A few years ago, a German friend invited me to take a last-minute trip to Oktoberfest. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tick off a bucket-list item, with the added benefit of having a local tour guide. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of planning to purchase a European SIM card when I got to the airport – which didn’t work out. I was dead in the water: no phone, no way to contact anyone, forced to wander around an unfamiliar airport with only a smattering of German. All of my carefully made plans lay locked behind the “No Service” sign mocking me from my phone screen.

If only I had something like the new Google Trips app.

Google recently launched the new smartphone app to help travelers plan and organize their trips better. It captures details about your trip – such as flight and hotel information, dates, times and destinations – directly from your Gmail account and builds a personalized itinerary for you. If you have more than one Google account, you can switch back and forth between them in the app. However, start with the account that you used to book your flight, hotel, and rental car to make sure the app builds a complete itinerary for you.


Your Plans Are Available Offline

The coolest thing is that it’s all available offline (as long as you download your itinerary when you have connectivity), which would have saved me wandering around the Munich airport hoping to bump into someone I know. There’s a “Need to Know” feature that provides information about getting from the airport to your hotel, local currency and emergency contacts. Problem solved.

The App Suggests Popular Itineraries

Another nice feature is the half-day and full-day itineraries for your destination that Google Trips will map out based on reviews and comments from other Google account holders. These “local gems” are currently available for 200 cities around the world, with more to come. If you don’t like a particular itinerary suggestion, you just tap the “magic wand” tool to receive different suggestions.

Build Plans Around Your Must-See Attractions

If you already have a must-see attraction in mind at your destination – an unusual museum you want to see or secret beach you have to check out – just plug it into the app. Google Trips will then take you to a map view around that destination and show you other nearby attractions that you may want to check out. You can input how much time you have to spend, from a few hours to the entire day, and the app will tailor suggestions accordingly.

Get Real-Time Recommendations

When you do have a cellular connection, Google Trips gets even better. You’ll get real-time information about the points on your itinerary, including what attractions are closed and where you should go instead. If you’ve planning something outdoors and it starts raining, the app will offer alternate suggestions for indoor activities.

If you’re planning an international trip where connectivity may be questionable, don’t be caught without your plans at your fingertips. The app is free and available for download on both Android and iOS.

Image courtesy of: Google Blog.


About The Author

Bill Conn is a travel enthusiast and writer at Scribewise. His favorite travel destinations include Shanghai, Vancouver, Munich – and of course, his home town of Philadelphia. Visit www.scribewise.com

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