Is It Worth Paying For Geocaching? You May Be Surprised!

Is It Worth Paying For Geocaching

Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity that you can do absolutely do for free. But what about the premium app version…Is it worth paying for?

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It is worth paying for geocaching if you have enjoyed using the free version. The new types of caches, the increased number of caches, and the special features all make the premium account well worth the cost.

There is plenty to enjoy in basic geocaching, but you are also locked out of many caches and many special features. Unlocking these new caches and the special features with a premium membership is the key to taking your geocaching fun to the next level.

If you look at your basic app screen, it’s common to see that more than half of the caches are greyed out and unavailable to you. Premium unlocks all of these.

At the basic level, you are limited both in the difficulty of finding the caches and in the types of terrain where they are hidden. At the premium level, caches in much more challenging and remote terrain are available to you, and they may be far better hidden.

Premium Has New Types of Caches

Basic geocaches all follow a simple pattern. Their symbol is a green circle containing a white box. They are usually a small sealable container of some type.

Inside the cache is a paper log for you to sign when you find it, along with whatever trinkets people have left there for fun. You can take an item and leave one of your own if you want to.

Once you find it and replace it in its hiding place, that’s pretty much all you can do. The different types of premium-level caches add so much more. Here are just a few of them to give you an idea of how much they add to the experience.

Mystery Cache

This symbol is a blue circle with a white question mark. This may involve different types of puzzles that you need to solve to get the proper coordinates, or maybe the starting point for an entirely unknown challenge.

Earth Cache

The Earth Cache looks like the Earth with a chunk cut out of it. Instead of taking you to a cache box, this takes you to an interesting natural feature. In order to get credit, you need to answer some questions based on your observation of the site.


This appears as an orange circle with two white boxes. Multi-caches involve two or more sites, with the logbook at the final location. Each step will contain directions to the next site.

This just scratches the surface of what is available for premium cache types, but it should give an idea of the much more varied experience you can have.

Premium Features

There are a lot of premium features that make geocaching a whole different experience as well. At the basic level, you get messaging and worldwide search, which lets you search for caches. Here is just a sample of what you can do:

Download Maps For Offline Use

This is probably the single biggest upgrade of all the features. Now, if you are going to be searching for a cache that is out of range of good cell or wifi service, you can download the map to your mobile device and continue to search.

You can also send the map to your handheld GPS. This allows you to hunt for much more remote caches without worrying about running out of signal.

New Geocache Notifications

Premium gives you immediate notifications when a new cache is created in your area. If you have found everything around you, this gives you something new to do close to home.

In addition to the honor of being the first finder, geocache creators may leave a small prize for the first person to find it, so this gives you a leg up!

Caches Along Routes

If you are going on a trip, this feature will tell you where to find caches near your route of travel. It can be a great way to take a break on a long drive.

Basic vs Premium

Below is a list of what’s included in the basic (free) and paid premium geocaching accounts:

Basic member geocachesYesYes
Advanced caches on mobileNoYes
All geocache types on mobileNoYes
Premium only geocachesNoYes
Member messagingYesYes
World searchYesYes
Advanced filteringNoYes
Offline mapsNoYes
Award favoritesNoYes
Create listsNoYes
More map typesNoYes
Geocache notificationsNoYes
Advanced statisticsNoYes
Integrate with Garmin unitsNoYes
Pock queriesNoYes
Show cache along the routeNoYes

Geocaching Premium Costs

The cost of the premium plan is $29.99 per year, paid in full (which equals $2.50 per month). If you prefer to pay monthly, premium access is $5.99 per month.

On the surface, that may sound like a lot…but is it really? I mean, I can’t think of many hobbies that cost less than a lunch for an entire month.

You can always sign up for the monthly plan at $5.99, and try it out. If you decide you don’t like it, no big deal just cancel, and your only out $5.99

Final Thoughts

One of the big benefits of geocaching as a hobby is that it can be done at almost no cost. Millions of people all over the world use the free version to geocache (so did I for many years!).

But if you want to take your hobby to the next level, and unlock premium features and specialized cache types consider paying for the premium version.

I hope this article provided you some answers, now get outdoors and enjoy this fun hobby!

See Also: What’s better for Geocaching…GPS or Smartphone?