How to use new Google Trips app: Organise travel offline without using mobile data or Wi-Fi

Google Trips is a new travel organiser app launched by Google.
Google Trips is a new travel organiser app launched by Google.PHOTO: GOOGLE

The new app Google Trips was inspired by Google's research that revealed nearly 74 per cent of travellers felt that the most stressful part of travel was figuring out the details.

It was launched on Monday (Sept 19).

Google Trips serves as a trip planner and travel guide for users exploring a new place.

The app, available on Android and iOS, was the product of more than two years of work on improving Google's travel products, said Google's vice-president of product management Richard Holden.

And the best part about it: You can use it even when you have no Wi-Fi access or data coverage.

What's different about it?

It knows your habits already.

That may be disconcerting for some, but it can really act as your personal secretary planning a trip for you.

If you already frequent Google Maps and use Gmail as your primary e-mail provider, Google leverages on the knowledge of your online history for Trips to become a one-stop travel organiser.

Compare this with TripIt from the company Concur, which requires the additional step of forwarding all your booking e-mails to be compiled into an itinerary.

How does it compare to other apps?

Among other existing travel apps, TripIt is focused on the business traveller, and provides a US$49-a-year (S$67) premium service that offers real-time flight alerts and helps you book a new airline ticket should your flight get delayed.

Google Trips' strength, however, is in providing itineraries on the go, perfect for those with little time to chart out an itinerary before departure.

It provides sample day itineraries using an algorithm that curates popular sights, attractions and local gems to give a sample of what's worth your time based on other travellers' experiences.

It is also a perfect blend of travel review apps Yelp and TripAdvisor, as it provides user reviews of its recommendations.

Why should I get it?

It is a one-stop, stress-free solution for an organised travel itinerary.

Imagine this: You are all excited on the eve of the vacation of a lifetime, but realise that your travel booking information is strewn all over the place across different platforms and e-mails.

But with Google Trips, any bookings done via your Gmail account is neatly curated.

Is it free? Will it cost me data usage?

Google Trips spells danger for print travel guides, some of which are expensive, because it comes to you at an absolute cost of zilch.

Its offline capability is another attractive feature.

It avoids crippling mobile data charges by offering individual packs for cities, complete with maps and recommendations, that can be downloaded for use offline.

It is not dependent on Internet connectivity, as it caches information about your destination such as your hotel location and contact number, places you should visit, how to get around, and more.

Try any destination

For example, we chose Batam after downloading the Google Trips app.

Once you have booked your hotel room or flight ticket, Google Trips puts together a Batam package that includes popular sights, restaurant suggestions and even a convenient link to your hotel reservation.

Later on, instead of scouring your cluttered Gmail inbox for hotel addresses and confirmation numbers, these reservation details are now right at your fingertips.

There is also the option to make all these available offline with a simple swipe of a finger.

Where do I start?

Google Trips is available for download for both Android and iOS.

A Google account is required to log into Trips, preferably the one you use to book your flights and hotels.

Once signed in, Google will reveal a list of your upcoming and previously completed trips.