4 Reasons You Why You Should Hitchhike

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Oh the places you’ll see

 

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.

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. I didn’t expect that I would hitchhike during my European Year but after meeting enough people and hearing enough stories you are eased into it. Its part of the European way of life so it doesn’t have the stigma it does back home (Sydney). Though I trust its normal for those living in rural areas.

    The stories you create from hitchhiking can’t be replicated, their of the moment. That’s one of the great appeals. Its worth noting that car sharing (Covoiturage in French, mitfahrgelegenheit in German) is another alternative for European travellers who might not be ready for the leap. It involves minimal outlay.

  2. Sounds like fun! I’ve never tried hitchhiking (grew up on all the same ideas about it being dangerous) but after reading this it sounds like something I should try! I’m always up for adventure and meeting new people, for something a little less ordinary. Thanks for the post!

  3. In the 1960s, a young woman friend and I hitchhiked from London, via France and Spain, thence Morocco and right across North Africa to Cairo. From Alexandria we caught a ferry to Athens and then hitched right back to London. A most fulfilling journey of six months.

    We encountered nothing but kindness, especially in North Africa. Many drivers offered us lunch, one even paid our modest hotel bill. But that was the sixties. The internet has changed people’s attitudes and while I have on occasions hitchhiked since, I cannot recommend this way of travelling to young women in the 21st century.

    Some of my early hitch-hiking experiences are included in my new book Travels with My Hat, for publication in October.

    Thank you.

  4. Love it!

    I used to hitch rides all the time when I was living in Tijuana. I was 20. My friends sat me down for an intervention of sorts and told me to never hitch rides with strangers again if I didn’t want to end up locked in someone’s basement or thrown in a ditch.

    Since then, older and wiser, I still accept rides when I can get them, but I haven’t stuck my thumb out in years. But, I’m living in Europe now and I expect I’ll be up to my old “bad habits” again soon – sure, there are psychos and dangers in the world, but I still like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Love your blog!
    X

  5. Oh my gosh, I could never. I am too chicken and socially awkward! Love the just showered photo, that would make me gggle.

  6. I first got the idea of hitchhiking from my host in Bangkok, I thought it sounded crazy and cool at the same time… fast forward to a couple of months, I thumbed a local’s car on my way back to a jungle camp in Sabah. First time and it felt awesome, so I thumbed another seven or so rides 😀

    Any, here’s the post on that one… my actual reason for that first hitchhiking experience was pretty embarrassing, though : http://thefemaletramp.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/essentialstohitchhiking/

    Stay as awesome x

  7. Hi Justin. I agree with what you said. I’m a student from Malaysia and currently working on an article regarding hitchhiking. Do you mind if i quote you in my article? Really appreciate if i’m able to do so.

  8. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about alternative taxi companies, but they still cost money. The thought occurred to me, everyone should just hitchhike to get around. Most of the cars on the road have empty seats, in fact most of them only have one person in them. Hitchhiking could significantly reduce the number of cars of the road which would ease congestion, ease pollution, and help people get around cheaply. Let’s petition for a hitchhiking app!

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