Eventually every geocacher we have met ends up not being able to find any caches locally to feed their hobby. A geocacher eventually has to travel, and that means a roadtrip. We have traveled just to geocache and geocached as we traveled. We will share with you the tips that makes our roadtrips enjoyable.
If you are going to do some geocaching when your traveling you have to go prepared. By prepared we mean to actually know what type of caches are in the area you are traveling to and visiting. You have to do some Geocaching research to make your trip enjoyable. Here is what we do.
CACHES ALONG THE WAY
If you are driving you can plan caches along a route. A Premium Member has the ability to see what caches you will pass along the way to your destination. I know it looks complicated but after playing around with it for a bit you will figure out just what you need to do to grab some caches along your route. When you finish you are sent a gpx file via email from your account. Drop that in the GPSr and your ready to roll.
CACHES AT YOUR DESTINATION
Setting up a list of caches you want to look for at your destination is a good idea as well. I know there are a lot of geocachers out there using the Geocaching IPhone Application and grabbing caches on the fly. Even if there was an app like that for Android I don’t believe we would use it while traveling, and here’s why. I don’t like to spend my day just grabbing micros all day long with my nose stuck in my phone. It just isn’t enjoyable for the family or myself. I like to weed through the caches online first and find just the right ones. This way we aren’t caching all day but enjoying family time as well. I then make a gpx file of the caches I want, and load it in the GPSr or create a bookmark list which I can then view in the hotel room or during nap time. That way I am spending time with my family and not obsessed about my geocaching.
We prefer to hit Virtual, Earthcaches, and an occasional Puzzle cache when we arrive at our destination. Puzzles are cool as you can start to get excited before your trip and they usually take you to unique places in the towns you visit. Virtuals have the ability to teach a little history of the area you visit and we love history. We love Earthcaches so we try to grab them where ever we travel as they tend to have a little bit of walking and some beautiful country involved.
If the area has a geocaching club or forum ask before you go what would be some of their favorite caches to grab. Most places are more than willing to help and are quick to give their favorites. It will give you a much more local feel to the caching area. Each place tends to have their own style of hides so you can learn something new as you go.
It is also nice to check out Waymarks in the area as well. This can sometimes lead you to some interesting places to visit. Yes they aren’t geocaches but they are fun at times to visit and they generally have some historical significance.
When you travel with children entertainment is a good idea, it keeps the kids sane and the parents as well. We see families with LCD’s strapped to the back of a front seat and the kids watching DVD’s on their journey. This is fine but we like to talk and listen to modern radio shows. Johnny’s favorite is one on the Decoder Ring Theatre and is the Red Panda. I like to listen to their Black Jack Justice Series. If you do a search for old time radio shows in google you will come up with a large list from which to choose. All you need to do is load it on your phone, IPod, or burn a CD and you have the entertainment covered.
Food is always something to have on the trip. We like to try and bring healthy snacks along like fruits and popcorn. It is good to bring stuff to eat that isn’t going to leave a big mess in the car, as we all know kids are pretty messy. We usually don’t grab drinks as we like to stop every so often to stretch the legs for a potty break and something other than a Geocache.
Lodging is a personal preference for sure. Over the years we have been swayed by Best Westerns. I think we like them the most as they generally have a breakfast included. Before Best Westerns we felt hurried to leave the hotel to eat. Staying at this hotels allows us to lazily get up in the morning and go grab some food and then go back to the room and prep for the day. It generally adds $10 to the stay per night, as opposed to other hotel chains, but we would spend much more than that visiting a Denny’s or IHop.
Plan much more time than you figure for traveling. If you are jumping out and grabbing caches your trip will be much longer than it says when you Google directions. We have found that not having a schedule is the best. Get there when you do and just enjoy the time together. Caching is secondary to the family time. It is nice to keep things in perspective.
Well those are our tips for a successful roadtrip. Just have fun out there and enjoy yourselves and your families.
Until next time,
Mark & Johnny