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travel bug etiquette


rottieruff
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Ok - I got chewed up and spit out in another thread regarding proper etiquette on travel bugs and how long to wait before notifying the cacher who holds on to it. So I don't mess up again please enlighten me:

 

How long do you wait before politely notifying a cacher who has your bug? I waited two weeks and received no reply. I politely emailed again a week later. The bug was finally placed but at the anger and annoyance of the cacher who had my bug. Was I annoyed? Yes I was. I would not have been annoyed if the guy simply emailed me. In fact, if he would have just notified us I could've cared less if he held on to the bug for a longer period of time.

 

I found this link:

http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/marklent60544/myhomepage/Geocaching/markwellgcfaq.htm#bugthoughts

If you scroll down he comments that etiquette is that if you hold on to the bug for more than two weeks that you should notify the owner. What do you think?

 

I also found this link:

http://geostl.com/SLAGAFAQ/#dowithtravelbug

What do you think?

 

Last question:

Do you think that it is the responsibility (or just plain courtesy) of people who take travel bugs (or just own caches) to reply to email they receive from other cachers? Obviously things happen but I think that it is the responsibility to reply to email.

 

I hope that this can be a civil discussion with no finger pointing.

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Timely communication via the TB log and email is a common courtesy. As the owner of multiple Travel Bugs, I know frequent communication is appreciated, so I am careful to log any TBs I pick up ASAP and email the owners for any special instructions.

 

I'm also aware, however, that others (especially those who don't own TBs) may have a different concept of what "timely communication" is. For that reason I really don't expect to hear anything for at least 1 month after someone logs it as being picked up. If I haven't received any further communication after a month or so (could easily be much more), I send an email thanking the person who picked it up for helping it on its journey and inquiring what plans they have for placing it.

 

So far, this has not failed to get a friendly response followed by the bug being placed in another cache within a few weeks to a month. If someone ever doesn't respond or just decides to steal the TB, I will (hopefully) remind myself its just a cheap metal tag attached to something that cost even less. It's certainly not worth getting upset or plotting revenge.

 

Worldtraveler

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In an ideal world, all bugs would move quickly, never go MIA, and people would promptly respond to e-mails.

 

My experience with my own bugs is that they can often be held for months, vanish off the face of the earth completely, or be held by people who never respond to e-mails.

 

When I released my first bugs, I usually waited until after two weekends with nice weather had passed before sending a note. Now, I usually wait at least 6 weeks before sending the first note.

 

One of the most important factors for me to consider before sending a note is the experience of the cacher. I'll send a reminder to a newbie long before I'll send something to a more experienced cacher.

 

I know bug owners can get anxious because they consider the bug to be their property. However, the fun is in the adventure. If they were afraid of losing their property, they probably shouldn't have released the bug in the first place.

 

I don't bother getting excited about my bugs much anymore. If they move, great. If they don't, OK. If they vanish, hello graveyard. I'll do my best to move other bugs because that's what I would have liked mine to do, sort of liking making a deposit in my TB karma account.

 

Personally, I'm done spending money on bugs. The idea is a good one but the execution is lacking.

 

Now where did I park my car??????? monkes.gif

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If I recall correctly, rottieruff, this is your third thread on this topic. I am not sure what answer you are looking for. Don't you get the feeling that your concern for your travel bug has consumed you? The matter is much more trivial than you are willing to admit.

 

Try releasing at least 4 more, better 8 more TBs it will help you to get the issue into a better perspective. Some will move faster than others will and a month or two of no activity with a TB will not be as painful.

 

If you are looking at the high mileage fast moving TBs on the TB main page as an example, you need to bear in mind that these are personal TBs. That is the bug is always released and always retrieved by the bug owner in an attempt to acquire an automated record of the cacher's travels.

 

You are taking this whole thing too seriously. Relax and enjoy the game.

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I stand by my suggested guideline on my FAQ page, linked above.

 

But it is a suggested guideline. There are no rules about bugs, and even if there were - how would we enforce them?

 

I placed that on the FAQ page in hopes that someone unfamiliar with bugs would read it while they were learning about bugs. Maybe it would spur someone on to actually sending an e-mail.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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Trudy-

 

This is not the third thread that was started by me. The thread in the other folder is not me. That happens to be a relative of mine, though. They posted their message before mine if I am not mistaken. Regardless, this thread is really of a different nature. I have three more travel bugs that I purchased that I want to send out and want to get opinions on what is considered proper etiquette. That is not what the other thread was originally about.

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Again, i'll suggest you should NOT release any more bugs icon_frown.gif.

Or at least until you come to understand that once it leaves your hands you cant control it. You can expect everyone to follow the rules, but it just isn't going to happen icon_eek.gif

 

quote:
Originally posted by rottieruff:

Trudy-

 

This is not the third thread that was started by me. The thread in the other folder is not me. That happens to be a relative of mine, though. They posted their message before mine if I am not mistaken. Regardless, this thread is really of a different nature. I have three more travel bugs that I purchased that I want to send out and want to get opinions on what is considered proper etiquette. That is not what the other thread was originally about.


 

whack.gif

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Again, i'll suggest you should NOT release any more bugs icon_frown.gif.

Or at least until you come to understand that once it leaves your hands you cant control it. You can expect everyone to follow the rules, but it just isn't going to happen icon_eek.gif

 

quote:
Originally posted by rottieruff:

Trudy-

 

This is not the third thread that was started by me. The thread in the other folder is not me. That happens to be a relative of mine, though. They posted their message before mine if I am not mistaken. Regardless, this thread is really of a different nature. I have three more travel bugs that I purchased that I want to send out and want to get opinions on what is considered proper etiquette. That is not what the other thread was originally about.


 

whack.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by rottieruff:

Trudy-

 

This is not the third thread that was started by me.


 

My apologies, this changes my tone but not my sentiments. You will have no control over the bug once it leaves your hands. You will have to accept what ever your fellow geocachers are able and willing to do to achieve your TB's objectives. Be patient, few of us have unlimited time to devote to the R.A.S.H.

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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy & The Beast:

Try releasing at least 4 more, better 8 more TBs it will help you to get the issue into a better perspective. Some will move faster than others will and a month or two of no activity with a TB will not be as painful.


 

This is the key, and I agree. I currently have 6 TBs "out there" with 2 more going soon. I hope to do at least 4 or 5 more, about 1 a month.

 

Contrary to most, I rarely spend less than $15 per travel bug (about $12 avg per puzzle and $3.75 per tag). The idea I've had for travel bugs has been fun, but because of their costs, I have feared that I'll lose one or two and never see them again! I'm willing to accept that, but so far, so good.

 

I worried about my first bug a little, and when it would sit for a week and not move, I would wonder why. Now that I have 6 moving around, just getting notice that one of them has moved is good, and like Trudy said, this helps it be less painful for those that don't move.

 

Patience is the key. I want my bugs moved once a week, and I say so on the page. However, I also never email a "slow" bug holder until it hasn't moved for a full month (my emails are just like what worldtraveler described). Then, I email every month hoping for a reply, but not usually getting one.

 

If you want to see my Puzzle Bugs, they're here:

Puzzle Bugs.

 

They've been fun so far. Hopefully this helps give some ideas.

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Staying completely with the tone of this thread, I'll just add that depending on the actual TB, you might have to modify the wait period a bit. What I mean is, if the TB is a bit on the large size, or has a specific goal (not just move it to another cache) it might take longer to move. Even a cacher who hits 3-4 caches every weekend might have trouble placing something like a stuffed animal for several weeks, because of cache size and contents. Likewise, if the TB has specific goals, it may take longer for the person to do a cache that fits these goals.

Worse yet is a TB that has a specific goal that isnt included with the TB itself. (my little pet peeve) Then the person doesn't know until they get home and log it. It may be months or never before it gets placed again in that case. Say you pick up a TB, and when you get home, you find out only then that its goal is to visit waterfalls. You found it at the only cache with a waterfall in its description for 100 miles. Now your stuck with it. Some people might carry it around for months, hoping to find another waterfall cache. Some might leave it in any old cache, thus upsetting you by not following its goals. Some might read the goals on the TB's page, and knowing they can't meet them not even log it. Thats just the way some people are

 

Illegitimus non carborundum!

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Just look at Mr. Fix-It. I picked that one up a while ago and sent him on his way, and he's smaller than his dog tag. He's moving quite a bit and if you read the logs a lot of them say "Boy this little guy gets around!" http://www.geocaching.com/track/track_detail.asp?ID=3199

 

I think sometimes it depends upon the weather too. We just went through an extremely hot summer and it it really bit for hiking any distance. We managed a few caches but it was almost insufferable heat, so a couple of bugs I picked up had to wait a bit before moving on. Now, this week, I just went to Maine and grabbed a bug there that wanted to travel and see all 50 states, so I took him home to CT. But it's raining and wet and I need new hiking boots. He'll have to wait a week or so and I'll get back out. Work gets in the way a lot too.

Have patience, have fun, and let the bugs out.

 

Cache you later,

Planet

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How does this fit for me, I wonder I get out once a month if I'm lucky and my wife joins me every other time or so. We have a bug we've been watching working its way from texas to seatle and north. I have been paitently wating for it to get close enough to grab it I'll probably have it for 3 weeks or so before I can move it any farther north. Now is is that considered ok? or should I just grab a local one that can be droped in any cache?

 

Pat Patterson

Garmin 12XL

82CJ7 & 79F250

Herd of Turtles 4x4 club

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I bought 4 TBs and released them within a few weeks of each other, and after a couple of months all have disappeared. I emailed the folks who picked them up last, but got no response. Can we banish TB sitters? Every time I've picked up a TB I've assed it on or emailed the person who asked me about it. None of the folks that picked mine up (and I asked about them after they held it for a month) ever responded to me. All of these folks (one picked it up on thier first and only cache), have been on-line again, but never answered me. I guess if they want to hang it on their mantle it's OK, but at least tell me since I paid for it.

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After reading all this about travel bug etiquette, and since I have about 8 TB's of my own, I decided to e-mail the owners of the bugs I have been collecting for my trip out west and let them know of my intentions.

 

Some of my bugs have been idle for a month or so, and it would be nice to know what's happening with them, without having to bug (no pun intended) the cacher holding them.

 

So the only thing you can control about TB's are the ones that you pickup and move. Hopefully the TB Karma will follow yours.

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As far as etiquette, I think if you are going to hold on to a travel bug for whatever reason, you should notify the owner. But I also think a two, three, or four week lull in the bug's movement is nothing to be concerned about.

 

I had one bug that was held by a well known Geocacher for almost 6 months. After several polite e-mails (with no response), it was finally released (and they had placed several caches during this period). I was a bit annoyed, but it wasn't the end of the world.

 

I found this travel bug earlier this year http://www.geocaching.com/track/track_detail.asp?ID=7741 and I held on to it for quite a while because I was waiting to bring it on a trip. I did e-mail the owner with my plan and he had no problem with it. And as you can see from its travels, it's been

moving around fairly well since I released it.

 

It isn't a heck of ask of someone who finds a bug to at least let the owner know what they plan to do with it. But I really wouldn't worry about a travel bug that disappears for a month.

 

"Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing" - Helen Keller

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Perhaps suggest the parent explain to the child that travel bugs are part of a game (geocaching) with certain rules based on the honor system. The travel bugs are placed in caches, and people who decide to play the game by taking them should play by the rules. If someone takes a travel bug and keeps it for himself, he is stealing.

 

If the parent would rather condone stealing by making excuses ("my child wants to keep it") than teach the child the right thing to do, there exists a problem much larger than the forced retirement of one travel bug. icon_frown.gif

 

Worldtraveler

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Bottom line, there's obviously nothing you can really do about a TB that's disappeared into someone's glove compartment, kid's room, or tool drawer. It's hard to swallow, but as other posters have said, that's just the nature of the TB experience. I make it a habit to e-mail someone the day they pick one of our bugs up, just to say "thanks for helping the bug move along." I feel like establishing contact right of the bat lets them know the bug is being watched, and might increase their interest in keeping it active. If nothing happens for a month, I e-mail them again, just politely wondering how the bug is doing. In another month, a slightly less polite query. So far, that's as far as I've had to go.

 

Worst case: bug picked-up by someone with four finds. Held for ten weeks. Finally released. I consider that a success story.

 

We're careful to put little info tags on all of or bugs stating their goal. I think this is invaluable. I am constantly guilty of forgetting to research a TB present in a cache before I get there. I actually picked a TB up on a trip to San Franciso, brought it down to L.A., and found it was headed for Seattle! (It was one of Jeremey's, as a matter of fact). Had it had a tag stating where it was headed, I never would have taken it...

 

Charlie

"One should never begin a journey by heading in the wrong direction."

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I envy people who at least know where their bugs *are*, even if the holder takes their sweet time releasing them. We released our first bug, Bobby the Duck, a few weeks ago on vacation -- thought it would be fun to have him work his way home. He was picked up quickly by a nice team who took him across the state and complimented us on the instructional tag we included.

 

Within hours of being placed in his second cache, the bug was taken by a nameless 'team' of guys that some other cachers encountered in the area that weekend. They left a note in the logbook about how they were 'abducting' the bug. They even ran into the team who dropped him off nearby, *said* they had the bug, and promised to log him. It's been over a week and the bug hasn't even been logged out of the cache, and given those circumstances I don't think it's going to be. The tag included complete instructions -- and my email address. Nothing. It's frustrating and disappointing. If they really wanted to abduct the bug, the least they could do is send a ransom note. You can do everything right, leave instructions and written goals, but you can't protect yourself from jerks. The same day, two other perfectly nice teams stopped by the cache hoping to pick up our bug, but he wasn't there. Travel bug luck.

 

I wanted to be philosophical about it -- I knew the chances of the bug making it to its goal were slim, and I was prepared for him to have weeks or months of inactivity in the hands of various people.. but I didn't expect him to be flat-out ducknapped practically the first thing out. If he shows up later with pictures, it'll be a hoot, but I'm not holding out hope.

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