How to Effortlessly Build Custom Routes in Google Maps

Key Takeaways:

  • Google Maps allows you to easily create custom routes by adding multiple destinations and dragging the route to customize it
  • You can plan routes for driving, walking, cycling or public transit and optimize them based on your preferences
  • Custom Google Maps routes can be saved, shared with others, and accessed on your mobile device for step-by-step navigation

As an avid traveler and technology enthusiast, I’ve found Google Maps to be an invaluable tool for planning trips and navigating to destinations. One of my favorite features is the ability to create custom routes that let me plan out my exact path, add multiple stops, and tailor the journey to my preferences. Building a personalized route in Google Maps is surprisingly easy and intuitive. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Step 1: Enter your starting point and destination

Open Google Maps on your computer and click on the blue arrow icon to get directions. Enter your starting location in the top field and your final destination in the bottom field. Maps will generate a suggested route between the two points.

Step 2: Add additional stops

To include more destinations in your route, click the “+” icon next to the destination field. A new blank field will appear where you can input your next stop. You can add up to 9 additional stops. Reorder the destinations by clicking and dragging them up or down the list.

Step 3: Customize your route

By default, Google Maps will recommend the fastest route between your destinations based on current traffic conditions. However, you can easily customize the path by dragging the blue route line with your mouse to a different road.

  • To remove a part of the route you don’t want, drag the route to a different road and Maps will automatically snap to the new path.
  • To add a specific road to your route, click and hold on the blue route line, then drag it to the road you want to add. A gray marker will appear to indicate a new point has been added.

Step 4: Select your mode of transportation

Google Maps can provide directions and estimate travel times for multiple modes of transportation. Click on the icons at the top of the map to switch between driving, public transit, walking, or cycling directions. The route will automatically update based on your selection.

Step 5: Refine with route options

Click on “Options” below the destinations to further optimize your route. Here you can:

  • Avoid highways, tolls, and ferries
  • Prioritize a route with less walking for transit trips
  • Select your preferred mode of public transportation like bus, subway, train, etc.

Step 6: Save your custom route

Once you’ve perfected your route, save it so you can easily access it later. Click the three dot menu in the top right corner of the directions pane and select “Add route to My Maps”. Give your map a name and select the map layer you want to save it to.

Step 7: Share your route or send to your phone

Collaborate on route planning by sharing your custom map with others. Click the “Share” button and enter the email addresses of the people you want to share with. You can give them view only or edit access.

To access your custom route on your mobile device for step-by-step navigation:

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Tap the three line menu and select “Your Places”
  3. Go to the “Maps” tab
  4. Select your custom map and click on the route you want to navigate
  5. Tap “Preview” to see an overview of your route with directions
  6. Select “Start” when you’re ready to begin navigating

I frequently use custom Google Maps routes to plan road trips with multiple scenic stops and points of interest along the way. I love how I can visualize my whole journey ahead of time and make adjustments on the fly. Saving my custom routes also makes it easy to share my trip plans with family and friends.

For travelers, building a personalized route is a great way to hit all your must-see spots and navigate between them efficiently. Commuters can use custom routes to find alternate paths that avoid traffic jams or construction. And businesses can provide customers with detailed directions to their location, complete with helpful landmarks.

With a little creativity, custom routes can be used for so much more than just getting from point A to point B. Plot out a pub crawl with your buddies, map a running route that hits your target mileage, or chart a scenic drive through the countryside. The possibilities are endless!

While Google Maps is my go-to tool for creating custom routes, there are a few other options worth mentioning. MapQuest and Apple Maps also provide route customization features. Dedicated GPS devices from brands like Garmin allow you to build routes and send them to your device for offline navigation. And for the more adventurous, tools like Caltopo and AllTrails let you plan custom routes for hiking and backpacking.

No matter what tool you use, learning to build your own routes is an incredibly useful skill for navigating the world around you. With a custom route, you can plan trips down to the smallest detail, discover new places and experiences along the way, and share your adventures with others. So the next time you’re planning a trip, consider crafting a personalized route to guide your journey. Happy navigating!