How Long Should A Treasure Hunt Last?

(This article is a continuation of our Adventure Treasure Hunts 101 -
The FREE Course
series. To start from the beginning, click HERE.)

Getting the timing down for a treasure hunt can be challenging because you don't REALLY know how long it will take your participants without a test run. In a perfect world, you'll have the hunt done way in advance with enough time to send a sample test group through your hunt for testing… however, in the real world we're typically a bit more scrambling to get everything done closer to the actual day of the event. Here are at least some things to keep in mind when you are considering the timing of the treasure hunt:

A treasure hunt can be as short as you like…however, your guests won't forgive you if it's too long. I wouldn't go longer than 1.5 hours if on foot and 2 hours in a car. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm suggesting hitting those numbers…I'm only saying that in my experience ANYTHING over those times and you'll run into some tired hunters. Unless you have an AMAZINGLY original hunt, for best results I would stick to 1 hour for walking treasure hunts and 1.25 for driving ones.

Walk/drive your hunts to see how much actual driving is involved. Sometimes routes seem like they are easy to travel…but once they're driven it could prove to the contrary.

When trying to gauge the amount of time it will take your AVERAGE adventurer to go through your hunt, consider their physical capabilities. Will your guests be college students who will be running from location to location or will they be middle aged adults who might prefer a more leisurely pace?

If you've provided puzzles for your hunters to solve, consider giving them to a friend to sample to see how long it will take them to figure it out. Additionally, this will help you test out your puzzles to catch any errors you might have made in the puzzle design.

Some final words on timing. Be aware of the starting time. Have a timeline so you and your volunteers know exactly when everything will start and finish. People will always be late. Being on time should be the most emphasized detail when communicating to your guests. Explain to them that it is imperative that nobody be 'fashionably late.' Another trick is to plan a small hors d'oeuvre or activity BEFORE the treasure hunt begins. Then, if someone is late, they may miss something, but it will not be the hunt. Why is it so important that nobody is late? Imagine you pull 50 participants together and explain the rules to everyone on how to navigate through the treasure hunt that you've created. You then spend time making sure that everyone is on a team. You have a small little dramatic presentation to kick off your adventure for everyone to see and get a better understanding of what they are dealing with. You have answered questions and everyone is ready. The teams set out and the adventure begins!esnter the town and your adventure begins! So far, it's a success. Then, suddenly, two late guests and really want to join in. Everyone has left and you can't pair them up with any other team. They are full of questions, all of which were asked by others when you explained the rules the first time. Do what you need to do to make sure that when you begin introducing the activity, everyone who is going to participate is present, attentive, and ready.

Want to make the treasure hunt process even easier? Consider our treasure hunt puzzles collections! They contain individual puzzles that were designed to be INSERTED to a treasure hunt you are creating - mini activities to give your adventurers something more than just reading rhyming clues! With dozens of themes to choose from, we've done what we can to make the treasure hunt planning process as easy as possible without sacrificing creativity! Click HERE to see our adventure themes!