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OpinioNate

What should new geocachers know about trackables?

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Pinning this thread for a while to get more readers, thoughts, and comments.

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1) It took me a long time, a lot of puzzling, a lot of reading and re-reading to figure out what how trackables work. The info was incomplete and research was very time consuming. I'm still picking up the finer points. It's no wonder people don't know how the system works. Most poeple don't have the time and patience for that. Previous suggestions about tutorials are echoed here.

 

Like a previous poster I was intimidated by trackables and was afraid to take one if I found it. By the time I found my first trackable -- last week-- I felt somewhat confident taking it, but wasn't sure if it was okay if I didn't release my own travel bug or something...

 

2) During our six day road trip last week we hit six caches most days, I was shocked, SHOCKED to see almost EVERY trackable listed in cache inventories were missing! And I'm a noob and I know better! Only TWO trackables (less and 25%) of those listed actually resided in their noted caches! Both of those bugs were dropped by the same person in the last 48 hours-- So, this means only ONE cacher who preceded me handled the trackables correctly.

 

OK. Sorry for the long story-- the point is I was also shocked that no one else (or least very people) spoke up. the sooner you catch the mistake the sooner the bug owners can email other cachers and inquire and the sooner they contact the cache owner to see if there are other cachers on the paper log that didn't log electronically. The most anyone else noted was "inventory seems to be off" -- if anything at all. I made a point of noting what bugs were missing/present in the cache logs and I emailed all the Bug/Coin owners (that was a lot of emails) and let them know their trackable had gone AWOL. The problem was they have been missing so, so long they will be difficult to find. One bug owner started inquiry as a result of my note, I'm sure he would have appreciated a note earllier...

 

So, excuse my horrible writing today, but the point is something is very wrong if so many bugs are missing.

 

3) I noticed the tracking number for my bug (the secret one) was on a separate piece of paper and not visible anywhere on the geocoin. Weird. What if they get separated? I performed repairs on the plastic coin sleeve, copied the number in pencil (so it wouldn't run) and laminated the accompanying note to ensure it will travel safely for at least few more caches. I also put a rubber band around the sleeve so the coin wouldn't fall out and a post it note over the sleeve saying "DO NOT take this coin unless you log it and move it to another safe cache." Overkill, I know, but I now have no faith in most cachers ability to handle TBs. Also, the info that comes with the coin is too wordy, confusing and the print is too small.

 

4) I have never received a newsletter from Groundspeak.

 

Sorry for the ramble..

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1) It took me a long time, a lot of puzzling, a lot of reading and re-reading to figure out what how trackables work. The info was incomplete and research was very time consuming. I'm still picking up the finer points. It's no wonder people don't know how the system works. Most poeple don't have the time and patience for that. Previous suggestions about tutorials are echoed here.

 

Like a previous poster I was intimidated by trackables and was afraid to take one if I found it. By the time I found my first trackable -- last week-- I felt somewhat confident taking it, but wasn't sure if it was okay if I didn't release my own travel bug or something...

 

2) During our six day road trip last week we hit six caches most days, I was shocked, SHOCKED to see almost EVERY trackable listed in cache inventories were missing! And I'm a noob and I know better! Only TWO trackables (less and 25%) of those listed actually resided in their noted caches! Both of those bugs were dropped by the same person in the last 48 hours-- So, this means only ONE cacher who preceded me handled the trackables correctly.

 

OK. Sorry for the long story-- the point is I was also shocked that no one else (or least very people) spoke up. the sooner you catch the mistake the sooner the bug owners can email other cachers and inquire and the sooner they contact the cache owner to see if there are other cachers on the paper log that didn't log electronically. The most anyone else noted was "inventory seems to be off" -- if anything at all. I made a point of noting what bugs were missing/present in the cache logs and I emailed all the Bug/Coin owners (that was a lot of emails) and let them know their trackable had gone AWOL. The problem was they have been missing so, so long they will be difficult to find. One bug owner started inquiry as a result of my note, I'm sure he would have appreciated a note earllier...

 

So, excuse my horrible writing today, but the point is something is very wrong if so many bugs are missing.

 

3) I noticed the tracking number for my bug (the secret one) was on a separate piece of paper and not visible anywhere on the geocoin. Weird. What if they get separated? I performed repairs on the plastic coin sleeve, copied the number in pencil (so it wouldn't run) and laminated the accompanying note to ensure it will travel safely for at least few more caches. I also put a rubber band around the sleeve so the coin wouldn't fall out and a post it note over the sleeve saying "DO NOT take this coin unless you log it and move it to another safe cache." Overkill, I know, but I now have no faith in most cachers ability to handle TBs. Also, the info that comes with the coin is too wordy, confusing and the print is too small.

 

4) I have never received a newsletter from Groundspeak.

 

Sorry for the ramble..

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I am guessing that the Trackables is being taken as swag. I had two Geo Cachers who where teachers come to my cache and take a travel bug. They did not list it in their hands even after I emailed them on how to do it. After 2 more weeks went by had to place it as missing. Things happen and you move on.

Can you go back to a house and grab a travel Bug....I would say sometimes it is OK..What if you put a Travel Bug in a cache and after looking at the bugs you moved you find the same bug in the same place six months later. I will go back there and move it to a more active cache. Bottom Line travel Bugs were meet to travel.

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I am guessing that the Trackables is being taken as swag. I had two Geo Cachers who where teachers come to my cache and take a travel bug. They did not list it in their hands even after I emailed them on how to do it. After 2 more weeks went by had to place it as missing. Things happen and you move on.

Can you go back to a house and grab a travel Bug....I would say sometimes it is OK..What if you put a Travel Bug in a cache and after looking at the bugs you moved you find the same bug in the same place six months later. I will go back there and move it to a more active cache. Bottom Line travel Bugs were meet to travel.

 

I have got to the bottom of this now I think, we went out the other day and found 2 and a coin, all bound for their first trip to Australia.

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Alright so I'm pretty new at trackables, and I just got a Ladybug Cachekinz for a gift. Does it operate the same way as a Travel Bug?

Yes! Cachekinz are like any trackable item.

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:) Some good help and post here for a newbie like myself.

We all started at some point and since starting have found answers to most of the questions.

 

A lot I think is common sense - and possibly good luck lol

 

Thanks to those that have spent the time on informing and helping others.

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That you have to log them, that they aren't trade items, and that you don't post the tracking number.

 

All the rest is good to know, but those are the absolute essentials. Trackables are confusing enough in their most basic form that introducing a newcomer to anything more is counterproductive.

 

Even old-timers need to be told that they can mark trackables missing when the TB is in a cache they own -- and that this is a required maintenance activity.

 

But the biggest problem is that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. The problem isn't that new cachers misunderstood the explanation but that they didn't see it at all. It might help to make an "about trackables" section prominent in the sign-up process. Or might not.

 

Edward

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As a fairly new cacher, all I can say about your responses is wow. This information include in the geocaching information when I started would have helped me so much. Keep up the great work and I hope this is used for us newbys. We really do not like getting chewed out for making a mistake from lack of knowledge. Thank you again for your time and thought to this learning tool.l

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Finding the travel bug/ geocoin FAQs is apparently a lot harder than finding the Forums where those inclined to ask will post questions they can't find answers to elsewhere.

 

I am very new to this sport and hate to agrivate everyone with questions that have been asked dozens of times. Where is the FAQ section located. I really do want to learn as much as I can. ;)

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Another point about getting the info out there to cachers 'in the field' -

 

I just noticed that when you use the Print Info Sheet link to print off a mission sheet for a trackable it tells the cacher that they shouldn't take it unless they're willing to log it on geocaching.com etc but I think it would be helpful if there was a more direct link to the instructions for logging trackables.

 

e.g. To log this trackable item please follow the instructions here: http://www.geocaching.com/track/howto.aspx

 

MrsB

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:D Some good help and post here for a newbie like myself.

We all started at some point and since starting have found answers to most of the questions.

 

A lot I think is common sense - and possibly good luck lol

 

Thanks to those that have spent the time on informing and helping others.

 

Exactly, I was just after the basic info , and again thanks to those who helped.

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Wow, tons of info, I'm almost into overload mode.

Here's a question, why are there multiple tracking databases versus just having one centralized one that can track all trackable items?

Since I am just starting out, I would love to be able to find a trackable item and help it down the road a little, but it seems at times it could be a nightmare to do...

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Wow, tons of info, I'm almost into overload mode.

Here's a question, why are there multiple tracking databases versus just having one centralized one that can track all trackable items?

Since I am just starting out, I would love to be able to find a trackable item and help it down the road a little, but it seems at times it could be a nightmare to do...

 

A premium member has the ability to create pocket query searches that specify to list caches that have travelers in them. There is currently no way to search for specific missions or goal.

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2) During our six day road trip last week we hit six caches most days, I was shocked, SHOCKED to see almost EVERY trackable listed in cache inventories were missing! And I'm a noob and I know better! Only TWO trackables (less and 25%) of those listed actually resided in their noted caches! Both of those bugs were dropped by the same person in the last 48 hours-- So, this means only ONE cacher who preceded me handled the trackables correctly.

If you are in the bay area, I've been told that there is some A-hole out there that his only purpose in life is to go around to geocaches and collect the bugs from them. I just heard about this two weeks ago from a fellow Bay Area caching buddy. ;)

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did we mention that newbs should be told ebay is not the place to buy coins unless they have contacted the mint to check if it is a limited edition - ie is being sold by a scalper? In some cases ebay vendor may also be the mint or designer but this is the exception. The way to find out is to ask the forum, or use wikis or commercial coin trading websites to track the mint down.

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Newbie here. I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere, but I couldn't find it...

 

Some 'travel bug hotel' cache owners want a minimum number of travel bugs, or require a trade.

 

Bug owners, at least those on this forum, seem to really hate these restrictions and refer to them as prisons. They want their bug traveling.

 

So, if you see a bug or 4 seem to be stuck in a hotel with these restrictions, do you honor the request of the cache owner or the bug owner(s)?

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Newbie here. I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere, but I couldn't find it...

 

Some 'travel bug hotel' cache owners want a minimum number of travel bugs, or require a trade.

 

Bug owners, at least those on this forum, seem to really hate these restrictions and refer to them as prisons. They want their bug traveling.

 

So, if you see a bug or 4 seem to be stuck in a hotel with these restrictions, do you honor the request of the cache owner or the bug owner(s)?

 

Feel free to ignore trade restrictions. If you can assist the bug towards its goal take as many as you wish. Travel bugs are meant to travel.

 

If anyone as a problem with cachers assisting bugs send them here and we'll have a chat.

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If anyone as a problem with cachers assisting bugs send them here and we'll have a chat.

 

Yes, sir!

 

:ph34r:

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If anyone as a problem with cachers assisting bugs send them here and we'll have a chat.

 

Yes, sir!

 

:D

 

And you can bet I'll give them one of these :ph34r: and probably a :ph34r:.

 

:D

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A topic well worth of some clarification, especially for a novice like myself who wishes to comply with the etiquette.

 

I have a basic question:

 

I unexpectedly found a very nice and well travelled TB in a cache.

On the website, this cache did not show it contained any TB.

 

I retained the TB and logged it’s find etc when I returned home. I also took a local photo to upload as requested by the owner of the TB. So far – so good.

 

I have now moved the TB on to a new home, many miles from where I found it.

 

Q:

How do I advise that I’ve done so, report of its new location and get the cache listing updated to show it contains this TB?

 

Thanks

MN_R

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A topic well worth of some clarification, especially for a novice like myself who wishes to comply with the etiquette.

 

I have a basic question:

 

I unexpectedly found a very nice and well travelled TB in a cache.

On the website, this cache did not show it contained any TB.

 

I retained the TB and logged it’s find etc when I returned home. I also took a local photo to upload as requested by the owner of the TB. So far – so good.

 

I have now moved the TB on to a new home, many miles from where I found it.

 

Q:

How do I advise that I’ve done so, report of its new location and get the cache listing updated to show it contains this TB?

 

Thanks

MN_R

 

The bug may have just been dropped off and the cacher hasn't has a chance to do the logging. Give them a few days to catch up, especially if it's over the weekend. If you can determine who the cacher is maybe send them a gentle reminder to do the logging. (Sometimes people forget to record the tracking number and can't do the logging. If so they'll probably ask you for the number)

 

If you don't see a response go ahead and Grab the bug into your inventory. Post a Note on the cache you found it in and Drop the bug so it gets credit for having visited the cache. Then Retrieve and move as normal.

 

Also, make sure not to show the tracking number in photos or post it in a log. Thanks.

Edited by BlueDeuce

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17. I found an unactivated Trackable, now what?

First make sure you haven't typed the # wrong. Then check the logs, see if someone mentioned leaving it. If something as attached to a TB tag, and it's not activated, the owner probably didn't know they were supposed to activate it. Try to find them. Post notes to the cache page and ask. If you never find the owner, you can ask Groundspeak for the activation code by sending an email to contact at geocaching dot com.

Kind of like 'finders keepers? :D I have this very same situation right now with an unactivated tb. I posted a note to the cache page and found who placed it but they can't remember where they got it, so that's where the investigation ends. I really don't want to be the owner and I don't want to just push it along. Any other ideas? I don't imagine there's a way for Groundspeak to know who purchased this dogtag? And maybe contact them for me or something? :D I can imagine the logistics would make that almost impossible but hopefully someone can add more to answer 17.

 

--Very helpful list BTW, thank you Eartha--

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17. I found an unactivated Trackable, now what?

First make sure you haven't typed the # wrong. Then check the logs, see if someone mentioned leaving it. If something as attached to a TB tag, and it's not activated, the owner probably didn't know they were supposed to activate it. Try to find them. Post notes to the cache page and ask. If you never find the owner, you can ask Groundspeak for the activation code by sending an email to contact at geocaching dot com.

Kind of like 'finders keepers? :D I have this very same situation right now with an unactivated tb. I posted a note to the cache page and found who placed it but they can't remember where they got it, so that's where the investigation ends. I really don't want to be the owner and I don't want to just push it along. Any other ideas? I don't imagine there's a way for Groundspeak to know who purchased this dogtag? And maybe contact them for me or something? :D I can imagine the logistics would make that almost impossible but hopefully someone can add more to answer 17.

 

--Very helpful list BTW, thank you Eartha--

 

I looked through several listings but could you tell me what cache it was and who was the cacher? Is there any traveler attached to the tag or perhaps the tags are still in the original packaging?

 

You can email or PM the name if you would prefer not to post it here.

 

Thanks

Edited by BlueDeuce

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I have to say when i found my first TB(travel bug) I have heard about them but getting one is more the fun i didnt know what to do with it once that i got it this one had a big ant on it so i got on line and this is what i found ~1. How to log a Trackable, ~I DID READ THE INFO and it help me a lot,and after lo0king over TB logs or travel route,having one of your own was better than finding one so i order one of mind own.The info that Groundspeak® and the Modertors they have and the work they put into the forum is very helpful.and its much appreciated,after all i know how the forums work it takes alot of work to keep a forum cleaned up and everything in order i know i ran a fourm for over 3 yrs in an on-line game that i had.So Modertors,and Groundspeak® Keep up the great work †

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I think I want to make traceable coins... I have not found much info on the forum and I am going to look on the main site know...

 

If anyone can point me to more info I would appreciate it

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I think I want to make traceable coins... I have not found much info on the forum and I am going to look on the main site know...

 

If anyone can point me to more info I would appreciate it

 

Start with the pinned topics at the top of the geocoin forum

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Thank you Gitchee-Gummee!!!! I did not know about the virtual world.. how sad for them that they do not enjoy the thrill of the cache!!! I will be very careful with my pics from now on..

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most important piece of information newbies seem to be missing:

 

why it's not OK to keep, toss or alter TBs!

 

and: why it's important to keep them moving.

 

the number of disappearing TBs is becoming ridiculous. people picking them up and then never dropping them off again, or people "dropping" them into caches, with people finding the cache the next day and not seeing the TBs any more, etc etc.. even people taking the dog tag off the object its attached to and attaching it to something else, wtf?! maybe they do that because they don't care, but somehow i want to believe that they do that because they don't know any better.

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Currently there is apparently NOTHING in the "trackable items" section of the regular web site that says tracking numbers are secret. It's all over this forum of course, and there's a page in the GS KB that says so, but the only link I found to that KB article was also in this forum. If you go to "Trackable Items", "Travel Bug Home", "Travel Bug FAQ" (!), "How to Log a Travel Bug", or the TB "Post a New Log" page, there's absolutely nothing (that I could find anyway) about not posting the tracking number in logs.

 

Is it any wonder we see this violation so often? We absolutely cannot assume that cachers read the forums!

 

Can something be done about this without waiting for a major education effort? A note in the "how to", a note in the FAQ, a note underneath the "Travel Bug Tracking #" field on the "Post a New Log" page ...

 

I just emailed a cacher who had posted a tracking number. He said "makes sense but I never heard of it". I have to tell him yeah, they sure do make it hard to find!

 

Edward

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As a noob myself. The questions I have are:

Can I create my own travelbug/travel coin/tracking number? Or am I required purchase them online?

Also I'm still a little confused on the differences between coins and bugs. Do they both serve the same purpose at times? :)

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Can I create my own travelbug/travel coin/tracking number? Or am I required purchase them online?

 

To have them tracked at this site you would have to purchase numbers issued by Groundspeak.

 

Also I'm still a little confused on the differences between coins and bugs. Do they both serve the same purpose at times?

 

They both serve as a trackable item that you can log through caches and cachers.

 

The Travel bug is a dogtag that you attach to an item and release together. A coin has some sort of artistic design/theme and is typically not attached to another item for travel.

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My suggestion would be for Geocaching.com to send out an e-mail to users immediately after they retrieve a bug for their first three finds or so outlining general expectations and etiquette. It's important that this gets communicated immediately after the first find because there are a lot of one-time-wonder geocachers who go out once, pick up a bug, and never log another cache. By the time the person gets contacted by geocaching.com or another user, the person has long since lost any interest in geocaching. Overbearing? Maybe. But I think it would contribute to the overall satisfaction of those who pay the bills long term.

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I am not a new cacher but I do have one question. It might be a little off topic but I am wondering if there is any reason to keep the activation code after a trackable is activated? Thank you for your help.

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I am not a new cacher but I do have one question. It might be a little off topic but I am wondering if there is any reason to keep the activation code after a trackable is activated? Thank you for your help.

 

If you wanted to change the origination date or location you would have to go through the activation process again. Other than that there is no reason to keep it.

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I'm wondering if it is considered bad etiquette to bring TB's back to my cache? I realize that if it's not helping a specific mission to keep hands off, but if not just to move them along, and bring a little action to my cache.

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I'm wondering if it is considered bad etiquette to bring TB's back to my cache? I realize that if it's not helping a specific mission to keep hands off, but if not just to move them along, and bring a little action to my cache.

 

I do not see anything wrong with it as long as it is not interfering with the coins/tb's mission. I would keep an eye on them though and anything that stays longer that say, 2 weeks, I would move it along to another cache so that it might continue to travel. :)

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Eartha, thanks for the detailed info! I'm a newbie with only a few caches found, and trying to learn about travel bugs. Didn't find what I was looking for on geocaching.com, so I was glad to see it being discussed here. It would be great to have this list of questions on the Trackables page; maybe the info is there somewhere, but I sure couldn't find it. Thanks! :blink:

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I was wondering if it is ok to give a TB to another geocacher so the TB will get closer to its goal.

 

Yes, you can hand-off a bug to another cacher. They would just Log a Grab.

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I was wondering if it is ok to give a TB to another geocacher so the TB will get closer to its goal.

 

Yes, you can hand-off a bug to another cacher. They would just Log a Grab.

 

I tryed to find the answer to this question but could not find it.. When you take a TB.. Do you HAVE to mention it in the log of the cache or just online?

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I tryed to find the answer to this question but could not find it.. When you take a TB.. Do you HAVE to mention it in the log of the cache or just online?

Not necessary to mention in the log, but it is helpful to others (online and logbook).

 

I have noticed that a great number of Europeans add this to their online log:

 

IN - (name of trackable)

OUT - (name of trackable)

 

or

 

IN - # of trackables (including 0)

OUT - # of trackables (including 0)

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I tryed to find the answer to this question but could not find it.. When you take a TB.. Do you HAVE to mention it in the log of the cache or just online?

Not necessary to mention in the log, but it is helpful to others (online and logbook).

 

I have noticed that a great number of Europeans add this to their online log:

 

IN - (name of trackable)

OUT - (name of trackable)

 

or

 

IN - # of trackables (including 0)

OUT - # of trackables (including 0)

 

And GG means a count not the tracking number of the trackable.

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