12 Google Shortcuts Every Traveler Should Know Mike Richard January 31, 2008 Features, Tips, Travel 25 Comments Sheila at Geeky Traveller noted the other day that “Google could put out toilet paper and I’d use it.” Because the fact is: Google rules. But did you know the plain ol’ Google search box you use every day is good for a whole lot more than you’re likely asking of it? Forget going to ten different sites to get your travel info quickly. Just Google it! © Delgoff. Here are twelve essential Google travel shortcuts you might have missed: #1: Get Local Weather Type: “weather [city name or zip/postal code]” Example: “weather 02818″ or “weather london” #2: Check Flight Status Google automagically pulls flight data from FlightStats.com. All you have to do is enter the flight number. Type: [flight name and/or number] Example: “aa123″ or “united 959″ #3: Currency Converter Type: “[amount] [first currency] to [second currency]” Example: “1000 usd to euro” … or: “500 yen to pesos” #4: Find the Local Time Anywhere Type: “time [city/state/province/country]” Example: “time tokyo” #5: Identify People, Foreign Objects, and More A great tip from Lifehacker: Google Image search results show you instead of tell you about a word. Don’t know what jicama looks like? Not sure if the person named “Priti” who you’re emailing with is a woman or a man? Spanish rusty and you forgot what “corazon” is? Pop your term into Google Image Search (or type image jicama into the regular search box) to see what your term’s about. A while back, someone told me of a fruit I’d never heard of called “rambutan”. Plugging the phrase into Google image search revealed that it’s a bright red, quirky looking fruit that’s not likely indigenous to the U.S.: #6: View Airport Conditions Type: “[airport name/code] airport” Example: “logan airport” #7: Convert Temperatures Type: “[temperature] [C/F] to [F/C]” Example: “40 C to F” #8: Convert Distances Type: “[value] [first distance unit] to [second distance unit]” Example: “400 kilometers to miles” #9: Convert Driving Speeds Type: “[value] [first distance unit] to [second distance unit]” Example: “70 kph to mph” #10: Find a Phone Number Find a Person: Type: “[person's name], [city or zip/postal code]” Example: “john smith, london” Find a Business: Type: “[business name or type], [city or zip/postal code]” Example: “apple store, manhattan” #11: Find Local Food and Restaurants Type: “[food type], [city or zip code/postal code]” Example: “pizza, london e1″ #12: Track Your Packages Wondering where that extra pack of socks Mom was supposed to forward you is? Type: [any USPS, UPS, or FedEx tracking number] Example: 706479610009807 VoilÃ ! No longer must you login to each shipping carrier’s official website. Bonus: Google Translator Google’s online language translation service is fast, free and a breeze to use. For example, asking Google to convert Vagabondish’s “What We’re About” statement: Vagabondish is an online magazine that discusses offbeat backpacking and travel news, advice, how-to tips and tall tales from around the world. … to Russian reveals: Vagabondish ÐÑ‚Ð¾ Ð¾Ð½Ð»Ð°Ð¹Ð½Ð¾Ð²Ñ‹Ð¹ Ð¶ÑƒÑ€Ð½Ð°Ð», Ñ‡Ñ‚Ð¾ Ð¾Ð±ÑÑƒÐ¶Ð´Ð°ÐµÑ‚ offbeat backpacking Ð¸ Ð½Ð¾Ð²Ð¾ÑÑ‚Ð¸, ÑÐ¾Ð²ÐµÑ‚Ñ‹, ÐºÐ°Ðº Ð½Ð° ÑÐ¾Ð²ÐµÑ‚Ñ‹ Ð¸ Ð²Ñ‹ÑÐ¾Ñ‚Ð½Ñ‹Ñ… ÑÐºÐ°Ð·ÐºÐ¸ Ð¸Ð· Ñ€Ð°Ð·Ð½Ñ‹Ñ… ÑÑ‚Ñ€Ð°Ð½ Ð¼Ð¸Ñ€Ð°. Sure, it’s not perfect but if you’re in a pinch a thousand miles from home, it beats paying $300 for Rosetta Stone software. What other Google shortcuts or hacks do you use in your travels? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below! 25 Responses Meredith January 31, 2008 Great list! I was just trying to remember how to use Google to convert currency this afternoon. It’s nice to have this all in one place… I’ll be referring back! Reply Stacy January 31, 2008 Great idea for a post, Mike! Meredith is right, it is nice to have all of this in one place. Thank you! Reply Mike January 31, 2008 Meredith + Stacy: Thanks! Most people probably already know about many of these but I thought it might provide a helpful “cheat sheet” for travelers. Reply Amanda January 31, 2008 Great post. I use heaps of these already but was pretty impressed with the package tracking idea!!!! Now I’m trying to think of other random numbers that Google might be clever enough to convert into what I’m really looking for. Hmm … Reply eddie February 1, 2008 Great info! I can use all the travel tips I can get! Reply BNT’s Best of the Week 02/02/08 February 2, 2008 [...] Vagabondish digs deep and rounds up 12 Google Shortcuts Every Traveler Should Know. From how to check the weather, convert your currency and [...] Reply MyEggNoodles February 2, 2008 I consider myself a long time web searcher but some of these are gems! Thanks for the great list. Reply Lola February 2, 2008 Haha! Great stuff Mike. Reply Marilyn Terrell February 4, 2008 Just don’t make the mistake of these two Googlers on “Google Maps Gone Bad”! http://cartophilia.com/blog/2008/01/google-maps-gone-bad.html#links Reply walter February 14, 2008 you can use “define:” in front of any word or term and you will find definitions. E.G.: http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Arainforest Keep track of your travels with your very own google map: goto maps.google.com and go to the tab “My Maps”. On google maps, you can get driving directions by typing “city1 to city2″: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=amsterdam+to+paris On google finance you can find the trends for currency conversions for e.g. USD to EUR (you will also get useful news links explaining why exchange rates changed): http://finance.google.com/finance?q=EURUSD You can use “location:” in front of your search to localize it You can find easy flight info by typing “city1 to city2″ in normal google: http://www.google.com/search?q=amsterdam+to+new+york for gmail users: use searches like “label:labelname” or “is:unread”. More tips here: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=7190 There, that should keep you busy for now ;) Reply Mike February 14, 2008 Hey, Walter: all great tips. Thanks for sharing! Reply Bow Down to the New King of Travel - Google — Adirondack Base Camp May 27, 2008 [...] users have always used Google for everything, including travel. Today the vast majority of all travelers are using the internet for every phase of their [...] Reply The Teacher List » Blog Archive » 12 Google Shortcuts You Should Know October 29, 2008 [...] Geared towards travellers, this site has uses for the classroom too. Did you know the plain olâ€™ Google search box you use every day is good for a whole lot more than youâ€™re likely asking of it? Check it out below… – The URL: http://www.vagabondish.com/12-google-shortcuts-every-traveler-should-know/ [...] Reply RaeAnna October 29, 2008 Don’t forget Google’s text messaging helps! http://ppcre.com/node/282 Reply Educational Technology and Life » Blog Archive » Links for 10/30/2008 October 30, 2008 [...] 12 Google Shortcuts Every Traveler Should Know [...] Reply dan November 6, 2008 A very complete guide of the Google search shortcuts http://www.logblo.com/2008/11/06/GoogleSearchShortcutsGuidePart1.aspx Reply links for 2008-11-17 « The View From My Window November 17, 2008 [...] 12 Google Shortcuts Every Traveler Should Know (tags: GoogleTools GoogleMaps) [...] Reply 12 Essential Google Travel Shortcuts « Most Innovative and Strategic Technologies January 15, 2009 [...] is a woman or a man? Spanish rusty and you forgot what â€œcorazonâ€ is? Pop your term into Google Image Search (or type image jicama into the regular search box) to see what your termâ€™s [...] Reply 101 Time-Saving Google Tricks for Work, Play and Learning | Best University January 28, 2009 [...] Convert temperatures: Type "[temperature][C/F] to [F/C]" to get the correct temperature. [...] Reply 101 Time-Saving Google Tricks for Work, Play and Learning | Space of eLearning Spirits February 4, 2009 [...] Convert temperatures: Type “[temperature][C/F] to [F/C]” to get the correct temperature. [...] Reply Trip Styler blog» Blog Archive » 17 Google Tips for Every Traveler December 3, 2009 [...] Here are the best Google travel tips: [items 1 - 12 were originally put together by Vagabondish, an excellent travel blog] [...] Reply philip February 18, 2010 Good article. I found a way myself to do a quick translation from google search, type: translate [word] to [language] example: translate car to german Reply Jenni August 16, 2011 Some results return are not exactly correct in my area but your tutorial is really useful. Thank you Reply todd November 8, 2011 Whenever I travel abroad, Google Translate is my best friend. It came in super handy on a recent visit to Kiev, Ukraine. English speaking folks (in my experience) were few and far between, and being able to learn a few quick phrases on the fly beyond the basics is beyond helpful. Reply Tech Tuesday :: Google Traveler Tricks February 28, 2012 [...] would like to give credit to the Vagabondish travel blog, credited with posting some of these Google travel shortcuts in 2008. I’ve been using them [...] Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. 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