Hitchhiking has an uncanny allure to all of those intrepid adventurers who want to experience all that life has to offer while traveling around the world. Any world traveler will tell you that the best part of their adventuring was the unplanned bits, when things didn’t go as initially organized and they had to come up with plan b – like hitching a lift when their rental broke down in the rain and a passing truck loaded with nuns on their way to a Church Camp gave them a lift in the real middle of nowhere in the back of beyond in Bolivia.
Getting along and enjoying the ride
Some travelers have even been able to tour entire countries without spending a cent on transport, hired cars, trains, buses, trams or boats – they just hitched a lift wherever their journeys took them. And in some countries, it is very easy to get around by hitchhiking alone and in fact, is a popular commuter travel choice. It’s best to embrace the adventure because no good story ever started without a good hitchhiking tale.
Remember though - it doesn’t mean that anybody who stops to give you a lift is going to have an air-conditioned seat for you with a sparkling bottle of Evian to share. You could be thrown on the back of a truck with some goats or ducks, launched onto the handlebars of a bicycle, parcels and all or onto a rickshaw, back of a motorbike (along with a chicken or two) or even the chance to hop aboard something not quite that different from a wheelbarrow or a tractor.
The thrills of hitchhiking
Part of the sheer fascination travelers have with hitchhiking is the unknown. I mean where else in the world could you expect to get a lift with other locals, live animals, packing crates, plants, fruit or fish without another tourist in sight? And, there are no 2 places that are the same or that you will have the same experience on your journey from point A to point B.
Hitchhiking is a great way to make loads of new friends, meet people from all corners of the earth and to get where you need to be without spending any money or as little as possible. And, there are many times when it is not that exciting at all – there could be long waits – or walks – between getting dropped off and even seeing another soul who would be willing to give you a lift.
But this is all part and parcel of the great around the world adventure and you are guaranteed to collect a lifetime of memories, laughs, and friends.
Some basic hitchhiking tips
1. The Legals
Depending on what country you are in, you may want to check up on the legality of it all –nothing like an adventure completely ruined when you are picked up by the local police and arrested for breaking the law; maybe not the kind of adventure you imagined to be in for when you started out for sure.
Listen to your instincts – If it feels wrong it usually is; don’t get in or get out as soon as possible.
3. Look after Your Stuff
Keep your belongings on your person – if your bag is deposited in a boot of a car, wave goodbye to it.
4. Where Are You?
Pick your location well – don’t stand on the side of a busy residential road. Many city drivers are going from home to work to home again and this won’t’ get you anywhere except lost. Pick a great spot on a big road where there is a space for people to stop and pick you up.
5. Be Aware
Keep your wits about you – hitchhiking can be a fun and exciting way to see the world. Nobody said it was going to be a picnic or very easy at that. Keep an open mind and just enjoy the ride.