The Essential Rules For The Hitchhiker
So you are about to try out hitchhiking for the first time, or have been doing it for a long time, but still have a long wait time before you get a ride, don’t be put off. Here are my ultimate rules which are bound to improve your hitchhiking experience. Besides cutting your travel cost and restoring your hope in humanity, hitchhiking is an exhilarating exercise and experience, which should be tried out by everyone. I will like to know what you think about these rules, please do not hesitate to drop your ideas in the comment section below.
1. Find out if hitchhiking is legal where you are
The last thing anybody looks forward to is to spend countless hours, getting ready for a hitchhiking experience, only to end up in jail or get fined. Hitchhiking is legal in most parts of the world, and all over Europe. However, there are certain areas within some countries where hitchhiking is illegal. So, before you pack up your bag and set out for the edge of the road with your thumb itching to stick out, take out a moment to find out if it is legal to hitchhike on that road or in that part of town.
2. Security is key
As beautiful as the nomad life of hitchhiking might be, a great deal of the entire process involves you putting your trust in complete strangers. A little protection could go a long way. Reign in your horses, I am not talking ammunition. There is always security in numbers. For first time hitchhikers, it is a great idea to begin your adventure in a group with other hitchhikers. You could as well turn on the GPS on your phone, and allow access for someone in town to know your every location, as well as enable distress signals. These security measures are for your own safety, and should not scare you away from this great form of travel.
3. Besides your thumb, a whiteboard could be of great help
Sending an arm out right towards the road and sticking out the thump of the outstretched arm is the universally acknowledged sign of hitchhiking. A whiteboard with your next stop written on it could also be of great help. Some of the cars which pass you by, do so because the drivers are not sure of how far they are to carry out. Having a portable whiteboard with your next location written on it is an effective communicative tool which could put some cars in to reverse after you have stared at their trunk.
Knowing where to go thump up is very important in hitchhiking. You should definitely avoid corners. A long stretch of road with visibility for a long distance is an ideal spot. You want to give upcoming drivers enough time to see you, and possibly make up their minds on whether or not to offer you a ride.
5. Ditch the sunglasses
The eyes are definitely the window to ones soul. While carrying out this nomad-like activity, it is absolutely necessary to keep in mind that the person offering you a ride is taken a chance with you, as much as you too are taken a chance with him. It is therefore absolutely necessary that you keep aside any thing or element of clothing which might make you appear shady. Your eyes should not be covered, and you should be casually dressed. A smile will also go a long way.
6. Always appear neat
Have you ever given a lift to someone who smells awful? Take it from me; it is high up there with the worst things that can happen to a person within a day. Worst part is, the stench lingers on long after the person is gone, necessitating that you wash the car. Anybody who has gone through this obviously becomes skeptical about picking up people. It is therefore very essential that you look good when hitching a ride.
7. Keep the conversation casual
So you have finally hitched a ride. The next task is to get the most out of it. Chances are, if your political or religious views differ from that of driver, you might get dropped off at his earliest convenience. However, to be on a safe side, without contradicting your values, keep the conversation general and casual, who knows? Some drivers have been known to go over and beyond the next stop, for the sake of sustaining a good conversation.
8. Always have a camera
My personal favorite. Cameras are a great joy when hitchhiking. They kind of complete the euphoria you get, when you see a kangaroo’s silhouette against that perfect sunset, or some other catchy site. Cameras enable you relive those beautiful moments, long after they have past.