How to plan your route on Google Maps

Use Google Maps to plan your route, check for traffic, find cycle routes, save locations or avoid motorways.

Google Maps is an incredibly useful tool for route planning or finding directions to wherever you fancy going.

We've rounded up the best way to use Google Maps to plan your route, avoid motorways, find traffic, locate cycle routes and save locations.

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How to plan your route on Google Maps 

To find directions on Google Maps, need to head to and in the top left-hand corner, click on the blue arrow.

Find directions

In the blue menu in the top left-hand corner, type where you want to go from and to. Google Maps will calculate the recommended route.

You can choose a route by car, train, foot, cycle or even plane by clicking on the symbols along the top. You can also choose the time of day you wish to leave by clicking on the Leave now drop-down menu and entering your time and date.

Time and Day

If you click on the OPTIONS button you also can change your mode of transport, or pick which route option you want out of Best route, Fewer transfers or Less walking. When you click the button next to the option it will automatically update your route.

To get exact timings you can click on Schedule Explorer at the bottom of the left-hand menu and it will give more exact timings of your trip and also how it is broken up between different transport types. This is particularly helpful in a city where you may be using a bus, train and tram to get to your destination.

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The times and dates are adjustable along the top.

Schedule explorer

How to avoid motorways on Google Maps

To avoid motorways, tolls or ferries when planning your route, click on the car icon at the top of the left hand menu, and then click on OPTIONS.

In the drop-down menu tick the box next to Avoid Highways. 

Avoid motorways

How to find traffic on your Google Maps route 

Click on the three white lines in the top left-hand corner, next to the arrow sign, to pull out a menu. Click on the second option down called Traffic.

Find traffic

Once you click on it, your map will show up different colours depending on how busy the roads are. Fast-moving roads are coloured green with slower routes in dark red. On the key you can either see live traffic or typical traffic by clicking the drop-down menu.

Live traffic

How to find cycle routes on Google Maps 

To discover which routes are best on bikes you can highlight cycle routes on Google Maps. By clicking the three horizontal lines in the top left-hand corner again, click Bicycling on the menu.


The map will then be overlaid with different coloured paths with the key in the bottom middle of the screen. Brown lines signify dirt/unpaved trails, while dark green indicate trails. ­­­

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How to save your locations on Google Maps 

To speed up your journey planning you can save your frequent locations such as your home or work. You must have a Gmail account and be logged in to do this, which you can create here

Click on the three parallel lines in the top left-hand corner again and on the drop-down menu click on Your places.

Your places

By clicking on Home or Work you can set up your addresses. Type the address into the search bar and click save. If you need to change it if you move house or work, then all you need to do is return to this page and click the X to delete the address. 

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