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Understanding Trackables in Geocaching

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 12/18/2010

Want to do more than simply find a cache? Then, use a trackable, or simply follow the progress of one. Don't know what a geocaching trackables are? Well, find out here.

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    What Are Trackables?

    Geocaching is all the rage these days. You punch in a location and go in search of a hidden cache. It’s treasure hunting for the modern times. But, you can do more than simply find a cache. You can also use Geocaching trackables. A trackable is any item in which you can follow its location. There are two main types of trackables: Geocoins and Travel Bugs.

    A Trackable is any item that you can track on On the website, you can input the Tracking Code of the Trackable and track it. Or, you can search by name to find the Trackable. If you have one of these items, you can also activate.

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    Travel Bugs and Geocoins

    As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of Trackables. A Geocoin is a collectible item. Usually, these items are created by a single person or a group of people. These people add their special signature to it, and every Geocoin is different.

    Occasionally, special Geocoins are released for special occasions or to raise awareness about a cause. For example, the United for Diabetes Campaign sought to raise awareness of World Diabetes Day. So, a special Geocoin was created in 2007.

    A Travel Bug is a tag that you attach to item, especially an item in a cache. It moves from person to person or cache to cache. You can track it, allowing you to see where it goes simply by tracking it on

    You can find both Travel Bugs and Geocoins in caches. Oftentimes, these items are not activated and are just waiting for you to find them to start the Trackables’ journeys. You can take these items from caches even it has been activated.

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    Trackable Etiquette

    Etiquette for Geocoins and Travel Bugs are a little different. With the Geocoin, you need to find out what the owner of the geocache Trackable wants you to do with it. Generally, you can figure this out by going to the personal home page for the Geocoin. There is usually a description on the site with a description and instructions telling you what to do with the coin. Sometimes it means moving it from cache to cache or giving it another person.

    If you are not sure, you can always email the owner to get more information. Never sell the coin, however. That is considered bad etiquette.

    Always activate your Geocoins before passing them to other people. If not, then considers it transfer of ownership.

    While you usually can hold onto the Geocoin for a while, get rid of the Travel Bug as quickly as possible. The purpose of the Travel Bug is to “travel" so the owners want it to go to as many people as possible. If you do plan on keeping it for a while, email the owner and let them know.

    Always keep track of the codes of the Trackables that you come across. This way, you can track the coin or Travel Bug wherever it may go.