It’s natural for geocachers to want to showcase their accomplishments but all too often that can boil down to simple numbers or statistics. Some geocachers aren’t interested in the number of caches they find but just want to showcase that they attended a special event or found a cache in a different location.
For a number of years, cache owners have created online virtual badges for attendees or finders to display on their profile page. These can range from showcasing attendance of a specific geocaching event to having completed a series of caches. The problem with these is severalfold. They are arbitrary and depend on the cache owner taking the time to create the graphic and provide the code for you to add to your profile. You then need to go in and manually add them, meaning that if you’re not familiar with HTML or web programming languages you can easily get yourself into a mess.
It’s for this reason that Geocaching.com introduced souvenirs. Groundspeak calls these digital postcards but in reality they are similar to the custom badges – a graphical record of your accomplishment collected on a separate tab of your profile.
Souvenirs can relate to a place. This is mostly limited to a country although in the United States there are souvenirs for each state. They can also be awarded for attending a special event, usually a mega or giga event. And there are also a few special souvenirs that Geocaching.com introduces from time to time. These can range from attending one of a special number of space related events to coincide with a trackable being sent into space with an astronaut, or as was the case last summer, participating in the Seven Souvenirs of August promotion where geocachers had to fulfil logging different types of geocaches over the course of the month.
As to how to get a souvenir, it’s pretty easy really. All you need to do is log a qualifying cache. There’s no need to contact a cache owner for some HTML code, or profile page to update. Simply log a qualifying cache and the souvenir will automatically be awarded. For the location based ones, this means just logging a find in that state or country. For the events ones, all you need to do is log an attendance log for the said event. Only with the special ones are there a specific set of criteria, all of which are based on logging certain or specific caches on certain days. However, in these instances, Geocaching.com make an effort to ensure the qualification criteria are made clear.
All in all, it’s so easy that you probably have a bunch of souvenirs and don’t even realise you’ve been awarded them
So why would you be interested in getting a souvenir? Geocaching is full of various stats and numbers. Souvenirs are another way you can showcase your geocaching without descending into a pure numbers game. Plus souvenirs are more based on location than number of finds are.
However, there are a few common mistakes geocachers make when they first come to trying to collect souvenirs. Only a found or attended log will qualify. Some geocachers accidently log a note rather than a find and then wonder why they’ve not been awarded the souvenir. Similarly, some special souvenirs have date restrictions and if you don’t log with the correct date, you may find that the souvenir isn’t awarded. Some geocachers confuse the old-style community made custom badges with souvenirs and then wonder why they’ve not automatically been awarded what they thought a souvenir. This has been confused even more recently, with many Geocachers calling their custom badges, souvenirs also. Geocachers might also find that some of the older co-operative caches or puzzles that rely on geocachers in different countries working together result in a sounvenir being awarded for a country you haven’t technically visited. If this happens, Geocaching.com have the option to hide any single individual souvenir on your profile.
If you’re interested in collecting souvenirs, it’s worth keeping an eye on the official Geocaching.com blog as they will often have notice of any upcoming special souvenirs and how you could qualify. Try and make an effort to support Mega events in your country as these are highly likely to award you with a souvenir for attendance. Finally, if you are travelling or vacationing, try and arrange time in your schedule to find a cache in any country or state you pass through.
Souvenir collecting might not be as numbers driven as chasing number of finds, but it can still be fun to watch the collection on your souvenir page grow over time. Why not see how many you can collect?