How to plan a route for multiple destinations in Google Maps

How to plan a route for multiple destinations in Google Maps, Zeo Route Planner
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Google Maps helps drivers get from point A to point B, and it comes with some fantastic, user-friendly features. Looking up your destination is a breeze, and Google Maps is quick to re-route as needed based on real-time information, factoring in time-drainers such as traffic delays and car accidents.

If you’re a professional driver and you use Google Maps to plan a route with multiple destinations, there are two things you should keep in mind:

  1. Google Maps limits how many stops you can add to your trip.
  2. Google Maps actually has zero route optimization features.

If you’re using Google Maps to run a personal business and need to make multiple stops, you can still make the service work for you with minimal headaches. But if you’re a professional courier or a small business offering local delivery, or a large warehouse with a full fleet, these two limitations will cause a significant drain of your resources. 

Helping drivers plan the fastest route with multiple destinations was the main reason we made Zeo Route Planner. And while the services we offer have grown since then, it’s still a cornerstone feature. In this article, we’ll show you how route optimization has to be done if you’re using only Google Maps, and then how it can be done if you’re using Zeo Route Planner in tandem with Google Maps.

If you are an individual driver or manage a team of drivers and want a simple, cost-effective way to optimize their routes, download and try the Zeo Route Planner for free

How can you plan multiple routes using google maps

If you want to find the best route on the Google Maps app without any additional software, follow the steps below:

Gathering your stops

Collect all your destinations which you want to cover for the delivery. Keep in mind you can’t input more than ten stops at a time. For example, if you want your route to end back at your starting point, this means you must use your starting point as your final destination, leaving nine stops for your route. If you have more than ten stops to make, the workaround is to put in ten stops, and then at your tenth stop, add ten more. And so on, until your route is finished. But this makes route optimization on Google Maps even more difficult because you aren’t taking all of your stops into consideration.

Entering your stops

Click on the directions button and add your first destination. Remember, Google Maps, by default, uses your current location as the starting point. Then click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the mobile app, and select ‘Add Stop.’ The order in which you enter the stops is how your route gets mapped. You can’t upload stops with a CSV file (though with only ten stops, you really wouldn’t need to), but Google’s address autocomplete feature means it’s pretty painless to add destinations.

Getting the optimized route

Look at your mapped route time, and then reorder the stops until you get the quickest possible route. To do this, you need to drag and drop your routes and take note of the ETA. When you’re looking at your mapped route, click on the three dots in the top right corner of the screen, and select ‘Edit Stops.’ From there, you can press down on a stop and drag it to switch up where it falls on your route. 

Starting the navigation

How to plan a route for multiple destinations in Google Maps, Zeo Route Planner
Planning multiple destination using Google Maps

Once you have the shortest route, you’re ready to start navigation. You need to manually set your destinations so that the estimated time comes to the shortest. There is no such provision offered for automatic route optimization; you have to do it manually.

 This is just the best we could do with what Google Maps offers.

How Zeo Route Planner helps in route planning using multi stop route optimization

Zeo Route Planner is the ultimate solution for all your multiple destinations route planning. You can still use Google Maps to navigate to your stops, you’re still going to get all the perks of using Google Maps that we covered above, but you’re using a Zeo Route Planner optimized route to cut down on drive time. 

Here’s how it works.

1. You load addresses into Zeo Route App.

You can either input them manually on your phone (Zeo Route Planner uses the same autocomplete function that powers Google Maps, but with a few tweaks for improved user experience) or upload them in a spreadsheet file. Using an excel file is a great feature for companies or drivers working in dozens (or hundreds) of stops at a time. You can also load addresses using QR code or image capture.

2. Zeo Route Planner finds the most efficient route for you to take.

Once you have your fully optimized route, how you interact with our app will depend on the type of phone you’re using. If you’re an Android user, you get a chat head to streamline your interactions with the Zeo Route app and Google Maps. On the other hand, iOS users will toggle back and forth between the Google Maps app and Zeo Route Planner as they finish stops.

3. If you need to make a detour, re-optimize your route with a single click.

Any system that doesn’t adapt isn’t great for delivery drivers. You can experience a delay in traffic that makes you switch your route around. You could have a customer call and request a later delivery time or cancel their order altogether. If any of these happen, re-optimize your route on the Zeo Route app based on where you currently are and what you want your next stop to be, and the app will find the quickest route possible.

And it’s worth mentioning that Zeo Route Planner isn’t made just for Google Maps. You can use the Zeo Route app with any navigation app the driver prefers, such as Waze, Yandex Maps, Sygic Maps, TomTom Go, Here We Go, and Apple Maps.

More Than Just a Route Planner

We started Zeo Route Planner to help all drivers finish their routes faster, and our services provide all the features that help them deliver the packages on time.

Zeo Route Planner can optimize routes across an entire fleet of delivery drivers. Many dispatchers use postcode-based route planning to manage multiple drivers, though this is sometimes necessary. Most businesses can increase their driving teams’ efficiency with the fleet-level route optimization which Zeo Route Planner provides. Once you have the optimized routes, you can push them to your drivers. The routes will show up in the Zeo Route Planner app on their phones, and they can use Google Maps to navigate from stop to stop.

Zeo Route Planner also lets dispatchers know where the driver is in context with their route. By giving the driver’s location in context with the route, the dispatcher can confidently relay to the customer when their delivery arrives. We have recently rolled out integration for recipients so that you can keep them automatically informed of delivery ETA and other relevant information.

You can read more about how we’re optimizing Zeo Route Planner for delivery teams on our blog if you’re curious about other functionality.

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    How to Create Route?

    How do I add stop by typing and searching? Web

    Follow these steps to add a stop by typing and searching:

    • Go to Playground Page. You will find a search box in top left.
    • Type in your desired stop and it will show search results as you type.
    • Select one of the search results to add the stop to list of unassigned stops.

    How do I import stops in bulk from an excel file? Web

    Follow these steps to add stops in bulk using an excel file:

    • Go to Playground Page.
    • In top right corner you will see import icon. Press on that icon & a modal will open.
    • If you already have an excel file, press the “Upload stops via flat file” button & a new window will open up.
    • If you don’t have an existing file, you can download a sample file and input all your data accordingly, then upload it.
    • In the new window, upload your file and match the headers & confirm mappings.
    • Review your confirmed data and add the stop.

    How do I import stops from an image? Mobile

    Follow these steps to add stops in bulk by uploading an image:

    • Go to Zeo Route Planner App and open On Ride page.
    • Bottom bar has 3 icons in left. Press on image icon.
    • Select the image from gallery if you already have one or take a picture if you don’t have existing.
    • Adjust the crop for the selected image & press crop.
    • Zeo will automatically detect the addresses from the image. Press on done and then save & optimize to create route.

    How do I add a stop using Latitude and Longitude? Mobile

    Follow these steps to add stop if you have Latitude & Longitude of the address:

    • Go to Zeo Route Planner App and open On Ride page.
    • You will see a icon. Press on that icon & press on New Route.
    • If you already have an excel file, press the “Upload stops via flat file” button & a new window will open up.
    • Below search bar, select the “by lat long” option and then enter the latitude and longitude in the search bar.
    • You will see results in the search, select one of them.
    • Select additional options according to your need & click on “Done adding stops”.

    How do I add a using a QR Code? Mobile

    Follow these steps to add stop using QR Code:

    • Go to Zeo Route Planner App and open On Ride page.
    • You will see a icon. Press on that icon & press on New Route.
    • Bottom bar has 3 icons in left. Press on QR code icon.
    • It will open up a QR Code scanner. You can scan normal QR code as well as FedEx QR code and it will automatically detect address.
    • Add the stop to route with any additional options.

    How do I delete a stop? Mobile

    Follow these steps to delete a stop:

    • Go to Zeo Route Planner App and open On Ride page.
    • You will see a icon. Press on that icon & press on New Route.
    • Add some stops using any of the methods & click on save & optimize.
    • From the list of stops that you have, long press on any stop that you want to delete.
    • It will open window asking you to select the stops that you want to remove. Click on Remove button and it will delete the stop from your route.