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Google Flights Explore For The Busy Traveler

Google Flights Explore for the Busy Traveler

April is here and I wonder why I didn’t bother planning a warm vacation in those dreary cold winter months!  Oh, because with a full time job and only 15 personal days a year, it’s hard to plan and budget? Not to mention with deadlines, obligatory family trips, unplanned sick days, it’s hard to account for those days in advance. Somehow those personal days got whittled away, with personal care.  So how do you plan a spontaneous mental health getaway to east the mind and reset? Enter Google Flights Explore feature!

How Does it Work?

Say I don’t want to take any vacation days, or more realistically, I don’t have any more vacation days to take. I’m either going to opt for a road trip, or see where I can fly.  If you are in the market for a road trip, check out my take on 5 Winter Road Trips from Vancouver BC. If you would like to muse about where you can fly, try Google Flights Explore.

I love Google Flights, and I often use it to track prices for future vacations.  It allows you to save your trip ideas, and alerts you when the prices change, so you can get the best deal.  It also lets you save time by searching different combinations of airports and dates all at once. However, my main reason for loving this tool, is that the Google Explore feature helps me plan those spontaneous trips, which I love for adventurous purposes 🙂

On the main page of Google Flights, click on the menu in the upper left hand corner to open up the menu and select Explore Map.

I know I have a few days around Easter that are designated holidays, so I’m going to search around this time to maximize my vacation.  From my location in Vancouver, I can see that there are several deals depending on where I would like to go.

There are numerous ways to customize your trip: Price, Duration, Class, Stops, Airline and Time.

Search by Duration

Since I’m only going to take a long four day weekend, I want to be sure to travel somewhere relatively close, so I don’t waste too much time traveling. Here I can search by duration, and limit my travel time to eight hours.

The map has pulled up a few places for me based on my parameters.  If I had searched earlier, I might even be able score a flight to Iceland as its within the eight hour duration.  I personally, don’t think 8 hours is too long to spend traveling non stop for a long weekend. For me, it’s about the experience of the adventure.  However I should have started planning way earlier if I wanted to be sure to score the best deals.

Search by Price

Because budget is everything, we can also limit the search by price.  For a long weekend that’s spontaneously planned, I like to get the best deal possible, so the cheaper the better!  

Tip: Google Flights does have one serious flaw, in that it does not take into account Southwest flights, which can offer a good deal throughout the United States and Mexico (and recently Hawaii!).

Bonus! Search by Flex Dates

Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly spontaneous, I’ll peruse the site for random dates and locations to see if I can score a deal.  Just change the dates to “flexible” and the tool can show you weekend, 1 week or 2 week destinations available. You can also search by month, or with no dates in mind by searching a 6 month period.  This is especially helpful to me when daydreaming of exotic locations 🙂 Just look at all the options! Playing with this tool keeps me occupied for hours!


Google Flights is my first choice for finding trip combinations because of the ease of use, and quickness of search results returns.  I also love that I can save my price searches and be alerted when they change. But most of all, I love the Google Flights Explore tool to satiate my day dreaming wanderlust moments. 😊

What sites do you like to use to plan travel?

Did I help you at all? Feel free to pin!

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