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How to get ready for a road trip using Google’s travel site and Maps

Avatar for Andrew Romero

Due to the pandemic, travel has been slow this past year, and you might be a little rusty when it comes to picking up and traveling somewhere to visit friends and family or just planning a getaway. Whatever the case, Google has a few helpful tools in Google Maps and Google’s travel site to help you get started on making those plans and staying safe along the way.

Table of contents

Getting started with google’s travel website, using google map’s road trip feature, planning a trip around covid-19 restrictions.

Google’s travel website is meant to be a companion site that can help you plan all of the details of your trip. You can use it to book flights, make an itinerary, and even explore interesting places to visit at your destination. If you have a Gmail account , there’s a good chance that any flight reservation you make will automatically appear the next time you use Google’s travel site, making it that much easier to plan the trip’s details. If not, Google Travel may suggest locations based on your search history and interests. While that may be a little creepy, it can also be pretty helpful.

If no destination has been chosen yet, Google will suggest locations in the “Explore” tab. You can filter these locations based on flight and hotel cost, giving you a pretty good idea of where a nice place to go would be. After choosing a destination, Google gives you a few options as far as what you’d want to know. There’s a “Discover” section that will break down various points of interest. In bigger cities, you may find the number of things to do or see endless. Fortunately, you can filter out locations and activities based on your personal interest.

If there are a few places that pique your curiosity, or you already know you want to go there, Google allows you to save them to the trip and pin them to the trip’s detail page. This serves as a sort of to-do list when you get where you’re going.

Google Travel bookmarks

If you don’t plan on flying and want to avoid certain COVID-19 hotspots, Google Maps is probably the way to go. Just this year, Google added a feature to the Maps website that allows you to add stops along the route when planning the trip. Previously this was possible on mobile, but it didn’t lend itself well to planning out a road trip to be shared with friends and family. Adding stops along the way with Google Maps on mobile was best for impromptu stops.

Once you’ve defined a starting point and destination, you can add stops along the way. You can add anything from a city to rest stops and gas stations. You can do this by either manually entering a stop you already know you would like to pause at, or by choosing one of the criteria towards the top of the screen. Google Maps lets you narrow down your search by these criteria:

When selecting from one of these criteria, Google will also suggest a few filters. For instance, choosing hotels will bring up a “Guest rating” filter, as well as an “Amenities” filter, so you make sure that you’re getting free wifi. Of course, if none of these fit the bill, you can always just search for what you want. The nice thing is that these suggestions can add a little flare to the trip by suggesting something you would have never thought about, making the road trip that much more exciting.

Once you find a point of interest, hit add stop , and Google Maps will automatically insert it in the right spot on the planned route. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to define how much time you plan on spending at that stop, so the trip time might have to be calculated manually. Besides that, Google Maps has become a handy road trip planner with enough tools to get you where you’re going and let you have some fun along the way.

travel google maps

The major caveat to traveling right now is the looming risk of COVID-19. Fortunately, the travel website by Google and Maps both supply some great tools for managing risk and assessing where you plan to go.

On the travel website, you can find up-to-date COVID-19 information for your destination pretty easily. You can access this information by searching for and clicking on the destination . Under the main card that lists the date of your trip, area name, and weather, there will be a COVID information section. This section has useful information like the CDC’s travel advisory website, COVID-19 stats for that specific area, and the number of local cases.

travel google maps

Clicking on the “Travel advisory” button brings you to the CDC’s COVID-19 map. This map is a risk assessment of most destinations in the world, color-coded depending on how risky it is to travel there. The second button will search Google for COVID-19 information on the location you’re traveling to, detailing data like news, statistics, and testing locations. The “Local cases” button will show even more detailed information about active cases, vaccines administered, and deaths in the area. All of this is fantastic information to have when traveling and comes in handy when planning your trip.

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There's an easier way to plan and organize your trips—here's how

May 14, 2019

Richard Holden

Travel planning is complicated. The number of tools and amount of information you need to sift through when deciding where to go, where to stay and what flight to take can be time consuming and overwhelming. That’s why today, we’re simplifying the way we help travelers plan trips with Google across devices.

When you’re planning a trip—whether you’re on desktop or mobile—we want to help you find the information you need, fast. Last year , we simplified trip planning by making navigation between Google Flights, Hotels, and Trips easier on smartphones. We’re now rolling this out on desktop as well. You can either go to or search for something like “hotels in Tokyo” or “Vancouver” to find travel information from a variety of sources in one place.

As you plan a trip, your research and reservations will be organized for you in Trips. As we continue to evolve Google Trips, we’re making this information more accessible at, and in Google Search and Google Maps. We’re also adding a few new features to make planning and organizing your trips easier.

One place for all of your trip details

Last year , we started adding your trip reservations for things like hotels and flights to a trip timeline for your upcoming trips, when you’re signed into your Google account and you’ve received a confirmation in Gmail. When you go to, you can now make edits directly to your trips timeline, and in a few weeks you’ll be able to manually add new reservations as well.

Whether you’re packing your bags or finalizing your travel dates, the weather is an important part of every trip. You’ll now see the weather for any upcoming or potential trips at—so you can make sure you’re prepared, rain or shine.

Keep track of research and keep planning

It often takes days or weeks to plan a trip. When you need to pick up planning again, we’ll keep track of your trip research across Google. Recent searches, saved places and flights you’re tracking are added automatically to your trips when you’re signed into your Google Account. Soon, we’ll add viewed things to do and saved and viewed hotels to your trips. When you want to continue planning, all of your research will be waiting for you at If you don’t want to see private results, you can opt out by adjusting your results and web & app activity settings.

When you’re ready to continue researching other parts of your trip, scroll down to see travel articles and find out more about a destination like suggested day plans, popular restaurants around your hotel and events happening during your dates.

Continue planning on-the-go  

When you’re on-the-go or visiting a new place, we’ll do more to highlight things to do, restaurants and more with Google Maps. For instance, last year we made it easier to find the best places to see and things to do when using Google Maps to explore a new place. Now, we’ll also help you get the lay of the land when you’re traveling by pointing out popular neighborhoods nearby and what they’re known for.

And in the next few months, your trips—including reservations for things like hotels and restaurants—will be accessible in Google Maps, too.

Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device. We’ll continue to make planning and taking trips easier with Google Maps, Google Search and —so you can get out and enjoy the world.

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