The Art of Hitchhiking in Europe
Because there are still kind people out there
You won’t be raped. No, you won’t be kidnapped or killed!
Rule #1 Open the eyes and analyze every driver you meet!
Okay, jokes apart. I have been hitchhiking for 3 years in Europe surviving long distances in Bulgaria, no Internet in Albania, cold nights in Norway, desperation in Spain and a track with only 7 guys inside in Ukraine. And that has been amazing! That has brought hundreds of friends to my life. It has taught me to tolerate all minorities, share emotions loudly, and sometimes postpone your further plans just to celebrate the evening with my new fellow travelers.
1. Clean fresh clothes!
This is what all drivers in all countries hate – if you smell bad! We all know that it might be too hot, too cold, too much time on a road. But let’s not forget about an amazing invention – deodorant and wet tissues. Trust me they can help you wherever you are 🙂
It takes only 26 muscles to smile, so have that mini-work-out before jumping into the car. And nothing improves the mood of the drivers more, than seeing that people are happy to meet you!
[I always turn on the music and it keeps me energized]
It is good to have a plan in your head and write down your next destination. Don’t waste the time of people, don’t make them stop just because you are a smiling jumping backpacker on a road. This way you might miss real help.
Plus it is such a creative activity to design your signs. Turn on your imagination!
Learn a bit your road. Learn by heart the names of the major cities on a way and highways’ numbers, pay attention to turns from your main road and define where are you moving to – South, North? Or maybe you are following the river, heading to the city?
5. One bag!
Should I explain more! Be backpacker!
6. Talk! Ask! Entertain!
This is the currency we pay on a road.
How to find that starting point!
Let’s take a look on one of the most popular routes in Eastern Europe Cracow (PL) – Berlin (DE).
- Use Google Maps and its first recommendation which highway to take. This is the most likely way your future drivers will go.
2. Zoom in into your starting city.
Find the highway you are going to take and analyze the point when the city road becomes a highway!
3. Satellite Mode is a perfect way to understand the landscape. Find the major attractions for drivers on the way from the city.
4. Factory Krakow – the big shopping mall and is located far from the highway. Taking this place you risk standing in front of lots of local drivers who are coming back to Cracow.
Analyze the previous shopping malls – Galeria Bronowice and IKEA Center.
5. Now we are analyzing the last stops in the city.
1&2 might be good spots for hitchhiking, but… Satellite Mode tells you that the highway is divided into TWO levels. Down – you are not visible to your main drivers. UP – you are not allowed to stand as it is a high-speed zone + there is no parking place for the cars.
Continue analyzing the highway in the direction to Factory Krakow.
6. When you follow the highway, you will spot the gas station (they are the best option!) on the right side, which your side for stopping the car. Plus there is a bus stop in front of it. The station is not big, so not too crowded, but an attractive place for drivers to refill the gas tank before they leave.
Choose a visible spot where you not risking to be hit.
Parking #1 & #2 are the places where the drivers will be able to stop and pick you up!
Good luck, travelers!
If you have any questions regarding hitchhiking anywhere in Europe or might need help in planning the hitchhiking adventure – hit me up!