Google says that based on the searches it's been getting, travel interest appears to be on the rebound now that COVID-19 vaccines have started rolling out. Planning trips at this point is still tricky, though, because travel restrictions vary across countries and could change anytime. To help you keep track of your dream destination's rules, Google has launched a new feature that lets you opt into getting an email if travel advisories change for a particular location.
If you search for travel information such as flights or hotels on mobile, you'll now see the "Receive an email if this guidance changes" option in the COVID—19 advisory panel. As long as you're signed into a Google account, you'll be able to toggle it on. The email advisory you'll get will be country-specific — state-specific even, if you're in the US — so it can keep you updated on whether people from your location suddenly aren't allowed entry to your destination or if you still need to go on quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
The COVID—19 advisory panel will now also show more details about the destination you choose. It can let you know at a single glance whether your destination country requires travelers to go on quarantine, for instance, or to provide proof of test results or immunization records. In the past, the panel only included the most basic information, along with a link to an official website.
Google has also updated its Travel portal with a new and improved Explore tab, which can now serve as an all-in-one platform that can show you flight and hotel prices for specific locations. It can even filter potential sightseeing destinations based on the interests you choose, such as outdoors, beaches, history, museums and more. In case you only want to see cities with airports for planning purposes, simply activate Travel Mode in the Explore map.
Finally, it's now easier to plan road trips on Google Maps for desktop. After entering your starting point and destination, you'll be able to add several stops along your way. Say, you need to stop at a hotel or a campground in the middle of your trip — simply do a search for them, and the results will show up with an "Add Stop" button you can click on. Once you're done planning, you'll be able to send the directions to your phone via text, email or the Google Maps app. Since plans tend to change all the time, Google made sure that you'll be able to update your trip with more (or fewer) stops on the road from your phone.