How To Get The Best Route with Multiple Stops Using Google Maps’ Route Planner [with alternatives]

When it comes to map route planners, some of the most common questions people ask are: “Can I plan a route with multiple stops with Google?” or “Isn’t Google Maps the best route planning software’’? This is the right place to find answers to those questions and more!

First off, Google Maps and route optimization apps are very different things. All they have in common is a virtual map.

In this article, you’ll find out:

  • When it makes sense to use Google route planner for multiple stops
  • How to use Google Maps to get the fastest route for multiple stops
  • When you should use an alternative, such as specialized route optimization software
  • The best multi-stop route planners for outside sales

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

Google Maps - Plan Multi - Stop Routes - Advantages and Cons

Does Google Maps have a Route Planner? 

Yes, Google Maps does have a route planner.

In fact, the route planner Google offers is one of the most popular options out there. It’s reliable, easy to use, and free.

With Google Maps, you can create routes to any place you want, and get turn-by-turn directions, different types of map views, and real-time traffic updates. You can set traveling by foot, car, bicycle, air (in beta), or public transportation.

Does Google Maps always give the fastest route?

Google Maps is a great tool to find the fastest route to your destination. But if your trip includes multiple stops, Google Maps’ trip planner will not give you the fastest route automatically.

To get the fastest route to reach all of your destinations (10 stops max.), you would have to manually reorder the stops according to what you think makes sense. (See the easiest way to do this below)

This is because the Google route planner simply finds the fastest route from point A to point B. Google Maps doesn’t optimize the route’s stop order.

If you’re planning a one-time trip, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. You’ll just have to enter your starting and ending points to plot a route on Google Maps.

But if you need to plan multi-stop routes every day (for example, if you’re a salesperson or a delivery driver), Google Maps is not the right solution for you. Google Maps is a great navigational mapping app, but businesses need much more than navigation from a mapping software.

Google Maps - Pros and Cons as a Route Planner

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How to use Google Maps with multiple stops for the fastest route? 

Finding the fastest route with Google Maps can be time-consuming because it is not designed to find the optimal order for multiple stops. 

However, it is totally possible for you to optimize your multi-stop route by following some simple steps. The only limitation is that you can’t add more than 10 stops to your route.

Step 1: Tap the Directions Button

After you open the Google Maps app, you’ll see this screen. On the bottom right corner, tap the blue button.

How to start using Google Maps - Directions

Step 2: Enter Your Starting Point

Note that Google Maps uses your current location as the starting point by default. To change it, tap on “Your Location”. Then, choose a starting point using the search bar or from your recent addresses.

Google Maps - Enter Location

Step 3: Enter Your First Stop

Likewise, tap “Choose Destination” to enter your first stop using the search bar or from your recent locations.

Google Maps - Add Stop

Step 4: Add More Stops

On the top right corner, tap the three little dots. Then, select “Add Stop” to add more locations. Remember you can only add a maximum of 10 stops.

Google Maps - Add Stop

Step 5: Find the Fastest Route Manually

The order in which you enter the stops is how your route will get planned. If you want to find the fastest route, you must manually reorder the stops until you see the shortest estimated time. 

To adjust the order, drag the three lines on the right-hand side of each stop and drop it in a different place. Then, compare the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of different routes. It can be time-consuming to optimize your multi-stop route without a route planning app.

Google Maps - Fastest route

Step 6: Tap “Done”

Once you find the fastest route, you’re ready to start navigating!

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When to use Google Maps for route planning? 

At this point, you’ve probably realized that using Google’s route planner is ideal for simple routes with no more than 2-3 stops. 

All you need to do is enter your destination, and you’ll get turn-by-turn directions with Google Maps to get there as fast as possible. You can also use it to simply find the distance between two points.

This is usually a great fit for occasional routing and for running daily errands. Some small businesses also use Google Maps before they can transition to a more sophisticated routing software.

Pro Tip: What's the benefit of using a route optimization software designed for field salespeople when you already have Google Maps? Selling 25% more and driving 20% less. 

When NOT to use Google Maps for route planning?  

There are two main scenarios in which Google route planner is not enough.

  • Scenario 1: Creating routes with multiple destinations

As you know by now, Google route planner only allows you to add up to 10 stops.

If you work in delivery, logistics, or fleet management, you’ll probably need to add 100+ stops to your daily route. You’ll also need visualization features, and the ability to save routes.

If you work in field sales, you typically visit 15-20 customers or prospects every day. The more sales meetings you have, the more you can sell. Plus, you need to keep track of each of your interactions with customers.

  • Scenario 2: Automatic Route Optimization

Whether you’re a field salesperson or you’re just trying to optimize your multi-stop route, you’ll need a tool that gives you the best route by simply entering all your stops.

Google route planner doesn’t do that. You will have to put in extra time to manually plot a route on Gmaps, and it’s not guaranteed that the route will be entirely optimized.

In cases like these, you’ll need more sophisticated software.

For example, if you’re in field sales, Badger Maps allows you to add 100+ stops and build the most efficient route.

It then gives you turn-by-turn directions, with the ability to set departure, arrival, and duration times for each stop, so you have an estimate of how early or late you’ll be for each location. 

But that’s not all! With Badger, you can filter leads to find the best opportunities on a map, find new leads around you, get follow-up reminders, and more.

Why Google Route Planner is NOT enough for Outside Sales?

Outside sales is a driving-intensive job.

The route planner Google offers is simply not enough for this use case.

If you’re a field sales rep, you probably meet with 15-20 prospects and customers in a day. That means that you need to easily view, manage, and optimize your entire day’s route.

Using Google Maps would mean wasting hours each day to plan your route. On the other side, using the right route optimization app will cut your driving time in half.

While Google Maps is an excellent route mapping tool for a roadtrip, a tailor-made routing app for Field Sales representatives is required to optimize all your stops or integrate field activity with your CRM. These features are a money saver for salespeople and enable them to spend less time driving and more time selling. 

Check out our full Google Maps vs Badger Maps feature comparison and see what this means for outside sales reps.

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List of Best Route Planners for Outside Sales

Badger Maps - Best Route planner for Outside sales

Price: Starts at $49/month (Free 7-day trial)

Best for: Field sales teams of all sizes, individual field sales reps

Combining Google Maps with this all-in-one tool results in having all the features field salespeople need to succeed.

Badger’s territory management features allow you to view customer information and easily spot your best opportunities on a map. Then, you can plan optimized routes to all your appointments (with 100+ stops) and keep track of all your customer interactions.

With Badger, you can also find new leads around you and include them to your route with the tap of a finger. Other key features include custom reports, follow-up reminders and CRM integration.

What makes Badger Maps different from other route planners is that it offers countless features specifically designed for field sales. In fact, the average sales team sells 22% and drives 20% less when they start using Badger. 

Although this is a great tool for many use cases, it’s the perfect solution for salespeople.

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My Route Online

Price: Starts at $29.95/month

Best for: Logistics, trucking

A popular tool for delivery, My Route Online allows users to add up to 350 stops and optimize routes.

If you’re a truck driver or a delivery person and need a basic map route planner, this might be the right solution for you.

Just keep in mind that this is a web-based only tool, with no mobile app available.

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Route XL

Price: Limited stops: free/unlimited stops: starts at €35/month (about $40/month)

Best for: Delivery

Route XL is another great delivery route planner solution.

With this tool, you can easily import a spreadsheet with all your destinations, and you’ll get the optimized route.

One drawback is that it can take some time to learn how to use this tool.

Good news is that it’s free to use for up to 20 stops, so you can give it a try!

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Price: Starts at $17.10 per driver/month

Best for: Businesses, mobile workforces

OptimoRoute offers a simple solution for different industries and business functions, including logistics or waste collection.

Like the other tools in this list, OptimoRoute’s main feature is route optimization. But this route planner offers some unique features, in particular for drivers.

For example, users can plan routes for multiple days, weeks in advance. This can be very useful for drivers covering long distances.

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Google Maps is a great tool if you simply need to get from point A to point B. All you need to do to plot a route on GMaps is enter your destination, and you’re ready to go.

Obviously, Google route planning has limitations, and it’s not the optimal solution for most professionals, in particular for outside salespeople.

In cases like these, you’ll need a robust route optimization app that: 

  • Is incredibly easy to use
  • Has many stops with the ability to save them and to set departure, arrival, and duration times
  • Has advanced optimization, visualization, and tracking features, so you can reach the right customers at the right time
  • Is compatible with Google Maps, Apple Maps, and/or Waze
  • Allows you to take meetings on-the-go

If you work in sales, Badger Maps is definitely the best option out there. Start a free trial today to start planning your sales routes more efficiently.


How many stops can you add to Google Maps?

With Google Route Planner, you can route up to 10 stops at a time.

What is the best way to route multiple destinations?

If you need to plan a route with multiple stops, you’ll need route optimization software that can create optimized routes for you in seconds. 

There are plenty of free and freemium options available. 

If you need to plan sales routes specifically, Badger Maps is the best option out there. See the section above for top options for outside sales, or check out our 10 best free route planners with unlimited stops page to find out which one is best based on your needs.

Can Google Maps optimize multiple stops?

Google Maps can only be used to find the fastest route between two stops. It was not designed to find the optimal order for multiple stops. Therefore, users will need to manually rearrange the stops and compare the ETA to find the fastest route.

How to add multiple stops on Google Maps?

On the main page, tap the blue “Directions” button on the bottom right corner. Enter your starting point and your first stop. Then, tap the three little dots on the top right corner and select “Add Stop”. (See a step-by-step guide here)

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Sales Reps using Badger sell at least 22% more and drive 20% fewer miles.

See the potential return on investment you can get by using Badger Maps with your field sales team.

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