What is hitchhiking Hitchhiking is one of the cheapest ways of traveling. By tradition, hitchhiking is defined as soliciting a ride by standing at the edge of a road, facing traffic, with one's thumb extended/upwards.
Before travelling Buy a map of the area you are going to travel Some hitchhikers recommend taking a foldable bike as back-up transportation Make sure to carry enough food and drink if you're going for a long trip Remember, hitchhiking may be illegal in some areas or on certain types of roads Learn the language, at least a little Be prepared to walk all day Some people swear that bright colors with high visibility get you away quicker.
Location Getting a ride at night is very difficult. Avoid places where traffic cannot stop legally. Roadside picnic areas are good. Gas stations where many cars stop are good. Land borders where traffic has to stop are great.. Highway rest areas are ill-advised, particularly in the USA, due to the number of "disturbing incidents" at these locales. An exception to the "rest area" rule is the commercial rest area on toll roads. Don't try to catch a ride from downtown, instead catch public transport to the edge of town.
Alternatives As an alternative to waiting by the roadside, many websites allow users to try to pre-organize hitch hiking trips. Sites in different countries use different systems, but it is best to find a site which concentrates on long-distance and one-off trips rather than regular commutes. For example: http://www.backseatsurfing.com/
Stay safe If you arrange a ride through a ride-matching website, you can request the ID number of the driver who offers the ride; give this number to someone at home. Ask for this ID when you meet the driver; most will understand this precaution. Wear at least some of your valuables (i.e. passport, wallet, money, etc.) under or in your clothes, rather than in your pack. Keep them in different places. Keep your bag or backpack in easy reach. Sit in the front passenger seat, if you can. Choose a car with a single occupant or a couple rather than the last seat in a car full of people. Take care who you get a ride with. Some criminals prey on hitchhikers Note the vehicle registration, and its make, model, and color before you take a ride. Text this information to a friend.
Countries Country Popularity Ease Legal Payment expected Australia occasional medium yes no Canada common easy varies no China occasional medium to hard no (nobody cares) often France occasional medium yes no Germany occasional easy /medium yes no Italy occasional hard yes no Japan rare easy yes no Russia common easy yes often Spain occasional hard yes no UK Almost non-existent varies yes no USA rare varies varies no