Can you believe Google Maps has only been around since 2005? It didn’t take long to change route planning forever. Instead of poring over a paper map, most of us now turn to online tools or mobile apps to plan everything from shopping trips to running routes.
But not all map route planners are the same — what’s perfect for one purpose might be terrible for another. For example: Waze is great for real-time traffic updates, but it can’t do multi-stop routes or help you plan a bike ride. In this article, we’ll look at three different types of route planners to help you find the best route, whatever you’re planning.
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Simple A to B route planners for everyday use
Route planners for recreational use
Multi-stop route planners for businesses
Delivery route planners
One thing to note: Some of these route planners don’t work worldwide. In our reviews, we’ve mentioned this where we can, but some apps that work really well for us in North America might not work so well elsewhere in the world. Whatever your current location, testing a few different route planner apps is worth testing.
1. Simple A to B route planners for everyday use
These maps are for when you just want to find the quickest route from one place to another, with turn-by-turn directions that are easy to follow. You want your route plan to take traffic, weather, and temporary road conditions into account, because yesterday’s best route might not be the same as today’s. We’ll look at the big 3 (Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze), and two lesser-known options that are worth a try.
Google Maps is free, reliable, and available everywhere for both Android and iOS. All over the world, it’s become the default navigation app. It gives mostly excellent driving directions, as well as public transport directions in many cities. The satellite and terrain overlays can be very helpful for finding your way around, and Street View is brilliant. You can even download maps to use offline if you know you’ll be away from a phone signal or wifi for a while.
When NOT to use Google Maps
Nobody can be the best at everything. Here are some times when it’s better to use a Google Maps alternative:
You’re walking, running or riding a bike. Google’s bike routing is terrible, and it doesn’t always understand that walkers and runners want to be away from busy roads. For these purposes, you’re better off using one of the recreational routing apps we recommend below.
You need to plan a route with multiple stops. Google can handle up to ten stops, and you can drag and drop your addresses to sort them into a more efficient order. But if you regularly need to plan multi-stop routes, you need route optimization – check out the list of multi-stop route planners below.
You want a cleaner map interface. Google Maps can sometimes feel very cluttered with ads and icons. Especially in dense cities, it can be hard to find the place you’re actually looking for.
You’re concerned about privacy. If you don’t like the idea of Google knowing more about you, your preferences, and your movements than your best friend or your spouse, Google Maps is not a great choice for you.
Apple Maps has come a long way since its initial release. Available exclusively on iOS devices, it now offers multiple-stop routing and real-time traffic updates. The interface is clean and straightforward, making it easy to use. Apple Maps also integrates seamlessly with Siri, allowing for hands-free navigation.
When to use Apple Maps
You need public transport directions in urban areas. Apple Maps excels at helping you find transit directions and plan routes using public transit.
You want detailed offline maps. With the launch of iOS 17, Apple Maps allows you to download maps for offline use.
Waze is a very popular community-driven navigation app that gives real-time traffic updates and road information. It’s frequently updated by other users, so you know you’re getting the most recent information as traffic conditions change. Waze offers alternative routes to avoid congestion, so it's excellent for daily commuting. It also alerts you to road hazards, police checkpoints, and speed cameras.
Google bought out Waze in 2013, but it still operates as an entirely separate app.
When to use Waze
You're traveling in urban areas. Waze relies on a large user base for real-time updates, so it works best in big cities.
You want comprehensive navigation tools. Waze has many icons and alerts to keep you informed and find the best routes.
Bing Maps is Microsoft's answer to Google Maps and offers similar functionality, including driving, walking, and public transport directions. There’s also a 3D flyover feature for many cities worldwide, which makes for some entertaining virtual exploration.
When to use Bing Maps
You want real-time traffic updates. Bing Maps now has live traffic information, so you know what to expect on your commute or trip.
You don’t need a mobile app. Bing Maps is primarily web-based, but you can view traffic and other route info on the Microsoft Start mobile app.
HERE WeGo is known for its offline maps – you can download maps of an entire country for offline navigation. Some reviews have mentioned that this gives users much more privacy and uses less data and battery power.
It also has comprehensive public transit information, although the accuracy varies between countries. Like Google Maps, it offers turn-by-turn navigation for various modes of transport, including walking, cycling, and driving. It has a clean, uncluttered interface, which many users like.
When to use HERE WeGo
You don’t need real-time community-driven updates. HERE WeGo doesn't have a community feature like Waze.
You want a simple, no-frills interface. The app is straightforward, which makes it easy to use. However, it lacks some of the interactive features found in competitors. If features like real-time traffic alerts, gamification, and personalized recommendations are important to you, an app like Waze might be a better choice.
2. Route planners for recreational use
What about route planners for road trips, exercise, camping, and other outdoor activities? Safety is a big issue here — if you’re a runner, you want an app that’s smart enough to avoid busy roads, for example. When you’re hiking, biking, or running, you also want different kinds of information than when you’re driving, like elevation profiles, points of interest, and access points.
Reviews and ratings from other users are also important for recreational route planning: You want to know if a trail is badly overgrown or a campground is dirty. Here’s a selection of the best apps for enjoying yourself out in the world.
a. Running, biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities
AllTrails is a go-to app for hikers, offering over 100,000 trails complete with user reviews and photos. The app provides detailed maps, including topographic layers, and allows you to filter trails based on your specific needs—be it hiking, bird-watching, or trail running.
When to use AllTrails
You're an avid hiker looking for new trails.
You want user-generated reviews and photos to gauge trail quality.
Gaia GPS is renowned for its detailed topographic maps, making it a favorite among off-road adventurers and backcountry hikers. The app offers various map layers, including satellite imagery and National Geographic trails, and allows for offline use.
When to use Gaia GPS
You're into backcountry hiking or off-road adventures.
You need detailed topographic maps for navigation.
Komoot is designed for outdoor enthusiasts who engage in multiple activities like hiking, mountain biking, and road cycling. The app provides turn-by-turn navigation and allows you to plan routes based on your fitness level and the type of terrain you prefer.
When to use Komoot
You're a multi-sport outdoor enthusiast.
You want customized routes based on your activity and skill level.
MapMyRun is primarily focused on running but also supports other activities. It offers features like route tracking, audio coaching, and the ability to share your routes and achievements with a community of users.
When to use MapMyRun
You're a runner looking for route tracking and audio coaching.
You want to share your achievements with a community.
PlotaRoute is a versatile route planner that caters to walkers, runners, and cyclists. It offers features like elevation profiles, waypoints, and the ability to create your own routes or explore routes created by other users.
When to use PlotaRoute
You want to plan routes with multiple waypoints.
You're interested in elevation data for your outdoor activities.
Ride with GPS
Ride with GPS is geared towards cyclists and offers detailed route planning features, including elevation profiles, points of interest, and turn-by-turn navigation. It also allows you to download routes for offline use.
When to use Ride with GPS
You're a cyclist looking for detailed route planning.
You want offline maps for long rides.
Strava is popular among both runners and cyclists. It offers robust tracking features, including pace, distance, and elevation. The app also has a strong social component, allowing you to compete with friends and join challenges.
When to use Strava
You're competitive and enjoy tracking your performance metrics.
You want to join challenges and compete with a community of users.
Trailforksstarted out as a trail database for mountain bikers and has transformed into a route-planning tool for outdoor enthusiasts. Find routes for hiking, trail running, horseback riding, e-bikes, and more. Robust filters allow you to choose your preferred difficulty, distance, climbing, and time. You can even log your rides and share videos with the community.
When to use Trailforks
You want a detailed route planner for your outdoor adventures.
You want to log your rides and join an active community.
Footpath allows users to plan routes by tracing the map with their fingers. Choose the area you want to explore, and Footpath will find roads and trails for you. The app allows you to measure distance and elevation, save and share routes for offline navigation, and get turn-by-turn directions right on your mobile device.
Footpath also gives you the tools to analyze your routes by recording GPS tracks, health and fitness data (like your heart rate), and a heatmap of your speed.
When to use Footpath
You want a simple way to plan routes for outdoor activities.
You want to track and analyze your performance data.
b. Road trip route planners
Furkot is a comprehensive road trip planner that helps you create a detailed itinerary, including stops for meals and lodging suggestions. You can book accommodation directly through the app.
We particularly liked the “Find” feature — click on the “Scenic byways and backroads” button, for example, and a bunch of options will be instantly highlighted on the map. You can click on any option to get a lot more detail.
Furkot has a lot of features, but there’s a good walkthrough tutorial to help you get started. There’s even a cool “Inspire me” feature that loads a pre-set itinerary from a travel guide. We also like the fact that the signup process is quick.
When to use Furkot
You want all your research, inspiration, planning, and booking in one place.
You want to take advantage of already existing research.
You're looking for a variety of lodging, food, and activity options along your route.
MyScenicDrives focuses on providing scenic route suggestions, making it ideal for those looking for a picturesque journey. Just select a state to see recommended drivers, and click through for detailed information. There’s no need to sign up before you start planning.
It only works for the US, though, so if you need a map planner for a trip anywhere else, Furkot may be a better bet.
When to use MyScenicDrives
You want to plan a scenic trip inside the United States.
You want lodging and activity suggestions for your trip.
Roadtrippers, made for car and RV trips, is known for its user-friendly interface and extensive database of attractions, restaurants, and natural wonders. It only works in North America, though.
When to use RoadTrippers
You want to discover unique attractions and eateries along your route.
You're looking for a user-friendly app with a large community of users.
Sygic Travel offers detailed offline maps and the ability to create a daily itinerary. The app also provides information on points of interest, including user reviews and photos.
When to use Sygic Travel
You want offline maps for your road trip.
You're interested in creating a daily itinerary.
ViaMichelin offers detailed route planning features, including real-time traffic updates and estimated fuel costs. The app also provides Michelin Guide recommendations for restaurants and hotels.
When to use ViaMichelin
You want real-time traffic updates and estimated fuel costs.
You're interested in Michelin Guide recommendations.
Wanderlog is designed for collaborative trip planning. It allows you to create a shared itinerary that can be edited by multiple people. The app also offers features like expense tracking and activity suggestions.
When to use Wanderlog
You're planning a trip with multiple people and want a collaborative tool.
You're interested in tracking expenses and activities.
Each of these road trip route planners offers unique features to enhance your travel experience, from detailed itineraries to scenic route suggestions.
c. Camping trip route planners
Allstays has a few app options for camping and RV trip planning. The app's Pro version provides detailed maps of campgrounds across Canada and the U.S., along with filters to help you find what you want. You can view ratings, prices, rest areas, truck stops, RV dumps, trails, nearby amenities, and more along your route.
When to use Allstays
You’re planning an extended RV trip in North America.
You want to know the weather and pricing details for stops on your trip.
Campendium is a trip-planning tool for RVers that helps you find RV parks, overnight parking spots, public land, dump stations, and more. Just search for a city, campground name, state park, or national forest to get started.
Campendium’s search tool has helpful filters. You can sort the results by distance, rating, price, hookups, elevation, policies, amenities, and more.
The only downside? Campendium focuses on North America only.
When to use Campendium
You’re looking for specific types of parks for your next RV trip.
You want an easy way to find parks that allow online bookings.
Campercontact helps you find motorhome stopovers and routes — all on one simple platform. Their motorhome routes are focused on European destinations, but you can use their map tool to find campgrounds, RV parks, and other stopover locations worldwide.
If you are planning a motor home trip in Europe, you can purchase professionally planned routes with multiple destinations.
When to use Campercontact
You want help with planning an RV trip in Europe.
You’re looking for RV stopovers on your trip.
FreeRoam is a road trip planning tool for campers and RVers. Along with helping you find campsites at your destination (or along the way), the platform also has a trip planner. Just enter your destination, add it to your list, and start planning. You can add stops between each destination and navigate there with the touch of a button.
FreeRoam also provides detailed information about each stop on your list, including reviews, overnight parking details, noise levels, safety, and more.
When to use FreeRoam
You want a visual planning tool.
You want to plan your routes based on things like the weather, elevation, nearby facilities, cell reception, or rig length.
KOA is a franchise of privately owned campgrounds with more than 500 locations across Canada and the U.S. The company also offers a trip planner tool to help you find the best route to your destination and KOA stops along the way.
While the planner tool is useful, it’s very basic and does not offer options for adding stops or finding nearby amenities.
When to use KOA
You need basic route planning for your next camping trip.
You plan to stay at KOA campgrounds.
Park4Night helps people find safe places to park their RVs overnight anywhere in the world. Each map marker has detailed information on the spot, along with comments from people who have stayed there, amenities (like whether they’re pet-friendly), reviews, and photos.
While you can’t book directly from the platform, a helpful Contact button will connect you with the host.
Park4Night isn’t a classic route planner app, but it’s a helpful tool if you’re searching for places to stay along your route.
When to use Park4Night
You need to find a safe place to stop overnight while traveling in a motor home or RV.
You’re traveling with pets and must find pet-friendly places to stay for the night.
RV Trip Wizard
RV Trip Wizard is a premium RV trip planner tool loaded with features. With this visual planning tool, you can view campgrounds, gas stations, and points of interest along your route. The platform can customize your route to your RV’s size, help you estimate costs, set driving times, and more.
When to use RV Trip Wizard
You’re a full-time RVer or planning an extended trip.
You want to track the cost of your trip.
The Dyrt helps users find campgrounds in the U.S., but the platform also has a Road Trip tool for Pro subscribers. Along with navigating to your destination, the app allows you to add waypoints, set your travel and camping preferences, and more.
You can even export and print your trip or connect with Google Maps for on-the-go navigation.
When to use The Dyrt
You want to book campsites in addition to planning your route.
You don’t mind paying a subscription fee to get campground discounts.
3. Multi-stop route planners for businesses
Businesses doing multi-stop route planning have totally different needs from road trippers and everyday commuters. Planning deliveries, sales or service calls means taking into account the duration of each stop, driver shifts, accurate ETAs for customers, real-time tracking, and route optimization.
Efficient routing has a direct impact on profitability. Every unnecessary mile driven means money spent on fuel, vehicle maintenance and driver wages that could be better spent elsewhere. And serving ten customers per day instead of 11 or 12 means lower revenue. So businesses need driver scheduling and route optimization power that Google Maps and other consumer-focused routing apps just can’t offer.
In the next sections we’ll look at the route planners for local deliveries, sales and service calls. Then we’ll also take a look at route planners specifically for truckers, who have slightly different needs.
a. Route planners for deliveries, sales, and service calls
Routific is advanced route optimization and delivery management software that helps businesses find the most efficient delivery routes, manage driver schedules and provide a great customer experience. Routific’s algorithm-based routes reduce mileage by 25%, with an automated process that saves hours a day.
Features like customer notifications, proof of delivery, and real-time GPS tracking make it easy to manage a delivery business.
When to use Routific
You need a streamlined way to plan and optimize local delivery routes.
You want a comprehensive app with customer-facing features, delivery analytics, dispatching tools, and more.
You need a route planner that comes with a free mobile app for drivers.
You want software that’s easy to use and offers great customer service.
Badger Mapping focuses on route planning for field sales, helping sales reps find the best routes for their schedules. Sales reps can visualize their territories, focus on their top prospects, and filter opportunities based on their schedules and locations. Sales team leaders can gather data from their team members and even integrate Badger with their CRM.
When to use Badger Mapping
You want a route planner focused on the needs of field sales team.
You need a platform that integrates with your CRM and other tools in your tech stack.
MapQuest is one of the oldest names in online mapping. It offers basic route planning and route optimization features, including turn-by-turn directions and multiple stops. The app also provides information on points of interest, gas stations, and restaurants.
When to use MapQuest
You want a straightforward, easy-to-use route planner with some basic route optimization features.
You don’t need any integrations, or advanced features like proof of delivery and customer notifications.
You’re willing to put up with ads in return for a free service.
Speedy Route is a simple route-planning tool that allows you to add multiple stops, plan routes for multiple vehicles, import stops, and more.
The platform has a user-friendly interface, making it easy to get started with planning and optimizing routes. The highest-tier plan allows you to create routes for up to ten drivers with unlimited stops.
When to use Speedy Route
You have a small or medium-sized operation.
You’re only looking for basic route planning and optimization, and don’t need any delivery management features.
RouteXL was designed with delivery, service-based, and pickup-based services in mind. Users can plan routes with multiple destinations, and RouteXL will find the quickest option for drivers.
Planning routes is simple. Just add your starting point and destinations to the map, press “Find Route,” and the tool will start planning the most efficient route.
Driving directions can be printed or exported to navigation apps.
When to use RouteXL
You have less than 20 addresses per route and want a free, basic planning tool.
You don’t mind a tool that’s slightly older.
Onfleet is a full-featured delivery management system for mid-size businesses that need powerful tools and are prepared to sacrifice some ease of use. Onfleet’s routes aren’t always the most efficient, but they do offer additional features like barcode scanning.
When to use Onfleet
You need a last-mile route planner that includes barcode scanning in its proof of delivery options.
You need an in-app chat function that enables communication between drivers and customers.
Optimoroute helps mobile workforces with smart technology and 50+ powerful features. You can import thousands of orders at a time, calculate driver time and cost, live track deliveries and ETA, send SMS messages, and even modify routes in real-time.
When to use Optimoroute
You require weekly planning of up to five weeks in advance.
You can benefit from multi-day long-haul routes with overnight stays and complex stop-planning.
Circuit helps 100,000 drivers deliver 600+ million deliveries per year. Add stops, optimize your route, and map out the entire day with a few taps of a button. Hands-free controls allow you to add or delete stops, or you can reoptimize your routes.
When to use Circuit
You’re looking for a last-mile delivery option.
You want an easy way to find addresses fast.
MyRouteOnline provides a seamless experience across apps, tablets, and desktops. Import contacts and reload saved routes to adjust them as necessary. Users can plan 1,000 addresses per stop, manually change routes on the fly, and optimize routes using four goal options. You can save routes online or export them to Google Maps, TomTom, or Garmin.
When to use MyRouteOnline
Your fleet is struggling with multi-stop route optimization.
You want refinement options by distance, time, shortest route, and fastest route.
Locus’ route optimization is industry-known for its ability to “unlock” efficiency when planning multiple routes. AI-backed optimization fuels the platform’s robust priority system that allows for vehicle allocation based on stop duration, traffic, shipment volume, and vehicle type.
When to use Locus
You require street-level route planning that considers.
Dispatch requires more efficient multi-stop planning based on geographical locations and customer prioritization.
b. Trucking route planners
Roadwarrior offers a seven-day free route planning app used by teams and drivers to optimize multi-stop routes. Each driver can have 500 stop optimizations daily, plan 200 stops per route, and monitor route progress. Multiple user license options are available, along with a web app for dispatchers to better schedule drivers and monitor availability.
When to use Roadwarrior
You’re scaling operations and prefer per-team member pricing.
You want to assign routes to drivers and track progress.
TruckRouter offers truck route planning software with a heavy focus on compliance and reporting. Users can monitor state and road-type mileage, itinerary data, and in-depth truck stop information. Truck stop data includes phone numbers, parking, and fueling.
When to use TruckRouter
You’re trying to monitor costs and can benefit from toll data
You want to download trip data and import it into custom software
MyRoute is known for having maps from Google, Michelin, HERE, TomTom, and Openstreetmaps. Routes are stored on the cloud for advanced planning across offices.
When to use MyRoute
Running fleets across regions and storing routes on the cloud can improve operations.
Multiple map options can help increase delivery accuracy.
LogiNext Mile helps customers move goods faster, thanks to optimization and pick-up automation. Customers use the platform for planning, routing, and scheduling. LogiNext Mile is powered by accurate ETA data that helps improve logistics efficiency by at least 20%.
When to use LogiNext Mile
You want to scale your fleet with third-party integration.
Resource capacity issues are hampering your business.
Maptive integrates with Google Maps API and transforms your data into custom maps. Map analysis tools empower you to plot 100,000 locations in a few clicks, including heat maps, route optimization, and the ability to create sale territories.
When to use Maptive
Heat map functionality and insights can help you further optimize your fleet.
Radius features can help your fleet deliver to multiple locations faster.
Sygic Truck is developed for large vehicle transport and aims to get rid of large, complex navigation systems. Offline maps, custom vehicle profiles, traffic information, speed camera warnings, and millions of truck-related points make Sygic a leading truck route planner.
When to use Sygic Truck
Hauling goods in low-emission zones where environmental restrictions are in place.
Accurate, offline maps are necessary due to potential service loss.
Samsara is an integrated platform that empowers trucking fleets to monitor truckers with real-time GPS, optimized routes, vehicle diagnostics, fuel diagnostics, and video-based safety. Customers have relied on Samsara for 1+ billion trips, third-party app integration, and even maintenance tools.
When to use Samsara
You’re running a trucking fleet and need more than just an efficient route.
Real-time fleet management with live-to-second GPS can provide you with advanced route options.
Rene Emery is a B2B/Finance/SaaS writer who focuses on clear, concise, and optimized content. Leveraging 12+ years of experience, she relies on her work with hundreds of companies worldwide to create content that speaks to readers and makes difficult topics easy to understand.
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