Trackable Etiquette

Trackable Etiquette


Trackables are “game pieces” that add another level of fun to geocaching. Trackable owners generally assign them goals such as to “cross the Atlantic” or “visit 5/5 geocaches.” The geocaching community helps Trackables reach their goals by moving them from cache to cache.
How do you know when you have found a Trackable?

Although Trackables come in many shapes and sizes, each one has a tracking code—a unique series of letters and numbers—stamped on it.  This code allows geocachers to follow the items’ real-world travels online. A Trackable will also contain text indicating that it can be tracked on Geocaching.com or Groundspeak.com. The most common Trackables are Geocoins and Travel Bugs®.

If you find a Trackable in a geocache, you are not required to trade anything for it, but please take it only if you are willing to follow some general Trackable etiquette:


•    Log that you have retrieved the Trackable from the geocache as soon as you can. This way the Trackable owner, cache owner, and anyone who may be searching for the Trackable knows that it is moving.

•    Check the Trackable’s goal by inputting its tracking code here before placing it in another cache. The idea is to place it in a cache that will move it closer to its goal.

•    Drop the Trackable in the next geocache and log that you have done so. If you need to keep the Trackable for more than two weeks, please email the Trackable owner to inform them.

Remember that Trackables are owned by other members of the community who are eager to see where their Trackable moves next. Before you take an item from a geocache, please check to see whether it is a Trackable and, if it is, only take it if you are willing to help it on its journey in a timely manner.

Learn how to log a Geocoin or Travel Bug or buy your own Trackable at Shop Geocaching.

Trackables sindSpielsteine‘” welche einen zusätzlichen Spaßfaktor zum Geocaching hinzufügen. Die Besitzer von Trackables legen im Allgemeinen Ziele wieÜberquere den AtlantikoderBesuche nur 5/5 Geocachesfest. Die GeocachingCommunity hilft dabei diese Ziele zu erreichen, in dem Sie Trackables von Cache zu Cache transportiert.
Woher weißt Du, daß Du einen Trackable gefunden hast?

Obwohl Trackables in vielen Formen und Größen vorkommen, hat jeder einen TrackingCode eine eindeutige Folge von Buchstaben und Zahlen eingestanzt.  Dieser Code ermöglicht Geocachern, die Reisen dieser Gegenstände online zu verfolgen. Auf dem Trackable befindet sich auch ein kleiner Hinweistext, dass er auf Geocaching.com oder Groundspeak.com verfolgt werden kann. Die häufigsten Trackables sind Geocoins und Travel Bugs®.

Wenn Du einen Trackable in einem Geocache findest, ist es nicht notwendig, wenn Du Ihn herausnimmst etwas als Ersatz hineinzulegen. Du solltest jedoch folgende TrackableEtikette beachten:

    Wenn Du einen Trackable aus einem Geocache entnimmst, so logge dies bitte so schnell wie möglich. Dadurch weiß der TrackableOwner, der CacheOwner und jeder der nach diesem Trackable sucht, dass dieser sich bewegt hat.

    Überprüfe das Ziel des Trackables wenn du seinen Code hier eingibst, bevor du Ihn in einen anderen Cache ablegst. Die Grundidee ist, dass Du den Trackable in einen Cache legst, welcher Ihn näher an sein Ziel bringt.

    Lege den Trackable in den nächsten Geocache und logge dies online. Wenn es nötig ist, dass Du einen Trackable länger als zwei Wochen behältst, melde dies bitte dem TrackableOwner.


Denke daran, Trackables sind Eigentum von anderen Mitgliedern der GeocachingGemeinschaft, welche gerne sehen wie sich Ihr Trackable weiter bewegt. Bevor Du einen Trackable aus einem Geocache entnimmst, überprüfe daher bitte, ob Du ihm beim Erfüllen seines Zieles helfen kannst.

Erfahre wie man einen Geocoin oder Travel Bug® loggt oder kaufe Deinen eigenen Trackable im GeocachingShop.


Zusätzliche Trackable Geschichten:

Share your Trackable stories for a chance to win this rare and coveted Moun10bike Trackable.

Share your Trackable stories for a chance to win Trackables.

Teile jetzt Deine TrackableGeschichten mit anderen und habe die Chance auf diesem seltenen und begehrten Moun10Bike Trackable.

Shop Now to Find Trackable Week Discounts of 10% or More

Finde jetzt Rabatte von 10% oder mehr während der Trackable-Woche
(Für Trackables von teilnehmenden Anbietern)

  • Anonymous

    I have become a trackable Nazi. I honestly get upset when people don’t log in/out stuff like they should. My first geocoin was lost within DAYS!

  • Jim Doss

    I no longer invest in TBs. 100% of mine have gone missing, some within days of releasing them.
    w9jim – Geocaching since Feb, 2001.

  • Anonymous

    I once placed a travel bug. The last person it went to said he was going to move someplace far away. I haven’t seen a change in two years. (gc name: brovie)

  • TrickyMD

    6 of my 9 travelers got lost somewhere in the world. That’s the reason I’ll just collect some interesting geocoins. But anyway – if I find a TB or geocoin in a cache I’ll help it on its journey.

  • Saskia

    I’m the same….if it goes missing I contact the people who visited the cache after it was placed to ask them if they saw it/forgot to log it etc!!! It does work! I have to admit, I’ve done this for a couple of really cute TBs that I’ve moved from Germany to the UK which weren’t logged correctly as I feel responsible for them!!

  • caribooster.

    I am trying to contact BIO 2 in Denmark regarding small wooden Danish flag. (gc name: Caribooster.)

  • Russ Price

    Perhaps might be worth mentioning that it’s not a good idea to quote the TB/coin tracking number in the cache log, too!

    I’m also getting a number of newer people just “discovering” my TBs, when they have actually picked them up. Clearly some people are not aware of the difference..

  • Anonymous

    This is very much needed as many people do not log the items properly or they just keep them.

  • Dtrox

    I wish it was that easy..Oh wait it i sthat easy,so why get poeple get it right. I had one this summer picked up by a 1st timer.. no log in no move now its gone. And discovery is kinda pointless

  • Miriam&Molly

    An etiquette suggestion for trackable owners: If your travel bug has a goal, it’s helpful to put the TB in a plastic bag and include a printout of the goal. All too often I have picked up a TB without knowing what its goal was and later found out I was unable to move it in the right direction.

  • the.sylencer

    There is one thing missing: Give the previous holder of a GeoCoin/TravelBug at least a day, maybe a few, to properly log it IN at a Geocache. I had Coins and TBs grabbed from me within hours of dropping them off, leading to incorrect logs. Not to mention the strange accusations of the grabbers, that I hadn’t logged the trackable “in time”…

    Not everyone is GeoCaching in their neighbourhood or willing to log as soon as possible over mobile internet.


  • AeroMechAZ

    Unfortunately, not everyone contacted replies; I had 2 trackables go missing so far – a TB and a Geocoin. I contacted the CO (after they marked the coin as missing on their cache’s page) as well as the last person to log the coin, and that was over a year ago with no answer from either one.

  • MinnesotaBen

    Some more etiquette suggestions… (1.) If your TB does end up going missing, please mark it missing on the TB page, so that others don’t go looking for it. If found later, it can always be activated by the person that found it. (2.) If you visit a cache and don’t see a TB, please write a note on the TB page stating that fact. That will help the TB owner track it down in a timely fashion (or mark it missing). (3.) If you are a cache owner and notice TBs are missing from your cache, either from maintenance or logged notes, please mark the TB missing too.

  • Lea Hayes1

    As a new cacher I don’t want to mess up anyone’s trackables so I haven’t picked one up yet. I just joined tb-rescue so I could help find and move trackables and get some experience in it. I want to find them and help get them on their way. Good luck everyone!

  • woodsie1

    Another idea is to get cachers not to put them in disabled geocaches or ones where they go and and see the Goecache is opened and all over the place they pick it up and put it back where they think it is and put a tb in it. I lost 2 TB/s because of this so out of my 4 I have 2 left.

  • Saskia

    That’s such a shame and rude as well! One of ours is now missing but fortunately it’s my husband’s and not one of the children’s – he can just about live with it!!!

  • FrankNMike

    I’m a newbie.  I found a trackable whose goal has been met.  So it’s just randomly making its way into various geocaches.  Recommendation?  I haven’t moved it because it said it was “done”.

    Maybe I could assign a new goal, if the original owner doesn’t want it?

  • Carol C Coston

    in order that TBs would be treated more considerately, i would wonder if there might not be some way to place TBs SEPARATELY from swag.  i have to admit that sometimes i may have missed a TB because i was in a hurry to get out of the area and not caring about taking away most types of swag, i sometimes have not looked carefully enough at everything within a Cache. i am not sure just HOW to do this (to place TBs separately) – perhaps in a separate baggy – don’t know…..ideas??

  • Surfnturfnsky

    Just move it to another cache & LOG it.

  • RBWI

    I am going to give up on TBs. I was so excited to drop my first few and most if not all have gone missing. Very disappointing.

  • Maddog71 aka Maddy

     Hi FrankNMike – You probably already tried this but if not, maybe send a message to the owner to let them know “goal accomplished – yay!” and then ask them if they want to edit the goal to get it back or give it a new one. 

    I’m curious – are you able to edit the goal of another person’s TB or geocoin?  I suppose you could suggest a new goal in the TB notes for others to read.

    Good luck – Maddy

  • Maddy aka Maddog71

     I saw that as well.  I also noticed that for awhile the iphone App for groundspeak was not always giving the option to pick or drop off so that might have caused some people to “discover” it when they wanted to actually pick it up.  This happened to me 2 or 3 times almost a year ago I think and so I would have to fix it at home on my computer.  It doesn’t do that anymore so I think it was a bug that got fixed, thankfully.

    More often than not, it is probably user error or just not understanding the terms.  Maybe someone can make a tiny little card template with instructions that we can attach to TBs and geocoins.  It could include definitions for picking up, discovering, etc.  You could then add your own goal to it and attach it to the TB.  Maybe someone already has?

  • Dadof3bartas

    One neat thing I have seen lately is attaching a separate hard travel tag stating that “This is a TB” and not a trade item. Also included a brief description of what to do with it.
    Perhaps every one is sent a message about TB’s and ettiquite and account temp deactivated until logged as read or create a separate page as part of joining that is read and clicked as such before account activation.

  • azgp

    What bothers me about trackables is when they take mine and then don’t move them on. I have a couple out that people retrieved and they have had them for 5 months now. Is it okay to send them a message? I’m not even sure what I would say to them. Or should I just not bother?

  • geovideo

    That exact same thing happened to me and it was most annoying. I was on a month-long vacation to another state and I was going to drop it off back in my home state. About a week later someone grabbed it from me and said something like “Apparently this TB has gone missing.” I didn’t have Internet access most of the time. Now I have it everywhere there is a cell tower but still, people need to be a bit more patient.

  • Oh finally! Some information about trackables. I come across them sometimes and see posts by people asking to have them moved on but I thought I had to swap for them. 

    I do agree with Miriam&Molly though – if the owner could add a tag to the trackable to indicate it’s goal because I’ll still be reluctant to take them if I don’t think I can help them reach their goals. 

  • Mr Magic

    I love collecting TB’s…  Travel bugs can be a pain… As I picked up some bugs that wanted to go to Ma… So I grabbed them to move near that destination . One day, some time later as I was cleaning my vehicle in Florida, I find this bag of TB’s that want to go “now” north… I contacted the owner,,, who was not happy with me so I got them in the mail and soon they were back on track,,, late but back on track… I do have other TB stories…  I still like them…

  • Garyskydive1

    I have a TB Hotel and I have people that will not log a TB or just take them. Most people will log the TB and send it on it’s way. I have lost a few TB coins and that is just part of the game. Now I dont drop off a coin, I take a picture of the coin and number drop that in the container, I have not had another coin taken since then !!!!!

  • Karen92277

     I’ve noticed a lot of people doing this. It seems to be a better way to do it. Sad but true. We feel the same way and that will probably be the way we do it when we release our TB’s.

  • Karen92277

     contact them and remind them that they were the last ones to take the TB. Maybe they forgot they had them or maybe there in a town like mine and there are only 35mm canisters for caches, and they can’t place them anywhere. But they should make an effort to find a cache to drop them in.

  • Samuel vom Gäu

    It seems to mee that there are (at least here in Germany) people, that go frequent to “easy-find drive-in TB-hotels” and steal all the items. I have seen many empty TB-hotels and know many coins that are lost in a TB-hotel. So, if you want to get sure a TB is safe, put it in a cache deep in the woods…

  • elmh

    I have adopted a plan of sending e-mails out about every 3 months to the last holders/discoverers of some of mine, when they get “stalled” for many months, and I know that these folks have been finding caches since they picked them up.
    Very polite notes explaining that I/we/my grandchildren have become concerned about their pet travel bugs.  Generally I get replies that either give me some information, or appologize and say that they will place it soon.  One suddenly woke up and went world hopping with the folk that had picked it up and held it for so long.  It’s now in the south of France.
    Try it. Some of your bugs might get back in action.

  • elmh

    I place coins and small TBs in the log bag, if it is big enough.  Otherwise I will place it in a separate plastic bag.  That generally will attract attention when a cacher is looking through the contents of a cache that is large enough to hold swag.

  • Westwitch

    I’m about to send of my 3rd TB out as both previous ones had the ‘doggie key rings’ removed and then sent on with tag only.  Please geo caches, this is a fun game so don’t spoil it by removing the items attached to the tag.  These things aren’t valuable but are sent on a quest by the owners to watch them go about their mission. 

  • bwweeks5270

    Looking for TBs is difficult at best. Finding specific ones can be nearly impossible. I have a TB Hotel in my front yard and I need to periodically do a TB/Coin inventory and reconcile with the cache description page to correct multiple errors. So many times I am out looking to find a larger cache with TBs in it and I get there and I find nothing trackable at all when there were supposed to be several in there. I try to do a ‘take one/leave one’ so some times I end up hanging on to TBs for a little while longer, but the up-side is that I will never leave a TB in an inappropriate cache just to get rid of it (in a damaged or too small container, one that is easily/often found by muggles, and such). I always log them when found and when dropped off, and make corrections whenever there is an error like when the TB page says it should be somewhere else. I have even made repairs to few TBs that were in bad shape, but only after asking owner’s permission. 

  • ChrisEMT

    I usually give it a couple of weeks after it was last log on the trackables page, just to see if has been seen in the cache, or if it has been picked up by a cacher, I will usually give about a month or so before I send them an email to find out the status of the trackable…. after that, if the cacher still has it in their inventory, I send them a reminder every 2 – 3 months to either drop it in the next available cache or hand it off to another cacher to keep it moving…. then after 6 – 8 months I start to offer to send them a postage paid, self addressed envelope/container so the traveler can be sent back to me….

    I currently have 5 or 6 travelers out there, and 3 are either in a cache and missing in action or lost somewhere along their travels…. 2 are continually moving, and 1 was picked up in 11/2010 and the cacher has yet to move it or answer my emails, so after about 7 or 8 emails I renamed it “still in the hands of *****…… either MIA, LOST, or STOLEN” (no screen names listed to protect the reputation of the cacher, and title of the traveler was also is an approximation for the same reason) and the cacher goes out caching relatively regularly (at least 2 – 3 times a month, and gets caches big enough for the traveler)……

  • Geo&MarTea

    The problem we have with trackables is finding a proper home for them. Many times the caches we visit have had trackables in them that have “disappeared”!!! Our apologies to any owner of a trackable we have in our possesion for holding onto it a little long! But we think the owner would rather us hold it then have it go missing. Are we correct to assume this? We always ‘watchlist”a trackable to make sure it gets retrieved and logged. So far that mission has been accomplished and all the trackables we have dropped in caches have been logged! We have a few now burning a hole in our pockets, and we are on a mission to find them homes in caches that accomplish unmissing and continued travels!

  • Don’t forget that you own your TB numbers forever. If your TB goes missing, simply have another tag made with that number and attach it to something else and re-release it. Much cheaper than buy a new bug. You can buy custom engraved pet tags on eBay for less than $2 or just make your own and laminate it.

  • babaje

    I wonder if the misfortunes experienced by some of our travel bugs and the factors that contribute to them are a reflection such things in the world at large.

  • Farm Filly

    Iive noticed some people do look for caches with collectibles just so they can add to their collection. I read a story about a fellow who works at another geocache site that has big Rubbermaid containers full of trackables. How fair is that? Maybe TB’s, coins etc should only be in premium member caches?! Also we should choose the option to make non-collectible.

  • sarasan

    I agree. I am starting to believe that most TBs end up in someone’s personal trophy collection. Invariably, I drop my TB and whoever takes it does not log that they took it and it vanishes. It is so heartbreaking!