EcoTripSos - Hitch-hiking

One Thumb Rules Them All: Hitchhiking

Dictionaries define the word ‘travel’ as a trip or journey… Isn’t that why we are here after all? Yes, with a single difference, though.  We don’t want to mention a single letter from the word ‘money’ as we travel, trying to reach from point A to point B! At this point, the most basic means of transportation that will do appears to be hitch-hiking.

What is hitch-hiking and what are the advantages of hitch-hiking? Let’s take a look…

As a simple definition, hitch-hiking is to reach the aforementioned point B by standing by the road and stopping a car going in the same direction, without any sort of payment. Undoubtedly, the key point here is ‘without any sort of payment’. In almost no country payment is required from someone taken randomly from the road, however, it is known that in some countries like Romania and Albania, a small charge may be asked for. The natural solution of this little problem is usually to say ‘No Money!’ in the local language.


“Waited for hours for no ride, am I a freak?”
Anonymous Hitch-hiker

ANSWER : Of course not! Although one cannot deny that attractive ladies are luckier in hitch-hiking, your appearance is not of huge importance as for finding a ride. In most cases, the problem is overlooking a few crucial points regarding hitch-hiking.

Wear bright colors. Despite mentioning the way you look is not that important, wearing bright colors deems you noticable from yards away, giving the driver an opportunity to evaluate the idea of giving you a ride.

Prefer busy roads. Main arteries connecting cities or a barren road where you can see only 2 or 3 cars an hour? The shot is yours to take, however, we guarantee that the latter option will shorten your waiting time significantly.

Smile and establish eye contact. Our primary objective of hitch-hiking is to convince a stranger to give us a ride in a couple of seconds! Body language is a limited way of communication in the process. Greet the cars smiling no matter they pick you up or not and keep your hands open. Hiding hands raises questions…

Love gas stations! Be cautious where you transfer from a car to another if you cannot find a direct ride. If possible, choose transfer spots close to cities. If not, use gas stations for transfer.  Instead of waiting in the middle of nowhere, wait near facilities like a store and toilets at least.

Talk to people. Speaking of gas stations, you may not even have to stand by the road and wait in such facilities. Ask the other customers where they’re going and if they could possibly give you a ride. The result is hardly ever unsatisfactory!

Carry a large sign. Although holding your thumb up is an internationally recognized gesture of hitch-hiking, it is obvious that carrying a large sign of the name, licence plate or the short form of the city you’re going simplifies it. Drivers going in the same direction as yours may want to pick you up both to help, and to have a chit-chat. (Use the local alphabet if it is different, most people like that!)

Choose your hitch-hiking spot wisely. Another crucial key point in hitch-hiking is the spot where you wait for your ride. How many drivers would stop to pick you up in a German highway, where there is no speed limit as they drive in 100 miles per hour? Chances = ZERO! For that reason, always choose crossroads, traffic lights and pay tolls where they slow down. Forget this not, an extremely fast vehicle cannot stop for you instantly even if the driver wants to!


“Would they steal our kidneys?”
Anonymous Shy

There is no need to mention that safety also is a point to bear in mind while hitch-hiking. At this point we’ve got to remind you the necessity of bright color preference in clothes. Especially at nights, you should wear shiny accessories generally used by cyclists and construction workers. Along with that, a mini first aid kit might come in handy in case of minor injuries related to the environment you are in.

The points we have mentioned above are mostly for personal road security. Referring back to the kidneys, taking a look at statistics would provide enough of a relief, we belive.

According to the statistics provided by Wandrlymagazine, 0.0000089% is your chance of being the victim of a crime. Moreover, between 1979 and 2009, the number of the hitch-hiking related crimes in the US is 675. This roughly makes 23 crimes a year. On the other hand, only in 2007, in the same country, 18,000 people were murdered without any connection to hitch-hiking, 46,800 were killed in traffic accidents, 17,300 lost their lives in gun accidents and 22,600 passed away falling from certain places.

Here’s the summary:

Total number of hitch-hiking victims in 30 years : 675
Total number of casualties unrelated to hitch-hiking in 1 year : 104700

Although hitch-hiking looks safe statistically, it is still up to you not to be one of the ‘unlucky 675’.


Just say NO! If you simply don’t like the person who wants to give you a ride, if your instincts are telling you that s/he might pose a threat, all you have to do is to refuse. In appropriate language of course… You can make an excuse by saying you need to change directions or refuse politely by saying you have to wait for a friend who’s late.

Make use of high-tech devices! If you don’t feel safe enough, just use your smartphone to text someone you know the licence plate, color and everything you’d like to add! You can even ask your friend to call the authorities if s/he doesn’t hear from you within a set period of time!

Don’t forget, still, the driver is also concerned about his/her safety. All s/he wants is to help you. Therefore, sit back and relax… Enjoy the ride and a conversation with your new friend…

Başparmak Mucizesi: Otostop
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Başparmak Mucizesi: Otostop
Otostop yaparken nelere dikkat etmelisin? Nasıl daha kolay otostop yapılır? Otostop rehberi...

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