Ok, it is time for me to give you my impressions on the famous/infamous “HITCHHIKE thing”.
I will write this article in a Question/Answer shape, so it can get easier for you to extract the info you need - and also because I think it is more fun to do it that way.
By ask I mean search online, or use some app, or go into the middle of the road, or request it to a friend. And by someone, I mean people you know, or you don’t know. And by ride, I mean anything that you can fit in and can take you somewhere else you want to go (car, van, bus, truck, bike etc).
The idea here is that you must be open minded for all the possibilities of hitchhiking!
Why would I want to HITCHHIKE?
Because you can save ‘duck’ loads of money by doing that, and you can meet really interesting and kind people on the way.
Does my appearance matter to try to HITCHHIKE?
Yes! People have a few seconds to judge you and decide if they will or not stop, so give them a reason to stop!
No one wants a smelly and unpleasant person in their vehicle: always look neat, clean and fun when trying to hitchhike!
Usually wearing light colors make yourself more ‘visible’ also.
Is HITCHHIKE legal?
In most countries in the world there is no regulation about it, but in some of the ones which there is a regulation hitchhiking is forbidden.
Always check the laws of the country before going for it.
Where should I go to HITCHHIKE?
The best place to hitchhike is on the closest highway that goes to the place you want to go, that way your chances of succeeding is much bigger.
Wait on a spot where there is a place for vehicles to stop right after you, otherwise it gets difficult for the pick-up.
What should I do to make the vehicle stop for HITCHHIKING?
First of all get a big piece of cardboard (or paper etc) and write the location you want to go with big letters in one side and “TO HIGHWAY” on the other (if you need a ride to the highway lol).
Then wait on a safe place on the highway (next to gas stations is usually better), and show nice and proud the sign with the location you want to go.
Also make gestures with your hand to make yourself noticed (the thumbs up is one of the most common).
It might take a little while for a car to stop… but don’t give up: the probability of success is still high if you’re doing all the stuff written here!!
What should I do once I’m on the vehicle HITCHHIKING?
Say “Hi!” with a big smile, say your name and shake the persons hand looking in the eyes: the rest will be easy.
Be a pleasant passenger: communicative, respectful, interested, kind, and all those nice things all humans like!
Before doing anything (ANYTHING) inside that person’s vehicle, ask the driver if it is ok to do that, because it is very respectful and humble and people like that.
DON’T SLEEP: it is disrespectful and could be dangerous.
Is it safe to HITCHHIKE?
That is the 1-million-dollar question!
On my experience hitchhiking I have absolutely zero complaints: one of the times I did that in Taiwan for example (Hualien to Taipei, 3 to 4 hours) the couple who gave me the ride was very kind and respectful, also gave me lunch and some snacks… and even drove me to the exact place I needed to go.
But I was in Asia and I am a male: so, I reckon you (regardless of gender) should take these simple steps to try to ensure your safety when hitchhiking (it is important to understand that nothing is 100% safe, even though you can get very close to that):
Always ask the locals about what they think about it, and how safe they think it is;
There’s no better opinion then the ones from locals: if it is not safe they will tell you. But if they say is safe, it is probably true.
Always try to do it in the morning, or right after lunch time;
Daylight hours are the best to find nice kind hardworking trustworthy people. Plus you can see everything that is going on, especially if you are in the ‘middle’ of a road.
Always accept the ride only if you are comfortable;
If you see the driver and you are not comfortable, tell them the location was wrong or it is not what you needed and decline: safety first!
Always have a plan B ready;
Set your phone to send a very quick message, with all the info about you, the situation and the location, to a friend or authorities if you are not feeling safe while doing the hitchhike.
That’s it: you are now able to start hitchhiking, saving lots of money and meeting nice people on the way!