General

Best Online Route Planners 2022

Best Online Route Planners 2022

With the summer holidays fast approaching, the number of British motorists taking to the roads to travel to family, friends and beach resorts will only increase – and this means an inevitable increase in traffic and congestion.

One way to avoid getting stuck in robberies is to use a route planner ahead of time so you can see where traffic hotspots might be, plan any lunchtime layovers, and even plan for electric vehicle charging needs.

Over the years, in the age of built-in navigation systems and smartphones, these pre-journey web planners have become less important. However, many providers have adapted their model so that you can plan ahead and then switch to an integrated companion app. This is in addition to calculating travel times based not only on live traffic, but what the traffic is likely to be based on your chosen departure time.

For those traveling to remote areas where the signal may be at an advantage, the ability to print hard copies of turn-by-turn instructions still has its uses.

We’ve put eight route planners — all free to use — to the test to see which one to load up on for your next road trip.

How we tested them

We put the eight route finders to the test with a journey from Auto Express headquarters in central London, through the north west suburbs, to the home of British motoring: the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire.

This allowed us to test route planning for cities, A-roads and highways, evaluating each planner for accuracy, live traffic alerts and route options.

The test also took into account the ability to print turn-by-turn directions, how easy the planner was to link to an app, and any other useful extra features that were offered.

verdict

Previous test winner Google Maps comes out on top again because it really does everything you need, and in an easy and intuitive way. Waze and Bing Maps join the podium and are great alternatives if you prefer the user interface.

  1. Google Maps
  2. Waze
  3. Bing Cards

Reviews

Google Maps

Google Maps has long been our favorite route finder and does everything simply, quickly and easily. This is the fifth time we’ve awarded him first place in this test, and for good reason.

Searching is easy, and the planner has a wealth of options for fine-tuning your trip, including live traffic, forecasted traffic, and app sharing. A bonus is the ability to switch between satellite imagery and a traditional map, as well as use Street View.

Of course, it’s integrated with the full power of Google, so you can find landmarks and other points of interest along your route very easily. It’s hard to see how it won’t always be the best of the bunch.

View Google Maps

Waze

Once the novice around, Waze is now well established as a super route planner. The last time we ran this test, we were pleased to see that the web-based trip planner had been updated to match the quality of the app, leveraging the community-based traffic data. The rides are accurate and the timing is based on live data.

The website is fully integrated with the award-winning app, with intuitive buttons that allow you to transfer your trip to a smartphone. We were also impressed with the ability to plan a trip with a preferred arrival time, and Waze will ask you when it’s time to leave based on the traffic at the time.

View Waze

Bing Cards

Microsoft’s version of Google isn’t far from our winner. The search for places and navigation are intuitive and you can easily add resting points. Traffic is color coded and there is a clear way to print. One frustration is that there’s no obvious way to share your schedule with an app – a shame in a connected world.

Not seen anywhere else are live traffic cameras from Highways England, showing the flow at that location – very useful in areas with poor traffic.

View Bing Maps

Here we go

Here’s a top company that provides software for automakers’ own navigation systems, and the WeGo route finder is impressive. It looks more advanced than Bing or Google, but is actually a bit less intuitive. That said, all the core functionality is there, although it’s not so clear if it takes live traffic into account. It’s easy to transfer a planned route to the HERE app or print out directions.

View WeGo HERE

TomTom MyDrive

This online route finder started life as a companion site for those who had a TomTom sat nav, but has now moved on to work just as well for those without. Functionality also matches that of its rivals.

A unique feature is the Thrill option, to give a more scenic route based on how hilly or twisty you want it to be. We also like the motorcycle-friendly route option. If you have a TomTom, you can also share your progress directly on your device, or simply use your smartphone to turn it into a sat nav.

View TomTom MyDrive

Via Michelin

A bright spot here is a function to calculate the cost of a trip and then generate an expense report. The scheduling functionality is solid, with accurate routes and the ability to account for current traffic.

While the options to customize your trip are quite extensive, it’s a shame that most of them are hidden behind complex and cluttered filters. You can easily print the directions, but again, there’s no option to share to an app.

View via Michelin

AA route planner

The AA is better known for breakdown coverage than route planning. The online offering is lagging behind some of the technology-based companies, with a slightly outdated site and functionality. But the basics are all there, and you can use the AA’s library of live traffic alerts to tailor your trip to avoid traffic jams.

However, it’s quite clunky to use and the ads make it cluttered, especially when compared to the simplicity of our top-ranked sites. While you can print directions, you can’t share them with a linked app.

View AA Route Planner

RAC route planner

As with the AA, the core function of getting from A to B is there, with precise routes, but the UI isn’t as smooth as our winner’s. Looking up locations could be much better and there is no way to use forecasted traffic for future departures. Again, printing directions is easy, but there’s no app. It is important that the RAC offers the possibility to calculate how much the journey will cost in fuel.

View RAC Route Planner

Read our list of the best navigation apps now…