For an fast and easy hitchhike trip you should follow a few useful hints before you start your journey. In hitchhiking, there are two fundamental locations, which are the most important ones on your trip: the city you will start in and the petrol stations on the motorways. For both there are a few factors which you can influence to shorten your waiting time.
1. For almost every city in Europe other hitchhikers were previously searching for hitchhiking spots and shared their experiences on the Hitchwiki, where you can find descriptions and maps how to reach a hitchhiking spot by public transport or by foot. A more than useful resource that usually saves you a lot of waiting time and energy. If you’ve made your own research feel free to add spots and hints on the Hitchwiki.Check hitchwiki.org
2. Use a map service like Gmaps or OpenStreetMap or conventional atlases. Orientate yourself on the road network and look for the big main roads where cars enter and leave a city. The more you get out of the inner-city, the bigger is the chance you filter off the city traffic. It’s worth to search for petrol stations close to the motorway or bigger roads on Gmaps or OpenStreetMap, because drivers tend to refill their cars before leaving a city and covering bigger distances. It’s usually a good opportunity to ask for a ride to the next bigger petrol station on the motorway and keep on hitchhiking from there.
1. A good hitchhiking spot should have ideal circumstances for the driver to pull over, stop without holding up traffic. Red traffic lights, bus stops or very wide shoulders are often very good and recommendable spots!
2. The traffic should be very relaxed and not hectic so that the driver does not only has to focus on the traffic but has the opportunity to see you waiting besides the road.
3. You should never influence or disturb the traffic!
A sign with your best handwriting obviously helps, but small gimmicks for entertaining the people might become in very helpful! Get yourself let’s say for examle a bubble gun, play the guitar, bring your favourite teddy with you or anything else which you think could help you to get a lift!
Some drivers sometimes stop and offer you only a short lift but don’t know the area. With the map you can easily find little villages on the way and the short life could eventually be very helpful. But the map could also save you from going in the wrong directions or getting dropped in the middle of nowhere!
1.In general it is always better to talk to the potential lifts! A sign might also work at the petrol station but works much slower. Probably the easiest way to get in touch with the driver is, when he or she is filling up petrol! But it could also be on the way to the cashier, the only important thing is that you ASK, keep on ASKING and ask even more! Don’t be afraid! You might feel stupid and embarrassed to talk to strangers and sometimes even be rejected. But actually they can’t say more then “no”. Once you got over your doubts and worries you will realise how much it can be to talk to the people at the petrol station and most of them are actually pretty friendly!
2. Tell them your story, don’t just ask for a lift! Tell them, who you are, where you are from and where you want to go. It gives the people a feeling of trust and often breaks the ice.
3. Always be friendly and never lose the courage and the good spirits! Even if the drivers are grumpy or don’t reply at all: YOU should always say thank you and wish them a good trip! Don’t take it personal, knowone has to give you a ride and there could always be good reasons for not giving you a lift.
4. When you get dropped off late at night at a petrol station and there is hardly any traffic going any more it is well worth it to buy a coffee this time at the petrol station and have a chat with the staff. Tell them your story! They are your best friends out there! Sometimes you have to stay at the station for the night and it is possible that the staff might offer you a good place to sleep at the station or even help you you out with a nice breakfast in the morning, it all has happened before…So always be friendly, thankful and respectful!