Six Reasons I Travel with Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go is a great game for travelersWhen I first heard about the release of Pokémon Go I didn’t pay any attention. I don’t care about video games or imaginary Japanese critters. Why would I want to travel with Pokémon Go?

Turns out there are several reasons to travel with Pokémon Go. I get that I am a middle aged woman who should think Pokémon is silly, but so are Facebook and sit coms and I still stare at those. At least this gets us outside.

What is Pokémon Go?

If you aren’t familiar with the Pokémon Go app, I’ll give you a quick overview. Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game. Got it? Just kidding. It’s an app you download on your phone. In the Pokémon game, you walk around trying to catch Pokémon (the little Japanese critters I mentioned). There are Pokémon all over the world, you just can’t see them unless you have the app. You go to PokéStops to get more Poké Balls and other items you need for catching Pokémon. There’s more to it than that, and you can read about it here.


Reasons I Travel with Pokémon Go

Even if I wasn’t interested, my kids were, so I decided to check it out. They don’t have a device that they can play Pokémon games on, so it had to happen on my phone.

Kids Become the Teachers

It turns out Pokémon Go is even fun for parents. It gives the boys and I something to do together that we all enjoy. We do lots of things together so it’s not like I needed another bonding activity, but this is different. They know way more than me about Pokémon from collecting Pokémon cards and researching it online. There is a lot more to Pokémon than I ever want to know, but it’s nice for them to be the experts on something and me to be the student.

We get outside

Pokémon Go gets us out the door and exploring the places we’ve traveled to. You have to walk around to find Pokémon and PokéStops. Sometimes a kid needs motivation beyond the love of walking or sightseeing to get out the door and explore. Looking for a Squritle or Jigglypuff can be that motivation.

Explore new places

Pokémon Go leads us to interesting places. We might not set out to learn something, but the PokéStops and gyms are almost always at landmarks or roadside attractions. The stops and gyms were created using data from a game called Ingress. The portals in Ingress are sights with historical or cultural significance. Other locations were chosen based on geo-tagged photos from Google – places like Dry Falls State Park in Washington. In Florence our favorite wine and potato chip spot was right next to a plaque that we didn’t pay any attention to (there are a lot of plaques in Florence!) until we realized it was a Pokéstop. Then we Googled it and learned a little something.

Meet the locals

In Hvar, Croatia we were playing Pokéman Go in the town square when a group of boys came over and asked if we were trying to take over their gym. Yes, we were. We started talking to them, learned a little about living in a little town on an island in the Adriatic Sea. We even got some good playing tips from them. At the Salzburg Christkindl Market outside Mirabell Gardens, we were sipping glüwien while we waited for our bus. A young couple (he was German, she Canadian) started talking to us and we ended up on Pokémon Go. They pointed us to a Charmander nest in the gardens and filled Henry in on where he could take the kids to see Rogue One in English. We chatted with them for half an hour. Pokémon Go gives us a common topic we can use to strike up conversations with people of all ages.Pokemon Go is for kidsPokemon Go helps us meet the locals

Exercise mind and body

We walk more. I would walk all the time; I love walking. Anders probably would, too. Having the goal of catching Pokémon gets the boys and I moving even more, because we’ve “got to catch them all!” Plus, we need to walk between 2-10 kilometers to hatch our eggs or get extra candies for specific Pokémon. Walking is good exercise for the body, but it’s also really good for the mind. I’m just thinking about the kids’ health here.

It’s fun

It’s fun to play and the Pokémon are cute (except for those Ratatas – I hate those things). I didn’t expect to like playing as much as I do. Sometimes I even play a little when I am alone. It’s a big scavenger hunt and there are so many Pokémon scattered all over the globe. Whenever we catch a new one, we are so excited. It’s the thrill of the chase and the thrill of the catch.


And if I ever get tired of Pokémon Go, I can always switch to Chardonnay Go. (I’m waiting for the Shiraz update to come out.)

22 thoughts on “Six Reasons I Travel with Pokémon Go

  1. Only By Land

    I’m a 37 year old man and I love Pokemon Go. Because I travel a lot I’m a very advanced player. You’re kids must love you for taking them everywhere to play. It’s a great way to meet locals, just don’t play it whilst driving!

    1. Mel Post author

      We are on foot or public transportation, so problem with driving while playing! I do like to play on the bus when it is slowly moving through a city — tons of PokeStops and I can even catch a few Pokemon.

  2. Rhiannon

    Pokemon Go is the best!! Honestly, I’m quite shy when it comes to integrating with locals, but Pokemon Go cleared that right up for me! I was in Mexico City back in August walking around one of the massive plazas. It was absolutely littered with Gyms and Pokestops and right in the middle there was some sort of Pokemon Go gathering, where tons of people had all come out to play together. Of course I joined in and had an absolute blast! I’m 24, single and childless so I can’t even begin to imagine how great it would be with kids!!

    1. Mel Post author

      I was surprised and delighted to find out how many other people are playing. And it’s turned out to be a great introduction to more conversation.

  3. LC of Birdgehls

    I LOVED Pokémon as a kid (in fact, Pokémon Go is pretty much my childhood fantasy come to life) but I never got into the Pokémon Go craze. Although on read this, maybe it’s time to indeed, give it a Go! Haha and hope the shiraz version comes out soon, that would be my preference too. 😀

  4. kathy (from walkaboutwanderer.com)

    This is such an interesting read as I wrote a post called ‘Pokemon please go’. As a single female with no children and not really into games, I discussed my feelings of Pokemon go in the post. Not criticising users but more to try and understand it myself. I am very open minded.
    Your reasons for using Pokemon Go are all valid. It is so much better than sitting inside and playing computer / phone games. Also with having something to talk about with others. Thank you for educating me further into the reasons for choosing to use Pokemon Go.
    I hope you catch them all 🙂

    1. Mel Post author

      Glad I swayed you! Just kidding. Pokemon Go isn’t for everyone, and it’s definitely not for all the time, but it can be fun!

  5. Katie

    I definitely prefer the Chardonnay version of this game! It is great you can explore with your kids whilst playing this though 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  6. Bhushavali

    Its pretty cool! Even I too didn’t bother much about Pokemon Go for long. Its really very hooking once you start using it, so I ended uninstalling the app soon after I installed it!

  7. Tracy

    I totally agreed with you the benefits of playing Pokemon-Go. Haha..let’s move our body! But as long as as we are not too addicted into it, it is still a great game.

  8. Fiona Mai

    I wasn’t really keen on Pokemon Go but your photos of the children with the Pokemon look really cute haha. Yes I agree that it’s fun to bump into other chasers and also it’s good for exercising as well. 🙂

  9. Leah

    I’m so glad you decided to cover Pokemon Go! I think it’s so fun to put it in the perspective of playing while traveling. I think you’re totally right about being able to make connections abroad through the game!

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