I am now a Premium Member on Geocaching.com !
If you follow this blog, you've seen some of my posts about my family's GeoCaching adventures. To me it is a wonderfully fun hobby. If you don't know what geocaching is, check out Geocaching 101.
One of the really cool things about the hobby is that you can do it practically for free. You need some sort of hand-held GPS or a smartphone on which to load an app, but other than that, all you need to do is go to the website, sign up for a free account, and start doing your thing.
I think it is an awesome way to add adventure to family hikes. This
is especially true if you have kids, but from time to time I will do
some searching without the kids.
To me, it is just really cool to do this global "treasure hunt". It appeals to my inner child and his sense of adventure.
I've been a non-paying member on geocaching.com since Friday, 19 September 2008. We actually didn't find our first cache until November 22nd (see my first Geocache post on this blog). The kids loved it. The wife loved it. I loved it.
Since then, we have been a little on and off, but lately we have been doing it a bunch. (in some cases "we" means just me). It is great (free) entertainment.
Recently, I decided to go ahead and spend the money to become a Premium Member. I spent the $30 for the next year, and expect to pay the $30 annually for the foreseeable future. I am pretty sure I won't miss the $30 a year.
The extra features of are great, but it really was not about getting the extra stuff. To me, it was more about financially supporting a hobby that has given me priceless entertainment for several years. The free memberships gives you more than everything you need to enjoy the hobby.
What are the premium benefits over the free membership? If you're interested, you should probably read about them here. Just a few notes, though.
Custom Search (Pocket Queries) ... Just being able to narrow down the search a little bit is very nice. I made a query that is close caches with trackables in them. I can search for "easy" caches in a certain area for the kids. I was not expecting this feature to be a big deal, but I do really like having it.
Premium Caches ... it is nice being able to get information on all the caches instead of just the "free" ones. The vast majority of caches are available to the free membership, but I have already found a couple of the premium ones.
Instant Notifications ... I now get notified when a new cache is published. Hopefully, this will allow me to be a FTF (first to find). It has not happened yet, but I have been #2 a couple times since becoming a premium member.
Trip Planner ... I have not done this one yet, but this is awesome. I know have the ability to enter a trip and easily figure out what caches I can hit on my route.
And more .. there are a couple more that I have not used, but are certainly nice to know they are there. Again, check out the web site for all the cool things.
Honestly, I think the most important is the "Love". I think it only fair that I am monetarily supporting something that has already giving me much joy.
If you don't geocache, give it a try. Especially if you have young children, it is an awesome hobby. Even if you don't though, and have an inner child who likes the idea of the adventurous treasure hunt, you really owe yourself giving it a try. It is really easy to pick up. Get yourself a handheld GPS or smart phone, and read Geocaching 101. It is really easy once you get into it.
Enjoy the rest of my recent geocaching pictures ...