Tips for hitchhiking around the world
Hitchhiking might sound scary at first, but if you’re up for an adventure and you’re careful, it can be one of the best things you’ll do. Not only do you get free rides, you also get to know locals and travel in a more thrilling way. But if you’re a first time hitcher, there’s a few tips that you might need for getting your first ride. Take a look!
Check local laws
The first thing you need to do is check local laws. It’s not legal to hitchhike in every country in the world. For example, it’s forbidden to do it in Australia (although many people still choose to do it). But don’t take any unnecessary risks or disobey the law, it might not be worth taking that risk if you get caught.
Try to do it with someone
Hitchhiking with someone else is first of all safer. Secondly, people will be more prone to pick up two people, especially couples. A lone hitchhiker might look like a drifter, but traveling with a partner will look like two friends hitching a ride together.
Don’t hitch a ride inside the city centre
No one wants to pick someone up in the middle of the city centre. Instead, try to go to the highway and find a good spot where cars can stop. Make sure that drivers have plenty of time to see you so they can stop somewhere safely. The best thing is to get to the highway and try to hitch a ride with someone going long distance. If they’re only able to give you a short ride, make sure they don’t drop you off in the middle of nowhere.
Try to look decent
The first time I hitchhiked with a friend, the driver told us that he picked us up because he thought we looked decent, meaning we looked clean. It might sound like a strange thing to say, but would you pick up someone that you thought looked dirty? Probably not.
Don’t hide your face with shades or a hat
Drivers will want to see your face before they decide if they want to pick you up or not. If you’re wearing shades or a hat, they might not be able to determine your face and won’t offer a ride. Make eye contact, give them a smile and don’t look somber, even if you’ve tried to hitch a ride for hours. It’ll make you look more approachable and trustworthy.
Lastly, be confident
Hold your head up high, give a big smile and stick your hand out confidently. Drivers only have a few seconds to decide if they want to pick you up and they’ll most likely be more prone to pick up someone who looks like they’ve done this before.
Always be safe
It doesn’t matter if you feel like the person you just hitched a ride with seems like the best person in the world. Always. Be. Safe. And be on your guard. Tell everyone where you’re going, make sure you have connection on your phone, pin your destination on your maps so you can always follow where the car is taking you and keep your essentials within easy reach, just in case. Don’t’ take any unnecessary risks! If you feel like the driver who stopped to pick you up doesn’t seem reliable, don’t be afraid to say no. It’s always better to be on the safe side. Bring pepper spray or some other personal safety system too. If you’re already in the car and you feel like you want to get out, pretend you’re sick and need to stop. But tell the driver he doesn’t have to wait for you and try to get as far away as possible from the driver.
Other than that… Happy hitchhiking! The best part of it is getting new friends along the way, discovering new routes, hearing stories from your drivers and know that there are good people out in the world as well who are willing to give free rides to travelers. In some ways, hitchhiking does restore your faith in humanity, and perhaps that’s why so many people love it.