. This was incredibly convenient and saved me a lot of time.
Use it On- or Offline
My next favourite thing about Google Trips is that is readily available offline. I could plan my route and save information on my destinations while I had internet access, and then refer to it in offline mode while on the go.
This translated to tons of savings from exorbitant data roaming charges. Adding to that, the offline function is highly handy if your itinerary covers remote areas with poor cell service. That was the case for me: I was having difficulties activating my local SIM card and Google Trips really made up for all the lost time. If you are travelling in a group and are sharing a Wi-Fi router, you could make use of the online benefits. This includes real time updates on weather forecasts and opening hours of attractions.
Tailor-made Travel Recommendations
As an added bonus, Google Trips has a kind of in-app resource library.
The “Need to Know” tab essentially provides crucial information from details of airport transfers, local currency exchange and emergency contact information. Under “Things to Do”, specific guides for popular shopping districts, museum visits, fun tours and other activities can be easily obtained for reference. Suitable destinations are even recommended based on your interests. If there is anything that grabs your attention, hit the star button to store it under “Saved Places”.
As my trip progressed to other parts of Sri Lanka, I found greater use for the app by exploring the “Day Plans” functions. It helped me to fully maximize the 12 hours that I had in Kandy! How? In lightning speed, Google Trips mapped out half-day and full-day itineraries, curated to my needs. It incorporated my personal preferences, time constraints, and dietary requirements.
If you’re part of the more spontaneous lot, the app also offers random highlights to discover! Plus, you won’t need to rack your brains trying to figure out the complex public transport systems. The “Getting Around” tab will provide step by step directions.
Verdict: Google Trips is a Yay!
We’d trade our bulky travel guidebooks and flimsy maps for this all-in-one app any day. With all the information you need attainable through just a few taps on the app, you can spend less time planning, and more time exploring.
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