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Home / How to Travel Cheap / Hitchhiking, is it safe?

Hitchhiking, is it safe?

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First Yes, yes it is safe.

Second, stop watching scary movies.

540967_4254131474505_1113196938_nLast year I went around the world by hitchhiking. Over 1000 cars picked me up. I never had a single problem. Everyone picked me up: old people, young people, single women with children, a man with 4 poodles in his car, psychedelic transport trucks, gypsies, communists, scientists, womanizer  drunks(I got out about as soon as I got in), police officers (multiple times they gave me rides – they were not arresting me) and everyone you can think of. I loved it and I met a lot of good people, people I still call friends. One man who picked me up has since moved to Cambodia because of the stories I told him about it.

But Eric, you are a man, what about women?

Hitchhiking in IRAN
Echo Hitchhiking Iran

Again Hitchhiking is safe, just as safe for men as it is women. Let me say that you should never travel alone, not because it is unsafe, but because it is boring. Standing on the road side singing works so much better when you have someone to sing too. Also some drivers want you to tell them your life story, if you have two people, you can take turns telling your stories.

Here are  few tips for women hitchikers from women hitchhikers.

1. In Italy you will be asked for sex. They will ask you in a casual way “Would you like to make love?” They are not trying to be offensive, they just want to know
“yes” or “no” and take no offense if you decline.  If they ask and you don’t feel comfortable just ask for them to let you out.

2.There is a hitchhiking girl, she has traveled solo around much of the world, and has never had an issue. She gets picked up, gets in, sits down, pulls out an apple, then a knife, which a bear would shy away from, then peels her apple and offer a piece to the driver. The driver knows what is up so if he does want to be a problem he might quickly change his mind.

3. As a single woman, families pick you up more often the single men. There could be many reasons to this but if I compete with a single woman in a Hitchhiking race she always gets the best cars and the sweetest drivers.

But Eric, What about what I have seen on the news! It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again!

Seriously people watch too many horror movies and read too much negativity in the news.  Bad things do happen but they are amazingly rare. Hitchhiking is not rare. I know  Dozens of people who are hitchhiking across the globe now. If you are really afraid here is a tip. Get in the car then text a friend with a plate number. Have them call you every hour to make sure things are ok. Let the driver know what you are doing. They will understand.

Any questions? Did I miss anything?

Hey, I’m Eric, www.YourWorldYourHome.com is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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11 Comments

  1. Like the peeling the apple story. And agree with your analsys . My worst was trying to get a drunk and stoned group to drop me off when they forgot I was in the back of their pickup. Let me off on a side road in the dessert east of interstate5 above the grapevine coming back fro LA. There was a 4 day diary written on the back of the nearest stop sign…. Not a welcome sight.

    • Getting dropped off in the desert, I know the feeling and loath it.

      A rule I learned mid last year was not to get in a car with anyone to drunk or high. It either scary as hell or you get delayed by everything.

  2. Really great tips, especially for women. I am a lady hitch hiker, and have never had any trouble. I have had the italian-asking-for-sex thing, and it was asked just a casual (if extremely weird!) question, but funnily enough I didn’t feel threatened – it’s good to know it’s just a ‘thing’ that happens! Lots of people look at me like i have two heads when I tell them of my long hitch hiking trips (not quite around the world, but I’ve done a two-dayer from France to the UK before) and tell me I’m mad and being dangerous. Statistically, from the positive experiences I’ve had, I’m clearly neither! 🙂

    However, I think it IS important to think of safety, as this is your life (although I do think that the people in cars should be more worried about what I’m potentially planning as a hitch hiker who is going to get into their car as I wait on the roadside for them?! Of course I’m not planning anything at all, except meeting super new people and going travelling for free, but did anyone ever think of it the other way round?!)

    I like the peeling apple story, and the number plate idea is brilliant. Small safety checks like that cannot help.

    Thanks for being pro-hitch hiking!
    Katie.

  3. Hey Katie
    It’s good to meet another hitchhiker and I am glad I could share some good ideas with you! I agree that thinking about safety is important, but honestly the most dangerous thing about hitchhiking isn’t getting in the car, it is not getting hit while waiting.

    • Too right Eric! Haha! I’m writing an article about hitch hiking and my experiences and would love to include the anecdote about the girl with the apples. I’d of course link to your brilliant article too 🙂 would that be ok? I’m having such a good day, reading other people’s hitching stories, and reminiscing my own tales too. Katie.

    • Katie, good luck with your article and feel free to use anything I have. As for the girl and who she is, while she isn’t Rosie Swale, she might have gotten her ideas from her.Sharing ideas is something hitchhikers definitely do. I started hitchhiking, village hopping, train hopping, and trusting everyone I met because people I had met had told me such great stories of their own adventures. I am glad I tried too, it helped me have my own amazing adventure 🙂

  4. Great to read some articles promoting hitchhiking. As a woman who hitchhiked over thousands of miles, I can say that for women, it’s not more dangerous than for men. I’ve met a good number of men who have had problems being groped and handled by male drivers than I know of women having that problem- of course, I’ll be fair and say that hitchhiking is a male dominated activity so that may be the reason.

    Hitchhiking itself has an element of danger anyone, whether male or female needs to be extra cautious. But to say that it’s more dangerous for women is wrong. I never really had to much trouble and although everyone likes to tell me just how lucky I am, the truth is that there are many women who haven’t had too many problems and people are just brainwashed by media and a society that wants to keep a woman at home. Yes, some women have had problems, but that is life- you can have a negative experience just walking to your car at night from the shopping mall.

    I loved hitchhiking and there’s nothing like the feeling of living on the road and not knowing where the horizon will lead. I met so many wonderful people. Before I went out on the road, I was a very naive young girl and figured people were just bad in general and everyone wanted to take something from you. It was only after I went out into the world that I realized, in fact, people are generally good and want to do the right thing.

    Hitchhiking certainly isn’t for everyone, but if any of your readers have wanted to give it a try, don’t let fear stop you. Get a feel for it by first going with someone who has a lot more experience- they can teach you a lot of tips and tricks for getting a ride.

    • Hey, Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been hitchhiking around the jungle, and the jungle has very limited WiFi. I agree entirely with you that is is just as safe for women as men. I had to add in the question about it being safe for women because that is the exact question so many young naive women ask me. I am sure there are just as many young naive men with fears, but men rarely talk to me about their fears, maybe this is also a cultural thing and I should address unspoken fears as well 🙂

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