TruckRouter: Best for long haul trucking, North America only
The best free route planner apps
1. Google Maps: Best for individual drivers
Cost: Free Stop limit: 10 Route optimization: No Plan multiple routes: No Platform: Web & mobile app Best for: Individual drivers and short routes
Google Maps is the ultimate free route planning software. It’s a great solution for single delivery drivers who need to find the optimal route from point A to point B as quickly as possible. We loved:
Real-time traffic updates to help you avoid congestion.
Usually up to date with things like road closures and diversions.
Easy to use on any mobile device, including both Android and Apple devices.
Will give you accurate turn-by-turn directions most of the time.
ETAs are more accurate than Apple maps.
User-friendly mobile app.
Street View is a great additional feature — having a photo of your destination makes it easy to find the building, or the parking entrance.
The biggest limitation of Google Maps is that it’s not great as a multi-stop route planner. You can only plan up to 10 stops, and the process is quite clunky.
💡We made a free Chrome extension to solve this problem! Now you can optimize multiple stops easily with a single click. There's a smart little tool here that can merge multiple routes so you get 20 or more stops.
That brings us to the next problem: Google Maps is a great solution for finding the fastest route between two stops and giving driving directions. But it is not a route optimizer — in other words, it can’t find the most efficient route around multiple stops for you. (If you have access to the Google Maps API you can do much more, but that’s not an option for the vast majority of users.)
You can probably do a good job of arranging addresses in a sensible order yourself if you’re just dealing with 10 or so stops. But if you need to plan for more than 20 stops, or for multiple vehicles, you probably need a more efficient route planner that can actually optimize your stops in the most efficient order.
Recommendation: Google Maps is a great option if you have just one vehicle and need to make a route of 10 stops or less.
How do I get unlimited stops on Google Maps?
The short answer is: you can’t. But If you’re prepared to do extra preparation and planning work, you can use Google’s My Maps to map a route of up to 100 stops, or create routes for multiple vehicles. We’ve written a detailed tutorial for planning deliveries with Google Maps.
2. Mapquest: Best for small businesses up to 26 stops
Cost: Free Stop limit: 26 Route optimization: Basic Plan multiple routes: No Platform: Web & mobile app Best for: Small businesses
When you hit the limitations of Google Maps as a route maker, you can give Mapquest a try. This tool has been around since 1996 and is more geared for business use.
The major features of Mapquest are:
It allows up to 26 stops in one route.
It can do basic route optimization if you check the “let us re-order stops” option.
You can choose to optimize your route for the shortest distance or shortest time.
You can upload a list of addresses using copy/paste or a spreadsheet.
It’s easy to share routes via social media, to a mobile number or using a link.
It shows estimated fuel costs for each trip.
It’s easy to print out maps.
Mapquest has two major limitations. First, they support their ability to offer free route planning by showing ads, which can be distracting.
Second, Mapquest has very limited ability to interpret addresses. If your addresses aren’t formatted in exactly the right way, it will mark them as invalid. There is a dropdown list with suggestions, but in our test some were inaccurate and it was very easy to click on the wrong one. This could end up wasting a lot of time and money if you don’t carefully check every address.
Recommendation: Best free business option for up to 26 stops, so long as you’re confident about your addresses and don’t mind ads
3. RAC Route Planner: Best for solo drivers in the UK
Cost: Free Stop limit: 10 Route optimization: No Plan multiple routes: No Platform: Web only Best for: Individual drivers based in the UK.
If you’re an individual driver based in the UK, the RAC Route Planner app is a good option. It allows you to map routes with multiple stops, and includes a lot of information about traffic and weather conditions.
It’s also possible to use the RAC app to plan routes in Europe, but you will need to look up and enter the exact address of each destination. Unlike Google Maps and others, the RAC app won’t automatically suggest locations as you type.
Recommendation: A good option if you’re based in the UK or Europe and appreciate the emphasis on safety and driving conditions.
Maps.me: Best for road trips
Cost: Free Stop limit: 10 Route optimization: No Plan multiple routes: No Platform: Android & iOS Best for: Road trips, areas without mobile service
If you need to create a route in a remote area with limited cell phone coverage, Maps.me shines. Its biggest advantage is the ability to download an unlimited number of maps to your iPhone or Android mobile device and create unlimited routes. You can add up to 5 waypoints, search for pit stops along the way, and navigate routes — all without using a single byte of data.
Maps.me is definitely aimed at tourists creating road trips, rather than business users who need to plan delivery or service routes. For long haul delivery drivers who need extra tools like fuel and distance tracking and truck stop locations, TruckRouter is a better bet.
Recommendation: Maps.me is good for recreational travel when you know you will be on roads without a good data signal.
RouteXL: Best for small businesses up to 20 stops
Cost: Free with a paid subscription option Stop limit: 20 Route optimization: Basic Plan multiple routes: No Platform: Web only Best for: Small businesses
RouteXL is a good alternative to Google Maps for free route planning. The free version allows up to 20 stops, and optimizes your route as well. You can upload a list of stops using an Excel spreadsheet, and share the optimized routes to a navigation app or phone.
A major limitation to know about is that In our test, RouteXL wasn’t able to recognize all the addresses we loaded. In one case, it created a stop in the wrong place. This means that if you want to use this app, you will need to check and double check your addresses.
Also, RouteXL can only route for one vehicle at a time. If you need to create routes for more than one driver you will have to create each one separately, which means you will miss out on some of the benefits of route optimization.
The interface feels a bit old-fashioned and slow, and it’s not all that user-friendly.
RouteXL is free to use up to 20 stops. You can get up to 100 or 200 stops per day if you sign up for a paid package.
Recommendation: A good option for small businesses with only one driver, who can afford to spend some time double checking addresses.
Speedy Route: Best for user-friendliness
Cost: Free with a paid subscription option Stop limit: 10 (more stops available with paid plans) Route optimization: Professional Plan multiple routes: Available with paid plans Platform: Web only Best for: Small businesses
Speedy Route is another free route planner and route optimization tool. The free version allows routing up to 10 stops, with paid subscriptions supporting up to 10 drivers and 9,999 stops.
The web app is attractive and user-friendly. You can add stops using copy and paste or by uploading a spreadsheet, and it’s possible to add notes for each stop. Once your route is optimized, you can export it to a spreadsheet file or print it out. There’s no option to send the route to a navigation app, although you might be able to upload the spreadsheet to another app for navigation.
Recommendation: Speedy Route is a good choice if your small business needs optimized routes for multiple vehicles and are happy to do some extra work to send your routes to a navigation app.
TruckRouter: Best for long haul trucking, North America only
Cost: Free Stop limit: 5 Route optimization: Professional Plan multiple routes: No Platform: Web only Best for: Long haul trucking
If you need free route planning software that’s tailored to the needs of long distance truck drivers, TruckRouter may be the one for you. This is a web-based route planning tool with a bunch of features for truck-specific routes:
TruckRouter optimizes routes for height and weight restrictions. For example, it avoids routes with low bridges.
It includes a list of truck stops and facilities with each route.
It has good tools for calculating estimated trip costs, including fuel costs and toll roads.
It’s easy to print out an itinerary and detailed directions.
Long-haul trucks usually only make 1-2 stops to deliver or pick up goods, so TruckRouter doesn’t offer a high number of stops.
TruckRouter is only available in the US, Canada and Mexico. It’s also web-only, so you won’t find it in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.
Recommendation: The best tool for planning long-distance trucking routes if you plan on a computer and then print out the routes. North America only.
What are the limitations of free route planners?
There is no route planning app that is both free AND offers unlimited stops. Some apps are free up to a certain number of stops, usually around 10-20. But once you get to more than 25 stops, or need routes for more than one vehicle, you will have to pay for access to genuinely efficient route planners.
If you're a solo delivery driver, there are some great mobile apps for delivery routes — but they're also not free.
When to upgrade to a paid route planning app
As a route manager or dispatcher, you should consider getting professional route planning or route optimization software if:
You want more efficient routes
You have two or more vehicles on the road
You’re making more than 20 stops a day
You’re spending too much time planning routes
You’d like to cut your fuel costs
Route planning is stressful
You’d like to avoid having to hire another driver or buy another vehicle
Well designed software can save hours of route planning each week. Ask yourself: “How long can we use a free route planning app before it starts costing us too much?” Then compare that to the pricing of a paid subscription; the ROI should be pretty clear.
💡Pro tip: You can try out Routific for 7 days free! It’s the quickest way to try out user-friendly route planning software. Or if you’d like more options, have a look at our review of the best route planning software for deliveries.
Benefits of professional route planning software
1. Route optimization
The more deliveries or service stops you make, the more complex your routes become. Our customers quickly find themselves spending hours planning their routes each week. With route planning software that includes a route optimization algorithm, you can cut route planning time down to minutes. Here at Routific, it’s core to our product and we dedicate a lot of resources to continuously improving its efficiency. We published The Ultimate Guide to Route Optimization to help unpack this large topic.
2. Better delivery experience
Nobody likes to sit around waiting for a delivery all day! Yet many companies still can’t do better than telling customers their deliveries will arrive “on Tuesday”. With the right route planning software, you can build a better delivery experience by committing to specific delivery time windows and automatically updating customers on the status of their deliveries.
3. Mobile driver apps
Route planning only gets you halfway there — someone still needs to drive the route and deliver the packages. For that, you’ll need to equip your delivery driver with the right tools that can provide the best delivery service for your customers.
Routific’s mobile app gives your delivery driver efficient routes with accurate ETAs, support for their favourite navigation apps (Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze), as well as driving directions and delivery instructions. It also enables drivers to collect proof of delivery — functionality you won’t get with free software.
Free route planners can help startups
To sum up: If you’re just starting up a delivery business, and you have just one delivery driver and a handful of stops, one of these free route planner apps will be enough to get you going.
When your business starts to grow, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a more sophisticated route planning software tool. Need help deciding which one? You can check out an updated, comprehensive review here: Best route planning software for delivery companies.
Pam Sykes has a PhD in History and a background in Journalism. She is the Lead Content Strategist at Routific with a focus on delivery management, delivery experience, route planning, and the last-mile industry in general. She has a passion to help delivery businesses scale with her craft of storytelling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a free route planning app?
Yes, there are many free route planning apps for routing multiple addresses, available for both mobile and desktop. We reviewed 23 apps and picked our top 7:
Google Maps – best for individual drivers
Mapquest – best for routes up to 26 stops
RAC Route Planner – best for drivers in the UK
Maps.me – best for road trips
RouteXL – best for small businesses
Speedy Route – best for user-friendliness
TruckRouter – best for long-haul trucking
Routific is a route planning app that multiple routes and includes AI-enabled route optimization. It offers a 7-day free trial.
How can I map a route for free?
The easiest way to map a route with multiple stops for free is to use Google Maps. Other popular free mapping tools you can use to create a route with multiple stops, include MapQuest, MyRouteOnline, and RouteXL.
How do I plan a route with multiple stops for free?
Google Maps is a great choice if you need to create a route with multiple stops for free. You can plan up to 10 stops at a time. For longer routes, use Google’s My Maps tool, or an alternative like MapQuest, MyRouteOnline, or RouteXL. The RAC Route Planner is a good choice for those based in the UK.
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