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Sunt cateva lucruri esentiale pe care ar trebui sa le sti inainte de a incepe sa faci autosopul. Hitchwiki iti sugereaza sa ai aceste lucruri in vedere atunci cand ai de gand sa iti incepi cariera de autostopist:

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You'll be seeing a lot of this.

Foloseste cea mai circulata ruta

Cel mai scurt traseu nu este intotdeauna si cel mai bun. Daca nu exista trafic nu exista nici soferi dispusi sa iti ofere o cursa. Este bine sa ai in vedere si zonele in care merg camioanele, ca de exemplu: zonele industriale, porturile, aeroporturile, etc.

Cele mai usoare si rapide rute sunt de obicei intre orasele mari ocolind zonele rurale.Daca aveti de gand sa mergeti intr-o zona cu o densitate mare a populatiei(ex. Ruhr Area, Randstad, Sudul Angliei) veti intalni mult trafic local; asa ca este bine sa evitati aceste zone. De exemplu, cand mergeti din Olanda in sudul Frantei, este mai bine sa evitati capitala Paris si sa mergeti prin mai micul Luxembourg, trecand prin zone mai putin populate.

Nu incercati sa faceti autostopul pe rute care n-au sens pentru soferi: alegeti o ruta logica de la A la B intre doua orase mari, aceste rute fiind cel mai probabil alese de catre soferi.


Sa ai o harta buna la tine

Vrei sa stii unde mergi. De asemenea, ajuta sa stii unde sunt statiile "PECO". Incearca sa cumperi o harta pe care nu trebuie s-o despachetezi intr-o coala foarte mare de fiecare data cand vrei s-o citesti, pentru ca o vei folosi des. Hartile tip carte sunt cele mai bune.


Ponturi Harti: Pozitive

  • "Euroatlasul Shell" este bun pentru Europa, dar este greu de gasit..
  • Seria Falk Länderkarte (in germana, dar poate fi citita de toata lumea) este geniala pentru tari individuale europene, cu un sistem de paginatie folositor, compact si inteligent. Este usor de gasit in Germania si tarile vecine.
  • Hartile Marco Polo sunt excelente pentru Europa. Scara 1:800,000 este cea mai buna. Numele acestor harti difera in functie de tara in care se comercializeaza. Este tiparita in Germania, dar este disponibila in tot continentul.
  • In Scandinavia (in special Finlanda) - hartile Esso sunt cele mai bune, si se gasesc gratuit la orice benzinarie Esso in Findlanda.
  • Pentru Anglia si Irlanda hartile AA sunt cele mai bune, dar poti fi un pic cam mari.
  • In Germania poti obtine o brosura gratuita la restaurantele "rasthof", care contine o harta a tuturor "rashof"-urilor din Germania, si informatii despre fiecare.
  • Franta: "Grands Itinéraires" de la Michelin. 1:1,000,000, contine toate autostrazile, zone de stationare si alte drumuri. Se poate cumpara in majoritatea zonelor de stationare, la un pret de aproximativ 5.50 € (Iulie 2009).

Este recomandat sa aveti o harta cu scara de macar 1:1,000,000. 1:750,000 este indeajuns de bun de obicei.

Tineti minte ca benzinariile au de obicei harti de vanzare, inclusiv harti locale. Daca aveni nevoie sa aflati geografia zonei locale, doar mergeti la o benzinarie, rasfoiti o harta locala, studiati-o, tineti minte informatiile de care aveti nevoie, apoi puneti harta la loc si plecati. Multe service-uri auto au harti mari pe pereti sau pe afisiere.


Map Tips: Negative

  • Michelin Individual Country maps are not the best to use, they do not list the Services Area and lots of useful information are absent, the scale ratio is often not good enough.

Be in a good, safe spot

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This could be a good spot. You're easily visible, the drivers slow down at the junction, and there is an obvious place for them to stop.

It is basically possible to hitchhike from everyplace, just keep a single rule of thumb in mind: The faster the cars the more space for the cars to stop is needed.

Be in a place where the cars can see you from a distance and stop safely. You don't want to be run over. This is maybe the biggest danger in hitchhiking.

This is the case that the drivers consider as well. Few drivers stop unless it is safe for them. Some do, but you shouldn't count on them, as they are the minority. Therefore consider the safety of the driver as well, you don't want to involve them in an accident if they can't pull over safely. Make sure to not stand on the way, the driver will usually make their decision to stop or not when they see you from a distance and will get ready to pull over just next to you or right behind you. If you stand too much on the way (of the normal pulling aside triangle) you will make it complicated for them and they might change their mind. So one good option is to 'make sure' that your body language point out the area they would pull over in total comfort.

Stay positive, smile and laugh

It is easy to become bored or frustrated when waiting for a ride, but remember that a good attitude will help you get rides. Keep your spirits up by singing, humming, laughing and simply smiling. A grumpy hitchhiker may get rides out of sympathy, but a happy hitchhiker will get better rides and go further distances in less time. If you're in a group, try dancing or clapping your hands at the same time, it makes the drivers smile and lifts come much more often!

Avoid tight deadlines

It's easier to stay positive when you have nowhere to be. Getting stranded on the autobahn isn't so terrible as long as you're not trying to meet some friends in Berlin by nightfall; not only are you suddenly worried about how to catch a ride, you don't want to miss out on what's happening at your destination. Hitchhiking is a mental sport, and planning in enough time will allow you to enjoy the road and keep your head in the right place.

Make eye contact with drivers

Hitchhiking means making a connection with a person driving by, convincing him or her to stop. To best do this, make sure drivers can see the 'whites of your eyes'. Remove sunglasses and keep your hat higher on your head. Smile while you look at the oncoming cars. If you are looking a different direction or your head is down it is easy for drivers to pass by without relating to you. If you cannot see the person in the car, just look at the windshield where a face should be. Focus on each car until it passes. If traffic is light, let your gaze follow each car expectantly. If there is too much traffic, pay attention to each nearby car for a moment. The more you do this, the less time you will wait for rides.

'Mark Snyder and his co-workers (1974) found that hitchhikers doubled the number of ride offers by looking drivers straight in the eye. A personal approach, as my panhandler knew, makes one feel less anonymous, more responsible.' (Source: Social Psychology, Myers. p.503 Social Relations)

Respectable eyes for male drivers and puppy eyes for female drivers seem to work quite well.

Making conversation with drivers

Drivers pick up hitchhikers for lots of different reasons: some because they are genuinely helpful, many because they once hitched themselves, some because they think you might be fun/interesting to talk with. On the chance that they want to interact with you, it is great if you can meet them there in a friendly engaged place. Some hints on how to start conversations are listed under hitching etiquitte. Also talking with drivers is the one of the best ways to get longer rides or better drop off places.

Work with the weather

If it's hot, choose a hitchhiking spot where you can get some shade, in case you have to wait for some hours.

If it's wet, drivers may feel sorry for you, and choose to help you out. No-one likes a soggy hitchhiker in their car, so keep an umbrella handy. Better: stay dry at a petrol station.

Thunderstorms are a blessing. If, during a dry day, you notice that a thunderstorm is coming, don't worry. When the storm hits you, keep you and your possessions under an umbrella and keep signalling. Drivers will feel very sorry for you, and many will stop for you. While waiting on the roadside, Tom was hit by three thunderstorms in 2006, all of which got him a ride in less than ten minutes. The best example was in Cologne - after waiting for two hours without a ride offer, a storm came and there were three offers in five minutes (took the third one, it was a short ride and at the next petrol station another ride came within two minutes).

Types of clothing

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Many hitchhiking spots are dusty. White shoes not advised.

Although this may seem to be a small matter, types and colour of clothing are very important. Try to wear light, even bright and colorful clothes, and have your non-thumbing hand visible since light coloured clothes inspire more trust than darker clothes. Also, if the weather permits it, try to keep your forearms visible. If people can see your hands and arms, they'll be less likely to see you as a threat, or as someone trying to conceal something. A fun and colorful clothes/hat is a great way to inspire people to pick you up, but be careful not to appear weird!

If you can, don’t wear your old clothes or clothes that might frighten a driver (such as a T-shirt with a skull). Conservative people only take well shaved guys with proper clothes. Liberal-minded people always take you, but even conservative (or old) people can be very helpful on your trip.

Avoid wearing black. (Not really, it had positive impact (in comparison with a similar trip some time before) on one of my over-Europe hikes where I got on road wearing completely black clothes. Even women were picking me up regularly on that trip.) Even having a smart black shirt could keep you stuck in one place for a long time. Some have found that caps might have a negative impact. (Though Simon from Sweden, with shaved head and beard found it much easier wearing a cap always, because people seem to be afraid of people with shaved heads.) Black or blue woolly hats are awful too. If the weather permits, wear light coloured shorts and a bright colourful t-shirt or a smart short sleeved shirt. Although you may have no choice on whether you have luggage, some hold that hitching without luggage is quicker as the driver knows you're not concealing anything. But some drivers think that carrying a backpack makes you more of a traveler and will only pick up people with backpacks (e.g. Guaka and amylin experienced this in New Zealand).

Signs

A sign saying "Por favor" ("please" in spanish)

A thumb or hand gesture will work fine for hitchhiking (depending on the region). But in some cases, the use of a sign displaying your destination or general direction will increase your odds.

A sign just saying "PLEASE". can work sometimes. (It worked for Max, www.couchsurfing.com user:mxnnx.)

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True or Not, people will laugh and pick you up!

Making people laugh with funny signs is a great way to lift your mood, have fun with passing cars and get rides.

When you're hitchhiking on a road that goes to plenty of destinations: The driver will be more likely to stop if he knows that you're going the same way he does.

When the traffic is too heavy: The driver will be less likely to say "Somebody else is going to stop" if he sees that you want to go exactly his way.

If you're going from Barcelona to Amsterdam, consider writing "Paris", or just Perpignan, on your sign, when you start in Barcelona. Few people will be going to Amsterdam or even Paris, directly. There's a dilemma, though, because if the destination you write is too close, you won't make good time, and if it's too far, nobody will be heading all the way there and so won't feel confident in stopping for you. A good solution to this is to simply use your direction of travel, e.g. "East" or maybe "France".

It often helps if you write the sign in the same language as the drivers you're trying to attract. If you can show some affinity to the drivers' country, it usually increases your chances of a lift. If you want to make a sign in a language that you don't know (whether you need it now or in the future), try asking drivers or petrol station staff for help.

To make the sign, it's better to use cardboard or similar with a thick black marker, if possible − other pens/pencils will do as well, but require more work. Write neatly in big, block letters the name of a city or the name of a road, or both. You're in charge.

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MayaCova was using a white board with considerable success.

If you have a chance to plan a long hitchhiking trip in advance, some find using an erasable white board as a sign to be very useful for making big, clear and reusable signs. Remember the sign has to be read from a distance. At 100km/hr, a vehicle is covering approx 30 meters/second. The average reaction time when driving is 1.5 to 2.5 seconds, so 45 to 75 meters has gone before they start to stop. If you want them to stop, then you not only have to place yourself in the right location so they can see that you are a traveller and not just cagging a lift (this is what the sign does), you also have to have a sign that is readable. The more space between each letter the better to be read from a distance. (This is called Kernel, eg see road signs specifications.)

If space doesn´t permit a long city name shorten it to something everyone will understand. For example Amsterdam could be A'dam and Hamburg could be HH. Have a look at the country's license plates, the short forms featured there will probably be known in the population.

Signs don't just have to list a place - Much success can be had (in the proper setting) with more off-the-wall signs like "We're Awesome!", "Free Cookies!", "Runaway Bride" or even "Not Far", "that way ==>", etc.

Artwork on a sign can also be helpful, particularly if there are simple images that are commonly related to your context. For instance, when hitching out of Austin, Texas (home of the Longhorns, which are absurdly popular there), adding a Longhorns logo to the sign was a big improvement.

While living in a small village near a larger town my housemates and I found that using a sign decreased waiting times from 20-40 minutes average to about 10-20 minutes even though there were no other villages on the way. When I put this to my drivers some of them said that the sign made me look like a proper hitch-hiker.

If you have the chance, adding "Please" onto your signs could be a great idea. As well as being polite, writing "Please" in a certain language can indicate that you are a good speaker of that language, and this can be used to attract certain groups of driver who were ignoring you before. However, your main message is the destination/road number/compass direction. "Please" is an extra word for the driver to read, and trying to read that word can become a big distraction from the main message. Also, as you're clearly in a desperate position it's already accepted that you are being grateful for any assistance; once a driver stops, you can say "Please" as much as you like. Experiment with "Please" for yourself, and see what happens.

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In the UK, road names work well.
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Keep the signs bold and simple!

Safe hitchhiking

Wear bright colored clothes or a reflective warning vest while walking along the road.

Say no, if you don't feel safe! Trust your instinct, when it says no. This doesn't happen often, though. Minimizing risk is not being a coward, it's being smart. If you don't feel comfortable with someone, just don't ask him/her, there will be enough other cars. Most people who pick up hitchhikers are friendly and don't mind a no. Tip: If you want more security, send an SMS of the number plate of the car to a friend (or at least pretend you do so). A nice way of getting out of a car without offending a driver if you're uncomfortable, is to pretend that you're going to be sick. Tell the driver not to wait, and run away from the road. If you should need to get more radical, a pepper spray or a pocket knife may help and improve your self confidence.

Girls check out the safety guide tailored to your needs at http://girls.hitchbase.com

In the car

Once you've actually managed to get in the car and start heading towards your destination, it's all a matter of being courteous. Remember, your driver didn't have to pick you up at all. Settle in, get comfortable, but of course, not too comfortable. Keep your shoes off the dashboard, don't pass any form of gas (from either end), etc. In other words, don't do anything to offend your driver!


Your driver may have picked you up for many possible reasons. One of the main reasons is companionship on a long journey. That means you have to talk to the driver. Have a few things to talk about in mind before you get in (What's your name? Where are you headed? Oh yeah? What's there?). If the driver doesn't seem too interested in talking you can relax or read a book.

If not, keep it simple to begin with. A solid rule that should be followed by any hitcher is to try to shy away from talking about politics with a driver who has differing view points than yourself. People have a tendency to get worked up when it comes to politics or religion, so if they mention something that your political or religious views disagree with, try to use a reply like "I'm not going to get into that", "I never thought about that", or pretending to be in vague agreement. Many hitchers have been thrown out of cars following a fiery political debate.

Some drivers will go a few extra kilometers off their route to help you, if you ask very nicely; be prepared to graciously accept a no, however.

Make sure you know where the driver intends to drop you off, and if you know the city or have discussed the city with the driver, try to choose the best drop-off point yourself; drivers can sometimes be "trying to help", and despite their best intentions leave you in what turn out to be very bad places. If the drop-off point is not helpful to you, then say so, and the driver may take you to a different location instead, particularly one on their way.

Don't get lost while you're in a car! Some drivers have a terrible sense of direction and may need your help; so keep track of your journey using road signs and your maps. Also, knowing exactly where you are when you leave the vehicle will save a lot of time; if necessary, ask the driver exactly where you are.

If you're lost...

...then it's maybe a good idea to stop travelling until you know where you are. Ask whoever you can for help. Look on road signs for city names and road numbers, and try to match them with your map.

If getting lost isn't a problem because you have no fixed destination, then stop worrying and enjoy the ride ;).

If you've gone the wrong way...

...then work out whether it's best to turn around, to carry on in the new direction (either trying another route, or changing your destination), or to stop hitchhiking. If you're on a motorway, then it might be tough to turn around.

If you decide to turn around, then watch out: it can be hard to find a lift that gets you back to your route, and travels in the right direction. You could easily get back to your route, and have to turn round a second time.

Finding accommodation

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At night, it'll get tougher. Apart from much less traffic, people may trust you less (especially if you're male) and you may be in more danger (especially if you're female). Also, you're not as visible as you were before. But if someone does decide to help, they will probably help you as much as they can...

On longer hitchhiking trips you may need to camp along the way, if you did not receive a ride to your intended destination. Sometimes you can find a hostel or local host for the night, but just in case: bring a sleeping bag and tarp or tent with you. Make sure to bring clothes that will suit you for night weather.

It is also a good idea to check out CouchSurfing.com (more active), BeWelcome.org and Hospitality Club (good for finding phone numbers in smaller places) for free accommodation. If there's a YMCA center in town, see if they have a room for the night. There are many hitchhikers and it is easy to find a couple of places to stay while on the road or even at your destination. A fresh shave and shower will also greatly increase the chances of getting picked up.

If you can't find anywhere to sleep there are still other ways out of the situation. If you are lucky enough to be at a 24 hour petrol station just keep drinking coffee and keep hitching through the night. (Joe: My advice would be not to. After about 11p.m., it's probably best just to accept that you've been lucky and are stuck at a petrol station where you can stay warm. If you take another lift, you might end up in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning.) At night don't bother trying to get lifts with a sign, just ask people at the petrol station when they go to pay. Keep in mind that it gets really quiet between 2:00 and 5:00 even at a busy autobahn service area. The other alternative is to find a truck (or a car) going a really really long way and crash out on the way. Make sure you trust the driver or do it with 2 hitchers taking turns to sleep. The downside to this is that you might wake up a long way from where you wanted to be but at least you didn't have to sleep in the gutter.

Getting to the nearest city

It's tough to hitchhike out of city centres. But sometimes (if you're tired, hungry, thirsty, ill etc.) you'll need to go off your route and take a pause in the nearest city. Hey, if you're flexible with your travel arrangements, you may decide to stay there for a bit longer...

If hitchhiking to the city is too hard for whatever reason, and the city is too far to walk, then take public transport. Head for nearby areas of houses: they often have bus stops.

Most petrol stations on motorways have a special access road for staff and delivery/emergency vehicles. Many petrol stations also have local maps you can look at to find bus stops near you, if you exit via the special access road.

Use buses and trains

It's not worth trying to hitchhike at all costs. Sometimes it's just more convenient to take a bus to get to a highway or to your final destinations. This is the case especially when leaving or arriving at big cities or at night. Sometimes you can get away without paying on public transport, although in some countries or cities you have to be more careful than usual: check a "Public Transport" (or "Blackriding") section (if there is any) of a country/city you travel to. If you do blackride anyway, sit or stand preferably by the door; sometimes quick reaction (last second jumping off) to suspiciously looking folks who might appear to be ticket controllers can save your butt. It is usually better to sit in the front of the bus so you can quickly scan all the people waiting for the bus while the bus approaches the station and stops. Also, it helps to direct sight in only one way to look for ticket controllers you missed before already in the bus.

Highway hitchhike

If you need to travel over long destinations, taking the highway may help a lot, and in some place is almost unavoidable. Most highway entrances are bad spots, and many are dangerous. A good way to "hitchhike" on highway is to practice "station hopping": you only stops in petrol stations. Petrol stations (or rest areas, often the same) are the best spot ever, because you can go directly talk to people (show them you are nice and smile) and the car is totally stopped. Enjoy. This works particularly well in Germany and France. In Italy, hitching from toll stations seems to work a little better.

Do realise that in most countries, hitchhiking directly on the highway is forbidden! In rare occasions however, you might be forced to. Keep in mind that it is very unsafe for drivers to stop on the highway, and that your own safety is also in danger. The police might force you to leave the area, but in some cases they just don't care.

Avoid mistakes

Last but not least, try to avoid common mistakes and you will save a couple of hours and loads of frustration.

Related links and references

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