Things you should avoid doing in Pokemon Go

In just under a week, Pokémon Go was downloaded an estimated 7.5 million times in the U.S. alone. Fans have gone wild for the augmented-reality game, which sends potential trainers out into their neighborhoods and communities on a quest to catch 'em all. The massive popularity of the app means there's already been abundant feedback from the player base about problems with the game. We've prepared a list of some of those problems, as well as a few real-life issues that trainers have encountered along the way.

Don't hold on to those extra Pidgeys, but keep catching them anyway

If you play frequently, you probably have a lot of extra Pidgeys and Rattatas knocking around. Did you know that you can exchange them for something better? Tap on a critter in your bag to view its details, then scroll down. You'll see a "Transfer" button. Tap this to transfer the Pokémon to Professor Willow—you cannot undo this process, so proceed carefully. He will graciously give you one species-specific candy in exchange. You also get three candy every time you catch a new companion. You use candy to power-up and evolve your Pokémon. This means that if you catch and transfer about 19 Pidgeys, you will have enough candy to evolve the 20th one all the way to Pidgeot.

Don't evolve a Pokémon without a Lucky Egg

While we're on the topic of evolution, you should always have a Lucky Egg active before you evolve a Pokémon. Lucky Eggs are different from regular eggs, and don't require an incubator. They are a consumable item you can receive from visiting Pokéstops or via the store. Lucky Eggs give you double XP for 30 minutes—use one to maximize the experience points you get from the evolution process. Ideally, you'll want to have enough candy on hand to evolve several of your Pokémon in a row. Go to your items menu and select a Lucky Egg, then tap it on your screen to activate it. Next, start evolving! Instead of the 500 XP you'd normally get from evolving a Pokémon, you'll get 1000 XP a pop.

Don't waste your consumable items

The first lesson we learned when playing Pokémon Go is that timed consumable items run on real time, not in-game time. If you use one of these items and the game crashes for an hour, you'll log back in to find your buff already expired. Don't use an Incense, Lure Module, or Lucky Egg unless you have thirty minutes available to make the most of it.

Don't trespass on Private Property

Game developers Niantic are not new to the augmented-reality genre. In their previous release, Ingress, users are encouraged to visit and claim local points of interest for their team, and these points of interest were re-used by Niantic when developing the locations for Pokémon Go. As longtime Ingress players, we can attest to numerous portals that are inaccessible, inaccurate, or located on private property. Don't risk the wrath of property owners or the authorities by trying to reach these same locations in Pokémon Go.

While we're on the subject of Ingress, you should definitely download that game if you enjoy Pokémon Go. You can switch between the apps at every Pokéstop and Gym to double your fun by also capturing or linking their portals in Ingress. We won't tell you which team to join—*cough, Enlightened, cough*—but we know you won't regret it. If you'd like an (optional) invite code to the game, drop @claireducky a line on Twitter and she'll be happy to throw one your way.

Don't forget to plan your route

One major drawback of Pokémon Go is the lack of an in-game or online mapping tool. Several unofficial maps have sprung up, but none are as complete or as easy to use as the official map made for Ingress. As we mentioned before, every Pokéstop and Gym was previously an Ingress portal, so using the Ingress online intel tool is the easiest way to access that information. Even if you don't plan on playing Ingress, download the game and sign up for an account. Remember your account information, then visit this link. Once you enter your credentials, you'll be able to browse every Ingress portal in the world. Zoom in to street level to see portal details and names by clicking on them. While this tool can't tell you whether a portal is a Pokéstop or a Gym in Pokémon Go, or which team currently owns a Gym, it's definitely the best way to check out which locations are closest to you.

Don't catch and drive

This sounds like it should be obvious, but we can't count the number of people we've already spotted swiping away with their Pokéballs at stoplights—and even on the highway. While the interface allows you to catch wild Pokémon at any speed, is it really worth the risk? Other game functions are speed-locked. You can't interact with Gyms or Pokéstops unless you're close to them, and kilometers trekked only count towards your egg incubation if you're going less than 10 mph. You should only be driving to get to your location, then get out and get some exercise. That's the point of the entire game, after all.

Don't ignore your surroundings

Despite the warning when you launch the game to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, tons of trainers have learned this lesson the hard way. From twisted ankles to bruised shins and broken feet, many Pokémon Go players have had close encounters with trees, curbs, and even ditches because they weren't paying attention to where they were walking. If things keep going on this way, we won't be surprised to hear about a trainer walking off a cliff or bridge because their eyes were glued to their phone.

Don't get lured into a real-life trap

Here's the most important thing to keep in mind while playing Pokémon Go: the app's been downloaded by millions of people already, and not all of those trainers are going to be particularly good people. This has already become an issue in the week since the game launched. Criminals in O'Fallon, Missouri used the game to draw unsuspecting players into a trap. The criminals placed lure modules on Pokéstops in remote locations and waited for trainers to show up in order to rob them. While these armed robbers were caught by police, there's every chance that other predators may use similar tactics in the future. No matter the time of day, approach all Pokéstops and Gyms with caution—especially those in bad neighborhoods or off the beaten path. Don't blindly wander into a location without checking the area out first. If something seems fishy, just leave. The location isn't going anywhere, and you can always come back another time. Above all, stay safe, friends—don't let the desire to catch 'em all get you into serious trouble.