Hitch-hiking is a great adventure for most of us, and a great danger for some. For EcoTripSos – Budget Travel Guide, it is fast and and comfortable transportation (Yes, faster than public transport). But still, one shouldn’t be fooled by its simplicity, for there are points to consider while hitch-hiking. At one spot you may have wait for a ride for hours, while another spot, just a couple of yards away from the former one, may give you what you want in minutes. Take heed, the spot where you hitch-hike is much more critical than safety or the driving habits of a particular country. So, where should you hitch-hike?
1. Out of the Town
One of the most important points you should bear in mind while hitch-hiking is this: The more cars passing by may not necessarily mean the better chance to find a ride. In built-up areas you may ‘thumb’ 100 cars but most probably, 90 of them will never go out of the city, which means you have the slight chance of 10%. Therefore, do NOT hitch-hike in built-up areas. Use public transport to get out of the town if necessary. Start hitching once you are out of the city.
2. In the Middle of the Road
In a previous article, we have mentioned that the speed of the cars passing by may be predictive of your chance of finding a ride. But how is this possible in the middle of the road? If you hitch-hike on a highway, it is not! But if you take sideways where speed limit is 50-60 km/h, you can easily find a ride.
3. On Ramps (Highway Connections)
On ramps, where speed limit is 30-60 km per hour, are also among the spots that save hitch-hikers. There are two advantages to such spots, actually. Firstly, the person to give you a ride goes in the same direction and since highway exits exist only near cities, you can cover a huge distance with a ride you find. The second advantage is the low speed limit. Because such connections are usually in the form long curves, cars have to slow down, which would make them hesitate less, when it comes to picking you up.
4. Bus Stops
Bus stops near the ends of cities are also among those that would ease the process. As a matter of fact, the advantage is mutual. You are at a safe spot to wait, the risk of an accident is pretty much low and your ride has a good spot to pull over. Having shelter in the case of a rain is just another advantage. There is, though, one big disadvantage. If you do not have a sign with the name of the place where you are going on it, drivers may think you are waiting for a bus. So, DO carry a sign, do your best to look like a hitch-hiker..
5. Traffic Lights
Red lights are good friends of hitch-hikers. Love red lights. I’m saying this, because if you are hitching around traffic ligths with your sign up, you can communicate with 5-6 drivers waiting for the green light in a couple of seconds, with the help of a little eye contact. Even just looking at a driver with questioning eyes may get you a ride immediately. Even if the light is green, drivers will slow down anyway, which significantly increases your chances of finding a ride.
6. Roadhouses – Truck Stops
Roadhouses or truck stops on highways not only provide you with toilets and food (even shower in some cases) but also with the chance to talk to the drivers directly. With a truck you find at one of these places that are quite popular among truck drivers, you can cross even more than one country with a single ride. All you need is lo… Sorry, that was something else… All you need is to ask!
7. Gas Stations
Another spot you, as a hitch-hiker, should love is a gas station. Especially when your ride is not direct, get off at a gas station, even if you would lose a couple of kilometers. This way, you can make use of facilities like toilets and grocery as you wait for a new ride. Think of how critical this would be, if your wait was a longer than expected. Apart from that, another advantage of gas stations is that you can directly talk to the drivers getting some gas and ask them to give you a ride. Utanıp sıkılmak yok, bu iş böyle yapılıyor. There’s no shame in this, it’s how it’s done.
But still, if you don’t want to miss those cars that don’t stop at the gas station, hold your sign up at the exit of the gas station. Doing this, you can make yourself visible for those both inside and outside the gas station.
8. Pay Tolls
Pay tolls are also among the spots you can rapidly find a ride. For starters, all cars have to slow down at pay tolls, which allows us to establish eye contact with them and inform them about where we go. In addition, there are lots, lots of cars passing through, that is, our chances of finding a ride are quite high. Even in a really unlucky day, we can use the facilities of the pay toll personnel. Yet I must mention, I have never waited at any pay toll more than 15 minutes. Knowing this, there were times I walked 6-7 kilometers just to reach the pay toll, and it was worth it. Pay tolls are among the best!
Mind you, in some countries hitch-hiking on highways is forbidden. Make some preliminary research.
To conclude, safety or humane needs may be among the first things to spring to our minds when we think about hitch-hiking. But more important is finding a ride quickly. To do this, prefer spots where cars have to slow down or stop, with enough room to do these. A thumb raised at the right spot will take you to your destination much faster than all the other land route alternatives.
Otostop Nerede Yapılır? / Where to Hitch-hike?
Otostop yaptığınız yer sizi eskilerin tabiriyle ‘rezil de edebilir, vezir de’... / Where to hitch-hike to find the quickest ride?