If you love traveling but don’t feel compelled to spend a lot of money or having a set plan while doing so, hitchhiking could be a great way for you to experience the world around you, meet new people, and get a more intimate view of the area you’re exploring. However, hitchhiking can also put you in potential danger if you’re not careful.
To help ensure that you’re able to make smart decisions while hitchhiking and return home safely after you’re done with your adventure, here are three tips for safely hitchhiking during your travels.
Approach People You’re Comfortable With
When most people think about hitchhiking, they envision someone standing on the side of the road with their thumb out while they wait for a vehicle to stop and pick them up. While this is one way hitchhiking can be done, this usually isn’t the safest way to go about it.
Rather than just taking whatever ride you can get, Francis Tapon, a contributor to Forbes.com, recommends that you find a public place where you can wait for the right people to come around and solicit a ride from them. By hanging out at a gas station or other location, you can have the chance to observe someone before you approach them about hitching a ride. This gives you a little more power to approach people you’re comfortable with and not just get in the car with any random stranger.
Hunker Down For The Night
According to Catharine Hamm, a contributor to the LA Times, it’s best for hitchhikers to end their search for a ride once the sun goes down.
After dark, being on the road can get a little scary, especially if you get in a vehicle with someone who’s been drinking or is tired while behind the wheel. In addition to this, you as a hitchhiker are much harder to see in the dark, which could make it easier for cars or trucks to get in an accident with you while standing or walking on the side of the road.
Sit In The Front Seat
Once you’ve found someone that you’re comfortable getting in the car with, Kerry Kubilius, a contributor to Trip Savvy, shares that the safest place for you to sit is the front seat of the car.
In most vehicles, the back doors can be set with a child lock, which can make it impossible for you to open the door and get out of the car on your own. But if you sit in the front seat and keep all of your bags with you, you can easily make an escape if you get a funny feeling about the driver or where they’re taking you.
If you’re wanting to try hitchhiking during your next travel adventure, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do so safely.