If you have a long road trip coming up and are dreading the hours and hours of driving with nothing to look forward to until you get there, geocaching may be a good way for you to break up your trip and stretch the legs once in a while.
What is Geocaching?
If you are wondering what geocaching is, it is a simple game of hide and seek (in a way) where you use a GPS or GPS enabled phone to locate hidden containers, called caches, that others have placed. These containers may be anything from a very small film canister to a very large 5 gallon pail, but one thing is for sure – they are unique.
By reviewing a geocaching site before your trip or using your smart phone with one of several free or paid apps, you can spot geocaches along almost any route you plan to take. Why not break up your long road trip with a little geocaching hunt every few hours? Look at it this way. You can either pace around a gas station to stretch your legs or you can walk across a lush park to retrieve a cache and then go back to your car.
What About The Kids?
If you have kids you may be in even more luck. The little ones often need to let off a little energy, especially when they are on a long road trip. Geocaching is a great way to get them up and moving and there is a bonus for the kids. Many of the caches you will find contain trade items in them. These are basically very inexpensive toys or gadgets that a person can trade for by leaving something of equal value. This is a very fun part of the geocaching game for the kids.
In fact, your kids will be anxiously awaiting the next cache to see if they get to trade for something that they want even more. You can even let them have the GPS with the loaded coordinates of the next cache as you drive to pass the time. Instead of ‘how many more miles’ you might here ‘only 15 more miles to the next cache’.
What Do You Do After You Find a Cache?
When you find a cache you can go on the geocaching site and log your find. This will track your cache and let the cache owner know that it has been found. You can leave notes if you found it in disrepair or tell a little story of your adventure.
Don’t forget to log your cache finds along the way or when you get to your destination. You will soon find that you are a cross country cacher and that your road trip was a lot more fun that you had expected. You will also have fond memories of some of the creative caches and hide techniques you spot along the way.
What Else Might I Find in a Cache?
Since you are on a road trip here is another cool thing you should know. In the game of geocaching there are things called travel bugs and geocoins. Travel bugs look like military dog tags and have a serial number on them. They are most often attached to some trinket whose mission it is to travel somewhere. Geocoins also have a tracking number but are usually traveling alone. If you find one of these items you can check out the geocaching site to see where they want to go. These are not to be kept but must keep moving. You may find a travel bug or geocoin that is headed your way. If so, you can take it, log it, and drop it in a cache a few hundred miles down the road. This adds a lot to the geocaching fun.
Is There a Downside?
The downside of breaking up a long road trip with gecaching? I suppose your trip will take longer, but the geocaching site will let you know the difficulty of the cache hides so if you are in a hurry you can pick the easier ones and save the hard ones for another day. In fact, any time you stop for gas or lunch, you should look to see if there is a cache in the neighborhood. I bet there is.
How Do I Get Started?
To get started, check out the geocaching site to find some caches. Then, grab a GPS and try a little geocaching the next time you head out on a long road trip. You may just have the best road trip ever.