19 Hacks to Improve Your Hitchhiking Experience

Hitchhiker with a sign saying "Freshly Shower'd"
(Sign, love and photo by Peacehead)

Here are some tips that will improve your results while you’re hitchhiking:

  • Bring a girl (if you’re a guy) or a guy (if you’re a girl)

    If you’re a guy you’ll get much better results with other men if you bring a girl.
    If you’re a girl, it will be easier to dismiss the wedding proposals if you have another guy with you.

  • Smile, laugh and sing – no begging please

    Show the drivers that they’d have a much better time if they were with you.
    Convince them by being that missing piece of their experience.

  • Look the drivers into the eyes, seek rapport

    In this way they’ll feel forced to give you some sort of answer.
    If not, you’re just part of the scenery.

  • Wear whole and clean clothes (depending on what kind of cars you want to attract)

    We want to attract new and secure cars.
    Therefore, we dress fashionable and properly ;).

  • Know your way, or be prepared to ask for it

    Say you want to get to city D and you are in city A. Then it’s good to know the name of city B and city C as well.

  • Use a sign (paper or cardboard)

    Your sign is a way of saving time. Write the closest town that you want to get to, or the furthest depending on your situation.
    If nobody has stopped, then you might want to skip the sign. If everyone stops, then you want to make it very specific.

  • Write the sign using the native alphabet

    For example if you’re in an Arab country, get a friend or stranger to write it for you (unless you speak/write in Arabic)

  • Be humorous with what you write on the sign

    When we’re failing to get a good connection with the drivers, and we feel unmotivated we usually just pick up the “INDIA” sign.
    This has a very good effect: The drivers starts to smile, laugh, and often points at the sign while their mouths falls wide open.
    This makes us laugh and smile as well.
    Some people just stop to figure out what’s going on, and if we’re really going to India.

  • Use the crowd effect

    Humans are social creatures and they are attracted to – social happenings.
    If a car stops and the driver talks to you because of your humorous sign,
    then that will make it harder for the drivers that comes afterwards to not do the same thing.
    Nobody wants to miss the fun, right?

  • Never hitchhike on a “green road” or motorway – more often than not it’s illegal

    It is very difficult for the drivers to stop and it’s also dangerous for them to do so.

  • Offer the car enough space to stop

    After the point where you’re standing there should at least be a few meters for the car to stop at.

  • Stand in the brightest spot possible – you want to shine

    It doesn’t matter if the source is the Sun or a street light, the important thing is that the driver can see you properly.

  • Give the driver enough time to see you, make a decision and stop

    Make yourself as visible as possible, give them time to understand what you want.
    With this in mind, the best spots is where the cars drive slow.

  • Don’t hitchhike when it’s dark

    Don’t take this too seriously.
    The main reason for not hitchhiking when it’s dark is simply because it’s harder for the drivers to see you.

  • If you’re in a hurry – avoid trucks as they only drive top 90km/h

    Truck drivers are often really friendly and nice persons. The only problem with trucks are that they go really slow.
    So if you’re in a hurry or want to be somewhere at a specific time, it is best to avoid the trucks.

  • Remember that you’re in control – you choose which driver to go with and how far you’ll go with her/him

    When you’re hitchhiking, you’re the boss. You choose if you want to step into that car, or if you want the driver to stop it.

  • Stand as close to the cars as possible – walk down from the pavement to really get “in their faces”

    In order to get a good contact (rapport) you want to be in the drivers faces. Get out on the road and make contact!

  • If you don’t speak the same language as your driver – be prepared

    Lack of language is not a communication barrier! You can draw, make gestures and sing international songs together.

  • Connect with your driver if you like her/him

    Exchange email addresses or Facebook.
    Share a gum if you have one.
    Show pictures from home.
    Connect in some way, and you might have made a friend for life!

There you have it.
19 hacks to improve your hitchhiking experience.
Do you have any tactics or strategies that you’d like to share?
Write them in the comments!
Happy hitching :) !

12 thoughts on “19 Hacks to Improve Your Hitchhiking Experience

  1. Darren Alff

    I’ve been traveling with a bicycle for the last 10 years and there have been numerous times when I have hitchhiked along the way. I have found that many people won’t actually stop for me unless they see that I am in need of assistance. So, because I usually have a bicycle with me, I will take off the front wheel of my bike and wave people down with it. When drivers see the wheel off my bike, they assume there is something wrong and they stop to help me. It’s a little deceptive, but it works.

  2. Pingback: Travel Blog Roundup (Dec 2) | Budget Your Trip

      1. Davvi

        Thank you! It’s been fun blogging away during our travels, even if it does get difficult to balance it out sometimes.

        Safe travels! :)

  3. Christopher Culver

    I don’t entirely agree with the advice here. As a man, I get rides much faster hitchhiking alone than I do with a female companion. Truck drivers are only allowed to take a single passenger, and many drivers are looking for a single person they can chat with, so by hitchhiking two people, you’re missing many possible rides.

    As for hitchhiking at night, it is completely possible. In Western Europe, one is typically hitchhiking from service station to service station, so even at night one can walk up to drivers at the petrol pump and ask them for a lift. If you standing along the road waiting for a car, reflective clothing works fine. I move nearly as fast at night as during the day.

    And finally, while it’s good to be fairly close to the road, don’t push your luck. In many countries, if you are standing in what drivers see as part of the road, they’ll hit you and keep on driving.

    1. mangomanjaro Post author

      Interesting Christopher!
      All the truck drivers we’ve gone with have probably not officially been allowed to pick up both of us but they always do.
      Nice to hear that you travel with the same speed during night. We have tried with not such a good result unfortunately. A reflective vest will be next years wish for Christmas :) !
      But, responding to the last lines: did you ever get hit by a car!?
      Thanks for a great comment!

    1. mangomanjaro Post author

      Love this one: “Remember: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Don’t get frustrated at any point but enjoy every second of it. “There are no ordinary moments” (Peaceful Warrior). Trust the process: someone always picks you up, sooner or later.”. Thank you Tomi!


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