Point, Click and Drive!
Web's Top Automated Road Trip Planning Programs
Who doesn't love the idea of self-serve, online roadtrip planning tools? For more than a decade, we have tested many of the dozens of web-based trip planning programs. Some work really well, others remind you why a good, old-fashioned paper map is still a road tripper's best friend.
In 2010, RoadTrip America launched the RTA Map Wizard and RTA Custom Maps programs. The interactive RTA Map Wizard lets you make instant road trip maps. Simply enter your beginning and ending points, then click to find RoadTrip Attractions along your route. Go to the Map Wizard!
The RTA Map Center, which requires free registration, allows you to create custom routes, then add and save attractions and stops on your road trip. You can also create your own points of interest. There are no limits to the number of personalized, custom road trip maps that you can create, save, share, and print using the RTA Map Center. Go to the Map Center!
It's likely that no single mapping application will ever work exactly the way you want it to, because each takes a different approach. Most of the trip planners listed below were originally developed for desktop viewing. Many are now adding apps for mobile devices. If the RTA map programs are not exactly what you're looking for, check out these programs for different approaches and features:
Our colleagues at Roadside America have, over the last 20+ years, created the most complete database of odd and unique road trip attractions. The site offers two primary mapping tools. “My Sights” works best on desktops, and the resulting trip plans can be saved & transferred to a number of GPS devices. The Roadside America App, an excellent mobile application for iPhones, allows users to find and map attractions easily when they are on the road.
In 2007, the proprietary TripTik program, previously only available to Automobile Association of America club members, was made available to the public free of charge. When you click on the link above, it will take you to your current club if you are a member. If you are not amember, you will be given the opportunity to choose a home location.
Yahoo Travel Guides
Yahoo's original trip planner has morphed into a much larger site for planning trips around the globe. There's a very nice section about road trips, mostly consisting of articles about trips taken by Yahoo members. The site can help you plan a road trip, but it is not map-based.
Without question, the maps generated by Rand McNally's program are the prettiest of all the programs we looked at.
Launched in 2013, this is one of the newer applications out there. Its database of hotels, attractions, and natural wonders is growing. A strength of the site is its functionality on mobile devices.
This mapping application is probably the least intuitive program that we’ve looked at over the years. It does have a major advantage of displaying he locations of national motel chains along a given route.
This site says you can plan all aspects of a trip – hotel, map, route, flight schedule, car rental info, etc., and store it all on a mobile device. We haven't evaluated it yet, but it's definitely worth a look!