How to Use Google Maps Route Planner?

To use the Google Maps route planner: Step 1: Open Google Maps on your device.
Step 2: Click on the “Directions” button.
Step 3: Enter your starting point and destination.
Step 4: Optionally, add multiple destinations by clicking on “+ Add destination.”
Step 5: Customize your route preferences, such as avoiding tolls or highways.
Step 6: Click on “Done” to see your route.

Have you ever found yourself wasting time and gas driving in circles, unsure of the best route to take? Or arriving late because you didn’t account for traffic?

Google Maps route planner, your ultimate solution for stress-free traveling, takes the guesswork out of travel by providing the fastest routes, live traffic updates, and accurate ETAs. You can compare routes side-by-side and drag stops to fit your itinerary.

With so many helpful features and over 1 billion users worldwide, Google Maps has become the go-to navigation app for travelers, commuters, and explorers alike. 

But are you truly harnessing the full potential of this powerful tool?

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how to use Google Maps route planner to map a multi-stop route for your next road trip, commute, or errand run. You’ll even learn about its customization features, benefits, and how to overcome its drawbacks.

So, let’s hit the road to becoming a Google Maps pro.

How to Use Google Maps Route Planner on Your Mobile

Available on both Android and iOS platforms, accessing Google Maps Route Planner is a straightforward process. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to get you started on optimizing your travel routes with Google Maps.

Step 1: Download the Google Maps route planner app

The first step is to download Google Maps from the Play Store or App Store. Below are the download buttons for Android and iOS users to quickly install the app on mobile phones.

App StoreApp Store

Step 2: Open the app

Open the google maps app

Now, launch the Google Maps app on your mobile, and you will see the city map, along with multiple options.

Step 3: Click the directions button

Click the directions button in Google maps app

Now, tap on the “Directions” icon (it looks like a blue arrow) located at the bottom of the screen.

Step 4: Add starting and destination address

Add starting and destination address

Upon tapping the “Directions” button,  the “Choose starting point” and “Choose destination” fields will appear. Enter the starting point and destination to get Google Maps driving directions.

Note: By default, “Your location” will be selected in the starting point field, but you can change it as required.

Step 5: Choose your mode of transportation

In the top menu, below the destination field, select your transportation mode – driving (car icon), walking, public transport, or biking. This will optimize directions based on traffic and terrain.

Step 6: Add additional destinations

Enter stop details in google maps route planner

If you have multiple stops to cover between the starting and ending points, tap on the three-dot menu icon (⋮) next to the destination field and select “Add stop.” Enter the additional stops as needed. 

By dragging and dropping the stops, you can rearrange them and adjust the sequence to optimize your driving route for maximum efficiency.

Note: Google Maps allows a maximum of 9 stops to be added in a route.

Step 7: Customize route preferences

Tap on “Options” to customize your route preferences, including avoiding tolls, motorways, or ferries.

Step 8: Review your route plan

After entering your route details and preferences, tap on the blue “Done” button to review your route plan. Go through the route details like added stops, distance, directions, and estimated travel time.

Also, check the live traffic conditions along your planned routes so you can account for delays.

Step 9: Start navigation

When ready, tap ‘Start’ to begin turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation. You can also save routes for future trips.

How to Use Google Maps Route Planner on Your Web Browser

Planning your route on a desktop or laptop using the Google Maps web browser interface is just as easy as on mobile.

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to use Google Maps route planner on your web browser:

Step 1: Visit the Google Maps website

Launch your preferred web browser on your computer or mobile device. 

Type “maps.google.com” into the address bar and press Enter. You’ll be directed to the Google Maps homepage.

Note: If you have a Google account and want to access additional features like saving routes or accessing recent searches, sign in by clicking on the “Sign in” button at the top right corner of the page.

Step 2: Access route planner

Create a new map in Google maps route planner

Once you’re signed in (or if you choose not to sign in), locate the search bar at the top left corner of the page. Click on the “Directions” button (it looks like a blue arrow icon).

Step 3: Enter the starting point and destination

In the “Choose starting point” and “Choose destination” fields that appear, type in the addresses of your starting location and destination, respectively.

Step 4: Add additional destinations (Optional)

Add multiple locations in Google maps for route planning

To add multiple stops along your route, click on “+ Add destination” and enter the additional addresses or locations.

Step 5: Rearrange your stops

After adding multiple destinations, hover your mouse over one of your addresses in the list. You’ll see an icon with six dots and a “Drag to reorder” note. 

Click and hold on the dots to drag any address to a new place in the list. Rearrange the stops in any order that makes sense to you to optimize your route.

Step 6: Customize route preferences

Customize your map

Beneath the destination fields, you’ll find options to customize your route preferences. You can choose to avoid tolls, highways, or ferries and select your preferred transportation mode (driving, walking, biking, or public transit).

Step 7: Review and choose your route

After entering your desired route details and preferences, Google Maps will display several route options based on your preferences. Review the routes, estimated time, and distance, then click on the one that best suits your needs.

Step 8: Send your route to a phone

Save and share

Once you’ve selected a route, click on “Send directions to your phone.” A popup window will appear, allowing you to choose an option to send the driving directions directly to your mobile device via SMS or email.

How to Use Google My Maps Route Planner

To use the Google My Maps route planner, follow these steps:

Step 1: Access Google My Maps

Go to the Google My Maps website (https://www.google.com/mymaps) and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create it.

Step 2: Create a new map

Once you’re logged in, click on the “Create a new map” button.

Step 3: Add your locations

On the untitled map editor screen, you can add your starting point, destination, and any additional stops you want to include in your route. 

The platform even gives you the functionality to add stops by clicking on the “Add marker” button and placing markers at the desired locations on the custom map.

Step 4: Draw your route

After adding your locations, you can draw the route by clicking on the “Draw a line” button and selecting “Add line or shape.” Then, click on the starting point and drag the line to connect it to the final destination and any additional stops. 

You can also customize the route by dragging the line to different paths if needed.

Step 5: Customize your route

Google My Maps offers various customization options, such as changing the color and thickness of the route line, adding labels, and adjusting the style of markers. You can use these options as per your requirement for a better routing experience.

Step 6: Edit route details

You can click on each marker to add details such as the name of the location, address, or any other relevant information.

Step 7: Create multiple routes

My Maps allows you to have multiple completed routes on the same custom map by adding layers, each route having its own layer. You can create the most efficient routes for different modes of transportation (driving, walking, or cycling) by following the same steps outlined above.

Step 8: Viewing route details

To view time and distance information, click the three dots next to your layer name and select “Step-by-step directions.” My Maps provides a detailed breakdown of your route, including time and distance estimates.

Step 9: Sharing your map

Share your map by clicking on the “Share” button, choosing your sharing preferences, and copying the resulting URL. You can share the map via email, text, or by copying the link.

Step 10: Accessing your map on mobile

To view your custom map on your phone, open the Google Maps app, navigate to “Saved,” and select the map you’ve created. You’ll see all the stops and routes you’ve added to the map.

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 Google Maps 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 route for a road trip;
  • Businesses that are not logistics-intensive.

Where it’s not very 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!

    Tired of Manually Sorting Your Route?

    Say goodbye to route optimization headaches! Try Upper – the solution that optimizes routes within minutes, ensuring your stops are sequenced in the most efficient order.

  • 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 Pros and Cons of Google Maps?

Google Maps is undoubtedly a powerful navigation app, but like any technology, it comes with advantages and disadvantages. Let us understand one by one.

Pros
  • Free of cost
  • Multiple transportation modes
  • Traffic Congestion Information
  • Voice Directions
  • Points of interest
  • Street View
  • Offline Maps
Cons
  • Lack of Optimization
  • User Experience
  • Battery draining issues
  • 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): The Google Maps trip 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 and download maps with specific driving routes on your mobile device. You can use them offline, and it is especially helpful in an area without internet connection 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.

Overcome the Cons of Google Maps Route Planner with a Better Alternative

While Google Maps route planner offers convenience, it comes with limitations and drawbacks that may hinder your efficiency and privacy. From a 10-stop cap to a lack of customization, it leaves something to be desired for complex journey planning.

This is where dedicated route optimization software like Upper shines. 

Upper provides advanced optimization for multi-stop trips to save you time and gas. It allows you to create unlimited routes with hundreds of stops so that you can plan the fastest and shortest routes for your business or personal journeys.

Let’s explore how Upper addresses the shortcomings of Google Maps route planner:

Add hundreds of stops for comprehensive route planning

Unlike Google Maps, Upper removes the restriction of a maximum of 10 stops, allowing you to plan routes with an extensive number of destinations. 

This feature is invaluable for individuals and businesses with multiple stops or complex delivery routes, ensuring thorough planning without limitations.

Advanced route optimization for efficiency

Upper goes beyond basic route planning by offering advanced route optimization for multi-stop routes. 

Instead of following a fixed sequence, as Google Maps does, Upper optimizes routes to minimize time and fuel consumption, ultimately saving you valuable resources and enhancing productivity.

Enhanced privacy control

In contrast to Google’s extensive data collection practices, Upper prioritizes your privacy. It doesn’t engage in invasive location tracking or data monetization, providing peace of mind while utilizing the platform for route planning and optimization.

Customization excellence for tailored routes

Upper empowers users with extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor routes according to your specific needs. 

From setting priority stops to defining time windows and service times, Upper ensures that your routes are optimized to meet individual requirements and you reach your destination on time.

Independence from the Google ecosystem

With Upper, you’re not tied to a vast ecosystem of Google services. This independence provides flexibility and freedom, allowing you to streamline route planning and optimization without relying on other Google products.

That’s not it!

With Upper, you can import hundreds of stops from CSVs and Excel, generate an optimized delivery route for multiple vehicles, and calculate precise ETAs. You even get access to GPS tracking and progress reports for added convenience.

upper-route-planner

Upper Route Planner

A simple-to-use route planner
that every one is talking about

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Google Maps can plan a route with multiple stops. To do this, simply enter your starting point and destination, and add any additional stops before you begin navigating routes. However, please note that Google Maps allows planning routes with up to 10 stops only.

Open Google Maps, click on “Directions,” enter your starting point and destination, then click “Add destination” for additional stops. Finally, click “Send directions to your phone” or “Start” for navigation.

To use Google Maps to plan an itinerary, follow these steps:

  1. Visit https://www.google.com/mymaps and create a new map.
  2. Add locations such as points of interest, restaurants, and hotels.
  3. Organize your itinerary with layers for different days or activities.
  4. Plan your route by getting directions between locations.
  5. Estimate travel times and consider traffic conditions.
  6. Book accommodations and activities directly through Google Maps.
  7. Share your itinerary with others and download it for offline access.

Yes, you can plan a running route by selecting the “Walking” directions option in Google Maps and customizing it for your running path.

While Google Maps route planner is a popular choice for many, it’s worth considering alternatives like Upper for more comprehensive route planning needs. Upper stands out for its ability to handle complex routes with unlimited stops, advanced optimization, and enhanced privacy features, providing a comprehensive solution beyond the limitations of Google Maps.

No, Google Maps doesn’t allow planning multiple routes at once. But you can add multiple routes to a single map using Google My Maps. It lets you do this by adding layers to your map. You can even use an advanced route planning app, like Upper, that allows you to plan multiple routes at once.

Yes, Google Maps suggests the fastest route based on real-time traffic data, but users can customize preferences to avoid tolls, motorways, or ferries.

In the Google Maps app, tap and hold to drop a pin at your starting point, then tap “Directions” and “Start” to navigate. For drawing custom paths, use Google My Maps.

No, Google Maps doesn’t offer a route optimization feature. It provides the shortest route based on the sequence of stops you’ve added. To create the most efficient route, you’ll need to adjust the order of the stops manually. Google Maps doesn’t automatically generate optimized routes by arranging the stops in the best sequence between points A and B.

For any inquiries related to using Google Maps, your primary resource is the Google Maps Help Center. Here, you’ll find a wide range of support options, including helpful topics, offline map downloads, location accuracy improvement, and more. The Help Center covers common issues and offers access to community forums for engaging with other users.

Absolutely, Google Maps empowers you to set parameters and goals for your route. It provides options for adding multiple locations and selecting from multiple routes. If you wish to avoid highways, tolls, or ferries, these preferences can also be easily adjusted in the settings. However, it’s worth noting that, as of now, direct features for setting service times or time constraints are not available.

To plan a route with multiple destinations on Google Maps, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Maps in your browser or mobile app.
  2. Click or tap “Directions.”
  3. Enter your starting point and the first destination.
  4. Click or tap the “+” button to add more destinations.
  5. Arrange the order of destinations as needed.
  6. Google Maps will then provide you with the optimized route and turn-by-turn directions.

To find the quickest route with multiple stops on Google Maps, follow these steps:

  1. Enter your starting point and the first destination.
  2. Click or tap the “+” button to add more destinations.
  3. Arrange the order of destinations as needed and click on “Done.”
  4. Google Maps will automatically generate what it considers the best route based on the order of your destinations.
  5. To ensure the fastest path, manually adjust the order of stops by dragging and dropping them into a different sequence. Compare the estimated time of arrival (ETA) for different routes to determine the quickest route.

Google Maps offers a convenient feature, saved places, to let users bookmark their favorite destination for easy access. So, whenever you find your favorite places like food courts, restaurants, and attractions, you can mark them saved in Google Maps.

Final Thoughts About Google Maps as a Route Planner

We found that Google Maps is an invaluable navigation app that can be used to reach out to your favorite locations. Small business owners can also utilize the Google route planner to perform multi-stop deliveries. Whether you’re using the mobile app for efficient route planning or creating custom maps with Google My Maps on your desktop, Google Maps offers a range of convenient features to tackle your routing chaos. 

However, the popular route planner, Google Maps, misses out on a significant feature – Route optimization. And that’s where you need to look at options other than Google Maps. In case your business needs route optimization for hundreds of stops at once, it is recommended to try Upper. A route optimization software, Upper, will not only reduce your route planning hassles but also level up the delivery efficiency. Get started with a to experience seamless route planning for yourself.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.

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