Hitchhiking Records

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Please pay attention to this fact – these are (mostly) not officially proven records, but claims of hitchhikers regarding their extremes. This list of records is for us – hitchhikers (we should be happy for our colleagues, not to be envious!), for novices who do not know anything about hitching, but they are proud of their only travel abroad.

Note that this page is a near copy of the Rekordai / Records of Vilniaus Autostopo Klubas. Some of the records, those marked (HGE), were originally published in Ken Welsh' "Hitchhikers Guide to Europe".

Feel free to add your own record(s), but please do not make list longer than five records. If you still want to add a record when there are already five entries, and your record is not in the top-5, you can create a sub-page for the particular record.

The longest distances passed on land during the 24 hours period

  • 2777 km (1736 miles), according to Pavel Trcala, from Czech Republic. Time 28 November 1998 07:30 - 29 November 1998 06:30. The route: Miami to Chicago via Jacksonville (Florida), Savannah (Georgia), Columbia (South Carolina), Asheville (North Carolina), Knoxville (Tennessee), Lexington (Kentucky), Toledo (Ohio), South Bend (Indiana), and Harvey (Illinois). The route was done in five lifts.
  • 2750 km, according to Vladas Sapranavicius, member of Vilnius Hitch-hiking Club. Time: 21 August 1996 22:00 – 22 August 1996 22:00 ViaMichelin gives as expected travel time for Almeria - Potsdam: 24 hours and 51 minutes. The route: Almeria (E) – Murcia (E) – Barcelona (E) – Montpellier (F) – Lyon (F) – Frankfurt (D) – Potsdam (D). 4 lifts (Almeria – Montpellier; Montpellier – Lyon; Lyon – Salzgitter; Salzgitter – Potsdam). The average speed (including waiting for the ride + a cup of beer in the restaurant): 115 km/h. The maximum speed: 170 km/h.
  • Gbor-cut.jpg
    2318.4 km, according to Robert Prins, hitchhiker from, at the time, the Netherlands. It was done in 4 lifts through Yugoslavia, Austria and Germany during 20.47 hours. The record was included on page 179 of the UK 1991 edition of the Guinness Book of Records. Full details of the four rides that led to this record can be found here.

Lifetime hitchhiking

  • Alexey Vorov, president of the St. Petersburg Autostop League. He has covered about 1,973,650 km (updated: 14th September 2015) by hitchhiking. Hitching experience – from 1977 on. He is still hitchhiking, so it is not the final number.
  • Benoit Grieu, French hitchhiker. Started his trip in 1979 and since then all the time on the road. During this trip he has covered about 1,500,000 km. For some years, he hitchhiked more than 100,000 km/year. His current whereabouts are sadly unknown.
  • Stephan Schlei. He claims 1,000,000 km.

The longest rides with one car

  • In 2015 Aliosha Yazylets, a Belorussian hitchhiker, together with one other person, hitchhiked over 12,000 km in one lift from Tadjikistan, via China, Mongolia, Irkutsk and Moscow in Russia, all the way to Lvov in western Ukraine.
  • L.J. Gordon from Western Australia. He started from Whitepark Bay Youth Hostel in Northern Ireland, where four Americans in a Combi Van gave him a lift through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Andorra and into Spain. They covered an astonishing 7107 km before parting company. (HGE) Note: This record was copied from Ken Welsh' "Hitchhikers Guide to Europe". L.J. may have recorded the distance as miles in a car with a KM odometer, as the distance seems far too great to be in kilometres.
  • Alexey Anofriev from Vladivostok (Russia) hitchhiked from Vladivostok (23 May, 2001) to Shimanovsk (the end of the road) and got a lift to Samara there. From Shimanovsk to Shilka on the railroad platform together with the car and from Shilka to Samara by car (Toyota Celica). Totally it was about 6800 km long lift from 28 May until 4 June! Afterwards, the drivers went to Krasnodar and Alexey hitchhiked on to St. Petersburg. He arrived to St. Petersburg on 7 June, 2001.
  • Benoit Grieu, French hitchhiker who hitchhiked about 6000 km in one lift from Anchorage (Alaska) to San Diego (California).

Most rides taken in 24 hours

  • The DTSG members Koen de Jong and Stefan Korn had 32 rides during a DTSG-Competition on 2 May 2014 in Germany (between 08:00 and 23:30).

One year hitchhiking record

  • Benoit Grieu, French hitchhiker during 4 or 5 years (for example 1989, 1993, 1995, 1997) hitchhiked more than 100,000 km per year (in 1995 - 113,000 km).
  • Alexey Vorov - 78,800 km in 1991.
  • Vilmantas Trumpickas from Vilnius Hitch-hiking Club has covered 56,000 km during the year 2010.

The longest journey

  • Benoit Grieu has been hitch-hiking since 1979 and still hitchhiked every day until he disappeared, [1] (Romanian), on his way to Nepal in 2011. During these years he covered about 1,500,000 km not staying more than 3 months in one place.
  • Expedition “Autocolumbus” by PASL in 17 February 1992 – July 1993. The trip started 4 hitchhikers: Alexey Vorov, Mikhail Dutkevich, Kiril Baranov and Victor Grigor’ev, but only Alexey and Mikhail finished the complete journey. The route was around the world through 25 countries in Europe, Asia, South and North America. The length of the route ~83,000 km.
  • In 2014 Stefan Korn started a circumnavigation expedition. The trip took him 22 months, passing through 58 countries in 5 continents and covering a total distance of 108.895 km. His expedition was documented in his travel blog warmroads.de.

Longest waiting time

  • Alexey Vorov. He waited for a lift 3 days in Chucotka, Far North, Russia to move 50km and then waited another 3 days for the second lift in the Komsomol'skij county till got a lift to Majskij (50 km). The minimum temperature on this travel was -55°C in Tyoplyj Kluch county (Chucotka).

Visited Countries

  • Benoit Grieu, French hitch-hiker, has hitchhiked in about 170 countries.
  • Vladimir Nesin is famous for barefoot walking, and has been in 138 countries. In all of them he hitchhiked at least one time, excepting Mongolia, which he traversed completely on foot. This means he has hitchhiked in 137 countries, although in many of them only a little bit.
  • Vladimir Sharlaev from St. Petersburg has hitchhiked in 138 countries, if counting "not officially recognized territories" . We are not sure how many officially recognized nation-states that amounts to exactly, but it must be somewhere "'between 120 and 135"' countries.

The largest deviation done by a driver

  • Neringa Raulusonyte and Kristina Zukaite from the Vilnius Hitch-hiking Club. They got a ride from a 55 years old German driver with a Toyota Corolla, which was going just 50 km. However, later he offered them to prolong the lift according to their wishes. The driver gave them a ride using the route Berlin - Frankfurt/M - Koblenz - Luxembourg - Paris - Bruxelles - The Netherlands - Hamburg - Berlin - Torun - Kalvarija - Vilnius. From 2001-08-29 until 2001-09-04 the girls covered 4000 km in the same car. The total deviation from driver's route was - 3950 km (drivers way back is not included).
  • 600 km (at least) to one side. It was for three hitch-hikers from the VGTU Tourist Club, Lithuania. The lift was given on the Lithuanian – Polish border. The driver should go to Czech Republic, but after he spoke to one of the hitchhikers, he took them until the German border (Szczecin). After the crossing the German border he went back to Poland and after to Czech Republic. Also he gave them 150 EEK (~11 USD). These hitchhikers were: Vladas Sapranavicius, Jovita Garnyte and Asta Ruzgyte.

Most picked up hitchhikers

  • Dieter Wesch, the self-styled 'King of Hitchers', who was spending his Sundays patrolling the Autobahn between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, giving lifts to hitchers stranded at petrol stations. Every hitcher should sign in his guest-book. There was given a number from the guest-book - 9528. It's probably not a final number.
  • Jim Sanderson ('Angel'). He has about 5000 photos with the hitchhikers he gave a lift to (mostly in pairs), so he has taken around 7500 people. Mr. Sanderson lives in New Zealand. He has in the 9 years since 1988 filled 7 guest books, 27 address books and dozens of photo albums.

Reaching the farthest point north

  • Island of Dunay, north of Tiksi, North Russia, 73°56'. It was done by Konstantin Savva from Moscow Hitchhiking School (Russia) and his girlfriend Polina Kuleshova in September 2002.
  • Urung-Haia, North Russia, 73°. It was done by Konstantin Savva from Moscow Hitchhiking School (Russia) on May 2002.
  • Tiksi, North Russia, 71° 36'. It was done by Andrey Sapunov and Alexandr Dmitrievskyi from Ukrainian hitchhiking club "Mainroad" (Ukraine) on autumn 2002.
  • Phillips Petroleum drilling operations near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 71° N was done by Ilmar Island from Pompano Beach, FL as the starting point for a Guinness World Record run from Prudhoe Bay, AK to Key West, FL which was accomplished in 6-days, 17-hours and 22-minutes. However since the route included trespassing for 510-miles on oil company owned roads the record was not honoured and instead Guinness recognized Mr. Island's run from Key West, FL to Fairbanks, AK in 5-days, 20-hours and 52-minutes that he accomplished a few days earlier in June of 1979.

Reaching the farthest point south

  • Scott Base, Antarctica, 77° 51'. Hitchhiker from USA Benjaman Bachelder hitched 5 km from McMurdo Station to Scott Base in December 2005. The same month he even held a seminar on hitchhiking in Antarctica and got a ride in a snowmobile.
  • Ukrainian research base "Academic Vernadsky" in Antarctica, 65° 15' - reached by Argentinian hitchhikers Juan Villarino and Laura Lazzarino in 16 November 2010. They got a free ride to this base from cruiser "Ushuaia", belonging to cruise company "Antarrply Expeditions" 20 km South from Ushuaia, Argentine, 54° 48'.
  • Arndt Writzel from Germany cut a record of the farthest point in the South. He reached Ushuaia town in southern Argentina in 2001 02 03.

The highest point on land

  • Kala Patthar in Nepal - 5,644 meters. It was done by Portuguese hitchhiker Luís Terra Pinto as part of a round the world hitchhiking trip leaving from home without any money and only surviving busking with his mandolin. He hitchhiked all the way until the end of the road in Jiri, Nepal and then mostly walked but also got a few rides until base camp, conquering Kala Patthar's peak the following day on the 1st of January 2013.
  • Mount Everest base camp in Nepal - 5,400 meters. It was done by Czech hitchhiker Pavel Trcala. He got the ride from Everest base camp two days after climbing Everest on his return to Kathmandu on 1 June 2005. Later the same place was also conquered by several other hitchhikers: Nuutti Palonen (Finland), Radha Krishnan (India) and Tai Häring (Germany). They also hitchhiked to Mt Everest base camp from Shigatse in August 2005 and then hitchhiked to Nepal from Mt Everest.
  • Gyatso-La mountain pass in Tibet, on the way from Lhasa to Nepalese border - 5,220 meters. It was done by two Polish hitchhikers Kinga and Chopin on 11 May 2003.
  • The mountain pass in the Andes, South Peru – 5,100 meters. It was done bye Alexey Vorov and Mikhail Dutkevich (PASL) in May 1993.

The highest temperature

  • +55°C experienced Alexey Vorov, Andrey Kuritsin, Ol’ga Bandurko, Andrey Leipi and Nadezhda Makarova in summer 1981 near Ashchabad, Turkmenistan.
  • +52°C. Bertrand hitchhiked from Abu Dhabi airport to the city center. 19th August 2015.
  • +50°C according to farben.rausch experienced Stefan Korn and Noah Essl in August 2016 as they entered the Lut Desert in Iran to cross it. They waited 3 hours before they got a ride all the way through.

The lowest temperature

  • –63°C. It was for hitchhiker Elena Saturova, member of PASL in January 1992 between Ust’-Nera and Sasuman in East Yakutya, Russia.
  • During their expedition to the Nordkapp in January 2018, hitchhikers of the DTSG encountered temperatures down to –30 °C in Finnish Lapland. The hitchhiking nomad Sven Kopf even slept outside during those temperatures.

The highest speed

  • 310 km/h, according to Andrius Papickas and Viktorija Aksionova from Lithuania. It has happened on April 14, 2004 in Germany, between Fulda and Dresden, when travellers were returning home from Spain. The car was "BMW 550" ("Alpina").
  • 300 km/h, according to Prino, on 25 May 2016 around 20:30, during a ride from MOP Nowostawy on the Polish A2 to a petrol station on the exit Poznan Komorniki (the driver missed MOP Tulce). The car was a Mercedes E63 AMG. The driver made an attempt to break the 310 km/h record mentioned above, but lack of free road made this impossible.
  • 300 km/h, according to Linas Migonis from Lithuania. On June 1, 2007, on the route Berlin - Leipzig he had a lift with 4 seated "Maserati". The drive has attended a driving lessons of Formula-1 racer.
  • 294 km/h, according to Rebew, on 30 June 2022 on the A9 in a BMW. After a few compliments for the car, the driver made a few attempts to break 300 km/h but got stopped by traffic each time.
  • 292 km/h, according to Veit Kuehne from Dresden, Germany. He got a ride with a young driver (car "Audi") on a highway between Dresden and Chemnitz in July 2008.
  • At least 280 and more than likely exceeding 290 km per hour, according to Prino on 27 May 2015 from Raststätte Fränkische Schweiz/Pegnitz Ost (departure @ 06:05) to Raststätte Fläming Ost (arrival @ 07:49). The odometer'ed distance was 304.0 km (both Google Maps and Bing Maps give the distance as 308 km) and the ride included a refuelling stop of 11 minutes (06:58 - 07:09). The driver used a Cougar system and didn't pay any attention to speed restrictions, other than slightly slowing down in roadworks. The car was an Audi RS6 Quattro.

Fastest round the world hitchhike trip

  • 20 days +1h31m17s, according to Alexej Vorov from Russia. Alexej hitch-hiked from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok, from Seattle to Boston and from Madrid to St. Petersburg starting 01.10.2014 00h00 and finishing 21.10.2014 01h31:17. He passed the countries Russia, USA, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Highest number of countries within 24 hours

  • 10, according to Miran Ipavec from Slovenia. Miran hitched this in 23 hours and 15 minutes, starting on 2018-03-14. In this order he passed these countries: Serbia, Croatia*, Bosnia and Herzegovina**, Slovenia*, Italy**, Austria*, Germany**, Hungary*, Slovakia, Czech Republic. Countries marked * were passed twice and at those marked ** Ipavec retunred into the previous country at the border.

Highest number of countries within 10 days

  • 30, according to Miran Ipavec from Slovenia. Miran hitched this in 9 days, 20 hours and 25 minutes, starting on 2015-04-01. In this order he passed these countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania*, Ukraine, Serbia, Macedonia*, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia*, Slovenia*, Italy, Austria*, Czech Republic, Germany*, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. Countries marked * were passed twice. Kosovo, not recognised by the UN, is excluded from this list.

Longest "driving the driver" ride

  • Stefan Korn hitchhiked from Fairbanks down to British Colombia and got a 2676km long ride from Tok Alaska to Cache Creek in British Columbia (2014-01-13T). Around 1.600 km he drove by himself.
  • 1,113.6 km, by Prino from the Netherlands, a ride from service station Deersels on the A67 near Sevenum, The Netherlands (2018-09-04T14:13) to service station Brwinów on the A2 near Brwinów, Poland (2018-09-05T12:24) - Prino drove the entire distance, driver even paid for a hotel room at night. Possibly around 1,100 km, also by Prino. During his longest ride, a 2,502.9 km monster from a petrol station near Platamonas (1990-08-13T16:32) in Greece to Driebergen (1990-08-15T12:54) in the Netherlands, he drove during five periods, for a total time of 10:06 out of a total driving time of 22:41. The distance is based on the average speed of the ride, and the sections driven.
  • 781 km, according to Frank Verhart from the Netherlands. Frank drove from service station Gralla Ost on the A9 near Graz, Austria (2015-05-26T22:19) to service station Medenbach Ost on the A3 near Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2015-05-27T10:28).

Slowest hitchhiking between two points

  • William Innes from Scotland, UK. He got a ride on a milk float on 'collection' day and it took 4.5 hours to travel 2 miles from North London to the start of the M1. (HGE) Note: It would take a reasonably fit person about 30 minutes to cover this distance on foot...
  • Ruth Cleece from UK. She got a half-mile ride taking 45 minutes on a steam-roller. (HGE)

Youngest driver hitchhiked

  • Andrey Sapunov from Kiev, Ukraine and Konstantin Grishin from Tver, Russia. On 21 October 2020 they got a ride on Kaninë - Vlorë road, Vlorë County in Albania from a 10-year-old boy. It was a 4 km ride. His other passenger was an even younger girl.
  • Robertas Pogorelis from Vilnius, Lithuania. On 23 August 2016 he got a ride from Long Island, Palau, to Koror, Palau (about 2 km) from a 14-year-old girl who was driving to school. Everything was legal: the driver held a temporary licence and was sitting next to her 16-year-old sister who had a full licence.

Largest hitch-hiking events

  • Traditional SOBER hitch-hikers' gathering in Moscow region,150 km from Moscow, organized by Free Travel Academy (hitch-hiking club in Moscow, Russian Federation) on 4-8 June 2021, atracted at least 660 participants (some more arrived after closing of official registration). There were 40 free lectures. 98% of participants were citizens of Russian Federation because of closed borders.
  • Traditional SOBER hitch-hikers' gathering in Moscow region on river Dubna, organized by Free Travel Academy (hitch-hiking club in Moscow, Russian Federation) on 4-6 September 2020, atracted at least 640 participants (some more arrived after closing of official registration). They stayed in 350 tents. There were 40 free lectures by famous hitchhikers. Manager of the event was Alexey Kuleshov. This time there were only few foreign participants because of closed borders.

Hitchhiking lap records of famous racing circuits

From a standing start (standing on the start/finish line), thumb a vehicle down, get in it, and complete 1 lap of the circuit in the correct direction. The clock starts when you put your thumb out, and the clock stops when you cross the finish line 1 lap later.

Circuit de Monaco

  • 9 minutes, 12 seconds (approx): Sanne and Tom, hitchhiking as a pair, on 10 May 2009.

Guiness Book of Records Hitchhiking Entries

Until the early 1990'ies the UK edition of the Guinness Book of Records (GBOR) used to list a number of hitch-hike world records. They were

  • The greatest distance hitched during a hitchhiking career
  • The fastest time to get from Land's End to John o'Groats (and the round trip)
  • The greatest distance hitched in a 24-hour period

The fastest time to get from Land's End to John o'Groats (and back)

Land's End to John o'Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities.

Land's End to John o'Groats
  • Martin Clark and Graham Beynon. Last hitchhikers recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for the Land's End to John O'Groats trip. (17 hours 8 minutes, 1987)
  • Alan Carter. Last hitchhiker recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for the Land's End to John O'Groats to Land's End round-trip. (39 hours 28 minutes)
Earlier entries, according to Bernd Wechner
  • 1959-63  39 hrs        - Anthony Shepherd
  • 1965-69  29 hrs 30 min - Ian Crawford
  • 1973-74  29 hrs        - Bernard Atkins (1966) and J.F. Hornsey (1971) independently
  • 1975-77  23 hrs 50 min - Pam Vere and Georgina Astley (1974)
  • 1978     23 hrs 24 min - Miranda Brooks and Margaret Allinson (1977)
  • 1980     21 hrs 55 min - John Repton and Rosemary Grounds (1978)
  • 1981-88  17 hrs 50 min - Andrew Markham (1979)
Round trip
  • 1967-68  100 hrs 30 min - John Stubbs
  • 1973-75   77 hrs 20 min - Christine Elvery and Gwendolen Sherwin (1969)
  • 1976      57 hrs  8 min - Peter W. Ford (1974)
  • 1976      56 hrs        - John Frederik Hornsey (1974)
  • 1977-78   54 hrs 40 min - Peter W. Ford (1976)
  • 1980-83   45 hrs 34 min - Guy Hobbs (1978)
  • 1984-85   42 hrs 15 min - Charlotte Allard and Fay Gillanders (1982)
  • 1986-91   41 hrs 42 min - Anthony D. Sproson (1984)

The greatest distance hitched in a 24-hour period

This record was only included in the 1991 edition of the GBOR. It was held by Prino. The actual entry on page 179 read:

"The greatest distance in 24 hours is 2318.4 km 1440.7 miles, from Southern Yugoslavia to Hamburg, West Germany on 5 July 1989 by Robert Prins of De Bilt, The Netherlands. He achieved this with just four lifts."

Full details of the four rides that led to this record can be found here.

The US edition of the Guinness Book of Records

Furthermore, the US edition also seemed to have contained a record for the fastest time to hitchhike through the 48 contiguous states (i.e. all excluding Alaska and Hawaii) and in 1979 it has published a record for a trip from Key West in Florida to Fairbanks in Alaska. Details of that trip can be found in Key West to Alaska: not without a hitch - the particular page talks about a distance of about 5,200 mile. Based on the data in said article, this might have been the route...

From Key West, Florida to Fairbanks, Alaska

"A young man named Ilmar Island of Pompano Beach, Florida, Hitchhiked from Key West, Florida, to Fairbanks, Alaska, a distance of about 5200 miles, setting out on June 2, 1979, and arriving at his destination on June 7, just 5 days 20 hours and 52 minutes later."

A few days later after completing his Key West, Florida, to Fairbanks, Alaska run, Mr. Island hitched from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska back to Key West, Florida in 6-days, 17-hours and 22-minutes. However since this route included trespassing for 510-miles on oil company owned roads that record was not honored and instead Guinness recognized Mr. Island's run from Key West, Florida to Fairbanks, Alaska as mentioned above.

Further references to hitchhiking records

Additional articles on hitchhiking records were written in the late 1990's by Bernd Wechner for Suite101:

Suggestions for other possible records

If you want to do something that (probably) hasn't been done before, you can try your thumb at any of these. Don't expect to end up in the Guinness Book of Records for it, they no longer seem to have a section with hitchhiking records.

It would be great to add additional existing records:

  • The biggest hitch-hiking gathering
  • The biggest hitch-hiking race by number of participants
  • The biggest hitch-hiking event in general
  • The longest hitch-hiking race by kilometres
  • The largest hitch-hiking club (number of members during some certain year. There should be a clear rules, how a club define membership, for example, yearly membership fee or visiting club's meetings at least once per month)
  • The longest boat ride
  • The longest train ride
  • The longest plane ride