A Traveller’s Guide to Hitchhiking

By: Chris on Tour
Original article: How to Hitchike

Chris has written a great article about how to better hitchhike about the globe. Click here to read the original article and learn about the 100+ countries he’s travelled, or  keep reading below for a summary of his top 10 hitchhiking tips:

1. Learn the correct signals

More often than not, if you’re in western continents such as Europe, North America or Australia then you’ll flag a car down by holding up a thumb and pointing it backwards in the direction you want to go. For other parts of the world, especially in  Asia then a flat hand held out low and wagged at the ground usually does the trick. 

2. Be cautious if you’re alone

It pays to be extra cautious if you’re travelling alone when hitchhiking. Unfortunately, this is especially true if you’re female. If you don’t have a good feeling about the person offering you a ride, then perhaps politely refuse and be prepared to wait a little while longer.

3. Look approachable

If you want the drivers to stop and pick you up, it pays to look as tidy as possible. Stay positive, trim that shaggy beard and wear clothing that doesn’t look as though you’ve been living in it for the last few days – even if you have!

4. Pick a good location

If you choose a spot where a car can’t stop or see you, then it’s going to make nabbing that lift all the more difficult. It’s always a good idea to stand somewhere where there’s an obvious and well-checked speed limit. Oh, and Chris recommends never trying on highways where hitchhiking is usually quite illegal! 

5. Start early

Traffic is almost always heavier during the first half of the day, and especially during that morning rush-hour period. And if you’re somewhere rural, then expect things to get tricky as of the late afternoon.

“I often walk up to 5km to get a decent spot trying to get out of bigger cities,” Chris on Tour.

6. Switch up your locations

Chris also recommends changing location to try your luck when hitchhiking. Not only does this give you more chance of being seen, but you’ll be slowly making your way out of town (hopefully in the direction you want to go!), and no driver should really be concerned about others in ambush. 

7. Expect multiple rides

Depending on where and how far you’re going, you’re probably going to need multiple rides to get there. Sometimes it’s easier just to say the name of the next main town, especially if there’s a decent language barrier between you and the driver. You never know, you may find after a little conversation that they’re heading your way anyway. 

8. Prepare to get stranded

It happens to every hitchhiker at least once in a while. Make sure you’ve got a tent, water and supplies with you at all times, particularly if you’re heading into a remote location. 

9. Communicate

You’ve now probably been picked up because the driver wouldn’t mind a little company, so do make sure to be friendly and talkative during the trip. It’s always a good idea to politely answer any questions the driver has about you, even if you’ve heard them a million times before.  And bring snacks for sharing, because who doesn’t like those?

10. Have a map

A phone with GPS works a treat, especially with Google Maps . For similar maps offline, don’t forget to download the excellent Maps.Me