How to Hitchhike Around the World
Hitchhiking can be a really rewarding experience. There are a lot of benefits to hitchhiking. For one, you can get dropped anywhere and experience a small town or waterfall a bus wouldn’t stop at. As I travel, there have been so many places I have wanted to visit that a bus wouldn’t venture to. This is a problem when a traveler wants to explore an area of the world but their transportation has a designated stop.
Many European, South American and Asian countries allow hitchhiking. Most hitchhikers I’ve met have said they never wait more than 20-30 minutes for a ride in a populous place. However, in a more deserted place, that time frame will expand. I’ve always had great experiences when it comes to hitchhiking. I’ve never had to wait for more than 10 minutes. For example, it’s easier to hitch a ride in Eastern Europe than it is in Western Europe.
It’s unfortunate that hitchhiking gets a bad rep nowadays. You will not get murdered as a solo traveler. Take a chance, you may meet some really cool people. For a solo male traveler it is safe. For a female solo traveler, I wouldn’t suggest it unless you have made a friend. There are a lot of weirdos out there looking for solo females…
Hitchhiking is a dying art. Make sure to at least try it once. It’ll be a great experience.
Things I Have Learned While Hitchhiking and Being on the Road
Sleeping Outside is OK
On my way from Vilnius, Lithuania to Budapest, Hungary, I was left on the outskirts of Warsaw at a secluded bus stop at 01:00 in the morning. Knowing it’d be hard to find a ride at this time of the night, I found a building that blocked the wind and set up my bags to use as a pillow. I put on as many layers of clothes as possible and fell asleep. I have slept in some interesting places along the way. Some times it’s better to sleep in freezing temperatures than to walk miles to the nearest hostel. Usually everything works itself out.
A Lot of Money Doesn't Equal More Fun
It is possible to travel with a small amount of money. Hitchhiking, eating at grocery stores, sleeping in tents and not drinking alcohol will help lower your costs to almost nothing. I don’t always travel this way. My current trip through Europe is on $40USD a day with transportation, food and hostels. It is much easier to pay $15-20USD a day in Southeast Asia, Southcentral Asia, South America and Africa. Europe and North America is a bit trickier in terms of costs. Not every country in Europe is cheap and easy to hitchhike in. Eastern Europe is the easiest for pricing and hitchhiking.
Don't Let Health Insurance Run Out
In my post “Is Travel Insurance Important?” I talk about the necessity of having travel health insurance on the road. Never let this expire. You never know when you will need an emergency room run.
There Will Always Be Haters
This is one hits home. You will always be criticized for your actions. This is true in everything you will do in life. Some people love to knock others down. Go for your dreams of travel. So what if you don’t start your career until you are 28-years-old. Don’t live by everyone else’s definition of life. Honestly, it’s boring and a terrible way to live. Take it from me; I quit everything in my home town to start a travel website for people like you! Some times you need to take a leap of faith and take a one way ticket to paradise.
Don't Make Decisions When You Are Down
When you aren’t in the best mood due to fear, loneliness, or a break-up, make sure to keep yourself sane. Don’t make rash decisions that will effect you in the future. Just hold tight, let the bad times roll on. Just know that you are alive and well and that’s all that matters. Traveling alone is a rollercoaster of emotions. Your emotions will jump around all day long as you experience the world alone. Once you are feeling better, make those tough choices. Just make sure that your negative feelings during your solo travelers don’t effect you in the long term.
It's Okay to Say No
Don’t feel like you have to take the first ride you get. Use your best judgement when hitchhiking. There will always be another ride. Most drivers will be great people. However, there will always be a shady fella looking to creep on a female solo traveler or a someone looking to mug you. Stay safe and hitchhike your way around the world!
There Will Always Be People With More
Whatever you do, there will always be people who will do more, spend less, travel longer distances, meet more people and have crazier adventure stories. Just remember that life is not a competition. Do you. Never regret what you have accomplished. Make an unique story for yourself and no one else. The greatest accomplish you can start with is getting out into the world and creating YOUR story. Screw the people who brag about their incredible travel lives. They aren’t that cool anyways. No one needs to brag about what they have done. Spread the knowledge of travel without looking like a newbie.