If you’re a traveler or someone wanting to jump into traveling more, google flights should be your right hand man. It’s always the first place I search when I look for flights! I absolutely love google flights and it’s not JUST helpful for finding the best deal, it also comes in handy if you just want to go places, flight tracking, and a ton more which I will be discussing here. This post is just a break down of what it can do and how you can utilize it to the fullest to make your vacays not only cheap but ensure you’re getting the best deal. Who’s ready to save?
Google flights is broken into a few different categories: trips, explore, flights, hotels and packages. All can come in handy when using google flights to search, plan, research and book your vacations. I will go through each category and what it can be used for!
Trips is a really cool feature on google flights that I don’t feel gets talked about enough. It is basically an organizational tool that allows you to see your upcoming trip itineraries and also past trip itineraries. It also suggest potential trips for you to go on. It’s handy because staying organized is so important when traveling and being able to have quick and easy access to your plans is really helpful.
Each trip will have it’s own little bubble and you can hit view details and it will lay out your itinerary with flight, stay, restaurants or anything that is linked with your google account that is on the books for your trip. You can also add things that are synced, if you used a different email to book. I love having everything laid out in sequential order; it just makes everything so neat and for someone like me, who is super forgetful, it helps having my itinerary like this.
Trips also includes different articles that can come in handy on your trip like “21 best things to do in Prague” or other useful tidbits like that. You can instantly find things to do, ideas on things going on around the area and the like all from this category.
The explore feature is super fun to play around with. You can type in a city and it will give you SO MUCH info about said city and even gives you ideas on different itineraries, stuff to do, day trips to take, where to eat, ALL THAT. It’s one of my fave features google flights has. If you’re ever wondering what to do somewhere or just simply looking for ideas on what you have time to do, this is a great feature. I use it often when I’m just looking for ideas on where to go and have some fun.
As you can see, Explore literally allows you to search a place and gives you everything you need in one place. You can look at travel videos related, different itinerary options, day trip ideas, things to do. I love this feature and it is such a great resource for having everything in one place.
*cue angelic music* This feature is a gift from God or whoever is out there. This is literally my go to resource for finding flights, price tracking, destination ideas, everything. Anyone asking me how to find cheap flights? This. Where to book flights? this. How to price track? This. Your one stop shop for everything flight related. Okay, enough gushing about it. Here’s how you can use it to your advantage.
You can use google flights to search for flights, of course. You can do so much more within this feature, though. All you need is where you are leaving from and the world is your oyster. You can be as specific or as general as you’d like. It’s similar to Skyscanner’s anywhere feature. This feature is awesome simply because it will show you prices for tons and tons of destinations all at one time. You can use this when you 1. don’t have anywhere specific in mind but want to go somewhere; 2. you do have somewhere specific in mind but don’t care where you fly into (like say you want to go to Italy but you don’t mind WHERE in Italy you fly to or want to go to Rome but it may be cheaper to fly into a nearby airport).
Another great thing is you can be as specific or flexible with your dates as you need. Sometimes you just want to go somewhere and you don’t have dates in mind and you can search around based on price, or when it’s most cheap to go. Sometimes you have specific dates in mind but need a destination and you can use those dates and a general area to find where is cheapest to go. This is especially great for those who have jobs where you can only have xyz days off.
You can also filter your search by price, say you don’t want to spend more than $800 on a flight. You can slide the price slider lower or higher and see only flights that fit that criteria.
Google flights also allows you to search for multiple airports/destinations at once which is great for a quick comparison of length and price of a trip!
Choosing/Booking a Flight
Once you decide on a place to go, you can book your flight. There’s a lot to take in on this page:
So, you get a list of flights. Google lists these flights by best to worst essentially, taking into account not only price but also length. The best option(s) will be highlighted in green where it says price. You can choose this flight by clicking it and then if it is a roundtrip flight, you will be presented with roundtrip options:
Google will then give you another list of options but for a return flight. It will be listed the same way, by best flight options highlighted in green. You can see here the best options by their standards are also “seperate tickets“. This means you will have to buy the tickets separately, on two different websites. This is common if it is two different airlines. If you don’t want to do that, you can just scroll a bit until you see the same airlines. This may mean the price will increase, however. Since Google lists options by best flights, they will always do what is cheapest and shortest in green. If you choose a different option, your flight total nay be different than the one they highlight.
As you can see, I chose to keep it in the delta family and picked a Delta flight for the return even though the United flight option would have been $30 less. This made my total $361 instead of $331. Now that we’ve picked a flight, it’s time to book. But wait, what is that at the bottom? Well, those are even MORE options for you to choose from. Since many airlines have created basic economy options, you now have to decide to stay basic and keep your low price OR get regular economy ticket and pay the extra costs. Luckily Goggle lists what is included and not included for each to make it easier for you to decide right then and there what suits your needs. Yay! Now, for actually booking, Google shows you exactly where you can go to book this flight. Sometimes, you will get a ton of different options like Google itself, Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, random places i’ve never even heard of, travel agents and the airline itself. I personally will always go with a place I know such as the airlines, Expedia or through Google. Airline or Google is always your best bet because if there is any issue, you can go directly to the source: the airline.
You’ll also notice Google tells you about the price for the flight, which I love. I love knowing if I’m getting a good or bad deal or not. The thought of knowing I saved money on a flight helps me sleep at night. That little chart is just a nice touch.
Google has a flight insights feature that allows you to do a bunch of things such as view a price graph, price calendar, date grid and nearby airports.
The calendar feature shows you the cheapest days for a trip for a particular destination. You can scroll through the calendar and see when flights are cheapest and highest and plan a trip accordingly. This is a major win for those with some wiggle-room in there schedules. Instead of leaving on Thursday, you can leave Friday and save a ton of money. Major key!
If you’re more into graphs, they also have a price graph you can access. Just click price graph and voila:
You will be taken to something like this, each graph will be different, of course. But this basically shows you the same info as the calendar but now in a graph form. You can hover above each bar and see the different flight prices for different times of each month.
The Date grid will get even more in depth and is presented like a matrix with the cheapest days to fly in green and the more pricey days to fly in red.
These options all ultimately do the same thing and show you when is the cheapest days to fly and how you can plan your travel around these cheaper days.
Price Tracking: Google is a great way to price track. You can do it directly through google flights and it not only allows you to track specific flights BUT also allows you to track routes for all flights for that specific trip and be updated when any of the flights increase or decrease.
To view all your tracked flights, go to the main menu of google flights and you will see tracked flight prices near the bottom:
Once you click on that, you will be taken to a page with all your tracked flights/routes and be able to see the current prices. You can also look at the price history of each and see what the flight has been doing price wise. Prices are always fluctuating so it’s cool being able to see patterns or to get a general idea of how that flight has been going.
Nearby airports: This feature allows you to see any airports that are nearby and gives you the price for each. It’s a good way to determine which airport you want to fly into and which would be better for your trip. A great way to save money is knowing which airport is cheaper because all airports in one city/near a city are not the same price; many times one is more expensive than the other based on things like size, proximity, etc.
Tips: This is actually a part of the explore section and clicking it will take you back to the travel guides and things to do. For more on that, just scroll up 🙂
This feature is awesome for those who want a hotel to stay in. Google is such a powerful search engine and is able to give you so much info, all at the click of a button and all in one place. Once you get to the hotels function, you will need a destination. They even offer you ideas on popular destinations.
Once you know where you want to go, you can add in your destination and dates and Google will give you all kinds of hotels to choose from and their price. You will get anything from 2 star places to luxury and everything in between.
You can scroll and scroll forever but you should start filtering. Google allows you to filter all kinds of ways such as amenities, ratings, brands, and pricing. You can also use the map they provide if you know an area you want to stay in. Google also gives you some other insights such as where to stay, when to visit and what you’ll pay.
Where to stay basically gives you a list of the best areas to stay in, a little overview of each area, a rating and the average nightly price. This is great if you really don’t know much about where you’re going and instead of doing a separate google search, it is all right there.
When to visit describes the best times to visit and also shows you how much hotels are typically during this time. It is by month and shows things like weather and how popular/crowded it is during these times. This is great info for understanding peak, low, and shoulder season and being able to make connections with pricing and popular times and weather. They’re all connected.
What you’ll pay shows you different pricing for different levels of accommodation. This is on average and they will give you a price graph to show if that is norma, low or high for the dates you entered. You can also use this as a filter to do searching.
Once you enter your filters and know what area you want to stay, you can start looking at hotels. Decide on one, and Google will give you a bunch of different options on where you can book and what the price is on each site. You can compare prices because every site won’t necessarily have the same options.
This feature is awesome for people who just want a package deal and to be done with all this planning mumbo jumbo. Google allows you to explore destinations, browse package deals for these places and book them. Once you pick a destination, you are then offered multiple package deals to choose from featuring different flight and hotel options.
This option is great for those who are looking for package deals and aren’t sure where to start. Google even shows you the hotel reviews and similar packages you can choose from, as well. Once you decide on one package, Google then takes you to the correct site to book the package. Simple!
Other things To Note
Besides ALL of this, Google flights features other little tidbits that I feel are worth mentioning:
Overhead Bin Access: Google flights allows you to filter flights by which you can have overhead bin access with.
Flight Delay Prediction: Google lets you know if the flight is often delayed and by how much time.
Price Change Prediction: Google lets you know if a price is likely to increase or decrease in the next few days. This will only pop up if they predict it will increase in the next couple of days so you won’t see this often. It is also just a prediction so they don’t know for sure but base it off historical data.
Sharing Flights: You can share flights with yourself or others with a link! They’ll either email it to the person or you can copy the link.
Basically, Google is such an amazing and powerful tool when it comes to travel. Everything you could want is at the touch of your fingers, all in one place. The convenience and thoroughness is amazing for anyone’s travel needs. I hope more people are able to utilize this to the fullest and the best part is: IT IS FREE.
Did you find this article helpful? Did you learn anything? Let me know in the comments!