Best online route planners 2020

Planning a journey in advance? We log on to test the Internet’s best free route planning services

Plotting a route before leaving the house can help you avoid traffic hotspots on a long journey. While many people will simply hop in the car and rely on a sat-nav, having an idea of where hold-ups might be and what the alternative routes are can be vital to getting there on time. 

And some drivers still like a printed list of step-by-step directions in case they find themselves in a signal deadzone. That’s where these online route finders can help to pre-plan a journey with stop-offs, refuelling places and expected traffic delays.

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Clever technology means with many of these sites you can plan a journey in the future and it’ll suggest what the traffic is expected to be like at that exact hour and day.

And some sites even allow you to plan your route on a computer and then send it direct to a companion app on your smartphone or sat-nav. What’s even better is that these online route finders we’ve tested are all free. So which one should you use for your next road trip?

How we tested them

The most important part of any journey planner is the accuracy of the route. We tested each site with a long-distance journey from Auto Express’s HQ to Silverstone, plus a local route we’ve driven hundreds of times. We assessed how easy it was to enter locations, the accuracy of routes and the number of choices on offer. 

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The best scorers were those that were accurate, easy to use and had live traffic data. Ability to print turn-by-turn directions was rewarded, with bonus points handed out to those that could share routes with your phone and extras such as fuel calculators.


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