If you have been intrigued by geocaching but figured you couldnt do it because you dont have a handheld GPS unit, you should know that it is possible for you to have totally free geocache fun by just using your Android smart phone. Sorry iPhone users – there is an app for that, but it will cost you a few bucks. Still, even for you there is an inexpensive option.
With a GPS enabled smart phone you can begin geocaching this very minute. There is no more excuse for you to put it off. Here is how you do it.
Open An Account
First, open an account at geocaching.com. This is the site that holds listings of the geocaches out in the world, and you need to be a member here before they will reveal the coordinates to you. Dont worry, establishing an account is totally free. There is a premium membership for a small fee, but you dont need it unless you want the optional features that it adds.
Remember when signing up that your user name will be seen by the world, so pick something other than your real name as you would on any site.
Get an Application
Second, install a geocaching application on your smart phone. For an outstanding free application on your Android phone, check out c:geo. It is the best geocaching application to date and will cost you nothing. When you sign up you enter your geocaching account user name and password to sync up.
If you have an iPhone, your best bet may be the official application from Groundspeak which runs about $10. You can avoid the fee and take coordinates from the website and manually enter then into a free GPS compass application, but your experience will be so much better with the app you wouldnt want to.
Find a Cache
Now that you have an account and an app, its time to find a cache. Simply use your application to find caches near you. These apps will easily allow you to use a compass feature to navigate to the cache to make the find.
Advantages of Smart Phone Geocaching
There are some advantages of geocaching with your smart phone. The first is that for Android users it is free! Another is that your phone is always with you, so whether you are on a road trip or just going around town, you can always peek at your surroundings on the app to see if there is a cache waiting for you. One of the best is the interactive maps you can pull up wherever you are to see where the caches are around you. That is a game changer as compared to a regular handled GPS.
Disadvantages of Smart Phone Geocaching
The problem with using your smart phone for geocaching is that it is fragile. Smart phones were not meant to be out in the woods on a rainy day. The dont appreciate getting smacked into a rocky cliff. When you are out in nature or pulling a cache out of a tricky spot, you just cant beat a rugged handheld GPS. Remember, it can be rough out there, so protect your phone.
Free Geocaching is Possible
As you can see, geocaching for free is possible if you skip the GPS and use your existing phone. You can get started with geocaching on your iPhone right now by purchasing an app, but if you already own an Android GPS-enabled smart phone, you can sign up for the geocaching site, download the app, and hit the road right now for some totally free geocache fun.