Hitchhiking is one of the most fun and cheapest ways of travelling. Hitchhiking refers to a means of transportation attained by asking a ride from strangers. A ride is generally free, but in some cases (rare times), drivers ask for minimal compensation. While several countries have laws about hitchhiking, questions are raised about its safety. But those who live for travelling, and their life is only about travelling, this isn’t the major issue. Here are 12 useful tips for hitchhiking.
1. Be clean. Most people will stop their car and let you in only if you don’t look shabby and sweaty. You don’t have to be suited and booted, but in clothes that aren’t muddy and unclean. It’s advisable to wear bright clothes so that you are easily visible.
2. Carry limited baggage, preferably only one backpack. If you have lesser luggage, car drivers will be happy to accommodate you, and even motorcyclists will stop by to give you a ride.
3. Make a signboard. The thumb does not always work and it’s better if you carry a small cardboard cutout with the destination you wish to travel to. You can write on it in English or the local language of the state or country, for better readability.
4. Dress according to the weather, as you may have to wait for hours on end before finally hitching a ride. If you are in a cold place, be covered in warm clothes, if you are in a hot and humid place, wear loose and comfortable clothes.
5. Don’t stand in the middle of the road, but don’t stand too far away either. Choose a spot where you will be visible to vehicles from a long distance.
6. Keep your backpack well-stuffed with food, water, rain-gear and sufficient amount of money. Carrying a cellphone is a good idea too, for your own safety. Don’t go overboard with expensive things though. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and watches.
7. Note down the vehicle’s make, model and color before getting in. You could also text the details to someone if they are keeping tab of your whereabouts.
8. Keep your bag close to you, just in case you have to make a quick exit from the vehicle.
9. Start a conversation with the driver and the vehicle inmates so that everyone is comfortable. However, don’t get too personal. Read about the country’s culture to know what you can expect from those offering you a ride.
10. Be prepared to stand under the sun and rain, all day long, and sometimes even more. Not all countries are hitchhiker-friendly.
11. The things that you most certainly should carry are: Black marker, flashlight, pocketknife, pepper spray and sunscreen.
12. Buy a map of the area or make sure you have it on your phone. This will help you to decide routes and find a good spot for hitchhiking, in the direction of your travel.
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