What is a travel bug?

You would have to be a travel bug, then traveling would not be quite so complicated during the corona pandemic. But what is a travelbug? Hopefully not a travel bug that secretly traveled with you and has now discovered geocaching as her new hobby? No, it's definitely not a travelbug, but it definitely has something to do with hunting for geocaches.

Small objects travel the big wide world

You may have already heard from our podcast "Geocaching in 100 seconds" that traveling during Covid-19 times can be a challenge, especially when flying abroad. But here at this point it should not be about unusual flights, but about travel bugs. These small pendants, which are traditionally attached to objects, can travel really long distances. But let's start again: What is a travel bug?

Translated from English, Travelbug actually means something like “travel bug” or “travel beetle”. In real life, it is a pendant with a number stamped or printed on it. Travelbugs can travel from cache to cache with the help of us geocachers.
Travelbugs often travel with a specific mission or destination. For example, a travelbug could migrate to Iceland because that is where one's favorite horse was born. Or your travel-loving beetle should climb the highest European mountain peaks. There are many possibilities and ideas: there are hardly any limits to your creativity!

You can find out where your Travelbug is at the moment from the comfort of your own home on the online portal www.geocaching.com see. It's great when the geocachers accompanying you take photos of the respective stopover. This is how the virtual photo album fills up and you can at least take part in this adventure trip from afar.

Where can I get a travel bug?

You can easily get a travel bug: Groundspeak, i.e. the platform operators of geocaching.com, sell them in-houseShop. But you will also quickly find what you are looking for in other shops that offer geocaching items. In this​ international store list you are welcome to check.

Classically, travelbugs look like dog tags. But of course there are other forms as well. You may have come across beetle-shaped stickers, or rather driven them: These are stickers that can be attached to vehicles and also display a tracking code.

Jeep Travelbugs are a very special shape with four different variants. The DaimlerChrysler company sent their famous brand on trips as Travelbugs. And so, since 2004, a few thousand of these coveted motorhomes have been on the road in world history. Overall, the attached jeeps come in four colors: yellow, white, green, and red.

Geocoins are probably the most common form next to the classic Travelbugs. As the name suggests, these are coins with a corresponding embossing. These can also be tracked via geocaching.com. But if you want to make your trip very unusual, simply send your Travelbug into space. This has already happened, even if these trackables have already arrived at their "destination locations". We are talking about this in our SecretPoint blog post "Geocaching in Space: Trackable on Mars“ extraterrestrially exploreable travel companions.

How do I send a Travelbug on a journey?

Let's just stay on our home planet and send our Travelbugs out into the world. It doesn't have to be a trip to the moon right away, even if it will certainly become a geocaching planet in a few years ;-)

So you're holding your own little travel beetle now in hand and finally want to send it on a journey. Don't worry: you don't have to buy expensive plane tickets or hire a tour guide. Your Travelbug is ready to travel in just a few steps:
  1. First you need an activation code. You can find this on the packaging of many newly purchased trackables and geocoins. If not, go up www.geocaching.com/track/activate.aspx and type in the tracking number (found on the geocoin or trackable). The activation code will then be displayed and sent to you.
  2. With this activation code, go to the site www.geocaching.com/track/
  3. Here you enter the tracking number in the "Activate Trackable Item" field, which you can find on the respective Travelbug / Trackable.
  4. Then enter the activation code in the "Enter Your Activation Code" field.
  5. Once you've done all that, the next thing to do is edit the website associated with your geocaching trackable: name, the mission, and images as you wish.
  6. Don't forget to define the starting point of the journey. To do this, you must enter your home country and state.
  7. Congratulations! The journey starts! Your trackable or geocoin (with its own icon) will now appear in your profile. You can send him traveling by placing him in a cache or showing him around at events.
  8. Good to know: Your geocoin's icon will also appear in the profiles of other geocachers who log your trackable!

Geocaching around the globe

Geocaching is incredibly diverse, and all sorts of ways people, travel bugs, and other things travel in the name of electronic treasure hunting. Maybe you want to discover your first Travelbug right now. Then watch this YouTube video "What is a trackable?" by our managing director Daniel Pflug in detail. Not only does he explain in a very charming way what a trackable is. No, there is more to discover here, and if you've read this blog post carefully, you'll see something muggles are guaranteed to overlook.

If you discover a travelbug in a geocache yourself, you are welcome to bring the little globetrotter to the next desired stopover. After all, every geocacher is happy when the little companion sees a lot and really fulfills its mission. It would be a real shame if this geocaching fun found its abrupt end in a souvenir hunter's collection. So, be fair and only take the Travelbug with you if you can really bring it closer to its destination.

Do you still have questions about travelbugs, trackables and other technical terms from the world of geocaching? No problem: just surf our website or write to us if you are missing a topic or travel destination. We look forward to your suggestions!
Well then, have a good trip and see you soon in the forest!