The latest updates to Google Travel may interest you if you are looking for a little clarity when it comes to traveling during the pandemic. Most notable is a new 'travel trends' feature that displays available flights and hotels in specific areas based on vacancy percentages. Google combines the hotel and flight information it has gathered through its booking portal with existing alerts regarding travel advisories for destinations. You can also get really granular by following links to additional local resources regarding the area you intend to visit that deliver reports on the number of COVID-19 cases at the moment.

Google is also making it easier for travelers to get the flexibility they seek when making travel plans by adding a new search filter that is scheduled to make its debut a little bit later in August. The new filter will allow you to filter only rooms and properties with free cancellation policies when you're searching for a place to book. The new update should make it easier to avoid getting stuck with a penalty fee during what is the most uncertain time in the modern travel industry's history.

Google continues to prove that its venture into the travel industry is reason for competing booking platforms to be on their toes. Some of Google's information comes from its internal Google Travel data gathered from bookings. The rest is compiled in real-time from sources like the CDC and State Department.

It is a good catch-all source to check out regardless of whether or not you are actually interested in booking your trip through Google. The search-engine juggernaut quietly released Google Travel in March of 2019 after retiring its Google Trips app.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at GET.com and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: scott.dylan@get.com.