How to Use Google Maps Route Planner?

With our world becoming more and more complicated, we are always looking to simplify things when we can. One of these times is when we plan a routing map with multiple destinations. There are many options to do route planning, and one such option is Google Maps. This article will share tips and advice on how to use the Google Maps route planner.

This tool allows you to find directions, add addresses, and even multiple addresses. This article will cover the use of this service for route planning and guide the reader to know when this tool is the most useful or relevant and when it’s not.

Let’s get to it

How To Use Google Maps Route Planner For Multiple Stops?

This section will cover how users can plan their routes using both the mobile app and the web application. First of all, let’s highlight the steps to use the Google Maps app using a mobile device.

Step 1: Download the Google Maps Route Planner App

The first step is to go and download the app. The Google route planner app is free for both platforms.

App StoreApp Store

Step 2: Open the App

Open up the app. You’ll see this screen.

Open the App

Step 3: Click the Directions Button

On the bottom right-hand corner, there is a blue button. This button starts the process of adding multiple locations. So go ahead and click it!

Click the Directions Button

Step 4: (Optional step) Select “car” Icon

We assume users will plan a route by car or truck. Therefore, if you have another option selected, such as the bus in the example below.

If this is the case, go ahead and tap the car icon, and you’ll see the image below.

Optional step

Step 5: Add Starting and Destination Address

Now it’s time to start planning. One thing to note is that the app will begin with your current location as a default starting location. If this is not the location you wish to start your route, then go ahead and change that one. If not, you can go ahead and modify your destination.

The first step is to tap the address you wish to add. You can do this in two ways:

#1 – Search bar

The search bar allows you to type in your destination. As you can see in the example below, Google has predictive text and will give you suggestions based on your geolocation and search history. When you see your address, select it!

Search bar

#2 – Select from recent addresses

An alternate way to add is to select it from the recent addresses. So, for example, if you’ve recently used one of the destination addresses, you have an option to choose it from the recent list.

Select from recent addresses

Step 6: Add Multiple Stops

If you want to add multiple locations, you need to select the three little dots in the top right. Go ahead and tap it.

Add Multiple Stops

Once you do, you’ll see a menu appear that gives you a few options. The option you want to select is “Add Stop.”

Go ahead and tap “add stop.”

Step 7: Add More Stops

Once you’ve selected “add stop,” go ahead and choose a new address using the same process as in step 5. Once you’ve added this, you can continue adding more. As you can see below, the maximum number of stops is 10.

 Add More Stops

Step 8: Reorganize Your Route

Once you have added all your destinations, you can reorganize their order. To do so, simply select the three lines on the right-hand side of the stop.

Reorganize Your Route

Once you do this, you’ll see that you’ll be able to drag and drop the locations into the preferred order.

Step 9: Tap “Done”

Now that you’re done reorganizing, all you need to do is tap “done,” and the app will start the navigation for you!

Tap Done

I hope now you are ready to plan your route from your mobile.

What? What did you say? Is there any alternative to plan your route?

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Yes. Google Maps allows you to plan your route using your favorite browser.

Web Browser: How to Add Multiple Stops in 7 Steps

Step 1: Open the Page in Your Favorite Browser

Go to your browser and type in the search bar.

google map

Step 2: Click the Blue Directions Button

Click on the Blue Directions button.

Blue Directions button

Once you do, you should see the following options below.

After blue button clicked

Step 3: (Optional step) Select “car” Icon

We are assuming you want to plan a map by car or truck. Therefore, go ahead and select the car icon at the top of the bar.

The image below shows an unselected “car” icon.

Select car icon

The image below shows a selected “car” icon.


Step 4: Add Starting and Destination Addresses

As mentioned for the mobile app, there are three ways to add your starting and your destination addresses: 1- Search Bar and 2 – Recents. Let’s have a look!

#1 – Search bar

Search bar

The search bar allows you to type in the destination. As you can see in the example below, there is predictive text and will give you suggestions based on your geolocation and search history. When you see your address, select it!

#2 – Select from Recent Searches

Recent Searches

The other way to add a destination is to select it from the recents list. If you’ve recently used one of the destination addresses, can you simply select it from the Recent Search list which is pre-populated.

#3 – Add by selection location on the map

selection location

The third option you have to add a stop is by selecting a location on the map. To do so, click the search bar, and then click a point on a map.

Step 5: Add Multiple Stops

This process is pretty simple and straightforward on the web version of the app. You’ll see an option to “Add address” just below your starting and destination. You can click either the “+” sign or the “add destination”.

Add Multiple Stops

You can use the same process as you used in step 4 to add up to 10 total stops (including the starting point).

Step 6: Optional – Reorganize

You can easily change the location by selecting the dots or circles on the left-hand side.

If, at any point, you decide you want to change up the order of your destinations, just drag any location up or down on the list using the circles on the left.


Step 7: Send Directions to Your Phone

Now you’re ready to navigate! Just click the button “Send directions to your phone,” and you can now use your phone as a navigator.

Send Directions

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When To Use Google Maps For Route Planning?

The question that every user needs to ask themselves is: is this the right tool for me? There are many use cases where it is considered an adequate tool, and many other cases where it isn’t. Below, you will find that breakdown:

Where It’s Useful

The Google route planner app is perfect if you have a simple use case. Most personal use cases and some simple business use cases can use this app to achieve their goals. Below is a list of more uncomplicated use cases that are suitable:

  • To know the driving directions from one location to another;
  • To know the distance to one location;
  • To do personal travel within their city;
  • To plan a multi-stop road trip;
  • Businesses that are not logistics-intensive.

Where It’s Not as Useful

The app is not useful when you start to get into more complex use cases. The following are examples of situations where Google Maps would not be as valuable.

  • Route Optimization: The app lacks optimization capabilities. Therefore, it is not suitable for planning or any business that requires logistics or deliveries. 

    Let’s say, you have ten deliveries, there are 3,628,800 combinations of routes. When you add another stop, that number goes up to 39,916,800 combinations of routes! Millions of combinations!

  • Fleet Management: Another example is any company or organization that has a fleet of several vehicles or drivers. As the needs are very diverse, these companies will want to look into alternative solutions that can track maintenance, fuel costs, scheduling, and productivity tracking tools.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Maps?

Google Maps do have some advantages and disadvantages. We have come up with some points to mention about it.

  • Free of cost
  • Multiple Transportation Modes
  • Traffic Congestion Information
  • Voice Directions
  • Points of interest
  • Street View
  • Offline Maps
  • Lack of Optimization
  • User Experience
  • Inaccurate Directions (sometimes)
  • Privacy / Use of Data

Pros of Google Maps Route Planner

  1. Free of cost: There is no out-of-pocket cost to use this tool. Alphabet and Google, as a whole, make money with the data that all users input. They then monetize this data as part of their business model. Revenues come from ad revenues and other income streams—more on that below.
  2. Multiple transportation modes: You can search for directions using the roads in a motorized vehicle, as well as search for transit options, or even combine several options. These options add to the flexibility of this tool.
  3. Traffic congestion information: Users can add traffic congestion information as an overlay layer of data. Because this company has so many users and data points, it can provide reasonably reliable traffic data.
  4. Voice directions: There is an option to hear a voice guide you turn-by-turn on the app to get you to where you want to go. Audio navigation assistant will allow you to get on hands-free mode while driving.
  5. Points of interest (POI): Google Maps route planner app allows you to view various POIs including parks, schools, government buildings, gas stations or coffee shops.
  6. Street view: The street view is handy as you can visualize your driving directions while moving from one location to another.  If it’s a new location for you, then trust me, it’s one of the best features you have ever used. Also, you can see the satellite map as well.
  7. Offline maps: Another useful feature is that you have the option to view the map and download that specific route on your mobile device. You can use them offline and it is especially helpful in an area without internet or cellular data connectivity.

Now let’s have a look at some of the limitations or disadvantages.

Cons of Google Maps Route Planner

  1. Lack of optimization: As a route planner, Google Maps provides you with only a route planning feature. However, the popular mapping platform doesn’t help you find the fastest routes, just like other route planning and optimization software solutions do. Adding to that, you will not even find the option to optimize the route.
  2. User Experience: Often, the users find it somewhat challenging to find the location, which results in an inconsistent and sometimes confusing user experience.
  3. Inaccurate directions: Google Maps users are disappointed with its inaccuracy in creating the multi-stop route plan. Such poorly created routes would result in your late arrival. Examples include using a ferry that is not in service, or following a road that doesn’t exist, or even driving off a bridge into the water! These are certainly kinks that will be worked out; they are, however, causing issues to some.
  4. Privacy: Use of Data Privacy is a concern for some. Google gathers data from all its tools and uses this data to monetize. This information is all outlined in the terms and conditions that one signs when using the services. Some are nonetheless surprised and unhappy upon learning this fact. Some people may not want to use this service as there are many issues around consent, control of potentially sensitive information.

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What is Route Planning?

Planning routes is about creating driving directions or routes for multiple locations in the most efficient way. There are many reasons to have route planning in your business.

  • Small Business Deliveries and Last Mile Delivery
  • It helps in reducing transportation costs
  • Provide better customer services
  • Easy navigation option for delivery drivers
  • Increase in business productivity
  • Increased safety

Usually, you would need a software called a “Route Planner” to help you with that planning. The appropriate software depends on what you’re trying to do. You can find some of the best delivery route planner apps depending on your requirement and your niche. 

In this article, we discussed more specifically about Google Maps, as it pertains to planning and plotting routes on a map.

Does Google Maps have a Route Planner?

Google Maps does have a Route Planner, and it creates driving directions to multiple locations. Users may create a map and directions to many locations. These can be for many purposes: for driving, for transit, for biking, or even for walking. 

It will also provide different options to the user when it adds several locations. These capabilities are available both online (using the web-based tool) and on mobile apps. On that point, there is an app available for both Android and Apple.

Upper Route Planner

In case, you didn’t find Google Maps useful for your business, why not try Upper as a Google Maps alternative?

The Upper Route Planner has a Google-approved mapping platform which allows you to get exact addresses while generating routes. Using Upper, you can not only plan optimized routes but also take benefits of arrays of features. 

Moreover, the Upper Route Planner gives you an option to select GPS navigation app of your choice. It means that your delivery drivers can open the route map to receive navigation guidance in Google Maps, Yandex, or Apple Maps.

When all is said and done, you should have a user-friendly routing platform that can assist you plan routes smoothly.


Upper Route Planner

A simple-to-use route planner
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Google Maps allows planning a route with up to 10 stops. Being on GMaps, you can generate a multi-stop trip for adventure tour or other forms of transport. Depending on the platform you are using (mobile or website), the process may vary on how to do that.

The software solution that makes it easy for you to reach your destination; no matter if you have multiple stops. The best example is Upper Route Planner. It provides you with the shortest route available to reach your destination.

The short answer is, unfortunately, “no.” Google Maps uses an algorithm called the “Dijkstra Algorithm,” which will help you find an efficient route individually, but does not create the optimal route overall.

Google Maps as a Route Planner

We wish you well and happy planning!

We hope this was useful and helped you learn about how to create a map with multiple addresses using Google Maps. We also hope that this helps you know when to use this app versus another one on the market.

Just to note, Google Maps is limited to ten stops per delivery route. If you have more than that, you need to adopt other route optimization software solutions like Upper Route Planner. As always, we are available for any questions or feedback that you may have.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner, a route planning and optimization software. With 28+ years of experience in the technology industry, Rakesh is a subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems. His ultimate goal with Upper Route Planner is to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges and simplify operations such as route planning, scheduling, dispatching, take a proof of delivery, manage drivers, real time tracking, customer notifications and more. He loves sharing his thoughts on eliminating delivery management challenges via blogs.