Geocaching Travel Bugs and Geocoins – An Introduction to Trackable Items


One of the fun aspects of Geocaching is the thrill of the hunt and wondering what you’ll find in the cache, if you do indeed find it. The little toys (often called “Swag”) are always exciting for the kids, but obviously most adults don’t find much joy in little Sponge Bobs or G.I. Joes 😉

But there are things we can find in caches that can be neat and exciting to find for both children and adults; trackable items!

There are two types of Trackable Items
– Geocoins
– Travel Bugs (TB)

They both have the same basic “function” or goal.

A travel bug looks just like military dog tags (I.D. tags.) Geocachers can buy them for a few bucks and attach them to anything they want. You could attach a TB to a stuffed animal, small toy, key chain… anything that is relatively small.

The image above is of one of my travel bugs called “Your lucky day.”


A Geocoin is basically a coin, usually about twice the size of a quarter, that Geocachers can also purchase for a few bucks, usually a little more than travel bugs, or have custom made. The coin(s) can be themed however you like. Maybe you want it to represent your company, family, organization, club… anything. It could even be dedicated to your favorite pet or maybe a loved one that has passed… the possibilities are really endless.

So what do you do with them?

All TB’s and Geocoins have serial numbers engraved into them. These numbers are unique to that particular TB or coin. Once you receive your TB or coin you activate it at the official Geocaching website. Once it is activated it will have it’s own page, where you name it, explain it’s purpose and give it a mission. Once you have the page done you release it into the “wild” 😉 (put it in the nearest Geocache)

Everytime a fellow Geocacher finds it they input the serial number on the Geocaching website, which digitally “picks it up.” Once they move it along by dropping it into another cache, they digitally “drop it.”

When a TB or Geocoin is in a cache a small icon with the picture of it will appear next the cache listing on the site.

The neat thing about TB’s and Geocoins is that you can give them a mission. For instance, we have a good friend in Germany who is also an avid Geocacher. So I created a TB and made it’s mission to go to his city in Germany for him to pick it up and then send it back to me.

There are many fun ideas. Maybe you want it to visit various beaches around the world or gardens etc. You can even request that people take pictures of it along it’s journey and post them to the item’s page.

Each cacher can write a note about the item on the page as well and you keep track of where it is on that page, so you know where it is at all times.

Now won’t that be neat to show people your TB or Geocoin that traveled the World and came back? :)

Travel Bugs and Geocoins are just another fun aspect of this awesome hobby we call “Geocaching!”

  1. ErikaJean

    Nicely written.

  2. Emily Preece
    Emily Preece09-12-2009

    Yeah, but the problem is that many people who find the Travel Bugs and Geo Coins KEEP them insted of taking them to another cache and depositing them there.. I have lost MANY TB’s and coins this way.. It gets pretty expensive supplying the world with bugs and coins that they keep………….

  3. Chris

    I have a travel bug that has traveled over 9,000 miles. It’s been in British Columbia for awhile. (I’m in MN.) Never thought I’d see it again. It showed up 60 miles away. Someone snatched it up before we could grab it. The closest I’ve come to seeing one again.

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