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Geocaching in foreign countries


powercatjeffy
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I'm heading on a trip to Europe next summer (London, France, Germany). I want to cache a bit in all of those places, but I don't know how best to go about it. My hardware: Palm Tungsten, Garmin 60CSx, Blackberry 8330 (Verizon).

 

I'd like to avoid carrying any more devices with me than absolutely necessary. Since I'm not taking a laptop, it may be nearly impossible to download caches on the fly. So I'm looking for suggestions.

 

Some questions as well:

From what I understand, a standard cell phone won't work over in Europe. Correct? If that's the case, does that mean any app would be blind as well?

 

If I can make it work, are there any apps people would suggest?

 

Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

Edited by powercatjeffy
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I'm heading on a trip to Europe next summer (London, France, Germany). I want to cache a bit in all of those places, but I don't know how best to go about it. My hardware: Palm Tungsten, Garmin 60CSx, Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

 

I'd like to avoid carrying any more devices with me than absolutely necessary. Since I'm not taking a laptop, it may be nearly impossible to download caches on the fly. So I'm looking for suggestions.

 

Some questions as well:

From what I understand, a standard cell phone won't work over in Europe. Correct? If that's the case, does that mean any app would be blind as well?

 

If I can make it work, are there any apps people would suggest?

 

Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

Unless you have access to a GSM phone that will mange the Euro frequencies, avoiding the use of something else is nearly impossible. I planned to visit just 7 sites on a recent European trip, and had no idea where I'd be during much of my stay in each. Seeing as how Garmin STILL refuses to allow a handheld with ANY amount of memory to make use of lots of that memory for caches (they still have this bizarre partitioning attitude about maps vs. waypoints in memory), I found it necessary to take the little Asus netbook along. Moreoever, I was able to pull down more recent lists into GSAK as I traveled, which actually kept me from missing one new one that popped up between the time I left the States and arrived at that particular location. I found 'free' wi-fi everywhere I went.

 

If you can get something here that will work with GSM there, you can use that instead -- understanding that you'll want one with true browser capability unless you just want to see the last 4 logs on the gc.com WAP site. Even some pretty ordinary-looking (non-"smart" phones) can be loaded up with a copy of Opera Mini to get over that limitation if need be.

 

The "under 3 pounds" weight and tiny size of netbooks these days keeps them with me nearly all the time. At around $300 with wi-fi and other goodies built-in, they're cheaper than a Dakota 20. I just took that and my Summit HCx and a USB cable and I was a happy camper. The batteries on my little Asus 1005HA last for about 7 hours between charges, so it's great for the airline trip over, too.

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Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

I was thinking 8330 instead of 8310. After reflection, I'm pretty sure your 8310 will handle the 900MHz GSM/GPRS and1800MHz GSM/GPRS networks in Europe just fine. Use that to access gc.com (roaming price may be a whopper, though - keep usage light or you might pay as much as a netbook will cost!) and you can leave the netbook at home.
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Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

Don't forget to bring a charger for the Tungsten.

 

I did a 4 week trip once, cached during the trip, but I had my laptop to look up geocaches while on the trip, even though I got the complete set of PQs before leaving. Without a laptop, I'd suggest pre-planning so that you know what caches you can easily get to.

 

Using your cell phone overseas might incur ridiculous amounts of data usage fees.

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I'm heading on a trip to Europe next summer (London, France, Germany). I want to cache a bit in all of those places, but I don't know how best to go about it. My hardware: Palm Tungsten, Garmin 60CSx, Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

 

I'd like to avoid carrying any more devices with me than absolutely necessary. Since I'm not taking a laptop, it may be nearly impossible to download caches on the fly. So I'm looking for suggestions.

 

Some questions as well:

From what I understand, a standard cell phone won't work over in Europe. Correct? If that's the case, does that mean any app would be blind as well?

 

If I can make it work, are there any apps people would suggest?

 

Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

 

The Blackberry 8310 will work fine in Europe (its available in the UK on several netowrks!), BUT the roaming data charge will be eye-wateringly expensive (unless your employer picks up the tab :o ). As has been mentioned, buying a netbook will probably be cheaper - plus you can watch mlb.tv on it...

 

When we visit the States from Europe we use an ASUS netbook for surfing the web and GSAK to store caches and then stuff them onto the GPSr. Cannot recomend the use of a netbook highly enough.

 

WIFI (or "le wifi" in France) is widely available in Europe - most budget hotels will have a small ($10-15) daily charge although it is often complementary in the more expensive ones. Many/most MAcDonalds offer free WIFI if you're truly desperate...

 

The CSX will work fine in europe but I'd recommend getting Garmin City Navigator NT as it makes life a lot easier.

 

Before you go, I'd suggest visiting the 'regional' forums for each country for hints/tipe and cache recomendations.

 

Have fun,

 

Mike

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Stear clear of mystery caches. It's OK to translate the questions but the answers are always in the original language not English. Multies are not too bad but they take time.

I have this problem, living in France I have tried several mystery caches with little or no luck so have stopped trying.

There are plenty of WIFI zones around the major cities in Europe but beware, there are lots of areas still only on "dial-up"

Have a good trip.

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I was just in Prague, I used my BlackBerry with CacheBerry installed and downloaded the PQ into that.

 

Don't bother buying expensive proprietary maps, especially if your trip is short. I also have a 60CSx, just go to http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map...Garmin/Download for the free gmapsupp.img of the country - worked a charm for me.

 

We didn't get to do any puzzles or multi's for precisely the reasons people have mentioned - language barrier. The traditionals, though, were easy enough, even when the cache page was written entirely in Czech.

 

We stayed in a fairly competitively priced hotel and they had free wired internet, you should also find that many cafes and bars have free wifi. Therefore at the end of the day I was able to log our finds on the netbook, and also run the cache page through Google Translate so I could at least understand the significance of the placement and thank the CO.

 

Oh, if you're mainly going to be in cities then I hope you enjoy micros. Oddly, I found in Prague that even the puzzles and multi's finished with a micro - which I know for some would be a source of much hand-wringing.

 

If your employer doesn't pick up your mobile charges, consider taking a cheapish phone and buying a local top-up sim card when you're over there instead!

 

Above all, have fun! :o

 

ETA: One more thing I forgot, some caches I found were actually placed in buildings - the ones accessible to tourists - eg. at the top of towers. This was confusing at first so look out for things like that.

Edited by _TeamFitz_
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I'm heading on a trip to Europe next summer (London, France, Germany). I want to cache a bit in all of those places, but I don't know how best to go about it. My hardware: Palm Tungsten, Garmin 60CSx, Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

 

With a Garmin 60CSX you can hold 1000 waypoints, and many more as POIs. I'd get a copy of GSAK if you don't already have it, then create several pocket queries for the areas that you're traveling. Then load the waypoints into GSAK and use the Mobi macro to created mobi reader files for each country. That'll give you complete cache listings for as many caches as you want. You'll need a copy of the mobi reader for your blackberry (it may run on the palm as well). The .mobi files are self contained and can be used even if you are not using cell services or a data plan.

 

I have found that many caches in Europe *do* have descriptions and hints in multiple languages but you'll probably want to review page listings before you go and if you can find a language translation app for you BB ro Palm it might be useful. The mobi pocket reader as well as most other native apps will work on your phone without cell service or a data plan (which you might want to turn off anyway).

 

Personally, I'd try to identify a few caches in each area you're going to be visiting are are near things you'd want to see anyway. For example, I may be in Barcelona in April and looked at caches in the city and decided I would at least try to find the one near Familia Sagrada.

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I used the Garmin with a PDA in Europe (England and Italy). Depending on how focused your pq is, how many places you will be, how much caching you want to do, you may be able to get what you need into that unit. In general, before we went I looked at what we wanted to do without caching, how much time I had, if there were any caches that seemed particularly special, if there were any in the places that we wanted to visit in any event (applying the five minute rule to the search!), or if others brought us to places we might have otherwise missed. The trail of Jack the Ripper in the east end of London was fun, virtuals brought us to places like a 16th century pub, and there were caches at many of the places on our to do list.

 

Although the notebook pcs are nice, the blackberry might allow you to store multiple pqs, for paperless caching or use without data roaming charges. If not, the PDA would work. When there were particular caches outside a pq, I saved the gpx file and merged everything through gsak

 

If there are some caches that you want to do and would need to run the pages through a translator you could copy and paste the cache info through gsak. Assuming a blackberry app could read a gpx file (or you exported it into cachemate or another PDA program), you would have what you need in at least a rudimentary computer type of translation.

 

I also had an explorist that stored multiple pqs, but a thousand caches in the garmin should be enough if you are careful and spend some time planning. After all, I assume you are going there for puposes other than caching and will use caching as part of the adventure rather than try to do everything in a region.

Edited by Erickson
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I have a BlackBerry 8000 series World Edition Sprint phone which worked well over in Europe. Couple that with CacheBerry and a good GPSr and you'd have a decent paperless solution.

 

I was travelling for work, so I didn't have to pay for my cell usage while I was over there, however roaming costs are expensive. It costs $1.29 US/minute for voice - not sure of data, but I wouldn't want to pay it :o If you get a Blackberry with Wifi you can probably avoid these charges. You may also want to buy a SIM card when you arrive so you only need to pay local charges instead of roaming back to the US.

 

Just as a caveat: Don't depend on the GPS on the phone working. For some reason Blackberry GPSs don't work if they are not connected to North American networks - I have no idea what the reason for this bizarre limitation is, but several of my friends had the same issue over there.

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Do you have the language skills to explain your geocaching activity to a local cop?

 

Not a problem in the UK as we speak something close to a common language but it might be an idea to print off a cache note in the local lingo for anywhere else you may visit, at least that will help explain things to anyone who gets suspicious of you.

 

BTW Data transfer to mobile devices can be expensive in the UK but there are lots of free Wi-Fi hotspots in the major towns and cities.

 

Have a good trip

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I'm heading on a trip to Europe next summer (London, France, Germany). I want to cache a bit in all of those places, but I don't know how best to go about it. My hardware: Palm Tungsten, Garmin 60CSx, Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

 

I'd like to avoid carrying any more devices with me than absolutely necessary. Since I'm not taking a laptop, it may be nearly impossible to download caches on the fly. So I'm looking for suggestions.

 

Some questions as well:

From what I understand, a standard cell phone won't work over in Europe. Correct? If that's the case, does that mean any app would be blind as well?

 

If I can make it work, are there any apps people would suggest?

 

Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

I've cached in Europe twice. You have everything that you need.

 

Do some PQs for the areas that you will be visiting. If any of those areas use a language that you do not read, stick to traditional caches.

 

Dump the PQs into your pda and GPSr.

 

Cache on!

 

I use a little palm application called Cache Log Book to keep track of my cache hunts. It came in very handy on my last European trip.

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Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

I was thinking 8330 instead of 8310. After reflection, I'm pretty sure your 8310 will handle the 900MHz GSM/GPRS and1800MHz GSM/GPRS networks in Europe just fine. Use that to access gc.com (roaming price may be a whopper, though - keep usage light or you might pay as much as a netbook will cost!) and you can leave the netbook at home.

 

I screwed up too.... It's an 8330.

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I have been caching in Europe a couple times as well. Not too big of a deal as most folks look at us like crazy Americans to start with.

 

- Load up the Garmin with Traditional caches. Maybe virtual caches if you think a photo of you at the plaque is sufficient.

 

- Print out the stash notes in the appropriate languages. (you know those pages we all should be including in our cache placements).

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You may also want to buy a SIM card when you arrive so you only need to pay local charges instead of roaming back to the US.

 

When I was making plans for the business trip I took to Ethiopia last March I found that there were several places where one could *rent* a sim card. By the time I made it to a place that rented them it was near the end of my trip so I didn't bother.

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Stear clear of mystery caches. It's OK to translate the questions but the answers are always in the original language not English. Multies are not too bad but they take time.

I have this problem, living in France I have tried several mystery caches with little or no luck so have stopped trying.

There are plenty of WIFI zones around the major cities in Europe but beware, there are lots of areas still only on "dial-up"

Have a good trip.

 

I'm also a foreigner living abroad with only basic local language knowledge, the mystery caches hurt my brain, still managed to find a couple though and even posted some DNFs in the local lingo, though it takes me an hour to write a couple of sentences.

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before i went to japan in august i searched the areas i was going to, found some geocaches that i thought were interesting, downloaded them to my vista hcx, printed the cache page and went for it. i was really busy with everything else over there, but managed to find the ones i looked for, just like here in the states.

Edited by namiboy
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Blackberry 8310 (Verizon).

I was thinking 8330 instead of 8310. After reflection, I'm pretty sure your 8310 will handle the 900MHz GSM/GPRS and1800MHz GSM/GPRS networks in Europe just fine. Use that to access gc.com (roaming price may be a whopper, though - keep usage light or you might pay as much as a netbook will cost!) and you can leave the netbook at home.

 

I screwed up too.... It's an 8330.

Well then I take back my take back! The 8330 isn't going to to data in Europe... they don't do CDMA there.

 

Strongly urge you to invest in a little netbook. Has the advantage of also working in the boondocks where finding cell service is a crap shoot (happens here in the mtns of Colorado frequently enough). Nice to have those logs in GSAK or somewhere.

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I'm with everybody on the pre-loading of caches and grabbing a few printed pages - I've done that, too - but ONLY IF you plan to visit an area that is either cache poor or you plan to stick to a very limited area or set of areas. Many of us still own Garmin handhelds that, for whatever silly reason, permit only 500 caches regardless of the amount memory available. If there's some wandering involved in your trip, or you don't know for certain which areas of a country (or sometimes even areas of a city) you'll hit, or you'll be in several disparate locations/countries, pre-loading just isn't practical. For that matter, neither is printing that many sheets.

 

Yes, it works easily with just the Garmin when I know I'll be in one town for the duration ... providing it isn't in some place (like Frankfurt) where you can blow through more than 500 and never leave the metro area.

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Strongly urge you to invest in a little netbook. Has the advantage of also working in the boondocks where finding cell service is a crap shoot (happens here in the mtns of Colorado frequently enough). Nice to have those logs in GSAK or somewhere.

On the other hand, the netbook is larger than a Palm (which he already has). And it is a major pain to look up hints / description when you're outside geocaching.

 

A limit of 500 geocaches in the GPSr isn't really a major drawback, unless you plan on some serious geocaching on your trip. His 60csx can load 1000 geocaches, and if necessary, store even more as custom POI.

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Strongly urge you to invest in a little netbook. Has the advantage of also working in the boondocks where finding cell service is a crap shoot (happens here in the mtns of Colorado frequently enough). Nice to have those logs in GSAK or somewhere.
I wouldn't bother with the netbook. The OP has a perfectly capable PDA that can store tons of caches using either Plucker or Cachemate.
I'm with everybody on the pre-loading of caches and grabbing a few printed pages - I've done that, too - but ONLY IF you plan to visit an area that is either cache poor or you plan to stick to a very limited area or set of areas. Many of us still own Garmin handhelds that, for whatever silly reason, permit only 500 caches regardless of the amount memory available. If there's some wandering involved in your trip, or you don't know for certain which areas of a country (or sometimes even areas of a city) you'll hit, or you'll be in several disparate locations/countries, pre-loading just isn't practical. For that matter, neither is printing that many sheets.

 

Yes, it works easily with just the Garmin when I know I'll be in one town for the duration ... providing it isn't in some place (like Frankfurt) where you can blow through more than 500 and never leave the metro area.

Many Garmin handhelds (such as the OP's) can store a nearly unlimited number of caches as POI.
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Questions:

1. Do all cellphones work on foreign countries (eg will my South African Nokia 5800 work in Europe)?

2. Can one sit near a wi-fi in Europe (in macdonalds for instance) and connect to the internet on your phone at no charge?

3. Can one just buy a local sim-card and phone and connect to the internet via pre-paid and what would the approximate cost be?

 

I find that GClive works quite well for completely on the fly caching - you happem to be at a spot with some spare time and want to see if there is a cache to visit. But I agree one would want to do that with a local sim-card and pre-paid.

 

If you know where you are going then it is worthwhile doing a bit of research at home or even better conatact a local cacher for a short-list of best caches to do. When travelling time is in short supply and one really needs to choose your caches well. Not least so that you don't get into trouble with your travelling companions for obsessive compulsive behavior - staring at your gadgets and not communicating!

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I'm heading on a trip to Europe next summer (London, France, Germany). I want to cache a bit in all of those places, but I don't know how best to go about it. My hardware: Palm Tungsten, Garmin 60CSx, Blackberry 8330 (Verizon).

 

I'd like to avoid carrying any more devices with me than absolutely necessary. Since I'm not taking a laptop, it may be nearly impossible to download caches on the fly. So I'm looking for suggestions.

 

Some questions as well:

From what I understand, a standard cell phone won't work over in Europe. Correct? If that's the case, does that mean any app would be blind as well?

 

If I can make it work, are there any apps people would suggest?

 

Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

 

Most cell phones for sale here (UK) are triple band - and will work in the US. If you haven't already got a 3 band 'phone, you can pick one up with a SIM for about $30 in most large stores - and use it as a spare when you get back home.

 

Language could be a problem. Most of the cache pages in this country are written in British English, so you may need to use babel fish to convert to US english :D:(

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Questions:

1. Do all cellphones work on foreign countries (eg will my South African Nokia 5800 work in Europe)?

2. Can one sit near a wi-fi in Europe (in macdonalds for instance) and connect to the internet on your phone at no charge?

3. Can one just buy a local sim-card and phone and connect to the internet via pre-paid and what would the approximate cost be?

 

I find that GClive works quite well for completely on the fly caching - you happem to be at a spot with some spare time and want to see if there is a cache to visit. But I agree one would want to do that with a local sim-card and pre-paid.

 

If you know where you are going then it is worthwhile doing a bit of research at home or even better conatact a local cacher for a short-list of best caches to do. When travelling time is in short supply and one really needs to choose your caches well. Not least so that you don't get into trouble with your travelling companions for obsessive compulsive behavior - staring at your gadgets and not communicating!

 

1. No, not all phones work in all countries. Most of the world uses GSM based phones (with a SIM card), There are 3 different bands for GSM, many phones support all three. Some countries use other systems; e.g CDMA; these are different technology and generally won't take a SIM card. (The USA is mainly CDMA, but GSM is growing there). Some phones support both GSM and CDMA. Your 5800 supports all GSM bands, and even CDMA, so you should be able to use it anywhere.

 

2. Yes, in Europe there are free Wifi hotspots, as well as ones where you need to pay. (I've not been to South Africa, but I think this is the case in most countries).

 

3. Yes you can (unless your phone is locked to only work with your home carrier's SIM card). Prices vary. The provider I use offers "Mobile Web" for 30 pence a day. But the fine print says "Unlimited web access subject to a fair use policy of 25MB per day (for 30p) or 1GB per month (for £20 top up). "

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If you're going to visit Hamburg, look up the caches I did there. They're perfect for tourists, I did them without a map of the city, just following the little arrow...which led me to some nice places.

 

I could also translate some listings for you, just send me a message with the GC numbers. :D

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