A new Google Maps tool can help make your holiday shopping safer

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December 8, 2021 – With millions of Americans vaccinated and reinforced against COVID-19, many are eager to participate in more normal holiday gatherings for the first time in nearly two years. But given that COVID-19 remains a concern, especially in the midst of a new variant of the Omicron, safety is key. And new trends tools Google Maps aims to do just that, offering information that will make your vacation safer and more efficient by specifying the busiest moments to travel, shop, go to the salon and buy gifts for loved ones.

According to Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adult Americans, 44% said they plan to travel for the holidays this year, up from 35% in 2020. And 63% of respondents said they plan to travel in December, an increase from 59% in 2020.

Here are the best and worst moments to take part in the preparations for this year’s holidays, according to Google Maps:

Travel

Google Maps suggests those planning to travel in December avoid airports on Saturdays around noon. Saturday is the least busy flight time at 9 p.m.

Shops

If you’re planning a big meal with family and friends, grocery shopping could get messy at 1pm on Sunday, while the quietest time on Thursday is around 8pm.

Salons

Another place with a lot of traffic is the salon. According to Google Maps, nail salon searches in December exceed gym searches by more than 3 times. But to avoid waiting – and a possible transfer of COVID-19 – the holiday trend tool says to skip that trip on Saturdays around 11am and instead go at 7pm on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Shopping malls

People will go to malls in December to buy gifts. Last year, searches on Google Maps for stores such as Kay Jewelers, Bath & Body Works and Barnes & Noble rose 100% in December from the previous month. The biggest crowd is on Saturday at 1 p.m., and the least on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Post offices

Post office searches rose 150% in December last year. Google Maps found that Tuesday at 3pm was the busiest time for post office traffic, while Saturday at 2pm was the least chaotic.

Food and drink

For those who want to avoid the kitchen during the holidays, Google Maps has recorded some food trends to take away:

  • Chinese food is at the top of the list of popular dishes for Christmas, and orders are up 25% from a typical Saturday.
  • In New York and Los Angeles, pizza is the most sought-after item to take away on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve.
  • Residents of Portland, OR, are looking for burgers on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s. Burgers are also popular in Minneapolis on New Year’s and New Year’s Eve.
  • Seattle residents, WA, gravitate toward Thai food on Thanksgiving.

Check it out Google Maps Blog for more tips and tricks on how to stay safe while shopping and performing tasks this holiday season.

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