Google Travel gets COVID-related health and safety info

When you search on Google for information about hotels, flights or things to do - you can easily check to see if there's a COVID-19 travel advisory...

Google Travel updated for COVID-19

Although the pandemic is still raging all around the world, many people are planning to travel. To help them out, Google updated its Google Travel app and a few other services to help users make informed travel decisions.

Here are all the ways Google wants to help users stay safe on their travels:

Quick access to the latest travel information

When you search on Google for information about hotels, flights or things to do – you can easily check to see if there’s a COVID-19 travel advisory or restriction for your destination. If there are no restrictions, you can see indicators for travel reopening, like the percentage of flights operating or hotels with availability, directly in your Search results.

On you can also see trends for flight and hotel availability over the past six months, as well as links to local resources, like the number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

Book accommodation with free cancellation

Earlier this year, Google added a hotel “Free cancellation” filter on Search and to help you easily find properties with a refundable rate. In addition to refundable rates, many hotels and vacation rentals are taking additional measures to ensure the safety of guests in response to COVID-19.

Now when you search for a place to stay through Google and view a specific property, you may see a tip when additional health and safety precautions, like enhanced cleaning, are being taken. Tap on the “About” tab to see the full list.

To make this possible and to include even more details, Google is working with hotels and vacation rental providers, as well as industry associations. In that sense, the company is inviting hotel owners to update their “Google My Business” pages with these details.

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you’re planning to visit a new city, you can use the COVID layer in Google Maps to quickly get information about COVID-19 cases in the area-so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do.

Also, once you’re headed out on your trip, you can use Google Maps to see helpful safety alerts along the way — with Google notifying you about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route.

Additionally, if you plan to take public transportation, you’ll see alerts from local transit agencies, so you can quickly know if government mandates impact transit services or require you to wear a mask while riding the bus, subway, or train.

Finally, for those not traveling this holiday season, they can use new features in Google Maps or Google Photos to take a walk down memory lane using the “Trips” tab in Timeline to see a summary of their past vacations, along with information about the places they visited. It’s not the same as traveling, but I guess these times are very different than what we’ve used to.