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Road Trip Planner Tools: Comprehensive Guide to Free and App-Based Tools

3 Jan 2024 | 14 min read


Road trips are an excellent way to explore new places, bond with friends and family, and create unforgettable memories. However, planning a road trip can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start. That’s why we are just about to introduce you to a road trip planner.

A road trip planner is a specialized search engine that helps you find the optimal means of traveling between two or more given locations. These planners can be used to find the fastest, shortest, fewest changes, or cheapest route between two locations. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best road trip planners available and how they can help you plan your next adventure.

Why You Need a Road Trip Planner

Making lifelong experiences, connecting with loved ones, and discovering new places may all be accomplished through road trips. However, organizing a road trip might be difficult, especially if you’ve never been to the destination. Here are some reasons why you might need a road trip planner:

  1. Save time: A road trip planner can help you save time by creating an optimized itinerary that takes into account the distance between destinations, the time required to visit each attraction, and the best routes to take.
  2. Save money: A road trip planner can also help you save money by finding the best deals on hotels, car rentals, and attractions. You can also use the planner to create a budget for your trip and stick to it.
  3. Discover new places: A road trip planner can help you discover new places that you might not have known about otherwise. You can use the planner to find hidden gems, local restaurants, and off-the-beaten-path attractions.
  4. Stay organized: A road trip planner can help you stay organized by keeping all of your travel information in one place. You can use the planner to keep track of your reservations, tickets, and other important documents.
  5. Reduce stress: By eliminating the guesswork and uncertainty, road trip planners take the stress out of planning, allowing you to relax and enjoy the journey.
  6. Create a memorable experience: Finally, a road trip planner can help you create a memorable experience by ensuring that you make the most of your time on the road. You can use the planner to create a customized itinerary that includes all of your favorite activities and attractions.

Free Road Trip Planner Options

The internet offers a wealth of free road trip planning resources, providing a convenient and cost-effective way to organize your adventure. Some popular options include:

  1. is a smart travel planner and ai based road trip planner app that uses artificial intelligence to create personalized itineraries for users. The tool is available on Android and iOS platforms. To use the tool, you need to tell the AI what you enjoy the most, the purpose of your trip, your interests, who you are traveling with, how long you are staying, and your budget.

The AI will then curate an itinerary matching all your needs. You can modify the itinerary as you wish, and the AI will better adapt to your personal needs and update the itinerary accordingly. The tool is designed to save you time and help you make the most of your precious travel days.

  1. MyScenicDrives

MyScenicDrives is a free online road trip planner that allows you to create custom day trips, weekend getaways, and cross-country adventures worldwide. You can add unlimited stops and sub-stops, combine your own stops with pre-planned routes and recommended places of interest, and set preferences for each stop by the minute, hour, or overnight. You can also configure route preferences such as avoiding highways or tolls for each day or any segment of your trip.

The tool provides a gas calculator to estimate fuel costs for your vehicle type, and you can track expenditures before you go and along the way. You can export your trip to your own calendar, and print your road trip with turn-by-turn maps and full directions, divided into your day-by-day itinerary.

The tool supports 

  • Google Earth (KML)
  • Garmin Communicator
  • BaseCamp and MapSource (GPX)
  • Co-Pilot Live (TRP)
  • Microsoft Streets and Trips
  • TomTom itineraries (ITN)
  • TomTom Places of Interest (OV2)
  • Comma Separated Files (CSV)
  • Tab Separated Files (TSV)
  1. Furkot

Furkot is a free online road trip planner that allows you to map your route, schedule stops, find attractions, book hotels, share travel itineraries, map routes, and plan your motorcycle ride, RV tour, car drive, bike track, backpacking hike, family vacation, weekend outing, and more. You can sign up for free and use any device to create, edit, and save your trips, and export them to various formats.

With Furkot, you can choose your destination and have the tool calculate how much time you need to get there. You can set daily limits on the travel time so none of your sightseeing has to be done under moonlight — unless, of course, that’s what you want. Furkot suggests overnight stops along the route based on your schedule and preferences. You can add as many attractions as you want, including biking paths, museums, monuments, climbing routes, national parks, scenic views, and more. 

Furkot supports various file formats such as:

  • Google Earth (KML)
  • Garmin Communicator
  • BaseCamp and MapSource (GPX)
  • Co-Pilot Live (TRP)
  • Microsoft Streets and Trips
  • TomTom itineraries (ITN)
  • TomTom Places of Interest (OV2)
  • Comma Separated Files (CSV)
  • Tab Separated Files (TSV)

Tips on How to Use Road Trip Planner Online Effectively

In the age of smartphones and technology, road trip planning has evolved beyond paper maps and handwritten notes. App-based road trip planner tools have revolutionized the way we navigate the open road, offering a comprehensive and user-friendly experience. These apps provide a wealth of features that make planning and executing your road trip a breeze, from route optimization and turn-by-turn navigation to discovering hidden gems and booking accommodations.

To get the most out of each road trip planner app, follow these tips:

  • Start planning early: The earlier you start planning, the more time you have to research destinations, book accommodations, and discover hidden gems along your route.
  • Use multiple road trip planner apps: Combine the strengths of different road trip journey planner apps to create a comprehensive planning experience. For instance, use Roadtrippers for route planning and Wanderlog for itinerary creation.
  • Collaborate with friends and family: Share your itinerary with your travel companions using the app’s collaboration features, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Embrace spontaneity: While planning is essential, don’t be afraid to deviate from your itinerary if you stumble upon something unexpected and exciting.
  • Enjoy the journey: Road trips are about the journey, not just the destination. Take your time, soak in the scenery, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Road Trip Planner with Hotels: Tips for Booking Smoothly

Accommodation is a crucial aspect of any road trip, ensuring you have comfortable and convenient places to rest and recharge throughout your journey. Well-planned hotel stays can significantly enhance your overall road trip experience. Here’s why:

  • Avoiding Last-Minute Hassle: Securing accommodations in advance saves you the stress of finding a place to stay when you’re tired and ready to unwind.
  • Price Optimization: Booking hotels early often leads to better rates and deals, allowing you to stretch your travel budget further.
  • Ensuring Availability: Popular destinations, especially during peak seasons, can fill up quickly. Pre-booking ensures you have a place to stay, even if your itinerary changes.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your accommodations are sorted out provides peace of mind, allowing you to focus on enjoying the drive and exploring your destinations.

Finding Hotels on Your Route | Tools and Resources

Numerous tools and resources can help you find suitable hotels along your road trip route:

1. Hotel Booking Websites: Popular options like, Expedia, and allow you to search for hotels based on location, price range, amenities, and guest reviews.

2. Road Trip Planner Apps: road trip planner apps often integrate hotel booking features, making it easy to find and reserve accommodations along your planned route.

3. Hotel Chains and Loyalty Programs: If you have a preferred hotel chain or loyalty program, consider their website or app for booking options.

4. Local Tourism Websites: Check the official tourism websites of the towns or cities you’ll be visiting for recommendations and booking links.

5. Word-of-Mouth and Reviews: Seek recommendations from friends, family, or fellow travelers. Read online reviews to gauge the quality and experience of specific hotels.

How to Book Hotels Conveniently: Road Trip Hotel Planner Guide

Booking hotels conveniently for your road trip involves a few key strategies:

1. Plan Your Itinerary: Before searching for hotels, have a clear understanding of your route, stops, and overall road trip schedule.

2. Set Accommodation Criteria: Determine your budget, desired amenities, and preferred hotel styles (modern, boutique, family-friendly) to narrow down your options.

3. Compare Prices and Reviews: Utilize online booking tools and aggregators to compare rates and read guest reviews for hotels along your route.

4. Consider Booking in Advance: For popular destinations or peak seasons, book your accommodations early to secure your preferred options and potentially score better deals.

5. Choose Hotels with Convenient Locations: Prioritize hotels that are easily accessible from your planned route, minimizing detours and maximizing your time on the road.

6. Utilize Hotel Loyalty Programs: If you have a loyalty program with a specific hotel chain, sign in to access exclusive discounts and member benefits.

7. Check for Cancellation Policies: Understand the cancellation policies in case you need to adjust your itinerary unexpectedly.

8. Book Directly or Through Authorized Sites: Avoid booking through unauthorized third-party websites to ensure the validity of your reservation and avoid potential scams.

Road Trip Itinerary Planner: Mapping Out Memories

An epic road trip is more than just a spontaneous drive down the highway; it’s a carefully crafted adventure that weaves together destinations, activities, and experiences into a tapestry of unforgettable memories. To create the perfect road trip itinerary, follow these essential steps:

1. Define Your Goals and Theme: Determine the overall purpose of your road trip, whether it’s exploring scenic landscapes, immersing in cultural experiences, or indulging in outdoor pursuits. This will guide your destination selection and activity planning.

2. Establish a Timeline: Set a realistic timeframe for your road trip, considering your starting point, intended destinations, and driving distances. This will help you prioritize stops and manage your time effectively.

3. Map Your Route: Utilize mapping tools and online resources to plot your route, considering road conditions, traffic patterns, and scenic byways. This will optimize your travel time and enhance the overall driving experience.

4. Research and Select Destinations: Identify must-visit destinations that align with your road trip’s theme and goals. Research local attractions, historical sites, and unique experiences to create a diverse and engaging itinerary.

5. Plan for Accommodations: Secure accommodation options along your route, considering factors like budget, location, and amenities. Pre-booking hotels or campgrounds ensures you have comfortable places to rest and recharge throughout your journey.

Best Road Trip Destinations That Are Worth the Detour

Every road trip should include a mix of iconic landmarks, and local attractions that reflect the region’s unique character. Here are some tips for incorporating must-visit destinations into your itinerary:

1. Seek Out Natural Wonders: Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature by visiting national parks, state parks, or scenic overlooks. Hike through towering forests, camp under a starry sky, or witness breathtaking waterfalls.

2. Explore Historical Sites: Delve into the region’s history by visiting museums, battlefields, or preserved towns. Discover stories of the past, connect with local heritage, and gain a deeper appreciation for the area’s cultural significance.

3. Embrace Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending festivals, visiting art galleries, or sampling traditional cuisine. Engage with the community, learn about their customs, and create enriching cultural encounters.

4. Seek Out Unique Attractions: Venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems like quirky roadside attractions, offbeat museums, or local farmers’ markets. These unique experiences add a touch of personality and unexpected delight to your road trip.

How to Maximize Your Time and Experiences on the Road

To maximize your time and experiences on the road, follow these practical tips:

1. Plan Daytime Activities: Schedule activities that take advantage of daylight hours, such as hiking, sightseeing, or exploring local attractions. This allows you to fully appreciate the scenery and immerse yourself in the surroundings.

2. Utilize Road Trip Planner Apps: Download road trip planner apps that provide offline maps, navigation assistance, and local recommendations. These tools can save time and keep you on track, even without an internet connection.

3. Embrace Early Mornings: Rise early to enjoy the tranquility of the morning, beat the crowds at popular attractions, and capture the beauty of sunrise in scenic locations.

4. Pack Smart and Efficiently: Pack versatile clothing and essentials to minimize baggage and simplify packing and unpacking. Choose comfortable footwear for exploring and activities.

Road Trip Planner Comparison: Online vs. Offline

Online Road Trip Planners:

  • Advantages:
    • Real-time information: Online tools provide access to real-time traffic updates, weather forecasts, and road conditions, ensuring you make informed decisions based on current information.
    • Route optimization: Advanced algorithms suggest the most efficient and scenic routes, considering factors like road types, traffic patterns, and scenic viewpoints.
    • Integrated features: Many online tools incorporate features like hotel booking, restaurant recommendations, and attraction listings, providing a comprehensive planning experience.
  • Limitations:
    • Internet dependence: Online tools require an internet connection to function, which can be a challenge in remote areas or with fluctuating connectivity.
    • Overreliance on technology: While online tools offer convenience, they may limit the personal touch and spontaneity that come with offline planning.

Offline Road Trip Planners:

  • Advantages:
    • Self-reliance: Offline tools provide independence from internet connectivity, making them ideal for remote destinations or areas with unpredictable coverage.
    • Personal touch: Offline planning allows for more flexibility and creativity, enabling you to personalize your itinerary based on personal preferences and research.
    • Tangible maps and guides: Physical maps and guidebooks offer a tactile experience, allowing you to visualize your journey and make notes directly on the materials.
  • Limitations:
    • Limited real-time updates: Offline tools may not reflect real-time changes in traffic, weather, or road conditions, requiring occasional internet access to stay informed.
    • Route planning limitations: Offline maps may not provide the same level of route optimization as online tools, requiring more manual planning and potential road detours.

When to Use Each Road Trip Planner

The choice between online and offline road trip planner depends on your individual preferences and the specific nature of your trip.

Online Road Trip Planners:

  • Ideal for:
    • Tech-savvy travelers: Those comfortable with technology and relying on real-time information.
    • Road trips with extensive planning: Trips that require detailed route optimization and integrated booking features.
    • Journeys to well-connected destinations: Road trips in areas with reliable internet access.

Offline Road Trip Planners:

  • Ideal for:
    • Adventurous explorers: Those seeking a more self-reliant and personal planning experience.
    • Road trips to remote destinations: Trips in areas with limited or unpredictable internet connectivity.
    • Travelers who enjoy traditional planning methods: Those who prefer the tactile experience of physical maps and guidebooks.

The choice between online and offline road trip planning is not a rigid one; a combination of both approaches can be employed to maximize the benefits of each method.

Online tools provide convenience and real-time updates, while offline planning offers self-reliance and a personal touch. Ultimately, the best approach depends on your individual preferences and the specific characteristics of your road trip adventure. Embrace the journey, whether you plan with pixels or paper, and create unforgettable memories along the way.

What We Said in Short

Road trips offer a unique opportunity to explore new places, connect with loved ones, and create unforgettable memories. While planning a road trip can be daunting, it is also a rewarding experience that allows you to tailor your adventure to your specific interests and preferences. By utilizing road trip planner tools, you can create a comprehensive itinerary that maximizes your time and ensures you experience the best of what your chosen destination has to offer.

Whether you choose to navigate the open road with a physical map in hand or rely on a road trip planner app to guide your way, remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. Embrace the unexpected detours, savor the changing scenery, and soak in the moments of shared laughter and camaraderie. Road trips are not just about reaching a specific point on a map; they are about the experiences you gather along the way. So, pack your bags, grab your favorite travel companions, and embark on an adventure that will leave you with stories to tell for years to come.