During a recent road trip to Canada, my wife found a super helpful app called GySPy Guide she downloaded on to her iPhone. It made the trip a lot more enjoyable and so I thought I'd share a bit about our experience with it.
What is GySPy Guide?
From their website, this is what they have to say about their app:
GyPSy Guide provides a professional tour guide commentary along with scenic drives and road trips. Our tours highlight the very best of the region with entertaining stories about history, geology, legends, local tips, and driving directions. All you have to do is drive, listen, and soak in the scenery.
The GyPSy Guide(s) are available via the App or Google Play stores. While it is not free to use – they do offer a couple of free guides (Calgary to Banff to name one). Others range from $3.99 to $19.99 for a bundled guide.
The beauty of this app is that it can work offline – meaning it doesn't need to be connected to utilize it. The app works off your phone's location service to locate where you are and then plays specific commentary related to that point of interest.
It seriously is like having a tour guide in your car with you. We were able to sync up my wife's phone with our rental car and so we had it played through the speakers. But, you don't have to do this.
The one we purchased was $19.99 and included all of the areas of interest in the Banff / Jasper National Parks.
The narration is professional and entertaining – with interesting tidbits about the area that you'd likely never know about as well as suggestions for where to go / how to spend your time.
The company recommends folks download the app via a WiFi connection. I assume due to the app's larger file size, and to make it go smoother. The bundle we had taken a lot of space on my wife's phone (she actually took it off after the trip).
What other guides are available?
There are GySPy Guides for the US and Canada. Among the locations are the following:
- Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons
- Yosemite National Park
- Glacier National Park: Going-to-the-Sun Road
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Grand Canyon
- Las Vegas
- Miami Key West
- Moab: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
- Hawaii: Maui, Oahu, Big Island, Kauai
- Vermont, Niagara Falls
- Zion and Bryce Canyon
- Hoover Dam
- The Canadian Rockies
- Big Sur
And, there are others available and more that are being added.
- Professionally done
- Helpful, especially if you don't know a lot about an area
- Works offline (no data use)
- Many popular destinations in the West / western Canada
- Can take a lot of space on your phone
- Costs money
- Cannot “go back” / harder to “rewind” if needed
I was personally blown away by the app. I'd never used anything like this during a trip that could also work offline and be so “spot-on” in regards to location. Although we'd been to the Canadian Rockies before, there were a number of things the Guide brought up that I didn't know about. It also warned us about certain areas that were helpful to know about. At one point in the journey to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park (BC), the app made us aware of a specific switchback that was a bit difficult to maneuver for larger vehicles – well, any vehicle for that matter. Having the guide mention this and offer tips on getting through it eased my mind – as I'm not especially excited about heights and easing my way up through switchbacks.
There were a few hiccups with it. Most notably the ability to hit “rewind” on something you wanted to be repeated. There didn't seem to be an easy button for this.
All said, I'd recommend these friendly, helpful guides to anyone looking to enhance their road trips through some of the more scenic areas in the world!
Have you ever used the GyPSy Guide? Or something like it?