The Number Ten: Tips All Hitchhikers Should Know
One of the greatest parts of travelling is the medley of people you get to meet - in hostels, airports, bus stops, and train stations. They are everywhere; more often than not, however, they are travelers just like yourself. Hitchhiking provides a medium in which to meet locals, as well as opens a window into what it means to actually live in the place you are traveling. Hitchhiking is more unpredictable than typical forms of travel, but if you fancy yourself one of the brave ones, here are ten tips that every hitchhiker should know before throwing their thumb out on the open road.
10. Bring a map.
A strong, durable, map that can stand the wear and tear of continually being pulled out, and pushed into a crowded backpack is an excellent investment. There will be times that you'll get dropped off on a highway juncture town with nothing but a grocery store, hostel, and gas station. If you can't find yourself on your map, you could end up leaving in the wrong direction.
9. Pack light, but warm.
When hitchhiking, it is important to think about what you are putting in your pack. You should keep two things in mind:
You will be doing a lot of walking. Walking and hitchhiking go hand in hand, so don't pack your whole closet. Your feet and back will thank you later.
Even desert nights drop below zero. There may come a time when you find yourself with your thumb out, and the sun sets. When this happens, you'll be glad you packed that extra sweater and pants when you have to sleep under the stars.
Anytime you travel through a country that speaks a different language, learning a few phrases is the smartest thing to do. You don't have to memorize their dictionary, just the basics: Hello, Good bye, Thank you, How are you, My name is, Do you speak English, Where are you headed, I am headed to, and Have a nice day go a long way. When a car pulls over, and the driver doesn't speak any English, it could make the difference between getting a lift and sitting on the curb.
7. Two's company, three's a crowd.
Travelling in numbers provides an added sense of security, but when it comes to hitchhiking, it doesn't always result in a ride. One should consider the fact that not everyone drives fourteen passenger vans. Three people, plus their luggage, can take up quite a bit of space, and some drivers are discouraged from larger crowds.
When hitchhiking, the dirt and grime of not having an available washer and dryer is bound to build up. Refrain from completely letting yourself go because nobody wants to pick up a drifter or a vagabond.
5. Take off the sunglasses.
The eyes are the windows into the soul, but if they're covered with sunglasses, there is no way to see it. Motorists want to see who they are picking up, so don't hide half of your face behind a pair of shades. Whether they are a $5 pair you picked up at the gas station, or they're a pair of designer Ray Bans, lose them.
4. Be flexible.
The open road is full of twists and turns. It's best to keep an open mind and an open agenda. Planning to be somewhere by a certain date is pointless. If someone is willing to give you a lift, but it's somewhere other than your desired destination, take it anyway. At least you'll knock a few more kilometers off your trip.
3. Know how to look pathetic.
This tip contradicts the earlier tip, "be aware of what you wear," but it actually works. I'm not saying you should roll in the mud and rip up your shirt, but looking a little downtrodden never hurt a hitchhiker; if you can embody the image of a displaced traveler wondering a foreign, rural highway, looking for himself in this unpredictable world of ours, don't hesitate. Pity rides are all too real; utilize them.
Where you position yourself on the road can determine whether you get a ride or not. You must be visible from a distance to give drivers the chance to decide on picking you up. There must also be enough room on the side of the road for a car to pull over. Don't expect a driver to stall traffic just to pick you up, they won't.
Another thing, you should check the hitchhiking laws of the country you are hitchhiking in. For example, New Zealand has a law against hitchhiking on the motorways; therefore, if you want to avoid a police cruiser being your first ride, you'll want to arrange a ride out of the city first.
1. When in doubt, turn it down.
Hitchhiking is not always sunshine and rainbows. There will be times when a car pulls over, and right off the get go your gut tells you something is wrong. Listen to your it. Another car is coming around that corner eventually. Don't let impatience get in the way of your safety.The post The Number Ten: Tips All Hitchhikers Should Know appeared first on tentree.
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