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Plan a scavenger hunt and you’re bound to find the fun in any trip! According to Smithsonian.com, “Whether it’s a search for buried treasure or collectible monsters, scavenger hunts can help players appreciate the world around them by forcing them to consider their surroundings in a new light.” I can’t think of a more entertaining way to add purpose and learn from travel. These party-pleasing excursions are thought to date back to 1930 when a gossip columnist, Elsa Maxwell, conjured up the first wacky go-and-find riddle-based task list in hopes of adding a fun twist to a party. Since then, these brain-teasing missions have evolved to take shape in tons of innovative and entertaining ways

a scavenger hunt

Technology Makes it Even More Fun

GPS and smartphones have taken this game of wit-and-wonder to new heights. Nowadays, many players engage in a few wildly popular versions around the world. Geocachers and Pokemon hunters have a blast scouring the globe, searching for treasures, and exploring new places. Party planners love to follow Elsa’s lead, entertaining guests with themed hunts for every occasion.

Maps and directions are provided to guide you along.

My Favorite App-Led Scavenger Hunts for Finding the Fun

Let's Roam

Let’s Roam tops my list for many reasons. First of all, their motto is “Wander with Purpose.” If you’re a regular reader of Living Learned, you can immediately see that we’re kindred spirits. Boasting, “World’s #1 Scavenger Hunt Company”, makes sense to me, since we definitely found the fun when I gifted my family a game last Christmas. We had a blast exploring Downtown Las Vegas, in a way we never had before. Since they also have a hunt for the Las Vegas Strip, we get to do it again this year!

A quick stop to tie shoes during the hunt.

What I Love About Let’s Roam and Their Scavenger Hunts

I love this company because they offer a wide variety of done-for-you scavenger hunting activities in an even more extensive range of locations. Choose the standard hunt or focus on a specific occasion. Themes include dates for couples, birthday celebrations, bachelor/bachelorette parties, bar crawls and more. The cost per person is incredibly reasonable. Since it’s self-guided and wholly automated through their easy to use app, players can embark on the journey whenever they’d like and move through the challenges at their own pace. Tickets can be used at any time and are valid for up to two (2) years once purchased. Simply log into the account, select your roles (character/avatar), and start the game. This flexibility also makes it ideal for gifting..

Scavenger Hunt Find Fun

Our Scavenger Hunt Turned into a Full Day of Fun

When we played, the game was estimated to take about two hours. Early in the game, one of us was prompted to “snap a picture of a barista on duty”. As a result, we decided to stop for hot chocolate before moving on. Later, we paused our game again to enjoy lunch at a cafe we passed while working to solve one of the riddles. At certain locations, we lingered a bit longer to visit and sightsee. Consequently, our hunt lasted about five hours. We ended up having a full day of fun for less than $15 per person. When we’ve vacationed in the past, we’ve paid hundreds of dollars for excursions and tours.

A Million Dollar Treasure Hunt?

We discovered new details about our city’s landmarks through location-based riddles. Maps and directions guided us as we walked through the streets to specific destinations. (We did get “lost” a few times! It’s all part of the fun.) Once we reached our destination, clues prompted us to find certain areas or attractions to answer specific questions. For example, we were guided to a lesser known treasure hidden inside a 51 year-old casino. Once there, we had to use clues to hunt for a million dollars in cash! A tourist attraction we’d never even knew existed, this pile of cash was neatly stacked behind bullet proof glass. It was right there on display,  just sitting there for all to see. Who knew? The pile was smaller than I would have expected. If you want to see for yourself, get the app and go on the hunt!

No Paying for Picture Packages on this Excursion

Many times, on excursions, you can’t use your phone for one reason or another. As a result, the only way to leave with photographic proof of the event is to buy one of the hosting companies professional bundles. The images are beautiful and definitely capture the adventure, but they can leave a substantial hole in your wallet. You don’t have that issue with a scavenger hunt from Let’s Roam. Photo challenges gave us plenty of chances to snap and share our memories-in-the-making.

It wasn’t until later that I realized these snapshots were all saved to an album in the app within our accounts.

So, we could each go back to reminisce about the fun we’d had. From the app, I was able to save images to my Google Drive where I could open, edit, and print a few for my scrapbook. In the past, we’ve paid lot of money for the “professional” packages offered by excursion hosts. If I had known we could keep the pictures from our hunt, I would have been sure to take better ones. Our next adventure will definitely be better documented.

Time is of the Essence

Timed trivia questions kept us on our toes. Some of these riddles stumped us! The added pressure of the ticking clock created a thrilling sense of urgency. As soon as one of us saw we had a trivia question coming up, it was announced. Everyone stopped walking. We’d gather together in nervous and excited anticipation to try to prepare for the challenge. Questions and challenges were posed to individual players. We were playing against each other and earned points for correct answers. Whoever had the most points at the end of the game, won. However, the timed trivia questions turned us into a team collaborating and helping each other. In the end, we rank as individuals but  also as a team since our collective points were compared to other teams that have completed the hunt.

How the Scavenger Hunt Works

  1. Players choose a City – With 350+ cities to choose from, you can find the fun no matter where you’re planning to go!  
  2. Get tickets – In-app purchases make it easy,  you never have to print a thing.  
  3. Hunt- Compete with your group to solve riddles and challenges while you explore and learn about a destinations local landmarks. 

Fun-Finding Features:

Android + iPhone apps, GPS,

Locations: 350+ cities

Give the gift of adventure!  Give someone the best gift possible: an experience they’ll love! Tickets are valid for up to 2 years from the purchase date and in any city. Enter your information on checkout and on the day of the hunt the recipient will add the group information. After you purchase, you can select from several different printable gift cards. Gift cards are delivered instantly to your email. Multiple tickets can be combined together on registration so the recipient can add friends to their hunt. Choose from several different activities: City Scavenger Hunt, Bar Hunts, and Crawls, Ghost Tours, Date Night Activities, Team Building Activities, Bachelorette Parties, Birthday Parties.

Duration: 1.5-2 hours (estimated)

What to Expect During Your Hunt

You’ll want to bring bottles of water because you’ll be walking. Check the hunt information, because it tells you exactly how far. Ours was 1.7 miles. EAch player will log into the app from their phone. If someone doesn’t have a phone, they can share a device with someone who does. This is great because younger kids who may not have a phone can still play as their own character, and earn their own points.

During your hunt each person will receive messages within the app. These will be photo challenges, trivia, and other activities. Everyone earns their own points because you’re playing against each other, but many of the prompts call for team participation. After completing the game, the team’s final score is ranked against other teams who have played. 

This scavenger hunt gave us a fun and flexible family adventure.

We learned new facts while discovering interesting places. Now, we get tickets for a hunt in each new city we visit. We see it as sort of our “iwelcome guide”. Not only does it give us a purpose while we’re wandering around seeing the sights, but it introduces us to important landmarks and keeps us engaged with one another and our surroundings.

How would you use a scavenger hunt? Would you give tickets as a gift?  Explore someplace new with friends? Or just get out and play tourist in your own hometown? For me, it’s all of the above. 

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and love. My hope is that you will, too! 

Author

Growing through experiential travel.

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