Have you ever hitchhiked? It is a way of traveling that can be very useful, and which has many advantages. But before you get started, here are some tips for the experience to go smoothly.
Patience is one of the main qualities of the hitchhiker. You need to have a good dose of it before you give it a thumbs up, because you never know how long you’ll have to be on the side of the road. Depending on where you are going to wait, it can take looooong minutes, or even, for less frequented places, hours. In this kind of places, we advise you to bring your tent, you are indeed really not sure to embark in a vehicle.
It’s the secret weapon. A smiling hitchhiker greatly increases their chances of getting caught. Nobody wants to put someone sulking in their vehicle. And be careful, it can be seen from afar!
Depending on the time you are going to hitchhike, the place, the season, the weather, you have to be ready. It should be 18 degrees this afternoon, but by the time you get to the side of the road (7 a.m.) it’s only 5 degrees. Your shorts and your t-shirt will not be enough. Remember to have a snack, enough to eat for the whole day. The wait can be long. Rain-resistant clothing is also recommended. You might board in 5 minutes, or spend hours waiting. Prepare for the longest.
Write legibly and large enough on the cardboard or sheet you hold in your hand, you will increase your chances. Also remember to laminate it, in case of rain. You would be very annoyed if your sign became completely unreadable!
The right place
One of the key factors is where you are going to wait. Don’t stop too close to the city center. It may seem paradoxical, but sometimes it is more efficient to take a bus or a taxi to get you a few kilometers away from the city center than to hitchhike too close to the center. Once outside, you have to find the perfect spot. Avoid putting yourself right after a bend for obvious reasons of safety, but also of efficiency. Instead, position yourself in a straight line, so that motorists have time to see you and slow down, but also to park safely. Hitchhiking on the highway is prohibited! If you are ever in the wrong place, you will certainly see motorists raise their arms in their car, meaning “I would have stopped,
The famous thumbs up is a gesture that all hitchhikers are used to doing. However, in some countries, this gesture does not make sense, as in some Eastern countries where it is recommended to raise the palm of the hand instead. But in most cases, the panel will suffice.
Once inside the vehicle
Hitchhiking is a wait, but sometimes it can go very quickly. Once embarked, it is necessary to show a little psychology. Is the driver the type to like to talk or on the contrary will he rather appreciate your silence? Test it out with a harmless question and see how things go next. It’s very nice to kill time talking in the car. Sometimes there is no connection with the driver, but sometimes it’s the opposite and we tell each other about his life, his country for hours that seem like minutes.
Take an interest in the country
When you find yourself in a car for several hours with someone, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the country you are visiting. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the region, about the culture, about anecdotal things, about his work… it doesn’t matter, it’s a way to learn more about the country. You will also tell him yours, chances are he will be as curious about you as you are about his.
It is important to follow certain safety rules. Especially if you are a single girl. Don’t get in if there are already two men in front and the car has no rear doors, you’ll be stuck. First ask where the driver is going and don’t board if he says “where you want”. When you get out of the vehicle, always take your belongings with you, especially if they contain your passport and money. In general, do not hesitate to use your intuition. If you “don’t feel it”, don’t board. Finally, you always have the option of asking a hitchhiker to wait with you. You will increase his chances and you will be safer that way.