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Navigating COVID-19 with Help from Google Travel Tools

New search features offer current information about air travel restrictions, hotel openings and ground trips

Whether traveling for business or leisure in the age of COVID-19, making plans with any kind of certainty can be an exercise in frustration. In response, travel providers, industry organizations and booking platforms have developed a whole raft of information aids to help keep up  with rapidly changing conditions and hot spots.

One of the latest additions to the traveler’s toolkit comes from some recently added features to Google Travel’s search-engine capabilities. Getting travel-related updates about hotels, flights, or things to do accompanied by related travel restrictions or advisories has been a regular Google search feature throughout the pandemic.

Google’s newest features allow travelers to plan their trips using more in-depth information about specific COVID-19-related travel changes. For example, those driving to their destination will find travel alerts are now posted on Google Maps. The alert notifies drivers about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along their route.

As authorities lift restrictions and advisories, new information about the resumption of travel to a specific destination is updated. The features enable the traveler to view the percentage of open hotels with availability, and see which flights operate to the destination airports based on Google Flights and Hotels data taken from the previous week.

Another new tool uses Google Travel’s search filter to view only rooms or properties with free cancellation policies, giving travelers more flexibility in the face of last-minute COVID-19 restrictions.