Walking is an exercise, which is truly amazing for all. It’s free to do, and it’s pretty much second nature. The truth is, most of us have been doing it from an early age. We know there are so many benefits to walking, and it’s a great reset.
However, now and then, it’s essential you spruce up your walks. What we mean by this is by making them more fun and exciting.
Have you ever done the same task over and over again?
You’ll probably agree it can be quite mundane. The same can happen for walking the same route over and over again.
We encourage everyone not to walk the same route (unless required for work or travel purposes) to stimulate your mind. If you’re in a new environment, we urge you to go outside and walk to discover your new surroundings.
Nervous about walking a new or different route?
To eliminate your worries, we’ve curated a list of the different ways to plan your latest walk.
5 Best Route Planning tools for walking
To be able to plan and enjoy a fantastic walk, we suggest you prepare first. Don’t worry; preparing is not THAT time consuming; it’s just better to be cautious than none at all. To optimize your time spent walking, you can do the following.
1. Select Your Map
Obviously, you need to know the area and directions you are walking in before you set off. Don’t worry; there’s no need to go the traditional way, there’s plenty of software which has been designed for route planning, they are:
This app is a pretty generic one; we’re sure you’ve all must have used if not heard of Google Maps at some point. If you haven’t, the search engine Google has its own web mapping service on your desktop, mobile, or tablet.
Their maps provide you with satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360-degree traffic conditions, route maps for different forms of transportation, and walking.
What’s great about this is that if you’re planning to reach a particular destination via walking, it will tell you the quickest route and provide you with an estimated time of arrival based on your walking speed.
If you go off-route, it will redirect the path allowing you to reach safely. While walking, it also provides alerts to busy streets, nearby traffic, and it enables you to pin on the map locations you’ve visited while walking. Google maps are free to use and already come on your Android, and if you have iOS, you can download it free of charge.
Map My Walk
The sister site of Map My Run is Map My Walk, developed by the famous sporting brand Underarmour. This is an app available for your desktop, Android, or iPhone, and it’s free to use!
What’s unique about this app is that it uses your GPS to track your route, distance, pace, and more. It also allows you to input your weight into the app and has a built-in pedometer.
You can connect with your friends, see where they walked, and compete against them too! It gives you a chance to analyze your statistics to help you better prepare for your next route after each walk.
Further to this, it also allows you to save walked routes, so if you want to walk the same way again, you’ll be able to revert to your previous stats. Map My Walk also releases online challenges within the walking community, for you to participate in, adding extra fun to your walks.
There is also a premium feature of this app, which is around $6 per month or $30 per year, which gives you access to personalized training plans based on your walking goals and audio coaching.
Plot A Route
Plot A Route is a website that has walking routes for around 190 countries! This is a free and easy website full of different paths for walking, cycling, and running. However, if you want to use it on the go, it also has a route planner available for your mobile or tablet.
What’s unique about Plot a Route, is that you just type in your town or city, or route name and it pulls up a database of over 500,000 different routes! If you’re walking and want to walk across a specific terrain, whether it’s a hill, flat, on the road, or off the road, you can filter via this site.
Plot a route also has fantastic built-in plotting and editing features; you can do the following:
- Plot the quickest and shortest path back to the beginning of your journey
- Plan the same route to return back
- Select a specific point and plot a way back
- Delete a particular section of your planned route
- Switch around your start and end route
- Plan a detour on your route
- Break you route up into two or more routes
- Plot suggested routes
- A split feature allowing you to have your map and google satellite open
- Upload your favorite route for the online walking community
The points above are just a few of many features of Plot A Route. This software is free to use and available for all.
Footpath Route Planner
Footpath Route Planner is an app that has only been developed for iOS users. This app is straightforward to use, to help you plan your routes; all you need is your finger!
The app has its map where you can map your route with your finger, and Footpath will quickly measure the distances between the roads and trails you select.
It also measures your distance and elevation when walking specific routes, and you can share them with others once completed. Over a million people use Footpath Route Planner in any country for many outdoor adventures.
Alpine Quest is a software focused on route planning for outdoor sports, and walking off the road is one of them. This app designed for Android users and uses topographic maps and stays available even if you don’t get any GPS coverage.
The software uses your GPS and a magnetic sensor to act as a compass to help you easily navigate your route. What’s fun about this app is that it lets you save essential landmarks and then retrieve them later to share with others.
Using Alpine Quest, you also gain access to statistics and graphs about your walk, allowing you to motivate you for any other future walks. It also comes in a range of different languages; you can choose up to 17 to navigate your maps!
2. Plan for all types of weather
Before you go on your walk, you most likely will want to know what the weather is like or what the forecast is. This will allow you to detect the right type of clothes and footwear to wear for the weather.
While you can watch the predicted forecast on your local news station, we recommend having an app that will notify you about upcoming weather conditions.
Having an app saves you time waiting on the news or looking up predictions in a search engine as it’s always to hand. To help your walk, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite weather apps, they are:
My Radar Weather
My Radar Weather is free and easy to use for Android or iOS. It’s so popular that it has over 50 million downloads and is renowned for its accurate predictions. The app uses a radar map to allow you to check for different temperatures in your country.
Also, it notifies you about precipitation, such as rain, sleet, or snow, and updates each hour to keep you prepared for your walk. What’s fantastic about this is that they notify you an hour before the rainfall starts to occur and even up to a minute before!
If you live in a country where natural disasters are prone, they also keep track of hurricanes and tropical storms. This app integrates with your location showing you an animated radar of your area, which can last up to two hours.
My Radar Weather will also keep you in the loop regarding weather updates as they get alerts from the National Weather Center. As soon as they know, you know.
Weatherbug is an app that sends local forecasts to your smartphone; it’s free and compatible with iOS and Android. What’s great about this app is that it gathers data from over 10,000 different weather stations.
The app provides instant alerts to your phone if there is a dramatic shift in the weather. It also provides hourly, daily, weekly, and 10-day weather forecasts. So you can plan for your walk up to a week ahead!
If there’s a thunderstorm, it also has a lightning detector that can give you an estimate of how far and how often the lightning is striking. This app also allows you also to be notified of any upcoming snowstorms.
Weather Live serves as a live weather app, which allows you to filter by typing in your postcode, zipcode, latitude/longitude, airport code, city, or town. This app predicts temperatures over 24 hours up to a week.
It also takes into account the wind, chill, and direction, which helps you plan your walking routes. You don’t even need to open the app to see the weather predictions, as it has a built-in widget for your mobile.
3. Make sure you have your emergency contacts saved
It’s walking right; we do this activity every day? It should be no bother for us. Well, just because we do this every day does not mean we shouldn’t be prepared. After all, we can’t predict when we’ll encounter an emergency while walking.
Whether it’s on-road or off-road, we should always be prepared for a medical emergency. If you efficiently plan or prepare, it could make a massive difference in an emergency. To help you with this, we’ve curated a list of emergency apps, they are:
A free app that has been developed for Android and iOS. This app allows you to create a medical profile of yourself on your smartphone. What’s great about this is, is that the person who needs to access your medical info does not need to unlock your smartphone, they can do it from the lock screen.
The free version includes specific features such as blood type, medical contacts, allergic reactions, and much more. It also allows you to put essential contacts names down in your profile so they can be contacted in the event of an emergency. There is also a premium version of this app available for both smartphones.
Life360 is a useful app to have, especially if you like to go for walks on your own. It’s available for iOS and Android and is free to use. This is an app to use between you and your family, allowing you to create social circles.
From there, they can save on their map places you regularly visit, so if anything happens, they can be notified. Therefore, when you’re walking, your family will get notified of your location if you choose to share it, and it allows them to navigate to you if required.
American Red Cross first aid
This is a great free app for all users of iOS and Android. American Red Cross First Aid allows you to gain expert advice for everyday emergencies.
If an accident occurs on your walk, this app gives you advice in the forms of videos and animations of what to do in an emergency.
Alongside first aid, it also comes with safety tips for dangerous weather such as snow, ice, hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, and much more. This app comes with a ton of preloaded content to help your walk so you can even use it when you don’t have any cell reception.
4. Additional apps to help your walk
Once you’ve done all of the above and incorporate them into your route planning, we feel that your walk will be enhanced. However, if you’re looking at additional ways to better your walk we have come up with a list of our favorite apps, they are:
Do you like to walk in offbeat locations? Then if this is the case, Cairn may be the ideal app you will need for your Android or iOS device. This is a free app developed for walkers, hikers, runners, and climbers, who like to go off the grid.
What’s unique about this app is that it helps you reach your home safely. The app does this by allowing you to record your track and share your route with your loved ones, so they know where you are. It also tells you on the map that specific areas to walk to are great for cell coverage.
Based on your trail, Cairn informs your family of where you’re heading on your walks when you plan to return and if anything unusual has occurred like you’ve taken longer than usual.
The app also allows you to download worldwide maps and store them on your device to follow them offline. Likewise, it also has built-in trail states giving you an ETA, live distance, elevation gain, and many different routes.
For only a few dollars, the Walking Meditations app is a fun one to provide you with mindfulness on your walks. There are meditations on the app that you can select, which carefully and safely guide you on your walks. The meditations have a different range of times and allow you to take in your surroundings and be fully present in your walk.
World Walking is a free app that is available for iOS and Android users. This app allows you to find walks in your area and chat with other groups about your specific route.
It also enables you to track your progress seeing milestones you’ve accomplished and reap virtual rewards along the way. It also takes note of your steps, allowing you to see how many steps you’ve achieved on a specific walk.
5. Traditional methods to plan your walk
We know that not everyone is tech-savvy or prefers to use traditional methods other than smartphones or desktops to plan a walk. If you’re that type of person we recommend the following:
Route planning map
If you’re a whizz at reading maps, we suggest purchasing a route-planning map for the country you require walking in. Nowadays, you’ll most likely be able to find these on Amazon or just with a few clicks of a search engine to be delivered to you. From there, you can pin your map, starting points, route, and a finishing point.
Local News station or radio
Before you go out on your walk, you’ll want to know about the weather forecast. An excellent way to know is to actively listen to the radio, or check your morning news about the upcoming forecast.
It’s important that we mention you don’t have to use all of these ways to plan your walk. Only, by incorporating at least one, it may help better plan your route. We also encourage those who aren’t the tech types, to try using walking apps for their mobile. This is because they save time, are easy to access and lighter to carry.
Regardless of all the different ways to plan a route, we hope you have a safe time walking and a fun one.