What Makes GuideAlong An Excellent Road Trip Companion

What Makes GuideAlong An Excellent Road Trip Companion

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I didn’t know what I was missing before GuideAlong! Honestly, my road trips used to consist of printed MapQuest directions (I’m aging myself!), a manila folder, and a list of a few notable pit stops I researched beforehand. I’d piece together my itineraries from different blog posts, forums, and other websites, all the while planning on-the-go whenever the occasion called for it. My road trips were, and still are, a flexible concoction of must-sees, maybes, and who-would-have-thoughts.

Over the last few months, Brian and I have come to appreciate the relaxed convenience GuideAlong brings to our road trip adventures.

What is GuideAlong?

GuideAlong offers location-based audio tours that narrate entertaining stories, offer helpful tips, and provide exact directions along your route. This immersive mobile app utilizes GPS technology that automatically triggers informative sound bites, allowing you to enjoy a self-guided exploration of your surroundings.

Key Highlights:

  • Individually-priced tours/bundles
  • One-time purchase for lifetime access
  • No time limit/expiration
  • Includes free updates as tours are updated
  • Currently only available in English
  • Downloadable for offline use
  • Explore at your own pace convenience
  • Start anywhere along the route
  • Behind-the-scenes information
  • Free downloadable PDF trip planners

Since GuideAlong includes navigation, it alerts you to notable intersections, recommended side trips, hidden gems, and the most scenic viewpoints along the tour route.

60+ Tours

As of March 2024, 63 tours and bundles are available for purchase. Pre-packaged bundles include multiple audio tour guides and routes for a discounted rate. Bundles are a practical option for those looking to enjoy more extensive or future road trips.

Tours are currently offered in Australia, Canada, and 21 of the 50 United States. GuideAlong is a growing operation and is continually updating and adding tours to its portfolio. In fact, 11 new tours were introduced to customers last year!

At the time of this posting, the newest tour releases for 2024 include Death Valley National Park and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, located in California.

Stunning Scenic Drives

Cruise through mountain passes, shoreline roads, and city streets with audio tours of the pacific coast, Appalachian Mountains, and more. GuideAlong offers a comprehensive guide of some of the most scenic and iconic drives in the world.

Brian and I had a great time touring the Sea to Sky Highway when we traveled to Vancouver last year. We loved how many points of interests, scenic stops, and activities there were to enjoy along the way, especially since this particular tour offers both North and South bound commentary.

Other scenic drive tours currently available include:

Brian and I explored the Road to Hana and the Big Sur on our own. Even though we had a blast, we know it would have been well worth it if GuideAlong had hitched a ride with us. Incorporating the audio tours into our travels would have led to more adventure and provided additional historical and cultural context.

National Parks

Speaking of missing out on GuideAlong tours, we sure wish we had considered them for our Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks adventure! Personally, I think we really missed out on a lot during this trip.

National parks are protected lands that offer visitors the opportunity to explore their natural beauty, unique landscapes, and diverse ecosystems. There is much to learn and a ton of ground to cover when visiting a national park, especially when you consider that there are 63 national parks in the United States.

Fun Fact: The smallest national park is Gateway Arch in Missouri at 91 acres, whereas the largest is Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska at over 13 million acres.

Though GuideAlong currently has a limited selection of national park tours to choose from, I find them extensive enough to experience a variety of landscapes and recreational activities.

Joshua Tree National Park

Brian and I recently had the opportunity to visit southern California. We were excited to learn that GuideAlong had just released a new audio tour for Joshua Tree National Park, which was very close to where we stayed. So, we decided to jump at the chance to explore a (new-to-us) national park with an awesome tour guide.

This particular tour has a suggested time of 1-2 days. Unfortunately, Brian and I were only able to visit for half of a day. If we had a longer timeframe, we would have loved to take on the Boy Scout Trail, a challenging 8-mile hike through rugged desert terrain and rock formations!

Highlights and Hidden Gems

Our personal experiences with GuideAlong have led us to discover can’t-miss sights and attractions, in addition to off-the-beaten path adventures. In all honesty, I barely researched for these particular road trips, which was due to a combination of a lack of time and spontaneous experimentation to see if we’d like the app! Brian and I are happy to share that GuideAlong helped us out way more than we thought it would. It’s an invaluable resource and a genuinely excellent companion for road trips, especially for national parks.

Additional national park tours currently available include:

Visit GuideAlong’s website for the complete, up-to-date selection of scenic drive and national park audio tours.

Helpful Tips For Using GuideAlong

While GuideAlong alleviates some of the stress of mapping out a road trip, there is still a bit of planning required beforehand. For a seamless GuideAlong experience, you will want to ensure:

Audio Tour Availability

Check the GuideAlong website to see if there are audio tours that fit your desired travel destination.

Advanced Purchase

Purchase the tour(s) in advance. You can do this on the mobile app or through their website. I prefer using the website as I am able to review all of the tour details better than on the app. Plus, GuideAlong offers their complete Trip Planners on their website, which are pretty helpful for those who do enjoy some of the planning process!

The Tour Is Downloaded Beforehand

Tours must be downloaded when you have Wi-Fi access or good cell service. It’s not usually a great idea to wait last minute and hope that you have enough cell service to download the tour. Save yourself some potential frustration by downloading the tour before you approach a national park entrance or remote area.

Your Mobile Device Can Connect To Your Car’s Audio

The best listening experience will come from your car. It can be difficult to hear the audio tour through a cell phone speaker, especially when competing with road noise.

Your Mobile Device Remains Charged

Be sure to keep a car charger or portable power bank handy to keep your device running all day long.

GuideAlong

Is GuideAlong Right For You?

Whether you’re short on time or would simply prefer someone else to handle the itinerary, GuideAlong might just be the ticket to a stress-free road trip. Individual tours range from a few hours to a few days and are priced between $4.99 and $24.99, making it a cost-effective way to explore a new destination.

I think GuideAlong is perfect for those who prefer personalized convenience and flexibility. Travelers can choose to start wherever they wish along the route and the narration will begin exactly where they are. They can also choose to stop and linger at any site or continue to the next point. Brian and I especially appreciate the fact that the narrator offers advice about sites ahead and why they may be worth a stop or potential skip.

GuideAlong caters to introverts like us who enjoy the freedom of setting our own pace while still providing the informative and entertaining aspects of a traditional guided tour. It’s the perfect tool for do-it-yourself experiences without having to completely do it yourself!

We love the ease and flexibility of this awesome road trip companion. Instead of staring down at my phone or…manila folder to find the next stop, I can be more present to enjoy the experience.

Do you think GuideAlong would be beneficial for your next road trip?

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