Are you planning a virtual trip? My first virtual trip online brought me to New York City with the clear goal of unlocking a good number of Foursquare badges – 10 in that instance. I’ve since accomplished 2 other such online expeditions; one in Chicago, Pennsylvania and a return trip to NYC – each unlocking many Foursquare badges.
Before you embark on such a trip, you’ll need a minimum of planning. The first item to consider though is time zones. I’m situated in the Eastern Time zone. If I want to make a check-in to the central, mountain or Pacific Time zones, I need to consider the time difference. For example, let’s say I check in at Montreal Trudeau Airport at 16:00 and want to make a check in 20 minutes later; you can if you’re in the same time zone. However if your next check in is at Chicago O’Hare, you’ll need to wait 1 hour and 20 minutes. And so on for however far you wish to go. So this trip to California required a minimum 3 hours and 20 minutes wait. If you don’t wait, you’ll be checked-in but it won’t count towards points on the weekly leaderboard, or for mayorships or badges.
Also you’ll need an objective. Do you know which badges you want to unlock? Which mayorships you want to gain? You’ll need some sort of itinerary.
I began my trip in California with the goal of earning badges in San Diego, Los Angeles, Stanford and San Francisco : Superman, hopefully the Super Swarm at the same time (San Diego Comic Con), Stanford, Banksy, IFC, Bart (at least start it – it requires at least 10 checkins) and word towards the VH1 and Bon Appétit badges.
Here are the badges I earned between July 23rd and 25th 2010.
- Welcome to Metropolis. The Superman badge was available only if you made a checkin at the San Diego Comic-Con 2010, between July 22 and 25 in San Diego.
- Super Swarm – you need to check in with 250 persons at the same venue. The Swarm (regular) requires only 50 other people checked in at the same place and time. This one was obtained at Comic-Con 2010.
- VH1 – 3 checkins in concert halls identified by VH1 – unlocked at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
All the other badges I was looking for took a lot more time than I’d anticipated. Banksy for example I’d tried in New York with no success and tried it here (following all the instructions) as well (4x) without success. It might have only been available for a very short time. The same goes for the IFC badge which requires 3 checkins. However I’ve got at least 12 checkins… I have the same situation with the Stanford badge. Probably these require checkins on particular days or after a certain time (locally) – some instruction that I haven’t yet found on other Foursquare help sites.
So I decided to prolong my trip and see what else I can unlock on the West Coast. I made some check-ins in Portland Oregon to further my progress with Bon Appetit and IFC as well as in Vancouver for the Translink and TLC badges. I came back down to San-Francisco to complete (I hope) some of the badges I’m after. While I’m there I’ll make a 2nd checkin at some venues to earn a mayorship while they’re easy pickings.
Extending a virtual trip doesn’t cost you any extra money (luckily) for hotel or restaurants. However it does stop you from doing your regular legitimate checkins and thus can cost you some very real mayorships. I lost 5 mayorships this time around, most were those I’m most attached to…, but as we say, easy come, easy go.
Here are the badges my trip extension earned me on July 26-29 and August 12-15, 2010, which also took me to Chicago:
- All Right Now: 5 checkins on the Stanford University campus near San Francisco.
- Transit Champion: 10 check-ins at various Vancouver transit stations
- Alli After Dark: you’ll need 2 checkins at specified venues (by Mountain Dew) after 21:00. Venues are mostly located around Boston and Chicago, this one obtained in Chicago.
- Six Flags Funatic: 10 checkins at any US Six Flags amusement park. These of course exclude the one in Canada (La Ronde) and Mexico. This one unlocked at the Great America Park north of Chicago.
- Warhol: you need to visit 10 distinct art galleries – this one obtained in East Java, near Chicago
- Pizzaiolo: you need to visit 20 different pizza restaurants – this one also achieved in Chicago
As you see, I made a few checkins in Chicaco (Central Time) between my regular Easter Time zone checkins and my virtual trip in the Pacific Time Zone. There I also furthered checkins towards TLC, IFC, Dew Tour and Bon Appetit.
This trip experiment kept on going on the weekend of August 27-30. I still needed 1 badge I wanted to unlock in San Francisco, but new badges poped up at the University of Arizona (Mountain Time):
- College Book Worm: 1 checkin to a library identified by Arizona University after midnight (local time).
- Trainspotter: Theoretically, you need 10 checkins at identified San Francisco area BART stations. It took me 20 checkins…
- Bon Appetit Navigator Badge: 10 checkins to different world renowned burger joints across the globe identified by Bon Appetit magazine – this one obtained at The Grind in Pheonix.
- College Explorer: 10 checkins on the Arizona University campus – it took me at least 30x.
- Smells Like School Spirit: 5 checkins to sport related venues around Arizona University.
- Note that there are a few other Arizona University badges that I haven’t managed to unlock despite doing twice the required checkins…
I invite you to consult my other virtual trip posts from New York and Chicago, as well as to learn more about Foursquare; how it works, available resources, its numerous usage stats,) and to become my friend on Foursquare.