Hitchhiking and Corona
The Covid 2019 pandemic and the public reaction to it that as of April 2021 are ongoing and don't show any concrete signs of ever ending have affected many parts of public and private life. It could be expected that they would also render hitchhiking a much more difficult and precarious way of travelling, however this is not necessarily the case. In this article we gather some information about hitchhiking in the times of Corona.
Apart from the fact that there are currently numerous rules in place to keep people from travelling, it is fairly difficult to get any reliable information about how the pandemic has affected hitchhiking itself. Only anecdotal evidence is available, and that can be quite contradictory.
Do you have any information about any laws that have been passed that specifically impact hitchhiking? Post them here.
Possible issues are the obligation to wear masks in public space which exists in multiple areas, and conditions that are imposed on crossing borders. However the extent to which these regulations are enforced vary, eg. in Spain and France there is little control and negotiation is often possible. When crossing borders, hitchhiking can work to your advantage if you catch a ride in a car that has the right license plates.
It's safe to say that rules are changing constantly and every country has their own rules. You may have to show a negative corona test and/or vaccination status at borders. You may be forced to quarantine for any number of days. Wearing a face mask may be compulsory inside and even outside. It's probably good to have some idea of the current rules when going from one country to another.
Respect and Safety
Of course it is everybody's own choice if they feel comfortable hitchhiking or travelling at all in the context of a global pandemic, even if the severity of this pandemic is debated by some people. When hitchhiking in this context, in can be respectful to ask the driver who stops for you if they would prefer you wearing a mask, sitting in the back, driving with the windows open -- the great thing about hitchhiking is that it is possible to personally negotiate the level of comfort and safety needed by everybody involved.
Considering the amount of people you come in contact with during a typical hitchhiking trip, hitchhiking can actually be a safer way of travelling than taking a train or especially a bus. It's possible to focus this fact even more by avoiding short rides and aiming for less, but longer rides.
Zenit has been hitchhiking on a weekly basis nearly all through 2020 and 2021. To him, it does not seem that hitchhiking has become more difficult at all, in fact he has even been picked up by some people who suffer from social isolation and needed somebody to talk.
Warlo Has hitchiked sparsely thru the pandemic and noticed no significant difference, particularly in Germany where rides are quick and plenty as usual. Also he is very surprised how up until this writing, no driver (and passengers if any) were interested in his offers to wear a mask, sit in the back, etc.
EU Agreed on a common certificate that should allow free movement within EU-States starting 1st of June. Everyone that has been vaccinated, recovered or has a negative test should be able to move freely within most of Europe(link).
EU and Schengen-States highly restrict entry from non member countries. Within the EU travel to some extent is still possible. You can find info about most entry rules and local measures here:
Citizens are able to get one free test per week (result should be available in 15-30min). You get a certificate via email that you can use for border crossing, flying, and so on. You have to register (online) with a German address so better bring an id that doesn't have you address on it if it's not a German one (like a passport should work). It is available at many places (mostly pharmacies) so if one place refuses there are plenty of others to go to. Just ask for "kostenloser Corona-Test" or "free citizen test". Even the limit on one test per week won't be checked. Better make sure it is in English as well if you want to use it for entering another country.
From 13.5. the following new rules will update/replace the roles below:
- people that are fully vaccinated or recovered from covid:
- are treated equal to people tested negative
- are not subject to curfew and contact restrictions
- no more quarantine for people coming from simple risk areas, just a negative test
- everyone entering via air
- else, everyone coming form risk, high incident or virus variant area (every neighboring country at the moment)
Antigen, TMA, PCR and LAMP; max 48h old; language: German, English, French
- transit on the fastest way
- free weekly testing for residents (might work with a fake address...)
- 10 days if you enter from a risk, high incendet or virus variant area
- might be able to reduce to 5 days with another negative test (depending on regional rules)
- only two households are allowed to meet, max 5 ppl
- hotels/hostels/... are closed for private guests
- every area with an incident > 100 has a mandatory curfew from 10pm to 5am
- Online registration required before entering.
- Germany is a federal republic, every federal state can have its own rules, even cities might decide on different rules than others. Recently a federal law has been introduced regarding the curfew yet better check for the local rules that might apply.
negative test required for:
- every foreign national aged >= 18
Antigen, TMA, PCR and LAMP; max 48h old; language: Swedish, English, Norwegian, Danish or French
- recommended for 7 days, NOT MANDATORY
- "The police has the right to cancel or dissolve an event that has more than eight attendees."
- no restrictions
- Entry via Denmark (bridge or ferry) should be ok(transit). Probably better find a direct ride from Germany to Sweden. It should be rather easy from Puttgarden (ferry) as the ferry runs pretty much non stop every 30min and is one of the main routes from Germany to Sweden. The ferry goes to Denmark so make sure the car goes further to Sweden afterwards!
- tested (PCR or antigen; max 72h; sworn statement about contacts and symptoms; free testing in Germany!)
curfew (23.00-06.00): will be lifted by 30.6.
gatherings/contact: max 6 people
Land borders between Spain and Portugal are supposed to be closed until some point in May 2021. Coming in from France, you need a PCR test in most all cases.
As of some point in May the Netherlands will be forcing people to quarantine for 10 days. This is on top of the requirement of showing a negative test.
Quarantine unless you're staying less than 48 hours.
updated May 2021
Switzerland requires testing if a) you arrive by plane, or b) you have spent time in one of the risk countries in the ten days before arriving. In the latter case, you also need to quarantine for ten days. Switzerland does not ban anybody from entering. You are required to fill in a form prior to arrival, but only if you're coming from further than from a border area. It might not be required to fill in the form if you're not travelling by public transport, but this is a bit unclear. More info on the official website.