When hitch-hiking there are a few guidelines worth following:
- Look presentable – who’s going to pick up someone who might make the car smell?
- Be careful – obvious, really, but check out the area. For instance, I’d not hitch in the outback where there are no towns for 8 hours at a stretch. If someone seems dodgy, don’t accept a lift. Trust your instincts.
- Scout your pickup point – it’s easier to have a wander the night or day before to see where’s good to stand with your thumb out. Much more convenient than trying it at rush hour with all your bags on you. Also ask other hitchers or locals.
- Pick somewhere safe for the motorist – nobody’s going to stop on a busy dual carriageway unless you’re stood where they can get into a parking bay or similar.
- Be prepared to stagger your trip – sometimes you know you’ll get a lift directly to your destination. Other times it’s worth accepting that “starter” to get you 30 miles up the road to a better position.
- Carry some cash – it may be that someone can get you pretty close to your destination, maybe the outskirts of a town. You’ll need a few quid/dollars/kip/yen/whatever to catch public transport the last few miles. Invariably in built-up areas it’s very hard to hitch a short distance.
- Carry a sign… or not? – I personally won’t pick up someone without a sign if I’m not in the mood. However, sometimes it’s worth not using one – or just stating which highway you want to travel along – so if someone you don’t like the look of pulls up you can ask them where they’re going and politely decline, saying you’re not going that way.