Reagan … stood on the corner of routes 26 and 29 in Ohio while thumbing a ride to Dixon.
– Ronald Reagan Birthplace website
“Hitchhiking is dangerous!” “No one hitchhikes anymore!” “ Aren’t you afraid of being murdered or something??”
I heard these questions and more from every ride that picked me up. They have all they’re Hitchhiking theories from movies, and they have to tell me! I hitched for two months around Europe, through 16 countries, and never got murdered once. Actually I never even had a remotely bad experience. I’ve also hitched in other places like Brazil, Mozambique and Australia, so don’t think I would try to sell you on something I haven’t tried myself.
Hitching not only saved me a boat-load of money, it also really spiced up my travels, allowing me to experience great things that I could never have planned or dreamed of. Things that were totally spontaneous, and that I will remember always.
Click here to read more about my European Hitchhiking adventure
So for those skeptics who still aren’t convinced, let me give you a few more reasons and benefits for hitchhiking.
1: Budget travel. Ok, this is the obvious one, but maybe you don’t quite see the potential here. When someone wants to go on a big trip, transportation costs can be a major factor in needing a high budget. For many, this is enough of a reason why they cant come up with their projected budget, and never leave. I estimate that, with the amount of traveling I did in Europe in two months- well over 3000 kilometers- it would have costed me more than $1000 had I been using trains and buses. That’s a huge amount to subtract from your budget need. (And that was only two months of travel!)
2. Potential for spontaneity. Instead of being stuck looking out of the bus window at the great scenery, you can go on an adventure. When I was hitching around Lake Como, I mentioned to my ride that It was my first time in Italy. He immediately pulled off the main road and took me on a tour of a beautiful little town called Gravedona. It turned out to be one of the prettiest little towns I’ve ever been to! Before dropping me off he bought me a coffee at a lake side cafe I never would have made these memories from a passing bus.
Archbishop Dell’Acqua’s car had broken down en route to Monte Cassino and he had had to “hitchhike” in order to get there in advance of the Pope, whose speech he was carrying.
– Report on Conversation between Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, Substitute for Ordinary Affairs, Secretariat of State, the Vatican, and US Ambassador William Sherman, Rome, October 30, 1964
3. Freedom. Is there anyone more free than a hitchhiker without a schedule or set plans? I doubt it. Another time in Italy I was having a hard time finding a car heading my way, so I said “screw it” and decided to take the next car, no matter where it was going. I ended up in Innsbruck Austria, having gone through one of the most beautiful routes in Europe, through the Alps. Now THAT I will remember.
4. Memories. I remember nearly every ride, and with fondness, that I have taken. Its not just the rides either, its walking down long deserted highways among nature and beautiful scenery, while everyone in their buses zoom by not seeing a thing. You know how many bus or train rides I remember? One: The one that sucked so bad that I got off and hitched.