Hitchhiker’s Guide to Getting a Ride

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Written by  January 5, 2016

Here are some tips to help you get out on the road.

Hitchhiking can be challenging. But if you keep in mind through difficult times that you will be better for it—more patient, resourceful and confident—something fantastic will always be right around the corner.

Use a sign.

Write your destination in large, neat letters. Looking for materials? Recycling bins at gas stations usually have pieces of cardboard.

Know the laws.

Cops are suspicious of hitchhikers; don’t give them a reason to dislike you. Highways and interstates are often forbidden to pedestrians. Gas stations are a great place to approach people and ask them if they are going your direction and if you can catch a lift. This also gives you a chance to choose your drivers.

Pick your spot carefully.

Make sure you are visible and give potential rides ample room to slow down and pull over. Slow traffic areas such as on-ramps are best; drivers are unlikely to stop when they are doing 100 kilometres per hour.

Look your best.

Wear bright, clean clothing and don’t forget to smile! Remember that hitchhiking is a communal activity and your behaviour reflects on other hitchhikers.

Trust your gut.

Stop worrying so much—great people will give you a ride and you will have a blast. However, if the situation feels wrong, or you feel that the driver has bad intentions (or is drunk), insist on getting out of the car.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Verge.

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Published in Budget Traveller
Joe Aultman-Moore

Joe Aultman-Moore is a traveller and writer currently out climbing really big rocks in Mexico. Find his other hitchhiking essays on his website and on the travel podcast The Dirtbag Diaries.

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