Are you considering going on a vacation soon? There’s a recently discovered Google project making the rounds right now that could save you a lot of money. Google Flight Explorer helps you to find the lowest rates for flights leaving your local area and heading to virtually any destination of your choosing.
What makes it particularly interesting is that you can set a number of variables including: preferred length of travel, stops, destination, date(s) of travel, preferred airline(s), boarding time, and return time. Basically, it takes your preferences and attempts to find a good deal on a flight for you.
The way it’s built looks like an excellent solution for someone who wants to go somewhere new but doesn’t want to make specific plans. A list of the cheapest flights to popular vacation spots sits on the front of the site, tempting you to book that next flight and head out in search of adventure.
At the time of this writing, this particular tool is a bit rough around the edges. It doesn’t have a complete lists of flights and prices and almost every result I get points me to United Airlines when I know there are less expensive flights for the same trip available on at least two other airlines.
If Google fleshes this site out a bit more, it could become a favorite resource for travelers searching for a great deal on a 3-5 day getaway.
Flight Explorer is a testing point for what will undoubtedly be a fairly significant update to its existing Google Flights service. For now, Google Flights remains Google’s leading flight price checking utility for desktop users, but a visual graph containing flight prices by date could well make the user experience of finding the best rate much easier.
Currently, you get a listing of prices based on the date of arrival and departure. If you had the option to check prices for similar dates, you might notice that some airlines make an extra day’s stay cheaper than it would have been had you just stuck with your original plans. After all, who wouldn’t mind an extra day in the sun if it means saving a boatload of money? Likewise, delaying your vacation for a week or moving it up could have a dramatic impact on the overall trip price. A graph like the one being tested in Flight Explorer would be a welcome addition to Google Flights in this case.
What do you think? Is this the start of what could be an excellent tool for bargain hunters?