Geocaching is the high-tech treasure hunt that has people exploring the outdoors one hidden gem at a time. Millions of caches are tucked away in different locations around the world, like in treetops at the end of long hiking trails or at the side of city streets – even underwater. And all you need to do to get involved is sign up for a free account and download the Geocaching app.
Learn about the rules and basics of this worldwide scavenger hunt with our Geocaching 101 outline.
For those who already know the excitement of hunting down hidden treasures in the least likely of places, there are plenty of ways in which you can take your geocaching adventures to the next level. Many travelers add geocaching to their travel itineraries and, in some cases, even make it the focus of their trip. (Read on for our interview with an geocacher whose quest for caches has taken him to places throughout the country and the world!)
AAA Exclusive Vacations will host a seven-night geocaching adventure cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, leaving from New York City on Sept. 10, 2017! The ship will set sail for Bermuda for two full days of geocaching excursions to help guests experience the beautiful island and discover local treasures. Visit MyExclusiveVacations to learn more.
AAA’s Exclusive Vacations geocaching adventure cruise is designed to allow travelers to get out, explore new places, meet new people and create amazing memories. And with approximately 300 caches located in Bermuda, there will be plenty to enjoy and explore!
To help explain more about what’s in store, we spoke to Johnny Erato, manager of the Garden City AAA Travel call center (and avid geocacher).
Q: What is a geocaching cruise?
A. Taking a cruise is always a good time – you have great food and entertainment on board, views of the beautiful open water and fun land excursions. But when you book a geocaching cruise, the experience comes with even more! People can enjoy the perks of a traditional cruise, with the added bonus of exclusive geocaching inclusions and events.
Q: Have you ever been on a geocaching cruise?
A. Unfortunately, I have never been on one. But I have been on cruises and I have done some geocaching. So, I would definitely be interested in doing them both together. A geocaching cruise would also be a great way to meet like-minded folks interested in geocaching. Exploring a foreign place with geocachers from different geographical and cultural backgrounds sounds like fun.
Q: Where does the geocaching cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway take you?
A. On our sailing date, the Breakaway is heading off round trip from NYC to Bermuda.
Q: What kind of special geocaching events are in store for the Norwegian Breakaway cruisers?
A. The geocaching cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway is going to be a great way for the caching community to get together. Before even setting sail, there will be an official event cache in NYC near the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. And once on board, cruisers can enjoy a meet and greet with icebreakers and orientation to the upcoming week. There will also be a geocaching roundtable, where cachers can share experiences, tips and skills and prepare for the days of geocaching ahead. More exclusive events include two full days of geocaching in Bermuda, a Bermuda conservation GeoTour (with a collectible GeoCoin upon completion), an optional group shore excursion, and for the last day in Port on Bermuda, a second geocaching event cache at the Frog and Onion Pub. And before the end of the cruise, cachers can enjoy a farewell get-together for one last hurrah.
Q: What else is included in the cruise package?
A. Outside of exclusive access to all onboard geocaching events, cruisers can expect seven-night accommodations aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, prepaid gratuities, an onboard beverage package and complimentary dining including a main dining room with Freestyle dining, a buffet and an Asian fusion restaurant. There’s even more cuisines and dishes to try through the specialty dining options, including French fare, churrasqueira, Italian, teppanyaki and more.
Q: What kind of entertainment can be found on the Norwegian Breakaway?
A: There will be plenty of fun ways to stay entertained. There’s disco at the Bliss Ultra Lounge, as well as live music at the Fat Catz Jazz and Blues Club and Howl at the Moon. Travelers can also enjoy two Broadway shows – “After Midnight” and “Rock of Ages.” You can share a few laughs at the Headliners Comedy Club, mingle at one of the many bars and lounges, or enjoy some duty-free shopping. There’s also an spa where you can relax and enjoy a massage. If you’re looking for something a little more active there are plenty of sports and activities to enjoy, like the aqua park, pool, rock wall, jogging track and more. So even when you’re not out geocaching in Bermuda, there are endless ways to have fun.
Q: Do you know if AAA has plans to do any more geocaching cruises or events in the future?
A. Planning more special geocaching trips like this one is definitely something that’s being considered. There is the possibility of another cruise or even an air/land geocaching package. You’ll just have to wait and see!
Whether it’s your first cruise or you’re an experienced cruiser, here are a few great cruise tips and tricks to keep in mind!
Geocaching road trip
One of the most exciting things about geocaching is the opportunity to explore places you’ve never been before. So if cruising isn’t you thing, don’t worry; there are still ways to enjoy geocaching with your feet (or should we say tires) firmly planted on the ground. Christopher Lund, a real estate attorney in New York, has found caches in more than 20 states and throughout the world.
Q: How did you get started with geocaching?
A. My girlfriend, Meghan, and I got into geocaching through a friend of mine. He was always talking about finding different caches and it seemed like a lot a fun. So one day we downloaded the Geocaching app and finally gave it a try. On our first day we found seven caches all within walking distance of my apartment. We’ve been hooked since!
Q: Why do you enjoy geocaching?
A. I enjoy geocaching for so many different reasons. It’s great to be able to spend an afternoon just hiking through quiet, large patches of woods to find classic caches, especially with all the noise and hectic pace of Long Island. Through geocaching I’ve met new people and made many new friends in the local caching community. It’s also a great way for me and my girlfriend to spend time together. Geocaching has taken us to lots of local spots that I never would have discovered on my own.
Q: Has geocaching ever taken you out of New York? What about the country?
A. Yes! So far I’ve cached in about 20 different states, mostly up and down the East Coast and in the Southeast. Just last week my girlfriend and I went on a Caribbean cruise and we cached outside the U.S. for the first time. We found caches in Haiti, Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. The next geocaching trip on my travel list is Alaska, which I’m hoping to do next summer.
Q: Do you prefer to geocache locally or while traveling?
A. When I first started caching, I preferred doing it locally. It was convenient and despite living on Long Island for most of my life, geocaching still brought me to new places I had never seen before. I was able to explore local history and connect with the small caching community. However, after several years of geocaching on Long Island, I’m starting to get more enjoyment out of caching while traveling.
When I’m traveling out of state (and out of the country), the best caches in the area are still new to me. And due to the rules governing geocache hides, most are hidden by people familiar with the area, making them a great way to discover local spots. So, when you’re not from around an area, geocaching is a cool way to find places off-the-beaten-path. A few weeks ago Meghan and I were staying at a hotel in Miami, so we pulled up our caching app and saw there was a hide about a quarter-mile away. The spot was known by the locals as a manatee hangout, and sure enough when we went looking for the cache, we saw a large manatee swim by. That’s an experience I never would have had if not for geocaching!
Q: Are there any other cool ways to experience geocaching?
A. Absolutely. Hit the road! Last summer Meghan and I took a road trip with our friend Nick to West Virginia. Our main purpose was finding a series of caches that are somewhat famous in the caching community. But other times, we choose a destination first and then look for fun caches in that area. Last winter we did a trip to New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama. Once we were there, we made sure to find plenty of local caches.
And there are a number of tools available to help plan geocaching road trips, like the Trip Planner on the official geocaching website and GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife). But my personal geocache road trip planning tends to be far less formal. It’s usually a combination of asking other experienced cachers for recommendations and using the advanced filters and search features available on the geocaching site and apps.
Geocaching road trip tips
Barb Kessel has explored both coasts on her geocaching adventures. In fact, pretty soon she’ll be heading to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay with a caching tour group. She hosts occasional classes on geocaching tips, like how to plan a road trip around the hobby. Check out a few of her pointers.
- Decide how much time you want to spend on the road in advance. A three-hour drive could turn into an eight-hour drive easily once you start geocaching. So include extra time for caching on your route and plan accordingly.
- Make sure to weed out caches that are too hard to find or might be missing ahead of time. GSAK can help with this.
- And finally, try not to go more than half-mile off of the route (unless there’s a really special cache along the way). It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re geocaching.
To learn more about AAA Exclusive Vacations and the upcoming geocaching cruise, go to MyExclusiveVacations.com. To book, contact a AAA travel counselor at email@example.com or call 844-205-6226.