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travel agency for trackables?


smosebach
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Hallo Forum members,

 

I am quite new to geocaching, but I like the game a lot. Quite early I came in contact with trackables and could help some to achieve part of their missions on our family holidays in Italy this July. I also brought some Tbs home to Germany which I have placed in caches I found suitable.

 

But I am wondering if there could be something like a "travel agency" for these items. I mean, that cachers who plan to travel somewhere and are willing to give trackables a lift can register their destination so that people who hold a trackable who has the same destination can somehow contact them to possibly hand over the Tb for the planned journey if they live in the same area.

 

I am quite sure, that such an option does not exist yet and I would like to get your opinion about it. I have also come across a German website where people register their missing Tbs and some people can try to "rescue" them, which is sometimes successful.

 

Any comments on this idea? Is it feasible and useful or should it all be left for chance who picks up a TB as it is now?

 

Thanks in advance for your views on this topic.

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Any comments on this idea?

 

Maybe the TB Hotels can serve this purpose somehow.

In some cases, their owners will support the costs to mail trackables to others countries where they want to travel.

Look for any TB Hotel available near your location.

Edited by RuideAlmeida
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Some people setup International Exchange Caches, where they mail swag/trackables to another cache. Unfortunately, these are not easy to identify. In my area, a number of them have foreign names for the cache, but that's the only indication, until you read the description.

 

One cache was a simple one-for-one exchange, but another actually had different containers for different countries.

 

Skye.

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Please don't take trackables on major journeys without contacting the trackable owner first.

 

I wanted my coin to stay and travel in Canada. Someone took to England. It was lost for 7 years. Then reappeared.

 

I renamed it "Please help get me back to Canada" out of frustration and desperation.

 

That seemed to work.

 

But now it's stalled in Indiana.

 

So much for having a mission stated on the trackable page. :(

 

B.

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thanks for all the answers.

 

@ Twentse Mug: You are right, events are a great platform to exchange trackables. The next time I will log "WA" for an event before a vacation I will write in my will attend log that I would like to collect trackables who need a lift for that specific location. There are some cachers in our area that also organise their own small events before they go somewhere to collect TBs. There was one very close to my home since I started caching actively, only way to early for me on a Saturday morning (early bird event). I was playing with the idea to organise my own small event before stting off to Rome, but I did not for a couple of reasons: 1) time, 2) I have just started caching, never organised an event before and are not so well known in our area yet, 3) I already had a couple of trackables to deliver and as I usually cache with smartphone (do not own a GPS yet) and usually spontaneously online I was wondering how caching in offline modus (as mobile internet in a foreign country is costly) would work for us. Maybe we would not be able to find a single cache and then it would be embarrassing to have definitely asked for more Tbs to deliver to Italy. But after some difficulties in the beginning we were able to find some nice caches, although the ones in Central Rome were all to small to take a TB we managed to drop them of on our visit to Vesuvius and Pompeii. Maybe I feel bold enough now to organize a TB collection event before our next journey.

 

@ RuideAlmeida: I do not know of any TB-hotels that are willing to mail of trackables and where to mail them? There is no post delivery to caches:-) But it is an interesting idea. I will discuss it with some of the owners of our loald TB-hotels and see what they think about it. Maybe this idea can be developed further so that it can work in reality and it would definitely give the first TB-Hotels that offer such a service a boost in popularity and favourite points.

 

@ Wet Pancake Touring Club: Could you give me an example (link or GCcode) for such an International exchange cache? I would like to read such a listing for myself. I did not know something like that exists.

 

@ TriciaG: These facebook circles seem to come closest to my own idea. I am with facebook but do not like it a lot yet. Can you show me such a geocaching circle on facebook? Otherwise I will take some time later to search for it, only the use of facebook does confuse me a lot ususally. Would it be possible to implement such groups for TB exchange/travel here in Groundspeak or this Forum?

 

@ Pup patrol: I did get the owners consent of one trackable (Troy geocoin copy, that wants to visit 7 world wonder and Troy) when I picked it up because it was still some time before our scheduled journey to the Colosseo in Rome where it wanted to go). The owner approved of the idea that it stayed with me visitíng caches for some time if this could help achieve one ot it goals. The other TBs I got shortly before our journey and definitely stated on their page that they wanted to go to Italy, so I just took them. The Tbs I brought home from Pompeii are already dropped off in Germany and one owner wrote me spontaneously thank you for the ride through Europe.

 

Generally I was thinking of some convenient way to register your travel plans with Groundspeak ore another website and share it with people in your area so that can be an easy way to exchange Tbs, either by meeting for caching or during an event.

 

So thanks to you all, now I have some more ideas to think about.

 

Greetings from Germany, Silke

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There is no post delivery to caches:-)

 

Usually they are called TB Exchange Hotel and they have the owner's mail address for that purpose. Off course, this apply to trackables with defined missions on the passport or on the page.

The TB Hotel has two separated sections... one for arriving trackables, other for those that want to leave. As soon that the owner receive the mail parcel, he places the trackable on the Hotel... or in other cache available.

Edited by RuideAlmeida
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Here is an example of a regional group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/centralontariogeocachers/ It's a closed group; I think that means you can still read it as a non-member, but not post? I might be wrong.

 

It's used for more than TB travel, of course. :)

 

Occasionally I'll see posts in the regional forums here saying someone is traveling and will take any TBs along, but I think the forums here are cover too large a geographical area to make it worthwhile. If you post in the German forum or the Canada regional forum, what are the chances that someone local will see it? So I think Facebook is the better option, if you can get a good number of people from your local area into the group.

 

Regarding mailing TBs - If I had any actively traveling TBs, I don't know whether I'd want someone to mail it to its destination. Isn't part of the fun in seeing how it gets there? So if someone thought about doing that to my TB, I'd hope they'd contact me for my opinion/permission.

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@ RuideAlmeida: That sounds really interesting. I have never seen such a TB Exchange Hotel. Could you give an example (link or GC code) so that I can read about it myself? In my area there are a lot of TB hotels, at the most they have different departments for guests that want to travel North, East, South and West. I cannot imagine a cache owner would like to pay for the postage of his guests, but maybe some are so idealistic...

 

Sounds great to me. I wonder, what the owners of Tb hotels around me would say if I suggest they should sent TBs via mail. But you never know. Some hotels are on the owners private grounds for extra security, so they can at least easily check on the guests and maybe they would like to participate, for the fame or the favourite points, if that should really work.

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@ TriciaG: Thanks for the facebook link. Only Ontario is not my area, so I will try to search for a German group. I just tried it on facebook and I found a German group in Altmühltal, not my area, but it is a start. Maybe they can help my further. Facebook still confuses me, but maybe it can be helpful now for this purpose. Thanks for your suggestion.:-)

 

And you are also right: Sending TBs by mail is maybe not following the original intent of the game. As I said, we do not have such a service in our area and you are right, if there should be such an option it would be better to ask the owner first for permission. But still it sounds interesting to me, although costly for the poor cache owner...

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... would say if I suggest they should sent TBs via mail.

 

Please don't generalize... I am talking about a minority of situations.

 

Myself, last year I received a TB from a canadian girl with a dream to come to the FIFA Brazil 2014, but when she died, their uncles created this TB in her homage. A friend of mine, knowing that I would be "media ops" volunteer during the world cup, gave me this trackable months before. So I keep it, fulfilled its mission (be photographed inside one of the world cup stadiums, before returning Canada), and send it back, just to be sure about it.

 

Laurence

 

Especially in Germany, with a lot of active geocachers and Events, most of the trackables will have good chances to be taken where they need. Only with such specific missions, a TB Hotel owner would have the need to "give an extra hand" to a given trackable. And I guess... with a smile in his face. I still keep mine, about Laurence. :)

Edited by RuideAlmeida
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Thanks again for your answers.

 

@ RuideAlmeida: That was really a special case that you are referring to and I can imagine that you are still touched and smiling when you think about it. But I am thinking aobut "normal" travel bugs, that still have interesting and specific missions. I have come across Tbs that want to visit the K2 mountain in the Himalaya, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, some I have seen want to see a couple of "world wonders" like the Egyptian pyramids and the Christ Statue in Brasilia (that would be a job for you:-)). And I think it would serve the spirit of the game more if they are taken there by a geocacher who is really travelling there like TriciaG said instead of being mailed there, but of course there can be exceptions, like the case you mentioned.

 

@ Wet Pancake Touring Club: Thanks a lot for the links. I have checked them and found other links referring to someone called canadazuuk who had the original idea and started such international exchange caches back in 2002. I have contacted him and he was quite happy to answer and share links and thougts. According to his profile he seems to be inactive for many years but he told me he just does not log his founds any more:-)

 

These exchange caches are interesting but still do not match my idea of a travel agency for TBs. TriciaG´s hint of the Facebook groups come closest to it. I have checked on Facebook, but there does not seem to be a local group for our area. But while on Facebook I remembered that I am friends with a very experienced geocacher girl there. So I have asked her about it and she recommended our local groups of regulars. There are a couple of active groups in our area (Dortmund, Hamm, the Sauerland etc) that meet on a regular basis. I have been to some events already and will attend also the next "Dortmunder Stammtisch". I will ask the organisation teams about my idea. Maybe they can make an announcement about it for the attendees so that a lot local geocachers get to know about this idea and can share their thougts about it. I will let you all know about the outcome of this in due time. Maybe we can develop such a travel agency for our area and if it works it can be copied by other areas:-)

 

Best wishes and happy hunting, Silke

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These exchange caches are interesting but still do not match my idea of a travel agency for TBs

 

Please always keep in mind that you may be dealing with other's property, so it would be a good idea that only each trackable owner may register it on such "travel agency"... not someone that holds a given trackable on a given moment.

 

I would suggest that you contact directly Geocaching HQ by email, about that subject.

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Here are two examples. Both are now archived because the owner moved away.

 

GC2GJ4J - It's a Small Geo~World After All

GC1B023 - L'Italia Vive Nell'Idaho (Italy Lives in Idaho)

 

As you can see, nothing in the cache name indicates that this is an exchange cache.

 

Skye.

Both say, "When making a trade, please try to place a trade item in that you would be proud to have represent your country. Any money placed into the cache will be sent to the other countries."

- What money has to do with caching, who knows.

 

And on "LItalia" it reads, "An International Cache Exchange is where two people from two different countries agree to exchange caches. Then, you maintain the cache in your country & the other person maintains the cache in their country. When supplies get low, you replenish your cache in the other country & your counterpart replenishes the cache in your country"

 

Please explain how these are examples of caches that exchange trackables.

Trackables aren't trade items.

 

Edited to save time. :laughing:

 

Nether of these mention trackables at all and appear to simply be the International Exchange Caches that appear time-to-time in the All Nations forums (with folks looking for smileys in other countries without actually going there). :)

Edited by cerberus1
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Maybe this is kind of what you're thinking about. Here in the Twin Cities Minnesota there is a TB hotel of sorts called a StarGate that is part of a network of other StarGates located nationally and internationally. The idea is a TB with a specific location travel goal can be placed in a StarGate in a ziplock bag with its destination marked on the outside and anyone travelling to that location can either move it there or deposit it in a another StarGate. I used it only once with the express permission of the owner and it seemed to work out fine. Here's a link to the site: http://coord.info/GC2500J

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Good morning everybody and thanks for your thoughts_

 

@ RuideAlmeida: Thank you for your concern about the Tbs and their owners. I am actually not thinking about registering certain TBs there, but that could be an additional idea. I am thinking that geocachers who plan to travel somewhere can register their destination (and the area they live in, optional for privacy reasons) so the other cachers who own or hold a TB with a specific mission that matches this plan can contact the cacher to arrange the handover of the coin/TB. I do not think the coins sould be registered as there are so many and it would add a great amount of data not really needed. Maybe just an option like a dashboard where people can ask: "I own/hold a TB that is supposed to go to the Eiffel Tower. Can somebody take it?" Of course the one who agrees to take it should check for himself on the coins page that this is really the right destination and if in doubt contact the owner first.

 

@ Cerberus1: You are right that these international exchange caches are a rather different topic. But an interesting one. I got involved into a lively discussion with the one who started this idea many years ago and we are currently making plans of setting up a new Canadian/German exchange cache.

 

@ Brooklyn51: Thank you for your link to the Stargate cache. This stargate network is also a splendid idea and also still in use (not archived). I have had a look on the German stargate cache in Berlin, really interesting idea. Only I was thinking about a way to match TBs and cachers with the same destination to enable its "old fashioned transport" by caching itself.

 

Thank you all. Any more ideas? All thougths are welcome.

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Here are two examples. Both are now archived because the owner moved away.

 

GC2GJ4J - It's a Small Geo~World After All

GC1B023 - L'Italia Vive Nell'Idaho (Italy Lives in Idaho)

 

As you can see, nothing in the cache name indicates that this is an exchange cache.

 

Skye.

Both say, "When making a trade, please try to place a trade item in that you would be proud to have represent your country. Any money placed into the cache will be sent to the other countries."

- What money has to do with caching, who knows.

 

And on "LItalia" it reads, "An International Cache Exchange is where two people from two different countries agree to exchange caches. Then, you maintain the cache in your country & the other person maintains the cache in their country. When supplies get low, you replenish your cache in the other country & your counterpart replenishes the cache in your country"

 

Please explain how these are examples of caches that exchange trackables.

Trackables aren't trade items.

 

Edited to save time. :laughing:

 

Nether of these mention trackables at all and appear to simply be the International Exchange Caches that appear time-to-time in the All Nations forums (with folks looking for smileys in other countries without actually going there). :)

 

Granted, these caches are not exclusive to the exchanging of trackables, but they would exchange trackables in addition to trade items.

 

With both of these caches, I know the owner. The actual caches had outgoing sides, whatever (including trackables) was placed in the outgoing side was sent to the corresponding exchange cache. They may not have written the best cache description, but that is the way they operated them.

 

Skye.

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@ all

 

Hallo dear Forum members.

 

I have discussed this topic with Annie Love, a Groundspeak member I know personally as I have met her at the GIGA event in Xanten, Germany this year. Such a website that helps trackables to reach their goals would require to use the geocaching.com database, that´s why I contacted Groundspeak about my idea.

 

Annie wrote a very nice reply saying that Groundspeak itself is planning something like that and is still gathering ideas. So that is great.

 

Hear now Annies email

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

" Hi Silke,

 

Sorry for the delay. Thanks for sending in this idea. I think it's a great idea and is fairly similar to some stuff we've talked about internally to help encourage people move trackables more. We're in the process of improving that whole process both on the website and apps, though it's going to take us some time to implement all the ideas we've discussed. You're welcome to create your own site for organizing via a travel agency, however, it would be subject to our approval with design and functionality. We don't have API licenses available at this time so I'm afraid integration with our site might be a little tough at the moment.

 

As I do manage our trackables program, I am collecting ideas like yours along with what we've talked about in the office for the future improvements and fun new features of trackables so I'm happy to keep this tucked away until we can try to implement something like this.

 

Thanks again for reaching out!

 

Annie

 

Annie Love

Partner Programs Manager

Username: Love

P 206.302.7721 x 115 "

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

This means we are all welcome to add our ideas and wishes for Groundspeak to implement in the future.

 

Any comments?

 

Best wishes

 

Silke

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