Guess Google Maps isn't completely perfect. In terms of optimizing road trips, it looks like the internet is still somewhere in the Stone Ages.
Got a couple places in mind for a road trip? For this, MapQuest's RoutePlanner is probably still the best tool for finding the most efficient route among a set of predefined locations. It allows up to 26 addresses to be imported via copy/paste, XLS, XLSX and CSV format. (Columns do need to follow the Street, City, State, Zip, Country order.)
Though Google Maps does allow users to import multiple destinations, it won't automatically find the most efficient way to get from point to point. It will only find directions in the order specified.
The MapQuest RoutePlanner also allows users to create a route by shortest time versus the shortest distance (not the same thing!), reorder stops for maximum efficiency, or enable a one-way or round-trip routing.
Here's a list of places that we copied and pasted to build out a cross-country road trip:
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Dripping Springs, Texas
- Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
- Monument Valley, Utah
- Lake Tahoe, California
- Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
For the record, though it is best to use specific addresses, it is not required. However, it was not able to import the last two locations listed above, nor did we bother taking the time to fix it. Let's assume it all works!
Like Google Maps, its possible to drag and drop different addresses to set different start and end points.
Here was the end result.
Digging deeper, the tool also allows drivers to avoid toll roads, highways, ferries, seasonal roads, timed restrictions and country borders. Though the last one is kinda hard to avoid if the route goes from country to country.
There are also a few alternate tools like OptiMap (100 addresses), RouteXL (20 locations), and MyRouteOnline, none of which we bothered to delve with in at length. Only MapQuest's feature allows users the option for a straight one-way path, and to filter out particular road conditions.
So there you have it! MapQuest is still relevant!