Are you looking for the best free route planner unlimited stops solution? Then, you landed in the right place. Talking about the old days, we had paper maps. Most people who are 30 or older will remember these maps, likely with fondness and with a tinge of nostalgia. Nowadays, in the digital era, there exist much more straightforward, simpler alternatives that are all digital. For the most part, the online diary planner and digital planners are available at our fingertips on our mobile devices.
The issue for the person planning the route is to find the best fit for them and their purpose. This article will look to show the way forward and answer the question of which is the free route planner with unlimited stops. The short answer is unfortunate: there are none. We believe it’s better to know the truth upfront, then be disappointed later on. A user has then two options. Option #1 is a free route planner with limited features and ten or so stops (not unlimited). Option #2 is a paid route planner that has unlimited stops and more robust features.
In this article, we will look at many different no-cost options from which to choose. For example, here is an exhaustive list from Capterra. For the consumer, it is challenging to find out which is best. Also, the difficulty with websites like Capterra is that the information is not always accurate. So we would like to help you, the user, navigate the complexity. To do so, we will give a bit of background on route planning, and some of the factors to consider. Finally, we will present some of the route planners available on the market.
Table of Contents
The Basics of Route Planning
What is Route Planning?
To start, we will define what this term. We use this type of route planning to decide which route we will choose to use to go from one address to another, or between several addresses. In our current day and age, it often consists of a software solution that has a map, routes, and driving directions. Many route solutions will include an integrated navigation app or integrate a third-party navigation solution.
In the end, the result is the best route and a map to reach all the desired addresses.
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Who are the Users?
There are a variety of users who with needs for route-planning software:
- Delivery Drivers: Because of the multiple stops and routes they have to make, they often are looking for delivery routing software.
- Trip planning or road trips: Those who are making a road trip often have to plan a journey by car, and thus have a need to plot routes, stops, and to visualize all of this on a map.
- Newspaper Delivery Route: These users often are looking for a free delivery route planner software to help them map and accomplish their routes.
- Field Service Managers: These users have service calls in a variety of locations and need to map these addresses in a route.
- Courier Drivers: Whether it’s Amazon, UPS, or your local courier, they all need knowing routes and destinations for deliveries for delivery drivers.
- Fleet Management: These users will often have a sophisticated user of route planning and likely are not looking for free software.
The terminology can be confusing, and we see many people use a variety of search terms.
- Free delivery route mapping software;
- Delivery routing software free;
- Delivery scheduling software free;
- Route optimization software free;
- Free routing programs;
- Free route planning software multiple stops;
- Free delivery scheduling software;
- Delivery route mapping software free;
All of these terms, all point to the same concept of mapping out multiple addresses and creating routes. Some have more account settings or features, such as security features than others.
Finally, we would like to talk about route planning algorithms. This medium article shares some interesting insights into the algorithm that Google Maps uses. This algorithm has named. Its name is the Dijkstra Algorithm.
So what is an algorithm? It is a set of rules or a process that one can solve a problem. In this case, we are trying to solve the problem of getting from point A to point B. Google Maps uses this process that was created by a Dutch programmer called Edsger W. Dijkstra. His method consists of building a route solution piece by piece. How this looks in practice, is that at every step of a route, the algorithm (or the software) will make a choice of the “best path” based on just the single stage. Therefore, it does not optimize as to the process as a whole. Knowing the algorithms and how they work is a useful piece of information to know for you to use when assessing the options for a software solution. (Plus, you’ll look brilliant in front of your friends if you can quote the Dijkstra Algorithm!)
Top 4 Free Route Planners
There are so many GPS navigation apps to download on your smartphone. It’s often difficult to decide which ones are worth taking up storage space, and which ones aren’t worth your time or money. Here, in no particular order, we give you the pros and cons of apps that are worth a look and will get you where you need to go. Some are simply for navigation, while others have integrated features like location sharing on social media or routes for backwoods hiking. The basic versions of all are free, although many of them offer premium features for a monthly or yearly fee.
As mentioned above, there is always a trade-off between the price you pay and the benefit (or features) you get. We would still like to present to you four route planners in this article so that you can evaluate and try these for yourself.
Of course, when we think of a free tool, we think of route planner Google Maps. This company has dominated the web for a long time, and they have built incredible products that are ubiquitous. This service is one such product. This app is available on all platforms (iOs, Android, web). It has features such as distance navigation and includes offline maps. Some say that the search bar is not as responsive as some may like.
Now, we want to be clear that when we say “free,” we mean that it is without any financial transaction. Google is a company that monetizes data use. For some, this is not an issue, for others, this is a critical point to consider, and that the “price of privacy or data loss” is higher than a financial cost. We simply want users to know these concerns because, for some users, they may wish not to use this service for these reasons.
Download availability: iOS, Android, Web-based
- Available on mobile and web
- Offline navigation
- Up to 10 stops
- Shows traffic rules
- Works for many forms of transportation
- Tells you about traffic issues
- Some users explain issues with next-turn directions, notably that they are delayed, or wrong. Some users mention missing exits and wrong routes.
- Some reviews complain of the inefficiency of the actual routing.
- GPS can drain your phone battery
- Data and privacy questions
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How to Use Google Maps for Route Planning?
Apple Maps is another excellent tool to use for driver navigation. The sense is that this app offers fewer capabilities than other apps. For one, a user can only input two stops, and therefore cannot handle a “multiple” stop trip. The beauty of the app falls within the details of the map, and the times where users may want to use this app would be if they’re going to stay within the Apple ecosystem. Apple, of course, is a master of great design, customer service, and performance as a whole. It’s anyone’s whether they will end up creating a better mapping tool in the future for travelers and itinerary mapping.
Download availability: iOS, iPad, and macOS
- Excellent design and visual style, including 3D map view and buildings
- Apple’s customer service is second to none
- Syncs between all apple devices
- Provides basic features of directions and voice navigation
- Some users mention that Apple at times has issues located addresses
- Some users point to incorrect information and exit directions
- Maximum of 2 stops for directions
- Not available for Android
RouteXL is a web-based software based in the Nederlands. RouteXL helps users plan routes using geocoding, GPS, and a variety of other features. One of the key elements that users find useful is the ability to import or export via excel. One of the disadvantages is the user experience and the ease of understanding of this application. Many users find it challenging to use this software and report that the documentation is not optimal for success. The other disadvantage (compared to others on this list) is that RouteXL is a website based only.
Download availability: web only
- Ability to add multiple stops and locations
- Free up to 20 stops
- Save previous route feature
- Add Details for stop feature
- Drag & Drop scheduler
- ONLY web based – No Mac, windows, Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS NO iPhone / iPad / No Android
- Not user friendly or intuitive
- Customer service
- Tutorial and guidance of users needs improvement
MapQuest is the “old kid on the block.” This software has been around for many years before TomTom, Facebook, Twitter, Garmin, and everyone else on this list. This company has adapted well to the changing preferences of users, and their current product is simple, intuitive, and multi-platform. The reviews suggest that this is an excellent app to use for simple travel, and as is the case with many of the free apps, it will not suffice for a more robust route planning user. Out of all of the no-cost apps, this software provides the opportunity to add the most apps for multiple steps trips.
Download availability: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
- Ability to go above 20 stops on free version
- Easy to use and to input addresses
- Focus is mostly on maps and driving directions, although it also offers turn-by-turn navigation and traffic information.
- Can tell you where to find best gas prices.
- Smart address
- Available on multiple platforms
- Users report inaccurate directions in the mobile versions
- Offline mode not available
- Basic functionalities
- Pop-up ads are bothersome to many users
What if the Difference Between Free vs. Paid Apps?
In some ways, the best things in life are free: love, fresh air, friendship. However, when it comes to software, usually, the best options are the ones for which you have to pay. The difference in the business is often quite substantial. When you have something without charge, that generally comes at the expense of quality, of features, of functionality. Below we would like to list the list of advantages of using a paid route planner:
- Advanced tools for customers and fewer limitations;
- Setting of spreadsheet import;
- Fleet management or multiple vehicles
- Efficient Routes and gas fuel calculations;
- More Advanced Functions
- Routes by territory;
- Sync across platforms;
- Outstanding Tech Support;
- Less time invested by the team members
- Return on investment (e.g., sometimes a small investment in software can yield a substantial return financially in terms of savings)
- Excellent design and ease of use (paid services often improve useability)
- Unlimited number of stops;
- Better Customer experience and interface;
- Separate apps for administrators and drivers
- Real-time tracking of deliveries;
- Languages instructions and payments;
- Improved inbox button and content;
- Link to schedule and places;
- Free trial and subscription purchase;
- The sales team will have news and articles on the software;
- Access to staff, menu, tips, tricks, notes, posts, and info;
These are but a few of the reasons to choose a paid app over one that has no costs of any kind.
The best free multi-stop route planning websites are MapQuest, Google Maps, and RouteXL. All other services either have a financial cost or do not allow the ability to add multiple stops. For the ability to get unlimited stops, one must opt for a paid service.
There is a variety of free route planning software. As with everything: you get what you pay for. The advantage, of course, is that you can get to use software without charge; the disadvantage is that this type of software will be limited in functionality, useability, and value.
In conclusion, the unfortunate reality is that there are no available free multi stop route planner apps to plan routes with unlimited stops available. There are three that are without charge that can give you up to 25 stops without cost. If you are a delivery company or courier, and you want to go above that number, our opinion is you must go with a paid service for your vehicle. There is a multitude of other reasons to go with a paid service (as mentioned above). It depends on your situation, what your purpose is, and what’s right for you. If you’re just hitting up roads and finding a place to rest (at campgrounds and hotels, for instance), then many of the questions above won’t apply to you. We hope this article on free route planner multiple stops was useful to reach your destination. As always, thousands of thanks for your feedback and responses. Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you.