For quite some time now, I have heard about a very unique pastime called geocaching. I had never really looked into it myself until recently, since I have more time on my hands and have been living in a town which is quite nice to wander. The more time I spend geocaching, the more I begin to think that it could make for a great travel activity.
Geocaching, in my opinion, is almost like a large scale game of hide-and-seek, but with hidden objects. There is a special phone application called Geocaching that can be downloaded and used by those hoping to track geocaches. On this application, it shows a satellite map of your location as well as any geocaches in the surrounding areas. Once you pick a geocache, the application shows you where you are located in relation to the hidden cache and how far away you are to it, working as a visual guide to direct you to the area of the hidden object.
Believe it or not, finding some of these geocaches can prove to be pretty tricky. The display page for the geocache also includes the size of the cache that you are looking for, the difficulty level to find it, a few details about the surrounding area (fun facts, history etc.) as well as hints and comments from others who have searched for that same geocache.
The geocaches can range in size and are typically a small-ish container. Inside the cache, there is paper filled with signatures of others who have also found it. Once you find the cache for yourself, you can go ahead and sign the paper as well as log it as found on the geocaching application, before putting it back for the next person to find.
Geocaching is a super unique, worldwide activity. It has been said that there are over 3 million active geocaches across the world. Where I live, on the Isle of Wight, there are about 150 accessible geocaches that I can go and find at any moment. All of this really shows that no matter where you travel in the world, there is a high probability that you should be able to find some hidden geocaches there. How cool is that?!
There are plenty of reasons that you should consider doing some geocaching during your travels (or travel-caching as I call it). Here are just a few:
1. It's a simple pastime. It really doesn't take much more than a cellphone with data and a pen in order to play along. Depending where you are, some geocaches can be walking distance away from your current point.
2. It can take you to great locations. Most of the geocaches are placed by locals or people who know the area. I have often found that because of this, geocaches are placed in areas that are scenic or important to the town, giving great hints of beautiful or favourited places that the town has to offer.
3. It's free! The basic version doesn't cost anything. If you are looking for a way to explore a city or things to do on a low budget, this is a great solution.
4. It's a perfect solo or group activity. There is no minimum or maximum number of people who can search with you. This makes a great option for something to do, no matter your group size. If you did have a big group, you could even split up into smaller groups and race to see who can find specific ones first, all starting at different geocaches.
5. Using the map, you can view a satellite map of where you are. This gives you a visual picture on where you are located and what the landscape is around you, from an areal view. It can be helpful for navigational purposes.
6. As you zoom in, the Geocaching app points out surrounding places of interest. Locations that are important for visitors to see or take photos of are marked, giving you visual options of things you may like to do in the surrounding areas and where they are located in reference to you.
What do you think? Is geocaching something worth giving a shot? Is it something you think you'd try on vacation? Share with me your thoughts in the comments below!