12 Google Shortcuts Every Traveler Should Know

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.

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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!

Internet Cafe Traveler
© 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”

Google Shortcut: Weather

#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”

Google Shortcut: Flight Status

#3: Currency Converter

Type: “[amount] [first currency] to [second currency]”

Example: “1000 usd to euro”

Google Shortcut: Currency US Dollars to Euros

… or:

“500 yen to pesos”

Google Shortcut: Currency (Yen to Pesos)

#4: Find the Local Time Anywhere

Type: “time [city/state/province/country]”

Example: “time tokyo”

Google Shortcut: Time

#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.:

Google Shortcut: Identify Peope, Foreign Objects, and More

#6: View Airport Conditions

Type: “[airport name/code] airport”

Example: “logan airport”

Google Shortcut: Airport Status and Conditions

#7: Convert Temperatures

Type: “[temperature] [C/F] to [F/C]”

Example: “40 C to F”

Google Shortcut: Temperature

#8: Convert Distances

Type: “[value] [first distance unit] to [second distance unit]”

Example: “400 kilometers to miles”

Google Shortcut: Distance

#9: Convert Driving Speeds

Type: “[value] [first distance unit] to [second distance unit]”

Example: “70 kph to mph”

Google Shortcut: Speed

#10: Find a Phone Number

Find a Person:

Type: “[person’s name], [city or zip/postal code]”

Example: “john smith, london”

Google Shortcut: Personal Phone Number

Find a Business:

Type: “[business name or type], [city or zip/postal code]”

Example: “apple store, manhattan”

Google Shortcut: Business Phone Number

#11: Find Local Food and Restaurants

Type: “[food type], [city or zip code/postal code]”

Example: “pizza, london e1”

Google Shortcut: Food

#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

Google Shortcut: Track Packages

Voilà! 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 Это онлайновый журнал, что обсуждает offbeat backpacking и новости, советы, как на советы и высотных сказки из разных стран мира.

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!

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