Hitchhiking can be an affordable and exciting way to see many countries, where it is deemed safe to do so. Here are hitchhiking tips to help you on your way.
1. Travel in Pairs
If you are travelling through a foreign country it is always a good idea to do so in pairs – especially if you are hitchhiking and if you are a group of girls travelling together, it is a good idea to double that number as well. Check out one of the best resources for hitch hikers, written by hitch hikers from all over the world - hitchwiki.org
2. Stick to the Road Most Traveled
Discovering and exploring the world around you is one thing, but when you are hitchhiking, it is much safer to stick to popular travel routes than stand on the side of the road in a deserted one horse town where the horse is nowhere to be seen. Busy roads and main routes are a great pick.
3. Make Signs
Standing on the side of the road with your thumb out is something drivers see all the time, but seeing a brightly colored, funky, and humorous sign could be the difference they stop for you or carry on driving. Even a sign with one word or your desired destination works too; just pack some writing tools to take with you before you leave home.
4. Learn the Lingo
Even if you are rubbish at learning a foreign language, take the time to learn a few words like please and thank you. If you are really stuck, you are in luck, the 21st century has brought us all kinds of cool gadgets for our Smartphones and you could be conversing at the touch of the button. Check out your intercontinental translator and phrasebook here.
5. Trust Your Instincts
If somebody stops to pick you up and you suddenly feel unsure or nervous - trust your instincts and don’t feel afraid to say no. A few minutes of embarrassment as opposed to getting yourself into a situation that you are going to find difficult to get out of or one that will find yourself at risk is much easier to swallow than you think and it’s not at all cowardly. Just say NO!
If you have actually climbed in a car already and start to feel unsure or unsafe as you go along and want to get out, this can be a tricky one if you smell trouble. The easiest way to get the driver to stop and let you out really quickly is to tell them you are going to be sick, once you are out of the car keeling over, tell them thanks but they don’t need to wait and make your way quickly away from the car.
7. Dress Appropriately
You are going to have less chance of getting a lift dressed in black with chains or wearing a skull and cross bones t-shirt. Also if you have been wearing white and been on the side of the road for some time, you are going to get dirty really quickly – also diminishing your chances of being picked up.
8. Get a Good Map
An up to date map is an indefensible travel tool when hitchhiking. This will help you find a suitable route, that is quick and will prevent you from getting lost too many times. You can download up to date apps for the area on your phone if you can’t get a local map, but no matter where you get one from, just don’t leave home without one.
9. Travel during the Day
One of the best hitchhiking tips is to make sure you travel during daylight and get to where you are going before the sun goes down. It is obviously safer and you will have much less chance of getting lost this way. Pick up other hitch hiking tips here.
10. Love the Rain
Don’t let a thunderstorm put you off – drivers will feel much more sorry for you if you are standing sopping wet in the rain alongside the road and you will more than likely be able to get a lift much quicker in bad weather.