Cheap Travel

General Tips

The techniques and guidelines of hitchhiking vary from country to country. Here we’ll try to present a general guide to thumbing a ride as well as tackle some of the geographic specifics of this ancient art.

Men should only really hitchhike alone unless they’re prepared to wait for half a day at a time. Okay, two teenagers together might seem innocent enough that someone will be prepared to take you but otherwise go it alone.

Female travelers can hitchhike in pairs with either another girl or a guy. Alone you’ll never have to wait more than a few minutes anywhere in the world but it’s a good idea to have someone else along for a bit of security. Don’t get into cars with more than one guy inside and take a good look at the driver before you get in. Ask him where he’s going and once inside ask him about his family. Don’t take any shit whatsoever.

If you’re ever in doubt about the safety of getting into a car just tell them thanks but they’re not going in your direction. No matter how long you’ve been waiting and how desperate you are, never compromise your safety.

Keep your appearance smart and clean, Wearing a shirt and shaving (if you’re a guy) can help and don’t wear hats, clothes that reveal your body or kilts (I learnt that to my cost hitchhiking to Scotland years ago – it took me two and a half days).

Always carry your bed with you as you never know when you’ll have to sleep outside. Waterproofs are also an excellent thing to pack as a rainstorm can not only destroy your health but no one wants to pick up a wet and bedraggled hitchhiker. A plastic poncho can be used as a groundsheet when bedding down too. Also a hat and a scarf can save your life when it gets cold and windy. Alone on a highway is a bad time to get ill.

Carry all the elements with you: A bottle of water, a lighter and matches in case you need to make a fire at night, a loaf of bread, some nuts and dry fruit to keep your energy up and lastly a pen, a good map and a torch are all smart things to fill your jacket pockets.