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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.

Contents

Legal Problems

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.

Experiences

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.

Countries

Europe

EU and Schengen-States highly restrict entry form 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:

https://reopen.europa.eu/en

Germany

updated 30.4.21

negative test:

required for:

  • everyone entering via air
  • else, everyone coming form risk, high incident or virus variant area (every neighboring country at the moment)

accepted test:
Antigen, TMA, PCR and LAMP; max 48h old; language: German, English, French
exemptions:

  • transit on the fastest way

further info:

  • free weekly testing for residents (might work with a fake address...)

quarantine:

  • 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)

contact rules:

  • only two households are allowed to meet, max 5 ppl

accomodation:

  • hotels/hostels/... are closed for private guests

curfew:

  • every area with an incident > 100 has a mandatory curfew from 10pm to 5am

misc info:

  • 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.

Official information

https://www.germany.info/us-en/coronavirus/2317268

Sweden

updated 30.4.21

negative test required for:

  • every foreign national aged >= 18

accepted test:

Antigen, TMA, PCR and LAMP; max 48h old; language: Swedish, English, Norwegian, Danish or French

quarantine:

  • recommended for 7 days, NOT MANDATORY

contact rules:

  • "The police has the right to cancel or dissolve an event that has more than eight attendees."

accomodation:

  • no restrictions

curfew:

  • no


misc info:

  • 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!

Official information

https://visitsweden.com/about-sweden/information-for-travellers-corona-virus/

France

updated 30.4.21

negative test:

required for:

  • everyone aged > 10 years
  • Exceptions:
  • transit
  • if you live near the border, you're allowed to visit for maximum 24 hours (this is true for the Swiss border, at least)

accepted test:

  • PCR; max 72h old

quarantine:

  • not required

contact rules:

  • max 6 people


accomodation:

  • hotels are open, not sure about hostels

curfew:

  • 7pm-6am

misc info:

  • travel from one department to another is forbidden, unless you are transiting of course

Official information

coronavirus-covid-19-the-situation-in-france

coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france

Spain

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.

Netherlands

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.

Belgium

Quarantine unless you're staying less than 48 hours.

Switzerland

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.