Meet Google Destinations, Your New Vacation Planner

With Destinations, the company eases at least one of the headaches of organizing travel.

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According to Google’s “internal data,” people ask their smartphones 50 percent more travel-related questions when the weather starts to warm. To cater to the spike in requests, the company just launched Destinations on Google, a new search tool designed to help people discover and plan their vacation. It’s free, doesn’t require any downloading, and is already integrated with Google Search.

Destinations on Google is incredibly easy to use. Open the Google app on your smartphone and, in the Search bar, type in a continent, country, or state that you’re interested in traveling to — just add the word “destination” or “vacation” at the end. If you have a specific activity in mind, like tracking puma in Patagonia or snowmobiling on the Iditarod Trail, type in those as well and the app will come with recommendations.

When the search is complete, Destinations will open two tabs: “Explore” and “Plan a Trip.” Explore gives users a description and photos of the area, a snapshot of what the weather is like and which locations are most popular. The “Plan a Trip” tab instantly pulls information about flights and places to stay. It accesses Google Flights and Google’s hotel search function to give users price ranges for the next six months. The “Flexible Dates” filter also helps users refine their search by month. And yes, they can compare different rates across multiple destinations, at a number of different time frames — all at the same time.

Destinations on Google has 201 destinations with pre-curated itineraries. But unfortunately, according to The Verge, flights and hotels can’t be booked directly through the app; you’ll still have to go through those specific companies’ websites. Also, Destinations on Google is only available for mobile users. So if you’re the type of person who likes to plan their next trip while waiting in line at Starbucks, or daydreaming at work, Destinations on Google is great. If you’re a desktop loyalist or have limited mobile data, maybe not so much.

Need vacation ideas? Look below.

Best Places to Travel in 2016

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Travel engages us in the small moments — a conversation with a foreign cabbie, the feeling of breathlessness in high altitude. For 2016, these places are where great adventures will take place, and where travelers will be forever changed. Read the story, here.

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