How to Use Google Maps’ Route Planner To Route Multiple Stops

When it comes to route planners, one of the most common questions people ask is - “What is the best way to plan a route with multiple stops with Google Maps?” 

With people increasingly looking for how to find the shortest route between multiple destinations, they are also wondering - “Is Google Maps the best route planning software?’’

If you’re looking for the answers to these questions then you’ve come to the right place!

But before we get down to it, we need to understand that the Google Maps route planner and other route optimization apps are very different things. Sure, they have many things in common, but it’s important to bear in mind that they have different use cases and your needs will sometimes mean you need more options than what Google has to offer.

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 Multiple Stops Route Planner

Does Google Maps have a Route Planner? 

Yes, Google Maps does have a route planner.

In fact, the Google Maps route planner 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, find the best route to get there, get turn-by-turn directions, different types of map views, and real-time traffic updates. You can set your traveling options to include by foot, car, bicycle, plane, 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. It’s ideal for those looking to get from A to B, figure out the fastest route to work, or simply find the fastest way home when you get lost. 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 Maps route planner simply finds the fastest route from point A to point B. It 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 for businesses working with more complicated routes, they would be better off looking elsewhere.

Google Maps Shortest Route Multiple Destinations

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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's 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.

Best Route Multiple Stops

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.

Find Best Route Between Multiple Points

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 Shortest Route Multiple Destinations

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 Most Efficient Route

Step 5: Find the Fastest Route Manually

The order in which you enter the stops is how your route will be planned. If you want to find the fastest route with multiple stops, 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? 

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 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 the field sales or field services industries , you typically visit 15-20 customers every day. The more meetings you have, the better. Plus, you need to keep track of each of your interactions with customers.

  • Scenario 2: Automatic Route Optimization

Whether you’re a field salesperson, field service technician 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 Maps route planner doesn’t do that. You will have to put in extra time to manually plot a route on Google Maps, 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 working in the field, Badger Maps allows you to add 100+ stops and build the most efficient route, making it a great alternative to Google Maps for those with more complicated routing requirements.

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 Maps, you can filter leads to find the best opportunities on a map, find new leads around you, get follow-up reminders, and more.

On average, salespeople using Badger Maps spend 20% less time driving and sell 22% more.

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.

Why Google Route Planner is NOT enough for Outside Sales?

With an average of 15-20 prospects and customers to meet in a day, 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. But if you want to find the best route between multiple locations, by using the right route optimization app you will be able to 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 free ROI calculator to see how much you can save with a route planner designed for field sales.

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List of Best Route Planners for Outside Sales

Google Maps Badger Maps

Price: Starts at $58/month (Free 7-day trial)

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

Capterra Rating: 4.6/5

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

Badger Map’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 Maps, 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, making it the most efficient route planner for salespeople.

John O’Kain, the territory manager at NCR Aloha, had this to say - 

Badger Maps route planner

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My Route Online

Price: Starts at $29.95/month

Best for: Logistics, trucking

Capterra Rating: 4.6/5

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 $41.43/month 

Best for: Delivery

Capterra Rating: 3.5/5

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 $35.10 per driver/month

Best for: Businesses, mobile workforces

Capterra Rating: 4.5/5

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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Is Google Maps the best route planner for multiple stops?

Google Maps is not the best route planner for multiple stops although it 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 Google Maps is enter your destination, and you’re ready to go.

Obviously, Google Maps has its limitations, and it’s not the optimal route planner 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 route 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 an alternative to Google Maps route planner? 

Badger Maps is a great alternative to Google Maps route planner. You can optimize your routes and allow for 100+ stops.

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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