What Is A Travel Bug

What is a Travel Bug?

Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge that the term Travel Bug is a registered trademark of Groundspeak.com. Groundspeak.com is one of the over-arching entities of the Geocaching movement. For more information on who runs the geocaching game, see the page Who Runs Geocaching on this site.

Also, if you have read other pages on this site, then you will have found many references to the geocaching Travel Bugs.

A Travel Bug is an object that can be found, from time to time, in geocaches all over the world.

A Travel Bug has a unique identification number on it, and that number is used to log – via the internet – that you found the bug. The same number can be used to log that you have left that same Travel Bug in another cache somewhere.

Travel Bug Are Pairs

When you obtain your Travel Bug (you buy it from geocaching.com) it comes in two parts, much like military dog tags do.

One of the Travel Bug dog tags stays with the original owner and the other half of the dog tag is left – quite often with some sort of keepsake attached – in a geocache somewhere in the world for other geocachers to find.

What is a travel bug? Here's one.
In the image above we have a travel bug dog-tag to which this owner has attached a pink plastic heart, and an information tag.

Geocachers will attach one of the Travel Bugs to an item, a trinket of some sort, kind of like the pink heart attached to the travel bug shown in the photo above.

No, you don’t have to attach an item, since the Travel Bug is the identifier. But why not add a little something that is special or unique to you, or for the journey you want your travel bug to take?

Travel Bug Destinations

When it starts on its journey, the owner knows where their travel bug began, but really, has no idea where their T.B. will end up.

When a geocacher sets a Travel Bug free, they log that they have done so via their geocaching on line account.

At the same time the T.B. owner can indicate that they would like that bug to travel to a specific destination, should they wish. In other words, when a geocacher finds the travel bug, they log in to their geocaching account on line, and read what the owner of the travel bug would like the bug to do. The owner can try to direct the bug to someplace specific by logging a preferred destination when they originally set their Travel Bug free.

When you release your T.B., consider too, logging additional preferred travel plans AFTER the T.B. gets to your original destination. The preference might be something like “I’d like my T.B. to get to the Great Wall of China. After it reaches there, I hope it continues on journeys all over the world. Please provide lots of details of things my T.B. will have seen on it’s route, if you would.”

The route the T.B. takes to get to it’s ultimate destination is likely to be very long, winding and interesting. Who knows were the T.B. will travel to get from here to there? Who cares? Every step of the journey (assuming the T.B. finder adds that info) will be logged on line for the T.B. owner to see. Very neat stuff!

Got a Travel Bug – now what?

Once you have acquired your Travel Bug, and attached it to an item you will take it to a cache large enough to accept the bug and trinket, and leave it there. You then log that you have done so via your on line account.

In time, another geocacher will find your bug and take it with them when they leave. They will log on their account that they have found and taken your bug. Since they log the identification number of the travel bug while indicating they have it, the geocacher that set the T.B. free in the first place can see who picked their Travel Bug up, and ultimately, where that person leaves it. The Travel Bug is on its way.

Are Smaller Travel Bugs Better?

With the huge numbers of micro caches and nano caches out there, neither of which will be big enough to accept a T.B., it is probably better that your trinket be about the same size as the travel bug itself, and not a lot bigger.

The smaller the trinket and bug, the more geocaches containers there will be out there that will be large enough and roomy enough to actually leave the Travel Bug inside them.

The whole concept of Travel Bugs takes geocaching to a higher level. Once you start down this path, don’t just set one T.B. free, Why not a whole family of them?

If you have a unique travel bug trinket traveling the world, why not tell all of us all about it using the message box below?

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