There’s no cheaper way to travel than hitchhiking. You also get to know strangers 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 tips for solo hitchhikers. These tips consist of advice and counsel you should remember and practice every time you step out as a solo hitchhiker.
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1. Don’t go for your first hitchhike on your own
When you are traveling as a solo hitchhiker, your 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 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
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. This exercise aims 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
As a hitchhiker, you may need to walk to get spots where you’ll likely get free rides. So, right off the bat, you can’t carry multiple bags, as they’ll slow you down. This is one of the most basic hitchhiking tips. If your trip is short, a simple backpack will suffice. However, carrying a big rucksack for long hitchhiking adventures is best. 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 necessary things so they all fit in a single bag.
4. Keep an eye out for the weather forecast
Even if you are dressed well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be given a ride quickly. Depending on your luck, you may have to wait several hours before getting a ride. In such a scenario, you must keep track of the weather. We recommend doing travel research for the location you’re traveling to so you know how the weather behaves in that climate. For instance, if the weather turns sunny to rainy within a few minutes, you’ll need to wear 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
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 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
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, you can get the ride.
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