A blog with a difference this week. (The catch is .. there’s no caches!… and no pictures either!)
We were recently asked by someone who has just started caching whether they should become a Premium Geocaching Member. We could, of course, just tell them but we thought it would be a good subject for a blog. So please bear with us, and if you are a Premium Geocaching member why not add your comments to the posting!
Premium membership costs in the UK £25-£30 and you get lots of added features – many of which we haven’t used!
1. There are premium member caches.
Near our house possibly 5% of all caches are ‘premium’ caches. Sometimes these are a bit harder to find, but more often than not, they are no different from a ‘standard’ cache.
2. You can award favourites to caches.
Every 10 caches you can award favourite points to caches you’ve visited. We have found over 700 caches, so we can award up to 70 favourite points. We tend to award these for something special or to the first/last cache of a great series. If a cache has a high number of favourite points.. it must be worth visiting ! Its a great way of also thanking the cache owner.
3. Enhanced statistics.
The geocaching website maintains all sorts of statistics about the caches one has found. Not just the number, but the types of terrain, the difficulty, the size of container, and the types of container. If you like statistics Premium membership will probably show what you want to know.
4. Creation of Lists/Pocket Queries
A premium member can create queries or lists of caches that share certain attributes. They be difficulty, perhaps by location (say in a town, or a road). You can also ‘watch’ a cache so that if say, you DNFed it, you might want to ‘watch’ if someone finds it! As an example we have a ‘list’ of puzzle caches we’ve solved but not yet collected.
5. Sorting of caches.
Standard membership shows a geographical list of caches. Premium members can sort the caches by other sequences including difficulty, terrain, date placed etc.
6. Be the first to know of a new cache!
One of the highest accolades is to be the First-to-Find a new cache! Many premium members are alerted of new caches, and set off to find them frequently within minutes of a cache being published.
7. Enhanced information for a cache.
Standard members can only see the last 5 log entries for a cache. Premium members can see all the log entries on http://www.geocaching.com (though not all are shown on a GPS due to space reasons). It is particularly useful to see historic logs, as sometimes there is a little, subtle hint embedded in a log entry which aids the finding of a cache. We also think (we can’t actually remember!), that premium members get to see additional information about a cache available to them when it is downloaded to a GPS (e.g an automatic decode of the hint). This means we don’t take many scraps of paper out with us when we go out caching!
8. Contacting other cachers.
The http://www.geocaching.com website allows a Premium member to message another cacher. We’ve done this a couple of times, notably to maybe see if you can claim a find when the log/cache is missing or seeking assistance with a tricky puzzle cache. You may also remember we solved an Earthcache recently – without the ability of sending our answers to the Cache Owner we would not have been able to claim the find!
The above list is not exhaustive, and we are sure many premium members use lots of features we’ve not mentioned.
Is it worth the £25-£30 a year ? We think so !
Almost forgot there is also a weekly email newsletter too!