Traveling as a Solo Hitchhiker: Basic Tips for Beginners

April 21, 2022 in Travel Guide

There’s no cheaper way to travel than hitchhiking. You also get to know strangers along the way and create memories with them. However, for the first-time hitchhiker, things can be a bit daunting. After all, hitchhiking comes with its fair share of inconveniences and difficulties. Therefore, we’ve listed some of this article’s most basic hitchhiking tips. These tips consist of advice and counsel you should keep in mind and practice every time you step out as a solo hitchhiker. So, with that being said, let’s get the list started.

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1. Don’t go for your first hitchhike on your own

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Your first hitchhiking experience should be a shared one. As you know, there are several safety concerns regarding hitchhiking, especially for women. However, you don’t want the worries to weigh you down the first time. Therefore, we recommend going for your first hitchhike with a companion – someone you trust. This will ensure that you have someone to fall back on if something goes wrong on your first hitchhiking attempt. Additionally, people with malicious intent are less likely to try something tricky when there’s a group.

2. Make a positive impression

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When you hitchhike, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the people driving their vehicles. Would it feel safe to hand a ride out to someone who doesn’t look clean and well-dressed? No, right? So, you must dress well and look like a person who can be trusted. Of course, there’s no need to be elaborate. The point of this exercise is to make a positive impression through your appearance – one that can motivate drivers to stop and have a conversation with you. During discussions with drivers, it’s important to remain polite and show good manners. Who knows? You might just come across the same drivers somewhere else on your travels.

3. Pay attention to how you pack your things

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As a hitchhiker, you may need to walk to get to spots where you’re likely to get free rides. So, right off the bat, you can’t be carrying multiple bags, as they’ll slow you down. This is one of the most basic hitchhiking tips. If your trip is for a short duration, a simple backpack will suffice. However, it’s best to carry a big rucksack for long hitchhiking adventures. Trolley bags are a strict no-no. Also, drivers are more likely to welcome you if they see you have limited baggage. So, be smart on the packing front, and take only the things you need, so they all fit in a single bag.

4. Keep an eye out for the weather forecast

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Even if you are dressed well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be given a ride quickly. You may have to wait for several hours before getting a ride, depending on your luck. In such a scenario, you must keep track of the weather. For instance, if the weather turns from sunny to rainy within a few minutes, you’ll need to put on some waterproof clothes. In this case, if you aren’t aware of the weather changes, you might not carry any waterproof clothes in the first place and ultimately get drenched.

5. Learn to say no

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Imagine this. You’re waiting for a ride with your thumb up, and suddenly a car arrives, with the driver being a bit too willing to make you hop aboard. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver’s intentions are bad. However, if you feel something is off, say no and wait for another vehicle. It’s easy for a hitchhiker to get desperate after a long wait, but it’s important to remember that safety is paramount. Solo female hitchhikers have to trust their instincts and reject overzealous advances.

6. Use signboards too

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When sticking your thumb out doesn’t work, shift to signboards. Use cardboard to create your signage, and be clear with your handwriting to make things readable from a distance. Don’t use excessively bright colors as they may not be very legible, especially on sunny days. Signboards can tell drivers where you want to go without any conversation. So, if a driver is headed the same way as you, there’s a chance of you getting the ride.

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