The Etiquette of Geocaching

As an etiquette expert, everyone expects you to know every possible etiquette “rule”.  However, while giving a recent presentation, I must admit, during the question and answer session, I was stumped.  One of the audience members asked, “Did I know what the proper protocol or etiquette rules for geocaching are.”  Hmmmm!  Geocaching?  I responded that since it was late in the evening, I asked for her e-mail and I told her I would forward her the information.  Now for the hard part– not only what geocaching is but if there were any specific rules of etiquette for it.

The information that I “uprooted” (sic) was to my chagrin very informative and introduced me to a whole new sport of fun, excitement and exercise. Geocaching pronounced, geo-cashing, is a world-wide high-tech game of hide and seeking. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache.

This intriguing new world is complete with not only formal etiquette rules but its own terminology and acronyms such as muggles and hitchhikers aka travel bugs.  The thing that surprised me the most was that there is a large active geocaching community locally and nationally.  In fact, I set out on my own geocaching quest and found my first cache at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Forest: N 30° 30.609 W 090° 27.838  For this one, I was informed via online that I will want to BYOP (Bring Your Own Pencil) so that I can place TFTH (Thanks For The Hide).

 So far all my geocachers and future geocachers here are a few etiquette tips so that you can be respectful not only to others but also to “Mother Nature.”

  • Rule 1:  First and Foremost is safety.  Do not place cache in places that could lead to dangerous situations such as railroad tracks to places covered in poison ivy. Regardless of whether you are a novice or seasoned scout, make sure that you are always aware of your surroundings and if possible use the buddy system.
  • Rule 2:  Never place cache higher than 6 feet or requires scouts to swim from shore.
  • Rule 3:  Always respect the environment. This includes not placing the container in sensitive ecosystems, historical or archeological sites.  A good scout always helps their environment by picking-up and discarding trash along their trail.
  • Rule 4:  Respect private property. Get permission from land managers to use parks, scout camps, etc.  Since local laws may vary, check first to see if it is permissible to place in wildlife refugee, national and local parks.  Off limits are in and near military bases, elementary and secondary school property.
  • Rule 5:  Always follow the Golden Rule. Treat fellow geocachers with the same respect you would demand, and have fun!!!!! 

Now that you know what is expected from you in geocaching, go download a mobile phone app, go to to find your waypoint for the nearest cache, and I will see you at the closest virtual cache.  Oh, be sure to be watch out for the muggles :0)

Suzanne Zazulak Pedro, CPC

The Protocol Praxis, LLC

Advant Garde Etiquette

[email protected]