Google's New Travel Feature Provides COVID-19 Info, So You Can Book Safer Trips

If you're going to plan a pandemic trip...


Despite the fact that there's a pandemic plaguing our country, Americans have started traveling again -- in many cases by road tripping nearby or catching a flight somewhere with low case counts. Now, Google Travel is making that task easier. 

The tech giant is pulling all the coronavirus-related stats you'll need to plan a safe pandemic trip, with necessary information on local attractions, flights, and hotels. 

"The No. 1 question we are getting is: can we travel safely at all?" vice president of product management for Google Travel Richard Holden told Bloomberg last week. "And we’ve tried to address that by including advisory updates in travel searches. The next question is where? And when I do decide to emerge, what will be operational?" 

Number of active coronavirus cases is key information for picking your destination. Google Travel is ensuring you have that necessary data by highlighting those numbers next to each location. According to the CDC and just common sense, the more cases, the more likely you'll get infected. The new feature also provides info on the percentage of available hotel rooms, percentage of flights operating your needed route, average prices, as well as linked travel advisories and trends.

If you're still taking the extra precautions and not traveling (that is the safest way to avoid spread), you can always plan a future trip instead. You can pin locations on your Google Map and track flights and hotel prices to score the best deals.

Google's travel division is planning to do more, too. "We’ve thought about adding amenity checklists that speak to COVID-19 safety protocols," Holden added. "Hotels are very interested in sharing that information, and we’re eager to communicate it."

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.