How to Hitchhike

Who can hitchhike?

Select language
Cover Image for Who can hitchhike?

Anyone can hitchhike – but some people will spend more time waiting than others. As a general rule drivers will decide to pick you up when they can relate to you in some way. A person will not pick you up if they feel threatened by you. Therefore, people who are perceived as non-threatening and easy to relate to will find hitchhiking very straightforward – and people who are intimidating or not easy to relate to will find hitchhiking difficult.

Generally a person will relate to you if they believe you share some common ground, or if you remind them of someone they know. For example, other travellers will relate to you strongly: you're both doing the same thing, except they're using a vehicle, so they're very likely to pick you up. A big-shot bank CEO may not relate to you as strongly on a personal level, but if you remind her of her children she might pick you up anyway. This selection process works in your favour – if someone decides to stop for you, then you're likely to have something in common, which helps the conversation flow easily.

The fact is that people are more likely to stop for women than they are for men. Fairly or not, in most places in the world females are generally perceived to be less capable of causing harm and more likely to need help than men. They score highly on the non-threatening and relatable scales. However, women may also be at higher risk when hitchhiking, and therefore might refuse a higher number of rides. Or so the theory goes – the female hitchhikers that I’ve met report that they feel comfortable accepting the vast majority of rides, and they certainly tend to get places quicker than I do when I’m on my own.

That said, I’ve met hitchhikers of all genders, age, race, and hygiene level. Everyone seems to get where they’re going eventually.