The vacation planning process is about to get a little easier (and cheaper).
While Google's flight and hotel searches already offer travelers great comprehensive tools for searching for airfares and room options, updates announced Tuesday could make it easier to save money and time.
The new flight features, available on mobile immediately and rolling out to desktop later this year, give travelers more ways to compare prices for different dates, airports, and hotel locations for their desired destination.
The features are especially helpful for travelers who have some flexibility when it comes to their travel schedule.
Airfares in Google Flights will appear in a calendar view and in a price graph, showing travelers the cheapest and most expensive airfares for a wide range of travel days. (This is an expansion on the previously available dropdown calendar view.)
Travelers can also easily consider nearby airports for a better deal. According to Google, choosing an alternate airport results in a cheaper price for more than 25 percent of flight searches. Google Flights will now feature an interactive map showing travelers the distance between each airport and their final destination, as well as the varying flight prices between these nearby airports.
Google's hotel searches are getting an upgrade, too. Not only will users be able to see nightly hotel rates in an easy-to-scan calendar view, but they’ll also be able to explore price trends for specific hotels they’re interested in, watching how rates change throughout the season.
Most notably, hotel prices will now appear directly on Google’s interactive map, a user-friendly feature allowing travelers to quickly scan the areas they’re interested in and select hotels based on exact location and price.
The changes are relatively small, but they could mean significant savings for travelers who can now more easily compare dates, rates, and locations before they book a trip.