HITCHHIKING: Advice for the Adventurous

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Look the part:

People don’t want to pick up some oddball wanting a free ride somewhere, and thus locals usually have a very hard time hitchhiking. A traveler, especially a backpacker, is a more welcomed guest. The potential car will see you as the poor, lost foreigner. (That’s always a good image). So carry a backpack and look like a traveler.

Look presentable:

A big, burly guy with a beard, holes in his jeans, and a heavy metal t-shirt may scare someone from picking him up, especially to the tiny Japanese guy who may have flashbacks to the last American horror film he saw. It will work a lot more in your favor to be dressed presentable. Clean jeans, a nice shirt and a smiling face always works wonders. For women, if hitchhiking alone, you should avoid any unwanted impressions. Lipstick and a short skirt may not be the best hitchhiking outfit. Of course common sense is always advisable.

The smaller the better:

Hitchhiking with a suitcase or more than one backpack is not a smart idea. In general, the car is stopping on the side of a road and you want to get in and out of the car as quickly and easily as possible. Of course, if there is a dangerous situation being able to hold on to your one bag and get out of the car quickly is easier than having to lug out a heavy suitcase or have your hands full with three bags. Also it is more convenient for the driver not to have to move their own belongings to make place for yours. In addition many cars in premier hitchhiking destinations such as over Europe, Japan, and Korea cars tend to be smaller than cars in destinations such as the US.

Go with a partner:

Hitchhiking with a partner is always preferred but solo hitchhiking is just as enjoyable. The best thing about hitchhiking with a partner is conversation and sleeping turns can be in effect. One person can take upon the job of talking with and entertaining the driver while the other can use the time to relax, look out the window, or even take a nap. This is very useful when traveling long distance as it is not advisable to sleep if you are alone in a car. Someone should always be paying attention to the road signs. Not only for safety but to make sure you end up at the correct destination. Now if the duo are both male this can be a burden as well. Two males hitchhiking together can frighten the potential driver who generally has the same fears as hitchhikers. Thus one male, one male one female, or two females are the preferable combination. *For solo female hitchhikers please see the section on solo female hitchhikers.

Couple hitchhiking in Hualien Taiwan

Experienced hitchhikers out there? Any advice to add?

Those who have never tried hitchhiking check out our article: 

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