Last Updated on August 31, 2020
Why waste hours of your time trying to find the perfect flight search engine, when there’s Google Flights?
Since its introduction in 2011, it’s been a go-to resource for travelers the world over. It also makes more sense if you’re already using other Google apps (e.g. Calendar, Drive, Photos, Translate, etc.). Plus, it’s quick, user-friendly, and FREE.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration, or searching for the best domestic flight deals, you can’t go wrong with this app. But there’s so much more to this flight search engine. Be a travel wizard with these amazing Google Flights tricks and secrets.
The Best Google Flights Tricks and Secrets
**Due to COVID-19, Google Flights will show you notifications on flight restrictions based on your chosen destination. Always check government guidelines, and plan your trips accordingly.**
1. Get destination ideas.
Frequent travelers AND novice adventurers can instantly begin planning their trip from the homepage.
Select the type of trip (e.g. round trip, one-way), number of passengers, and seat type (e.g. economy, first class, etc.). Then just type in your destination (e.g. Tokyo or Istanbul) and hit Search. Google Flights will then show you all the airports and available flights.
You will see the highest rated hotels around that area as well. Aside from this information, you’ll find tips on when best to visit and stuff you can do while there (e.g. sites of interest). Definitely a huge help when it comes to getting started in that itinerary.
2. Compare travel dates.
How long do you think your trip will last? While it’s okay to be adventurous and throw your cares to the wind, you can’t always extend your travels. One of the most important things to factor in is how long you expect to stay before flying back.
At Google Flights, when comparing travel dates, you can click on the little option at the bottom left-hand side of the calendar for ‘Show prices in ___ for ___ day trips’. This shows ticket fares based on how long you plan to stay at your destination. Prices can go up or down on a given day, depending if you’re flying back on the same day, or a week later.
3. Find the cheapest days to fly.
How to check for this at a glance: right on the Google Flights homepage, just select your destination, and click on Date Grid. Here you’ll see the predicted ticket prices by the day. Green means lower than the usual fare, and red means more expensive. This is super helpful, particularly for roundtrip fares.
Using this method should aid you in making a more informed decision on when to go, and when to be back. For instance: say it’s cheapest to fly Wednesdays, for the entire month. If you only have 7 days for holiday, you can fly on Wednesday of this week, and come back on the same day next week. This maximizes the exact number of days for your break.
4. Find flights for multiple cities.
Planning to hit up several cities at once during your vacation? Don’t worry, Google Flights has got you covered.
This flight search engine can get you results for up to 7 departure and destinations in the search box. It will present you with its top three best flights (your first stop), followed by your other destination choices.
For example: if you’re from New York and are planning to visit Asia, you can click the plus button and add Tokyo, Taipei, and Manila. Make sure to click on ‘All Airports’ so you see all available options.
5. Intuitive filters.
Make sorting through all that flight info quick and easy using the app’s intuitive filter options. Once you’ve entered your flight details, you can sort data by best flights, prices, duration, as well as departure and arrival times. Click on one flight for more information, such as airport name, type of plane, legroom, and even expected travel time.
6. Get fare change alerts.
So you’ve got your heart set on that Hawaii weekend two months from now.
Sure, it’s still a long way down the road. Buying a ticket now doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, you’ve already filed for a paid leave at work, and even bought yourself a cool shirt. What you don’t want is for the prices of those tickets to change at the last minute. Budget’s tight, after all.
Google Flights solves this dilemma. If you’ve been able to click on ‘Track Prices’ for the given destination, you’re going to be alerted should fares change on those dates – giving you time to change your mind, or adjust your budget.
7. View price history.
Thanks to its advanced algorithm, Google Flights can help you view the price history for flights on your desired destination. You can check how much tickets cost three or even six months before. Having this information may come in handy for those who want to confirm price spikes, especially during certain months (i.e. the holidays or summer months).
It can also aid you in future decisions as to when to plan for big trips. For example: based on its price history, you know that it’s cheapest to fly to Manila during January. If you’re going there for business or pleasure, you can draw plans around that month to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
8. Compare airport options.
Just because it’s the biggest and most popular airport, doesn’t necessarily mean you should be landing there. Did you know that it can sometimes be cheaper if you tried a different airport?
For folks who are comfortable with taking the ‘road less traveled’, click on the Airports option after choosing your flight details to see other airports for your destination. From here, you can: a) compare prices, and b) check the airport’s distance to the city center.
9. Track pricing trends.
Here’s the thing: every traveler out there wants to think they’ve got the best tips up their sleeve, especially as they’ve been going around the globe for a few years now. But the reality is that, things change. What you think may be a good deal out there could not be so hot after two weeks.
So instead of playing a guessing game as to when ticket prices tend to drop, just turn on Google Flights’ ‘Track Prices’ function from the homepage. This will ensure you’re updated as to when the lowest prices are going to be for your chosen trip, and receive those alerts via email.
10. Explore Destinations with Places.
First time traveler? Not sure where to spend that much awaited summer vacation? Google Flights isn’t just for people who are sure where they’d want to go – it’s also for folks who are just looking for a little inspiration.
Click on the ‘Explore Destinations’ option from the homepage to get started. There you can view possible destinations from your original location. Zoom in or out of the map to check on each one. Depending on the route, ticket prices may or may not be available as well.
11. Create a trip.
For Android fans, you can seamlessly make travel plans from your desktop that will appear across your other Android devices. Google Flights makes this possible. If you have an upcoming trip in mind, quickly schedule one from Google Flights.
Select Trips, then click on the plus sign for Create a Trip. Input your destination and dates. Save it, and voila! You have just begun your own itinerary. All you need now is to actually book a flight, save your favorite travel articles, or enter reservations for hotels, car rentals, restaurants, and more. All these in a single, smooth transaction.
12. Use Google Tips.
Even if you have plenty of time to enjoy your travels, you’d still want to make the most out of your itinerary. Here’s where Google Tips will come in handy. From the Date Grid, you’ll see there an option for Tips.
Click that and you’ll be redirected to a different window with landmarks, restaurants, museums, as well as popular neighborhoods in the place you wish to visit. There’s also a street map so you know where these sites are located. The ‘Suggested by plans’ will offer suggestions fit for anyone – from someone who only has one day to afford, to the backpacker who will stay for a whole week.
Other features include: travel articles, itinerary recommendations, day plans, and iconic dishes to try. Don’t forget to save suggestions you like, so you never forget attractions worthy of a side trip.
Do you use Google Flights for planning your trips? Why or why not? Hopefully, after reading this article, you’d be motivated to try using this amazing app for your future travel needs!