Hitchhiking may not be as popular as it used to be, but it is still something that many people rely on to travel around. The trouble is that hitching can be tricky, especially when people have a lack of trust for hitchers. This is where we want to help. Which is why I have put together some of my top tips on how to become a hitchhiker expert, and get yourself travelling around thanks to lifts from other people!
Hitchhiking is not a competition
One of the worst things that you could do as a hitchhiker is to view it as a competition. Instead, every hitchhiker that you come across will be in the exact same boat as you, looking to get somewhere. Having an attitude about being better than anyone else is never going to get you anywhere and might take away the fun of the adventure itself. Just relax, catch up with your fellow road trippers and make a chat about your travels and destinations.
You might find a great travel buddy along the way and maybe if they are able to stop a car you can join the ride. Make new friends and build relationships along the way that will last you a lifetime. That is already a great first step on becoming a hitchhiker expert!
Make the effort to get to know your driver
You may think that once you get into the car, your job as a hitchhiker is done. However, this isn’t true. As the driver has been particularly kind by stopping for you, the least you can do is pay them back with some courtesy.
Ask them questions, find out more about them, they are not only likely to appreciate being asked about themselves, but finding out about each other is a great way to pass the time. Although, one top tip, try not to be creepy in your approach to questions. Otherwise you might set off their “serial killer” alarm.
Road Trip Guy Tip: Start networking right away. The driver might not be able to get you all the way to point B, but if you show some effort and have a good connection he might be able to help you out, offer you lunch or maybe a place to sleep. After all, everybody was young and adventurous once!
Try and hitch on public holidays
It may not seem obvious but hitching on a public holiday can be a great idea. Not only are there likely to be more people on the roads travelling around to see family, but they will also be feeling kinder, more neighbourly. This means that they are much more likely to stop and accept your request for a lift.
Just be wary if you are invited into their secluded farmhouse for a spot of dinner! You never know what their family might be like. Oh dear!
Always have a map
Just because you are relying on other people to drive you where you need to go, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of the best route to take. Have a map handy that will help you to explain your route to the driver. Chances are that the person driving you won’t be going exactly where you need to be, but by having a map you can accept their lift and then hitch with someone else to get all the closer. When you become a hitchhiker expert you will also notice that a language barrier might cause some problems when explaining you destinations. Don’t believe me? A place in Finland is called: Saaranpaskantamasaari . Good luck with that one with your accent!
Road trip Guy Tip: it is always possible for your digital equipment to get stolen, run out of power or simply don’t have a connection. A normal paper map is a reliable must-have for any traveler. Don’t forget it!
Trust your character judgement
Not feeling the person that you have stopped, not sure that you are comfortable with them? Trust your judgement and get out of the situation. The main part of hitchhiking is accepting a lift from someone that you don’t know. So, if your gut isn’t liking their vibe, then listen to it!
Road Trip Guy Tip : Always text the number plate of the car and a colour/model description to a family member before you get in.
These are just some of our tips to making sure that you become a hitchhiker expert. Trying it out is up to you. So, why not get out there, warm up your thumbs and see where it may get you? You might be surprised by the places that you can get to. If you want to learn more about hitchhiking there is even a real HitchWiki page.