I tried it now in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, India, New Zealand and Germany. Alone, with a partner and with random people.
Here are easy lists why I think that hitch hiking is something all of us should give a try. And if doing so, my best tips for easy rides.
Let’s start with honesty:
- It’s not time effective at all, it always takes longer than you think and you never end up where you think you going to
- Booking hostels, telling couchsurfers when you arrive or making any kind of meetings gets harder to organize
- It might be that you arrive in a town when everything is booked out, take a sleeping bag, you will need it.
- You need to get up early to hitch hike, in the evening it’s quite - impossible - plus dangerous.
- Tourist areas are not specially hitch hiker friendly, actually it works best where it’s known, but not generally done.
- It’s possible to get anywhere and you will be hundert times more proud of it.
- The way itself is your journey! Every move you make is exciting, regardless if you hitch or hike.
- Experience!! Ever been in a 20 tones truck crossing Armenia’s hills? Ever spoke to a trucker who crosses Europe since years regularly? Ever been on a four wheeler off road? Ever drove in a Cadillac through Iran’s desert and watched the stars? TBC ...
- You learn a 100% more about the country and it’s society. The knowledge you share during your rides reaches from music, festivals, tips for next destinations, over to politics, environment, traveling, capitalism...
- Every hitch hike is inspiration! What kind of people stop for you? What kind of people stop a car? The mix and match of people you find hitchhiking is the greatest social study! There is no way to get a more diverse view of locals in a county.
- You meet people with the same vibe and the sense of what sharing is.
- You earn your way. In the end of the day only you know how you got where are you now and you probably made it there with three more Facebook friends.
- You learn how to trust your instincts, cause that is all you have and give.
Hitchhiker must haves:
A gps phone and a battery charger for more than one day. You going to end up in places where you can’t charge them and many nice hitches don’t really know the way where they take you. It will help both of you.
- Water, it always takes longer than you think.
- Sleeping bag. You will hike when you hitch and you will sleep in places you weren’t thinking about.
- Food. Anything that’s not smelly or dirty, eatable in the car - and to share - is always a good way to warm up with your hitch.
- Best advise of all: use www.hitchwiki.org ;)
- it depends a little bit where, but I say: don’t use a sign. You will have more fun, if you know directions and the map a little you can be flexible to take nicer turns.
- Share your snacks or invite them for a coffee when you stop somewhere, you get the ride for free, but it is about sharing and experiences, not using people.
- Walk, listen to music and have fun while you hold the thumb out, you doing this for yourself, so be yourself and enjoy yourself :) Moreover sometimes it helps to show that you are willing to hike also...rather than waiting for a ride like for a bus.
Safety & Hitchhiker behavior advices:
- First thing you should ask where they going, it’s a polite way to find out why someone wants to take you.
- Lower your expectations on getting a lift to go where you want, start it with attitude “this direction would be good, let’s see what’s happening on the way”
- Tell your name and ask theirs. Involve them personally and start a conversation, there is no local who has nothing to share, what couldn’t be interesting for you.
- If you don’t want it, avoid relationship topics. A car is an incredible small room and these topics always carry sexual tensions.
- Share your local music.
- As a girl be brave and show you are independent and strong. No one needs to give you a lift, because you are a poor little thing that can’t afford the bus. As a girl myself, I couldn’t see a situation yet how a guy should stop the car come around and do anything, before I hurt him first. So don’t be afraid and don’t even pretend you are cute and need help. He has to control a freaking car and concentrate! Besides that, hitchhiking is a great opportunity to do something for emancipation. Just in case that they ask men are as bad as women, it’s just not that well known yet.