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Traffic Control in a Treasure Hunt

Depending on the number of people participating in your treasure hunt and the size of the playing area, numerous problems can arise in dealing with the flow of people during the treasure hunt itself. In this article we'd like to address some of the potential issues that can come up during a treasure hunt as well as some things you can do to prepare for them.

~ For larger groups, do what you can to create easy flow in/out at the different stops. Whenever possible, provide a separate entrance and exit into the room or space. If not, you'll find congestion when people are trying to go in and out of the same door or hallway at the same time. If the treasure hunt is in a race style format, this can be even more problematic as accidents can happen when participants are squeezing by each other at a running pace.

~ Station volunteers at key points of the treasure hunt who can monitor the safety of certain situations as well as the integrity of any clues that you have hidden. If some 'smart' treasure hunter chooses to move one of your clues in an effort to be cute, you could be facing a large build up of lost players at a certain stop. Having someone stationed there will help.

~ Get a good feel for the actual path of the treasure hunt you're creating…especially if it will be all on foot and there's a lot of walking. Keep in mind that typically the older the participant, the more leisurely the pace with which they'll prefer to take on the hunt. Additionally, the younger the participant, the more that physical activity will be appreciated…but that also means more space will be needed.


Probably the number one question we've fielded from folks over the years is how to deal with a linear treasure hunt and the problem of everyone running to the same stops at the same time. It can create HUGE congestion at the very beginning and the participants find themselves following the pack rather than solving any of the puzzles or completing the activities on the way. Although it can take a lot of experience to create and design hunts to handle these types of problems, here are some simpler suggestions that can get you started:

~ Stagger the treasure hunters as they begin the actual hunt. Allow for a 2-3 minute break in between each team heading for the first clue.

~ Provide an activity or challenge that the teams/participants must complete before they are given their first clue. Once the task is completed and is verified by you or another volunteer, the team is given the first clue and they can head out. This will create a natural staggering of the participants from the beginning.

~ This solution can be tricky, but once you fully understand the concept it can be a life saver with larger groups. Create a loop to your treasure hunt rather than something linear.
By this we mean making sure that the last stop on the treasure hunt will actually lead them to the first stop. Now, how does this work if it loops them back? Well, the solution lay in your design and the instructions you give at the beginning of the hunt to the participants. Explain that each team/player will be given a different place to start the treasure hunt. They are to visit every stop along the hunt path (be sure to tell them how many stops to expect) and when they've finished, they are to meet at a separate location. With this type of format, you can have them collect different items from each location, stamps on a card, etc. so that they can verify that they indeed did stop at each location. This option can also work well for those teams that get stuck at a certain point in the hunt…they'll already know where to go at the end and they can head there in the event of an emergency, etc.