Are you adventurous, you do not have much to spend, but you still want to travel through Europe? Then hitchhiking might be the perfect solution!
Just by lifting your thumb, you can travel for free for miles, discovering Europe and meeting many people on the way. Whether it´s the suited-up businessman or the smoking truck driver. Our team at Flight-Delayed has prepared a few handy tips that will make your trip fun and most importantly, safe.
1. Plan your trip in advance! It is useful to map out in advance where you want to go and which places you want to see. There are enough uncertainties in hitchhiking as it is. You want to avoid being stranded in the middle of nowhere without a passing car in sight.
2. Buy a proper map. For your trip you should purchase a detailed road map in order to roughly plan ahead. Make sure your map is up to date and includes all relevant routes.
3. Focus on petrol stations. Standing on the side of the highway waiting for someone to stop and offer you a ride won’t get you very far as hardly anyone is likely to stop mid-highway. Petrol stations however are a great starting point. It is easier to chat and connect with someone who might have an extra spot in their car
4. Ask questions. Initially most people will not want to travel with a complete stranger in their car. Be nice and ask open questions. Get to know the people that you are travelling with and show interest. Additionally, it´s always good to know where the people are going and see if their route matches yours. You don´t want to end up too far from the actual destination.
5. A sign with your destination. Write your destination on a piece of cardboard for drivers to see. It might also be smart not to display your journey’s end but just a stop on the way (this could possibly be the final destination of the driver). Make sure you agree on a destination before getting into the car.
6. Show your luggage! If someone has stopped for you, it is useful to show them how much luggage you’re travelling with. This can help communicating and shows that you are an actual traveller not a random stranger standing at a petrol station.
7. Communication is very important. So make sure that, aside from speaking English, you also gain some basic knowledge of the language of the country you are travelling through or ultimately want to end up in. It is always handy to learn some important expressions.
8. Take a tent with you! If you are dropped in the middle of nowhere, it might be nice if you have a tent and therefore a spot to sleep. Even if you end up near a motel, the tent is always the cheapest option.
9. Wear distinctive clothing. It is smart to dress in bright colours so that drivers can spot you already from afar. They only have a few seconds to make up their mind about whether or not they are inclined to stop. The quicker they see you, the better.
10. Make eye contact with drivers. This can work to your advantage! A cheerful expression can go a long way. Even though a lot of people might still ignore you, keep smiling.