Guide to Geocaching: The Modern-Day Scavenger Hunt

Navigate this tech trend using your smartphone’s GPS.

By on May 30, 2014

The excitement and intrigue of a scavenger hunt may be timeless, but the modern-day treasure hunt known as geocaching is putting a high-tech twist on a classic recreational activity.

Geocaching allows you to use GPS-enabled devices like smartphones or tablets to navigate real-world coordinates and find items hidden and planted by other players in waterproof containers. Whether you’re trying to figure out a Da Vinci Code cache or looking for some ridiculously creative containers, adventure always abounds.

Currently, there are more than 2 million active geocaches daily that anyone can participate in. This trending outdoor activity is a great way to stay active, get some fresh air and explore the city or town you’re in. So, how do you begin? Here’s a short guide to geocaching and how to get started.

First, you’ll need to create an account or download the iOS or Android app. Then, enter your ZIP code or location and discover the closest adventures in your area. Once you choose the geocache you want to find, you can follow your device’s GPS function, and the typical set of mysterious clues given for each cache, to find it.

With a keen eye and a little luck, you’ll find a container with a logbook of others who’ve found the cache before you and even some treasure – small toys or ornaments, collectibles, books, items of clothing and more – but be sure to leave something else behind if you keep an item for yourself. Once you document your findings online or in the app, you can then set your sights on another destination. More Geocaching 101 etiquette is outlined on the official website.

Some recommended supplies for first-timers (besides your GPS-enabled device) include fluids to stay hydrated, sunscreen, snacks, bug spray, a flashlight, notebook and pen.

Are you one of the more than 6 million people participating in geocaching? Tell us about your experiences on Twitter @VZWnews or @VZWChuck.

Tags: geocaching, gps, mobile devices, Geocaching 101, mobile lifestyle