Nagoya castle and city skyline in Japan at sunset

Just over a week ago, I wrote about Google’s handy attempts at helping people who are booking flights understand current travel restrictions, ideally before they book.

Google has a nice little tool embedded in the Google Flights interface which gives a solid overview of the steps required to visit a destination, from accepted tests to any additional forms or requirements.

These restriction guides are becoming quite a lot easier to read, with testing quickly disappearing in many countries, including Australia and South Africa this week.

Anyway, Google reached out to me to say that there’s an even easier tool for keeping track of ever changing restrictions. In fact, it’s actually better, than many of the other tools out there, because it offers real time updates, directly to your inbox.

Google Search ‘Travel Restriction’ Notifications

If you search “Flights to (insert country)” or “Hotels in (insert country)”, Google has a handy tool located down in the search results. Not only is it a place to see the current travel restrictions, it’s a tool that tells you when they change!

a black screen with white text

When logged into your Google account, or on a computer with Gmail, you’ll be able to toggle the “Receive Email Updates” button. By doing so, you’ll be among the first in the world to know, in real time, when a destination opens or changes entry requirements.

This is hugely helpful in a world where travel information is changing incredibly rapidly. It wasn’t long ago that GSTP covered Australia’s surprise reopening, and subsequent plans to test travelers.

Just a week or so later, that resource (would be) out of date if not for updating, thanks to Australia dropping all testing requirements for visitors from next month.

With Google’s updates delivered directly to your inbox in a tap, you can be sure that the travel restriction information you’ve got is the most current from official sources, like official governments or tourism officials.

It’s always good to cross-reference government resources provided by Google with handy tools provided by airlines, for added certainty and continuity checks.

Nagoya castle and city skyline in Japan at sunset

Keeping Track Of Your Travel Notifications

No one likes unnecessary emails or pings and Google actually makes it really easy to manage the countries you want to keep up to date with, and those you don’t. It’s all just a couple clicks.

You can see your tracked destinations by going to, and then tapping the menu in the top left, and navigating to Travel Settings. Once there, you can turn on, or turn off any destinations.

If you’re anything like me, Japan is near the very top of that tracking list. I’ve had to cancel 4 trips now and will cancel as many as I need to until I go. It sure would be nice to be among the first to know that it’s reopening — when it does!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Many countries have no toggle-able notification option, so the tool has fairly limited usefulness. Google only links to the foreign country’s website ( if you include a city in the search) or the CDC website, which says nothing about travel restrictions ( if you don’t). I was looking at Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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