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Travel Bugs and GeoCoins

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Questions: What is the difference between a GeoCoin and a Travel Bug other than that one looks like a bug and the other looks like a coin? Can you make your own trackable say by laminating a card or something, and if you do, is it a bug or a coin?


Thank you!




Read my background statement below if you care. I am a newbie.



I am very new to this GeoCaching thing. I got into it by a complete fluke. I was reading a review on a GPS I wanted to buy, and someone said they bought their GPS to do GeoCaching. I said to myself, "What the heck is that?"


So, I am completely stoked. This is like WheresGeorge on steroids. I have been doing wheresgeorge for years and I love it.


I am also very fond of YouTube. I travel a lot for my work, and I spend a lot of weekends in foreign lands looking for SOMETHING to do. I have been making YouTube videos for about a year, and that activity is fun - loads of fun. This just looks like its going to be more fun!

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Coins are generally - something that resembles a coin, small metal object, etc.

Bugs can be everything and anything else...


They all are considered 'trackable' items. They all have special tracking numbers.


Here's the kicker... You have to BUY the actual 'tracking number' that's associated them.


Theoretically - if you have a 'trackable number' - which can be on a coin (geocoin), a dog tag (travel bug) or other items..ingots, octants, patches, tags, stickers, shirts, bla bla bla


You can make any item a 'trackable item' as long as you have the special tracking number that goes along with it. No tracking number...then its not 'trackable'.

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Here's the kicker... You have to BUY the actual 'tracking number' that's associated them.



ok! Now, I am learning something.... so, you BUY the tracking number. Suppose I buy a trackable coin or bug. Is there a number on it? Is that already "bought"? Or does registering it require an additional purchase. Thank you so much for clarifying this stuff.



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Suppose I buy a trackable coin or bug. Is there a number on it? Is that already "bought"?

Travel bug tags and geocoins have tracking numbers imprinted/engraved on them already. Once you have the number, you can register it online. If you're planning on making something else trackable, and just need a trackable number, it would probably be best to buy a travel bug dog-tag. You would keep the tag and put the number on your trackable item. Make sure you don't release both, or you'll have 2 conflicting items traveling around.

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Ok, let me make my question clearer....


It appears that the difference between a Travel Bug and a GeoCoin is just what they look like because they serve precisely the same purpose. Correct me if necessary.


What I still do not understand is this...


Suppose I buy a GeoCoin. Does it come with a unique ID on it already? Assuming that it does, do I pay additionally to start tracking that number? How is it that the GeoCaching website already know this this number is "taken" by the object purchased (assuming it comes from a 3rd party vendor).


Suppose I create my own trackable from my own materials. How does the ID get generated?


Thank you so much for answering!



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The trackable codes are generated by Groundspeak. 3rd party suppliers will buy blocks of codes from Groundspeak, then imprint them on the trackables. When you buy the trackable (be it a travel bug or geocoin), you are buying the code at the same time. Since Groundspeak originally generated the code, the site will recognize it when you register it on the site. If you want to make something of your own into a trackable item, you need one of these unique codes. You can either buy just codes (in blocks of 10) from Groundspeak, or buy a pre-made trackable item which will come with one code. In the latter case, you could then use this code on your own item. I suggested buying a travel bug tag because they're much cheaper than geocoins, and if you only need it for the code, you might as well go with the cheapest option.

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Also, remember that when you register and create a listing for your trackable, it will have a "reference number" that is different from the "tracking number" stamped on the trackable. The reference number is sort of like the GC code number for that item, like this....




(click on link to see this trackable's page)


Now, the TRACKING NUMBER is going to be different. That's the number that's actually stamped on the coin or trackable. DON'T list this number on the trackable's page or any time when referring to the trackable, and take care not to show this number if you post a picture of the trackable (blur it out with Photoshop or Paint if necessary). This number is a means of confirming that someone did in fact find your trackable...they would have to physically have it in their hands to get the number. This prevents anyone from logging moves on your trackable when they never actually found it.


I don't own any Trackable items but I occasionally move or at least Discover them when I run across them. One time I made the mistake of calling it by its Tracking Number in my Found log because I did not understand the difference...someone e-mailed me very quickly and asked me to remove the reference, which I did.


Also, one sad fact regarding trackables...they go missing frequently. Many cachers, especially newer ones, don't know what they are and think they are trade items. They'll take them and keep them and never log them and they just disappear. Sometimes this is malicious, but most times it is just lack of understanding what a Travel Bug is. So don't attach a Travel Bug dogtag to anything inherently valuable or that you'd hate to lose, because once you turn it loose anything can happen to it.

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