Pokémon Go: How Travellers Can Be the Ultimate Trainers

Written by: Dave Owen

Become the Best There Ever Was

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Pokémon Go lately. It’s a new mobile game that uses your phone’s GPS, camera, and mobile internet to bring Pokémon into the real world. By exploring around you, you can catch wild Pokémon, level them up, and battle them at famous landmarks.

It sounds simple, but within a week it’s basically taken over the world, as people seek to capture every Pokémon and become more powerful than their rivals.

We think the nature of the app means travellers are in the perfect position to become the ultimate Pokémon masters, like no one ever was. Here’s why.

Different destinations are home to different Pokémon

Pokemon Go Squirtle

The type of Pokémon you’ll find depends on what type of environment you’re exploring. Cities are populated by Pidgeys and Rattatas, while the countryside is home to Grass types, lakes and rivers home to Water types, etc.

While many people are stuck in one environment, travellers are always exploring different terrain, giving them the chance to mop up the local digital fauna.

Further, many Pokémon are seemingly native to different countries. Australia is riddled with Ekans’ (a snake, fittingly), but you’ll struggle to find one in England, for example. Backpackers often visit a new country every few days, giving them unprecedented access to the whole Pokémon bestiary.

Landmarks are important

Landmarks play a central role in Pokémon Go. Smaller sites are designated as ‘Pokéstops’ – visiting them gives you important items. As a traveller you’re probably going to be seeing a lot of landmarks, so you’re never going to be short of Poké Balls.

Bigger landmarks are designated as gyms. The goal here is to claim a gym for your chosen team – red, blue, or yellow. Battle and defeat the Pokémon stationed at a gym, and then deploy your own there to defend it.

Many people will only have a gym or two within easy reach. As a traveller on the move, you might see 10 in a day, allowing you to cut a swath of destruction through the Pokémon world.

You need to walk a lot

Pokemon Go walking

In a rare move for a video game, the whole point of Pokémon Go is to make you go outdoors. Not only will you need to walk a lot to find wild Pokémon, but it’s also the only way to hatch eggs you’ll pick up along the way.

These hatch only after you’ve walked a certain distance – 2km, 5km, or 10km. These distances could take some people days to cover, but many travellers will manage them in an afternoon. You’ll be hatching Pokémon so quickly you won’t know what to do with them.

It’s a great way to socialise

Pokémon Go is only officially available in a handful of countries, and within a few days it’s basically changed how society functions. It isn’t just dominating the internet; crowds of people have been gathering in public spaces to search and take on gyms together. It’s kind of a social phenomenon.

Pokemon Go gathering in Central Park

This gives travellers another advantage. Socialising and befriending strangers is a skill every backpacker learns, and with those social skills it should be easy to put together a roving band of Pokémon Masters.

Travellers have a lot of down time

While travelling over a long period of time you’ll have spells where you’re super busy, and spells where you’re a little bored. Overnight buses and severe hangovers are crucial to the backpacking experience. You need something to keep you occupied in that down time.

Enter Pokémon Go. That down time represents prime Pokémon hunting hours. While everybody else is at work, you’ll be raising an unstoppable army of Zubats to take over the world.

Pokémon Go is totally free (with optional in-app purchases) and available on iOS and Android, in a staggered launch around the world.

A warning: please be careful when you’re playing Pokémon Go in public. Stay aware of your surroundings, and don’t go trespassing in pursuit of rare Pokémon!

We think Pokémon Go is so perfect for travellers, we might just add it to our list of the best travel apps for travellers.

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