17 Hitchhikers Share How They Pack Their Bags for Going Everywhere

Hitchhiking might seem easy, but there’s quite a few things you need to be aware of before you leave home.

Besides choosing an exciting destination and getting out of the door, you need to pack everything you will need on the road.

As with any other packing job, it’s difficult to choose what to bring. You don’t want to risk ending up with a bag that is heavier than necessary – or risk that you miss that important map of where you are going!

To improve how we pack our bags, we have talked with 16 experienced hitchhikers and asked them to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all 17 have lots of experience, so they know what they are talking about!).

Hitchhiker waiting at a road

The 17 Hitchhikers

Nina Nooit
I’m originally German, but have lived abroad ever since I moved out. I am currently moving around Central Europe.
I got into hitchhiking when I ran out of money on an interrail trip at age 18. My first hitchhike across Europe was pretty difficult, but once I made it home in one piece, all I wanted to do was hitchhike more and further away.
The country I have hitched most extensively in is Turkey, and it’s a country I love. Other than that my favourite places in the world are Pakistan and Borneo. My last big trip was to East Africa and I wish to explore that continent more, too, in the future.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

Three things that I bring that other people don’t necessarily bring? Paper maps, pictures of home and a proper grammar for learning the local lingua franca, as well as a decent mini dictionary.

I think paper maps are great to get a proper feel of where you are, much superior to digital maps. Sometimes you spot a lake on the map that you would have missed if you had just been following an arrow on a screen. You make a detour and stay a night there – stuff like that happens all the time.

For communicating with drivers and other people I meet, it’s always good to have a few pictures of home with me. As a woman traveller, it can also increase my safety if drivers see pictures of my family and I become more of a whole person to them.

As for the language learning material – on the one hand it strongly enhances my safety to be able to communicate at least a little bit with locals, on the other hand I am also just a language lover and it enhances my joy haha

Everyone is guilty of carrying “useless” things at some point or another. I have seen myself bring too many books (in the paper version, of course) and accumulate too many little presents people gave me on the road.

How do you bring things with you?

I don’t carry big traveller’s rucksacks anymore, but everyday-sized ones. I’ve done trips of several months this way, there are tricks how to get the most space out of them. When hitchhiking it’s handy to be able to just put it onto your lap when you jump into a car or onto the back of a motorbike.

The rucksack has to be of good quality, because it will be filled to the seams. I used to travel with regular EastPaks, but now I have been using a 28L The North Face for a few years.

I pack all my clothes into slip covers of small sleeping bags that I don’t use anymore , so that I can reduce the size as much as possible. These slip covers used to be hard to get, but these days they actually sell specific “packing bags” in sports or outdoor shops.

I also tie a sleeping bag to the outside of my backpack and my trick is that the slip cover of the sleeping bag will be bigger than the actual bag, so I can fit extra clothes into it . When travelling solo I carry a bivvy bag, not a tent, although that’s a choice that may not be for everyone.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

I guess loosely trying to fit clothes into a bag is a mistake. Other than that, I feel like the system I have developed works perfectly for me, but everyone is different with different needs, so it wouldn’t work for everyone.

Visit Nina Nooit’s website

Brian Cray
I’m Brian Cray, a 28 year old seasonal worker, and adventure travel writer. In 2013, when I lost my job as an engineer, I set out on a bicycle tour across the states, and never stopped. I have no regrets with my choices. The spirit of hitchhiking, riding freight, and wandering is palpable, but really, I just want to live and that’s what I’m doing.

I’m originally from Wilmington, Delaware, but currently, my wife and I are traveling New Zealand.

I first got into hitchhiking while traveling through Missouri. I popped a tire on my bike outside a small church and did not have any tubes or a patch kit to repair it. So I hitched a ride with one of the people at the church gathering into Farmington, MO. I rode inside a pickup truck with my bike in the bed and waited two days for the bike shop to open up so I could continue cycling the TransAmerica Trail.

It wasn’t until I started traveling by foot that I really started utilizing hitchhiking as a method of transportation. I love the freedom of being able to go anywhere, sleep under the stars, and move forward with only a backpack holding me down and not the weight of society on my shoulders. Hitchhiking is one of the only red-blooded adventures left in the world, and the rush of not knowing where I would end up next is why I like it so much. So it was more of a choice to lead an adventurous lifestyle between jobs with no real destination in mind.

My favorite places to hitchhike have been in New Zealand and Hawaii because aside from the breathtaking beauty of the islands, each respectively different from the other, it’s just so easy to get around. Everyone is super friendly and it’s the only way we’d be able to afford spending long periods of time traveling in either of these places because we rough camped a majority of it.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

I really do not bring that much gear outside of the norm since I travel really light bringing mainly the necessary items. But, I would say my top three pieces of gear are the following:

  • A digital camo military bivy sack.
  • A needle and dental floss.
  • A water key.
  • I have always slept in a bivy sack when I travel. They are a quick setup. I can sleep pretty much anywhere and not be seen which is the beauty of it. Military issued bivy sacks are heavier, but more durable and waterproof, and I know they can handle treacherous weather if it pours outside. Often times when I’m hitchhiking I can wander into the night and still find a hidden place to rough camp whether I’m in or out of a city.
  • A needle and dental floss is important because sometimes I have had to sew a sole onto my boot before, or patch a jacket, mend a strap to a backpack that busted. Floss does not knot up like thread so it makes sewing much easier.
  • A water key makes it super easy to get water from any industrial building that has a spigot without a nozzle. It comes in handy with hitchhiking and riding freight because you always end up by industry since that’s where the train yards are normally located.

When I was hitchhiking through Southeast Asia my shoulder strap frayed apart in the middle of Chaah, Malaysia, far out in the middle of nowhere. I ended up going into a restaurant to refill my water jugs and hoped it would last since I did not have a needle or thread on me. The owners got to liking me and secretly showed me their illegal snake skinning business behind the restaurant. They had a bunch of sewing machines and extra needles in one of the rooms I stayed in so I was able to mend it back together and got 3 years out of that backpack.

The two most useless items I see countless people bring hitchhiking are sleeping pads and those waterproof covers…You can use cardboard as insulation to sleep on at night and a garbage bag is more waterproof than any waterproof cover sold in a store.

How do you bring things with you?

A 43 liter, black, 5.11 tactical backpack. Tactical and military gear from Army Navy Surplus is the only type of gear I use now. The lightweight gear that’s overpriced and not practical just does not last for hitchhiking.

Two side pockets on my bag hold 1 (1.5 liter) bottle in each pocket.

My bag is oriented so the main pocket holds a knapsack of clothing in a garbage bag with my sleeping bag and bivy sack in A compression sack on top of that.

I carry my GoPRO, USB cables, plugs and cords in the big front pouch inside a Ziploc bag. The other inside pockets have a Gerber utility knife, fork, and water key.

The outside pouch that can be accessed without going into the backpack is used for easy access to food.

My top pouch between the shoulder straps holds my external battery pack and a mini flashlight.

The small front pouch above my food and above the pouch with my electronics holds my toiletry and hygienic products, toothbrush, paste, floss, nail clippers, deodorant (or baking soda)…

I have enough room to fill my bag to the brim and my pack weighs about 25 to 35 pounds fully loaded with 3 liters of water.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

My tips for other hitchhikers are pack light, and bring only what is really necessary whether you’re traveling full time or part time. It’s extremely important to maintain hygiene, with your feet being the most important part of your body. Keeping them clean and sanitary, with fresh, Smartwool socks, is very important to protecting you from fungal infections, jungle rot, staph, etc. I try to bring at least four to five pairs and make sure I find a creek or sink to wash them in at least every few days, making sure to air out my feet at night by taking off my socks.

You won’t lose punk points for bathing. Take a damn shower. I see too many kids smelling rank for no reason at all in America when they’re traveling on the cheap. There is no reason for this. With bathrooms and spigots all over the place, try to shower a few times a week washing your face, hands, hair and FEET. For your feet, you should try to wash them everyday or at least make sure you’re not sleeping in sweaty socks.

To pack light, just pack the essentials, leave the sleeping pad and rain cover behind, leave the camping stove behind unless you use it all the time. Pack a change of clothes on top of the clothes your wearing and make sure you have enough cold gear in case of drastic weather change. Aside from hygienic and toiletry items, 3 liters of water and food, that should really be it other than a book for entertainment.

My recommendations for getting out the door are if you don’t do it now you’ll always be dreaming about it and wonder. The only romance in traveling by foot, thumb and steel is garnered through the literature of words, but to experience the true freedom of wandering you must accept the hardships of the road along with its breathtaking beauty. The rain, snow, cold steel, chilling wind, scorching heat, blistered feet, dirty hands, sweaty feet, and aching shoulders all come with the footloose adventure of wandering. Each day of travel, no matter how hard, no matter how miserable, will always be better than work, but it takes a medium to appreciate both and that is where I’m at in life.

Visit Brian Cray’s website

Wei Xiao
My name is Wei. There is always a way/Wei, no matter where you want to go. 🙂

Born and raised in mainland China.

I am right now in Beijing, preparing my next big journey, preferrably to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, hitchhiking of course. 🙂

After graduating from the best university in China, I went to the Netherlands for my master and PhD in cancer biology. By then, I was well on my way to become one of those mediocre boring middle-class engineers or scientists. However, in 2012 I joined Couchsurfing. The day was Jan 20th, which I would remember forever, as it was the most fundamental life-changing event in my life so far. The value system, the open-mindedness and the dream of seeing the world, which is surely in the heart of every young man got into my heart. I started traveling first inside Europe, just backpacking. It soon got boring. Then I started couchsurfing. Soon it became not exciting enough. I started hitchhiking in 2013 and it has now become the best way of traveling for me. It is the view which makes you start your journey, but it is always the PEOPLE which make you continue your journey and hitchhiking and couchsurfing are among the best ways to meet interesting people.

Iran, Iran and IRAN! Yes, Iran is my favorite hitchhiking place. After Iran, I also loved hitchhiking in Myanmar, Kenya and Pakistan. I really want to tell everybody to visit Iran, even just as a plain tourist. You will see how meainstream media can be misleading and enjoy the pure joy of discovery.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

  • First, books! Yes, I bring three to five paperback books on my hitchhiking journey. I know, it sounds so old-fashioned and environment-unfriendly. However, besides serving as a pass time, I also use books as gifts. After finishing a book, I often give it to friends I have made along the way as a gift. It works pretty well. 😉
  • Second, eh…… Let me see, teenager mutant ninja turtles.

    Just kidding. 😀 However, when I was in Latin America, I adopted a little dog and used to bring it along with me. It was my company and my sentinel. When I stood together with it on the road, thumbing up, it gave out the signal that I was a peace-loving kind person. It greatly increased my chance of getting a ride.

  • Third, eh…… my smiles? Wait! Many hitchhikers bring them. Eh…… my happy mood to connect to people? Wait, many hitchhikers also bring that…… My smelly feet? No, not a good idea to mention them……

Want to increase your chance of getting a ride? Actually besides a pet, you can also bring a colourful T-shirt with bright colours. Seriously, wearing things of dark colours will significantly reduce your chances of getting a ride. People tend to be happier and more willing to help when they encounter brighter colours.

OK, now I am going to tell you the ultimate weapon to get a ride! You can bring…… fake boobs!

Just kidding. 😀 However, I did know a big dude with a huge beard and Bob Marley hair. He could not get a ride for a long long time. Everybody saw him and just ran away…… He eventually innovated this idea — put towels under his T-shirt and turned his face away from the road while still thumbing up. So drivers just saw his ‘boobs’ but could not see his face. Well, many stopped and then, he would turn, showing her, sorry, his huge beard and manly face. Many drivers ran away but some just could not stop laughing and gave him a ride. So, be innovative and have a sense of humor!

The most useless things to bring:

  • iPad. Do not use your iPad as camera while traveling. I repeat, do not use your iPad as a camera while traveling! I have heard of several cases when robbers try to grab the iPads from travelers’ hands. You know, in many places (esp. third world countries) travelers/tourists are viewed as walking ATMs and an iPad is one of those things which definitely reinforces this view! Use cheap phones! Do not show your credit cards, large amount of cash or any other valuables! I know, you might tell me that you did that and it was OK. However, after hearing experiences of dozens of hitchhikers, in general, these behaviors statistically increase your chance of being robbed. Yes, statistics, so sexy. 😀
  • Professional walking sticks. I have seen hitchhikers bringing them. Seriously? To travel light is the key to successful hitchhiking journeys. Do not bring ANYTHING unnecessary! Sticks? You can find them basically everywhere. The best way is to find one when you need, and to discard it when you do not need it anymore.
  • Electronic shavers. You see, to travel light, there is a rule — if a thing can be done by non-electronic device, do not use the electronic! Reason? Simple! As long as you bring an electronic, you also have to bring the charger. I normally use a simple shaver with blades which I change regularly. Of course it also so happened that I used one blade for eh…… 1 year…… The simple shaver is about 1/10 the weight of an electronic shaver+its charger!
  • Too many shoes! Once on the road, you will find out that shoes are the things that take probably the most space in a most unreasonable way, so bring just one or two pairs of shoes if you can.

How do you bring things with you?

How do I bring things with me? I happen to have two hands and a backpack. 😉 😛

My backpack is a Lowe Alpine 65L Manaslu. It was a gift from a German friend. I stayed at her house for like two weeks. I was then trying to learn German and she happened to be interested in teaching me. That was in the countryside of Erfurt and I found her through Couchsurfing. We had never met before but the moment I saw her I already knew that she would be a great friend of mine. She is a wonderful person!

My principles of organizing the bagpack are: 1st, bigger items down, small items up; 2nd, items I use more frequently up, less frequently down; 3rd, fragile items inside, less fragile items outside. 4th, those small things, like lighters, pens and knives are put into the side pockets of the backpack, making them easier to reach. So in the bottom I have my sleeping bag, tent, clothes and books I am not reading at the moment. Unlike many hitchhikers, I have a baby girl with me. She is a NIKON D3500. Yes, she is my lovely daughter. 🙂 Her name is Christine. It is pretty heavy and fragile, so I put it on the top of the my backpack, wrapped by my colourful towel.

You see, if you do not know what to pack, always bringing your makeup, pots and 3 pairs of shoes with you, you will never feel you have enough room in your bag, but if you know what to pack, you will have surely enough room. I know a Lithuanian girl who only carries a small day bag with her while hitchhiking, even for weeks. How did she do that? Well, first she only chooses warm countries and warm seasons. Second, she does not need makeup or extra clothing. The only clothes she needs, she is wearing it. So, how does she wash her clothes? You know those fountains on the squares in Italy or Spain? When she feels it is the time for a laundry and bathing, she simply jumps into the fountain and have a solid shower/bathing.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

  • 1st, COMMUNICATE! I have met sooooo many drivers telling me ‘if every hitchhiker is fun and interesting to talk with like you are, I would pick up every hitchhiker!’ The sad fact is that many hitchhikers simply want a free ride! They are not into communicating with people or making friends. Seriously? Then why should they give you a ride? Many drivers, especially truck drivers pick up people because they get bored on the long journeys! If you are not even grateful enough to talk to them, well, you are not going to travel far. I have had so many cases when drivers went out of their way to help me simply because we became friends! Feel free to check my blog for those stories. 🙂 When I was hitchhiking in New Zealand, a truck driver picked me up and he told me that he chose people. He did not pick up everybody. I asked why. He told me that once he picked up a young German dude who simply did not speak a word to him, even after the driver himself tried to strike a conversation several times. After 30 minutes he simply asked him to leave the truck.
  • 2nd, stay positive! I know it is not always easy to do, especially when you are stuck in a place for 4 hours. However, if you are really traveling instead of getting from A to B, you know you are here for the experience, then why not just take whatever comes? If everything goes according to your plan, life will become pretty boring, won’t it? If you become negative, you will radiate negative energy and to be assured, nobody wants to pick up negative people.
  • 3rd, if you can, ask people face to face instead of standing on the roadside. It is NOT the same! Asking drivers in gas stations, with proper smiles, polite but humorous attitudes will significantly increase your chance! Also, in many countries gas stations all have security cameras. So both you and the driver will feel much safer if they take you in a gas station.
  • 4th, OK, here comes the brutal reality, guys. Eh…… if you can, find a female partner to hitchhike together with you. 😀 It will increase your chances by 2-100 folds. I am serious…… I used to hitchhike alone in the Netherlands, but hey, it is usually pretty hard, waiting time averages 40 min. However, when I was hitchhiking with female friends, the least waiting time was 3 seconds and the average is 4 min. However, NOT every female partner will do! I once had a female friend hitchhiking with me. She was very very very introvert. She avoided every occasion to communicate with people, even refusing to ask for directions…… When we finally got rides, she simply ignored the questions and chats of the driver. That was sooooo rude. We did not get along well and probably our energy did not get along well either. We got stuck so many times.

Visit Wei Xiao’s website

Lars König
I am Lars König, currently the chairman of ‘Stichting NederlandLift’ which is a foundation which promotes hitchhiking in the Netherlands. I am currently studying Political Sciences at Radboud University in Nijmegen, where I also live. I got into hitchhiking through a hitchhike competition organised by my study association back when I studied in Eindhoven in 2010. Ever since I’ve hitchhiked over 65.000 km through about 47 countries. Countries include Japan, Russia, Kosovo, Iran, Iraq and USA.

My favorite place to hitchhike in the West is Germany. It is easy to talk with people here on petrol stations and Germans tend to be quite willing to help you out. In Eastern Europe I enjoy hitchhiking the most in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the great variety of people you get into the car with who give you different perspectives on the history of their country depending on which ethnicity they have (Serb, Bosniak or Croat). In the Middle East I had the best time in Oman, everybody stopped and either offered me a ride or money to buy a taxi (the latter I always refused). Oman is also a beautiful country when it comes to nature, having a mix of beaches, fjords and deserts all within a 50 km stretch of land.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

  • Camel bag for water. The huge advantage compared to bottle of water is that you don’t have to take your bottle out to get a drink which costs energy. Also it keeps the weight in the centre of your bag which prevents one side of your body to be overstressed. It is also perfect for hiking, something I do on most of my trips whenever I have the chance.
  • Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Voyager R: This is an air mat which is one of the best purchases I ever did. Its light weight, extremely small (the size of a water bottle) and very thick and comfortable. Cant go wrong with this one! I could sleep on rocks in the open with this and still sleep like a baby.
  • Plasticize an A3 sized yellow paper and write on it with a whiteboard marker. This is a superior hitchhike sign in any way possible compared to the carton board: its reusable, water resistant, still visible at night and easily foldable.

How do you bring things with you?

Wildebeast Fundisi 55L: Cheap and not made of the best quality material. However, it’s the only backpack I could find with a strap on the underside on which I can attach both my sleeping bag and tent. I wouldn’t give it my full recommendation because of the built quality, but it is the perfect size for me and I can have everything I need inside of it or attached to it on the size without getting too heavy (max 12 kg).

I usually roll up my clothes and put them like little packs in my bag. I have one tupperware box with my electronics on the bottom and stack everything else on top of that. My tent and sleepingbag are strapped outside my backpack. All my valuables (diary, laptop, food) are in a smaller bag (Quechua Voyage 20L) that I wear on my chest and I have always with me.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

Invest in lightweight products, it will make your trips ten times more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable. When you have to carry around a heavy bag all day it can drain a lot of energy and make you feel irritated in the end. Get a light weight tent, mat, sleeping bag, towel and laptop (I got a Surface 3) and you have already saved 4 to 5 kg. Don’t pack too much and buy a smaller than usual backpack to force you to pack not too much (I went from 70L to 55L and that already helped a lot). I usually don’t bring too much clothing and rather opt to bring a small bottle of washing soap so I can clean my cloths more often. In the summer you only need 1 pants, 2 shorts and 3 shirts and you are good for one week without washing. Add in a jacked for when it gets cold at night and you got all you need.

Last but not least: get proper (waterproof) shoes which are also good for hiking and give lots of support. I noticed that if I would wear proper hiking shoes compared to sneakers while travelling that I was way less tired by the end of the day. Shoes from the brand Hanwag have my strong recommendation for they also look nice while giving good support and often being waterproof.

Visit Lars König’s website

Allie Quelch
I’m from Vancouver, BC, Canada and I’m currently very happy being stationary on a small island full of hippies, only about 100km from where I was born. I started hitch hiking small distances near home as a teenager and really got into it in my early 20’s because I wanted to meet people and have adventures, but I didn’t know how to drive. I love hitching up and down the west coast of Canada and the United States. Chile was pretty great as well.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

Nothing special… Minimal camping gear, a change of clothes, enough food and water to get stuck overnight with, and a jumbo sharpie. The only thing that can possibly improve your hitchhiking is a positive attitude and sharp instincts. The less the better. I once saw someone with a camp chair strapped to their pack, and I’ve met a few backpackers with extensive rock collections for some reason.

How do you bring things with you?

I have a 60L hiking backpack, covered in patches now that I got on Craigslist about five years ago, and I’ve been through a bunch of little daypacks. I love having bags inside my bags to keep things organized. I try to keep my possessions minimal enough that I can fit everything, including the daypack into my big backpack, but that rarely happens.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

Nothing is impossible unless you think it is. I saved up for my first big trip of four months in just five weeks of washing dishes. Minimalise your life. Sell everything. Stuff is just weight to carry. Why not pack like everyone else? Because there’s nothing like carrying everything around 24 hours a day to make you realize how much you don’t need.

Visit Allie Quelch’s website

Cynthia and Niko
We are a hitchhiking/ backpacking couple who has been traveling the world continuously for many years. I, Cynthia, am from Belgium and I’ve been traveling for 7 years while my boyfriend Niko, who’s from Canada, has been on the road for 11 years now.

We’re now in Kyrgyzstan where we’ve been living and traveling for the past 6 months while working online. We’re currently preparing ourselves physically and mentally for some high altitude treks in the Central Asian mountains this summer and we’re planning on hiking to Mount Everest Base camp in autumn.

Niko started hitchhiking 11 years ago as a way to travel and see the world on a very low budget. His first hitchhiking journey was from the East coast of Canada to Alaska. I started hitchhiking in Ireland about 8 years ago. I had read a lot about it and just wanted to experience the thrill and the adventure of not knowing who I was going to meet and where I would end my day of traveling.

Niko’s favorite hitchhiking place is Mexico, for me it is Ireland. Since we started traveling and hitchhiking together, we absolutely loved hitchhiking in Turkey and Azerbaijan. The people there are incredibly hospitable and we got invited many times to tea, meals and a bed for the night.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

  • Our drone. This is probably an item not many hitchhikers bring with them but we’ve used it many times to our advantage. Firstly is a great tool to take amazing photos and aerial video footage (we make vlogs on YouTube) but we also used it for a completely different purpose. We often send it in the air to see if there are any suitable camping spots around us.
  • MP3 player loaded with language courses. We often have to wait for a while before someone gives us a ride. We use that time to our advantage by learning the local language with the audio classes on our MP3 player. This is a great activity that allows us to keep our eyes on the road and our hands free so we can stick out our thumbs as soon as we see a car.
  • Juggling balls because we like to keep our coordination and minds sharp. On top of that, it puts a smile on people’s faces.

How do you bring things with you?

We each have a big and a small backpack. Our small backpacks are from CabinZero, they’re ideal for our electronic gear and important papers. We always keep these small backpacks on us and we never put them in the trunks of the cars.

Niko traveled for eight years with Arc’teryx Bora 80 backpack (according to him the best backpacks on the market). I used to travel with a 75L backpack (but I can’t remember the brand). Now we both travel with backpacks from Quechua, mine is 65L and Niko’s 90L.

Niko is happy with his current backpack but I would like to change mine in the near future since I don’t like the unpractical lay-out of my current backpack (I sometimes feel like a turtle).

What we use less we pack in the bottom of the bag, what we use the most we pack on top. We always try to carry as little as possible so our bags are spacious enough for what we need.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

Bring only what you need. You really don’t need 5 pairs of shoes and six thick sweaters. Bring light clothes that will protect you no matter what the weather conditions will be. Bring clothes made out of Gore-Tex and that you can wear in layers.

It’s important to pack light. It’s not because you’re hitchhiking that you won’t be carrying your luggage. Very often you’ll end up in the middle of a city or another place where you’ll have to walk for a while before finding another good hitchhiking spot.

Don’t let fear hold you back from traveling and hitchhiking. There are more good people out there than you realize! Don’t just think about traveling, make a plan and make your dreams come true. Start easy by going to destinations that are close to your home and once you get the taste of it, you’ll want more!

Visit Cynthia and Niko’s website

Hi. My name is Kasia. I was born in Krakow in Poland.
Since many years I travel around and change places where I live
Now I live on the south of Spain, in Andalusia

My first trips I did by hitchhiking. At that time it was the best way to travel. The cheapest and the most adventurous, that’s why I have it started.

I have done many amazing hitchhiking. The best memorable was Norway (traveling from Oslo up to Lofoten islands)
Another which I loved was trip in Balkans countries. From Poland, around Balkans and back.

The last one was one month hitchhiking in Turkey and Georgia. Everybody kept saying ; those are dangerous places but I met only good and helpful people and have fantastic memories.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

Well, in general I am super minimalistic person so I don’t carry many things.

Very useful is to have a light, a lighter and and always something to eat 🙂

I see people traveling with to many things very often.

How do you bring things with you?

I always travel with backpack,

Now I have 30 l, brand Fjord Nansen.

That was a present from my very good friend.

Before I had a bit bigger backpack but it was always half empty.

Now I am fully satisfied. It’s just perfect with the amount of things that I need.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

I have an “onion system” 🙂

I pack only few clothes but I have something for each type of weather

If it gets colder I put more clothes , like an onion

I also have one dress, in case I will need to attend some party, birthday, weeding etc

You never know who you will meet one the way and maybe you will get invited to some super interesting celebration

Good to be prepared for each option.

I always pack the same amount of clothes, no matter if I travel one or more months

If you have a light backpack you are more flexible, faster and never get tired from carrying heavy stuff.

And you always have extra room to bring something awesome from countries that you travel.

For me travel and specially hitchhiking is the best way to meet interesting people, listen fascinating stories, discover less known places, experiences something unique.

Travel is the best way to learn about the world and discover that people are good and helpful.

Visit Kasia’s website

I’m from Toronto, Canada. Last year moved back to Canada after a decade abroad – now in the process of restoring an 150 year old farm on the edge of a national park on the east coast.

Got into hitchhiking because while in university I wanted to travel (especially to Africa) but had no money. Came across a hitchhiking blog by Kinga Freespirit on her hitchhiking adventures around the world, particularly in Africa, so I tried it out in Canada and realized how easy and fast hitchhiking was, and how much more fun than other travel because I met so many people. After graduating bought the cheapest ticket I could find across the Atlantic and started hitchhiking south towards Morocco with no plans beyond that.

Ended up hitchhiking across all of west and central Africa, through the Congo and then did most of southern Africa with a combination of hitchhchiking and riding an old Chinese bicycle I picked up for $50 in a Zambian pawn shop. Have since hitched across Europe, to northern Canada (Yukon) in the middle of winter, parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, and spending four and a half years living in Afghanistan. Everywhere was amazing, parts of Central Africa and Iran were probably my favourites, if I had to choose.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

What I brought depended on where I was. Hitching to the Yukon in winter I packed full military camping gear because I slept outside and it was -30C. But in warmer climates I brought as little as possible. Started off with more but ended up giving everything away, because I liked to do a lot of walking in between hitchhiking, and walking comfortably was more important than stuff.

I can’t even remember much of what I packed – it never mattered much to me. I had a tiny journal, and always had a book or two that I would read and trade along the way. A mosquito net. I wore the same clothes every day, and had a sarong for at night when people invited me to stay with them – it packed up very small and doubled as a towel and a blanket. Only electronic I had a was a camera. People would often give me gifts, but unless they were tiny and memorable, I would give them away a few towns later. After I got malaria I started carrying malaria medicine for if I got it again (which I did), but I never took daily anti-malaria pills.

My favourite possession was probably my maps. I used the Michelin maps in Africa. They have little symbols on them that signify a natural wonder (like a waterfall) or cultural spot, so i would pick somewhere I hitchhike towards it. Sometimes I had no idea where I was. Was so much better than Google Maps!

For my travels in Eastern Europe and the Middle East I also carried a small tent because I slept outside a lot and couldn’t just sleep under a tree like I did in Africa. Really, what I brought changed a ton depending on where in the world I was!

How do you bring things with you?

I had a backpack that my mother had used in the ’70s. Was a really rugged looking cargo bag with horribly uncomfortable straps that would often rip. Another thing I carried was needle and thread to fix it all the time. Despite how uncomfortable it was, I loved it. It was generally in worse shape than the bags of all the locals I met, so I never got targeted by thieves. I would never hitchhike with any modern bag that can be bought for hiking or whatever – in my opinion they draw way too much attention, at least in the kind of places I’ve traveled.

In my bag I had one or two of those waterproof roll up bags that people use for canoeing. That way if it was pouring rain or I had to jump in a leaky canoe or throw my bag on the back of a truck, I never had to worry about my stuff getting wet.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

What I would say is to find a bag you like that isn’t too big, and if you are going on a long trip stuff it as full as you want. Just get out the door. Just don’t be too attached to the stuff you bring. Then when you start traveling you will realize you don’t need most of it, and you can give it away or donate it. Just pack a day or two before you go and don’t worry about it so much! If you’re hitchhiking, you are going to be where there are people, and if there are people, you are going to be able to get what you need to survive. So don’t worry so much, just go!

Visit Alyssa’s website

Lauren Klarfeld
My name is Lauren Klarfeld, and though originally born in Belgium, I feel much more at home in other places in the world, particularly in Madrid, Spain.

As an avid traveller, I try and vary my transportation methods, going from cheap and sustainable and upwards. Obviously hitchhiking is the best way as you are already dividing costs and use of gas by two if not more. It is a great way to get to know people, and also push your comfort zone, having to trust people again and forget about all the fears you may have about trusting strangers. If it’s one thing I’ve learned – travelling helps you regain that trust as you are bound to have to trust others in order to countinue your journey.

Personally I don’t have any favourite hitchhiking spots as all spots are different and subject to change – sometimes you’re lucky – and sometimes you’re not at all !

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

My backpack will always include : my wallet – a notebook and some personal jewelry.

I bring these things because it is all I had with me when I left for Indonesia and the airport lost the backpack I had checked in. I was set to spend the whole month there to volunteer but first had to cross the whole country. I was lost the first hours, until finally I realized I was actually free from my huge backpack and could move around with ease. I then went from city to city asking motorbikers to take me on their back as I didn’t have much with me and I saw the most amazing sceneries – feared for my life on the road too – but made it alive and well and most of all more confident.

Finally, when the airport called me saying they had found my backpack – I told them to keep it until I returned. As I returned, I opened it, just to see the contrast between what I had packed and what I actually used that month – and really thought I had over done it – I had even packed heels with me even though I had spent the whole month barefoot haha ! Incredible.

During that month I had but a small carry-on that I had with my on that plane, and that had my wallet, notebooks and jewelry; Since then, this really has become my go-to elements when packing : my wallet for obvious reasons so I could purchase the strict necessary in terms of underwear and hygiene (a toothbrush for instance), a notebook so that wherever I could be, especially alone, I would have my writing to keep me busy and keep me company, and personal jewelry so I could have things that reminded me of “home” but most of all because that way I could always add my personal touches to any kind of clothing I would buy. I learned not to be picky about clothing anymore after that experience, and realized my personality was probably more important to show than the clothing I brought.

I met a guy once who left me a quote for my project saying : “what you carry in your backpack is the weight of your fears”. It’s the quote I always keep in mind before making a backpack and in order to remember that even if I were to forget something – it’s only a representation of what I forgot to care of fear about.

How do you bring things with you?

I used to take a typical Peak Performance backpack with me – second hand but that had the back support intact (having your backpack well adjusted to your back is key !). However, in recent years I have downsized a lot, and I now settle for any kind of a small backpack – especially if I am planning to blend in with local communities. By carrying a large backpack you are automatically seen as a tourist. By carrying a smaller bag you can blend in easily. Usually if I am staying longer periods of time, I try and see what kind of bags locals carry with them, and buy the same. Standing out is that last thing I want to do with my backpack.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

The best way to pack light is by making a first backpack…and then emptying it all out and downsize again by half everything you were packing. You’d be surprised to see that even then – you will not need all the things you brought. I see lots of hitchhikers bring too many pants when really these are basics that fit with anything. I also see a lot of people bring extra large sweaters – but really the one sweater or even scarf is good to keep you warm during cold nights. Most of all, I see people carry too much when I know that they will probably buy something on the road. The best thing is to leave plenty of extra space and buy something on the road, especially because you’ll keep a better memory of it. Exchanging clothes while on the road is probably the best advice I was given.

As for advice on actually going out to travel and not just dreaming about it? Look around you – and if you’re seeing too many travel-related things decorating your room – it’s probably a good indicator that you’re dreaming more than you’re travelling. Rip those posters out of your room and start saving up to buy yourself a ticket somewhere with no return. It’s a lot less scarier once you’re there and have no other choice.

Visit Lauren Klarfeld’s website

Tomasz Korgol
My name is Tomasz, I am history teacher from Poland. During my holiday I love to travel. I visited more than 50 countries by hitchhiking, like Iraq, Pakistan, India or Canada. My favourite country is Iran, because people there are amazing.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

  • Tablet for water treatment (it’s really usefull, especially in Asia)- after 30 minutes you can drink even really dirty water.
  • Some small gifts for hosts (Couchsurfing etc.) like small flag from your country, coin etc. Your host will be really happy when he receives something from you.
  • Car charger or power bank- Maybe it’s obvious, but many my ”hitchhiking friends’ forget about it. With car charger you can reload your phone, camera during your trip. With power bank it’s the same situation. When I was in Mongolia in the middle of nowhere, my phone and GPS worked because I had it.

How do you bring things with you?

I use two different bags: One small and one big. The big one is Hi-Tec model (80 litres). The small one is typical military bag and I have it in the front of me, on my chest. In this small bag I have my passport, documents, phone, camera, etc. – the most important and valuable things during my trip.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

You shouldn’t have a plan with details of your trip. Sometimes you should to drive with your driver, for example I was on the traditional, Iranian wedding, because I drove with my driver to the small Iranian village. Moreover if you want to go somewhere, just do it. Teacher job in my country is not well-paid job, but with small budget you can hitchhiking everywhere.

Visit Tomasz Korgol’s website

Jeremy Marie
I am a French citizen currently living in Nice, France. Though, I am originally from Normandy.

I did get into hitchhiking the first time when I was living and working in an hotel in the Welsh countryside back in 2004. The bus network was really poor and the only “reliable” way to get from one place to another was by sticking out the thumb on the side of the road.

This led me to tour of France and Europe by hitchhiking in 2006, which was the prelude of a world tour that I did by hitchhiking between 2007 and 2013.

My favorite hitchhiking place around the world would probably be New Zealand, Ireland, Nicaragua, Chile, Tahiti (and some more I guess).

The most difficult would be the United States and Italy.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

One of the thing that helped me the most was a book that I did and that was including pictures of my family and of the places I traveled. This helped me to break the ice with the potential driver, and to engage the conversation once inside the vehicle. The people I met were really interested to see images from my country, and where I was coming from.

Another thing that helped me a lot were letters explaining in the local language of some country was “hitchhiking” actually meant, and if I could get a ride with the person reading the letter. Countries like China, were the concept is totally unknown, really needed this kind of organisation to help me go further, as no one would actually understand what I was doing gesticulating on the side of the road!

The last thing probably would be a belt that I carried under my pant and behind my back. I was hiding in this belt under a plastic bag my most valuable thing, which were my passport, ID’s and my money. I kept it even when sleeping in certain places.

How do you bring things with you?

I was carrying two bages during this world tour. One was a haversack from the Swedish army. This thing was unbreakable, and actually lasted the five whole years almost without a scratch. I kept inside my clothes and less valuable things. This back was aimed to be put in the trunk of the car that were stopping for giving me a ride. The bag was quite small, very square, but very heavy and not comfortable to carry. Though, I just had enough space, as I adapted my needs to the functionality of this bag.

The second bag was aimed to carry the most valuable things, such as my camera, my netbook and the book I was carrying to explain my project. I used 4 bags during this journey. The first was a small bag from the bazaar of Cairo. It was very poor quality and lasted only few month. The second was a Nike school backpack that I bought from South Africa, but again the quality was not good enough for such a journey. Then, a family gave me a second hand Timberland backpack (around 30L) in San Francisco. Even if it wasn’t new, it lasted almost three years. Finally, I bought a The North Face backpack (around 30L too) in Hoi An in Vietnam. The quality was really good and the functionalities were definitely made for this kind of travel (many pockets, strong zipper, light but difficult to break). I travel for one year until the end of the journey, and I still have it today.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

I would say that packing light was a key for hitchhiking easily. Hitchhiking indeed request a lot of walking, and when you have to do 10 kilometers under a heavy tropical heat as in Vietnam or Brazil, you would rather prefer having packed light!

Hitchhiking requests also a good adaptation to different situations. Sometimes, I had just a tiny space to get inside a vehicle, or even on the back of a motorbike (such as in Nicaragua). Having a small bag was very convenient to get those rides.

I could afford to have very little thing though, only because I was always staying close to the civilization. I was not equipped to sleep outside, even though it happened around 50-60 times during those 5 years.

In any case, what you need in a bag is quite personal as everyone has different needs and a different way to travel. A perfect bag will be good for some and not for others. And again, a perfect bag would depend of the kind of journey. A hitchhiker and a hiker will not have the same needs. The only way to know what you need exactly is to go out there and to see by yourself. I promise, the experience will be for the least rewarding!

Visit Jeremy Marie’s website

Magy and Cvetin
We are from Bulgaria. We are now in China getting ready to enter Mongolia. We love hitchhiking everywhere in the world. One of our many favorites are Iran, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

We bring a multifunctional stove that works with gas and kerosene. Rubber boots and a speaker. The stove is very practical and we can cook anywhere. Rubber boots we started using after some hikes in the Malaysian jungle and the speaker is good for listening to music.

We have seen a guy bring folding chair once.

How do you bring things with you?

We carry two rucksacks, the brand is Jack Wolfskin. We put the heaviest things in the middle of the rucksack to balance weight. We never have enough room, but we always manage to fit all our things in the rucksacks – we call it the paradox of hitchhiking.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

Bring only useful things, with travelling one learns how to reduce baggage and carry only what is essential. Getting out of the door can be done with small steps first. Travel in the areas around you first and then when you gain confidence and understand the magic of hitchhiking you will want to travel further and further.

Visit Magy and Cvetin’s website

Anna & Anto
We are Anna and Anto, Polish and Italian. Both of us used to hitchhike to school when we were teenagers, some years later we found ourselves on the European Hitchhiking Gathering talking to long time travelers and planning our first big hitchhiking in India.

What started as a holiday leisure turned out to be a conscious, full time lifestyle after we both graduated.

We both love nature, non touristic places, remote areas and nice people.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

  • Three rubber ducks – best friends of Anto that were recycled from the Olympic Swimming Contest in Berlin, have been to many places: from a winter between the northern lights, to the Tuscan wild host springs, the Mayan pyramids and even crossed Atlantic Ocean by water… just another big water pond / bathtub. When juggling they bring smile to many the drivers.
  • Kinesiology tape – a colorful tape applied to sportsmen for they performance, it can support hitchhikers in their minor injuries, muscle strains (not only hitchhikers – when working as a physiotherapist in the migrant center in Mexico, together with the therapy the tapes helped a lot to fight their physical fatigue after their extraordinary journeys).
  • Dental floss – apart from their casual role for dental hygiene, they are amazing for emergency sewing on the backpack, on a torn shoe and on nearly anything!

How do you bring things with you?

The lighter you travel the better.

Just one piece of luggage per person.

We have one backpack each with the weight no more than 13 kg.

Little clothes – you hand wash them anywhere you go, heavy things on the bottom and close to the back.

Anto is better organized, he has his separate technology bag, clothes bags etc. and always puts things back to their place therefore it is always easy for him to find a torch, pocket knife and so on.

I am more unorganized, but nevertheless the comfort of the backpack is super important to me as well.

Anto has a compact ‘homemade’ backpack made by a ‘professional’ Russian hitchhiker relatively famous in this specific world, that makes tents, sleeping bags and this kind of gear for his daily bread. Light stuff, but also compact and strong. Worth a research..

I have a good Bergen backpack from a Norwegian second hand. It costed about 10 euros.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

During your first trip you backpack will anyway be huge, heavy and full of unnecessary stuff. The next it will be half of it. And so on. You learn from your own mistakes.

If you manage to make it fit between your legs on any kind of car you are doing it right.

What is overrated? Having a marker and a sign is not that necessary. And you could replace the famous and holy towel with a t-shirt and the hitchhiking gods will smile at you.

How to get out of the door?

All it takes is the first step. And the next one. Forward or backwards. It doesn’t really matter so much.

Visit Anna & Anto’s website

I’m from Poland, currently living in Gdańsk, Poland. I first hitchhiked when I injured my foot in a remote place and had to return home but couldn’t walk. It was a very short ride so then I wanted to try something longer and hitchhiked from Croatia to Poland. I also liked that so I decided to take a 14-month hitchhiking trip around the world 🙂

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

Rule number one for me is: you can never have too many plastic bags. I always find them useful for packing wet or dirty clothes, shower gel, food or literally anything that I don’t want to spill all over my backpack. It might sound obvious but I also like to carry my tent with me at all times.

Even if I’m not planning to stay in the tent I like the freedom and peace of mind that it gives when I have it with me. When I have it I know that if I get lost, change my plans, get caught by rain or anything I can always hide inside my tent. Number three is my contact lenses. I wear glasses but contacts are much handier as a backup than the second pair of glasses!

How do you bring things with you?

I carry Penguin Explorer 60 backpack. I feel like I have just the right amount of room in it. Before I had a slightly smaller backpack and I didn’t like the fact I always had to optimize when packing things into it. 5 liters more of capacity is what I needed and packing is now taking much less time because I don’t have to care about every single square centimeter.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

If you are planning your first trip my suggestion is: instead of reading too many posts about how to pack your backpack and what to take, just do it. After your first trip you will learn from your own mistakes and you will do much better next time. If you sit at the computer and read blog posts you will get a lot of theoretical knowledge but you will probably focus too much on the equipment, ultralight things, packing etc. Just take what you have and leave home 🙂

Visit Maciej’s website

Thomas Francine
I got into hitchhiking on a whim. Wanted to try something different with a friend. Ended up falling in love with it and kept going for 26,000 miles, mostly solo.

My fav hitchhiking places are the Black Sea coast (Romania/Bulgaria) and the Pacific Coast Highway (California and Oregon).

I live in New Jersey, USA and that’s where I’m from.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

  • Wool socks are essential for camping in below freezing temperatures. In my experience the feet are the first parts of your body to feel numb from the cold.
  • Peanut butter is filling, tasty, and light. Obviously you should just remember to leave your food outside your tent if you believe there are bears or any other dangerous animals in the area.
  • A “dumb” phone helps you stay in contact with nervous relatives while also allowing you to be present in the moment. I would never do a long-distance hitchhike with a smart phone.

This is a tricky questions since hitchhikers are infamous for not bringing much with them except for the absolute basics!

How do you bring things with you?

JanSport Big Bear 82 has been my bag for almost all my miles and I love it. The pack can really take a beating without any damage.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

I’m currently reading the book “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger. It’s a great read that might give someone who’s thinking about hitchhiking – that extra kick in the pants to start. Hitchhiking has brought great meaning to my life. It’s a very natural way to live being connected with people, having and dealing with the ups and downs of adventure, and living with a bare minimum of material items.

Visit Thomas Francine’s website

Michael Sean Comerford
I call myself a Chicagoan and I got into hitchhiking in the 1970s, during junior year at University of College Cork, Ireland. I began hitchhiking around the British Isles then that summer worked a job in West Germany. I hitchhiked around Europe but decided to hitch Eastern Europe too so I hitchhiked through East Germany to Poland and Czechoslovakia. It was the summer of 1980, when Lech Walesa jumped the factory gates in Gdansk and started the Solidarity movement in Poland.

I didn’t know it but I would one-day become a journalist and seeing the world became important to me.

I have hitchhiked much of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and North America. I’ve toured about 100 countries but not all by hitchhiking.

My last major hitchhiking tour was for a year following traveling carnivals around the United States, 2013-14. I crossed 36 states and 5 Canadian provinces from Alaska to Florida, California to New York. In all it was 15,000 by thumb and another 5,000 by bus and friends.

The best places in the world to hitchhike are still in Europe. In the US, Alaska is my favorite but it is challenging due to weather and long roadside waits.

In America, I hitchhike on on-ramps and interstates. Truck stops and tourist destinations are great for walking up on people and asking them eye-to-eye for a ride.

The best place to hitchhike is when you’re in a place where you don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon but you know you want to go far!

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

Everyone knows to bring a backpack, sleeping bag and tent (or bivy/hammock&tarp). The backpack is best if it has a sturdy frame and is waterproof. During my year of hitchhiking to carnivals, I had a Coyote 80, — waterproof, comfortable arm straps built for weight. I kept my laptop in my Coyote 80 because I was blogging as I hitchhiked and worked in carnivals. My was laptop was dry and easier to handle. It was a heavy bag though.

Everyone should remember to bring is the smart phone with a Google maps app and chargers; markers/pens for roadside cardboard signs; Rand McNally Map, thick trash bags or a dry sack for electronics, bungee cords (for the unexpected); can opener, knife, fork, water bottle (flexible if possible), a poncho and a great, shady hat.

My TOP three things that people might skimp on or decide isn’t necessary are:

  • Laptop and laptop bag because today’s hitchhiker must blog and edit videos which can’t be done on the smart phone. A smart phone is your best friend but a laptop brings you to another level.
  • Bathing suit. Because skinny dipping is rude in front of the Puritans.
  • Fanny pack with plastic bags to keep the phone dry. It also keeps your knife (if you want one).

Not recommended are sunglasses and short skirts (even short-shorts for men). The sunglasses make people suspicious. Showing skin may help you get a ride but hitchhiking is a sexual fantasy for many people.

How do you bring things with you?

My recommendations come from a hitchhiker in his 50s. You can get cheap tents, bivys, hammocks, bed rolls at the Army Navy store, Walmart, Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.

My packing strategy is to separate clean and dirty clothes in water-proof bags. I roll everything, no folds. I bring two days of road pants, three or four shirts and a similar pairings of underwear and socks.

My backpack was the Kelty Coyote 80 Backpack, it was a gift but it made me feel like royalty. It makes carrying that laptop easy and no need to worry about the weather.

I call my sleeping bags my “Holiday Inn.” I recommend them to be light weight and warm to about 30 degrees, at least. I slept in Canon sleeping bags. Goodwill often has used sleeping bags.

I used the cheapest tents I could find but hitchhiking Web site True Transient recommends ALPS Mountaineering one-man tent. Tents or tarps are needed for those odd times when you are stuck. Tents keep away mosquitoes, rain, snow and cold.

Lastly, I sometimes carried my sleeping bag and tent. A better organized person might pack lighter and fasten it all to your backpack but that’s the way I did it. Too much on your back makes it tough to run up to the truck that just stopped for you 100 feet ahead.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

Try to look clean and upbeat. Crazy and angry are usually two very bad looks at the side of the road.

The single biggest thing hitchhikers do wrong is unseen by drivers. The hitchhiker gets depressed on the side of the road. The hours go and many get discouraged and leave their spot.

In South Carolina one time, I picked up and started walking down Interstate 95. I didn’t check before I moved spots and the next on-ramp was 10 miles down the road. I kept my thumb out while I walked. I stopped sometimes. But I didn’t catch a ride until I got to another on-ramp. As the saying goes, 95 is the route but some people think it’s the speed limit sign.

The best places to look for hitchhiking spots are near interstates and major highways with a long-view line so a vehicle can see you a long way off. I like on-ramps but I know experts who say they only go to truck stops.

Just do it. Also search the internet for good stories about hitchhiking. There are many sites with videos of people having a blast. Research says it’s not dangerous, even for women (who usually travel in pairs anyway).

When done right, hitchhiking is freedom from time constraints and bills and problems of home. It’s adventure and surprise. Its educational. Its travel. Its therapy. It’s healthy because you’re walking and outdoors. I started out hitchhiking in America by walking out my suburban Chicago front door and down the street to the first major road. You can start almost anywhere and go almost anywhere. The people you meet will astound you, guaranteed! The conversations in the car range from intimate to inspirational, from crazy to life lessons. Hitchhiking is like no other travel on earth and you have to see it to believe it.

Visit Michael Sean Comerford’s website


I’m originally from Guatemala but have been leaving in Portugal since 2015. I first started hitchhiking in Guatemala in 2009, where a guy from Spain got me into it. We travelled for a few weeks together in Guate and then in November of the same year, I started my own travels. I have been travelling ever since, difference pace and mindset from that of that I had when I started but still travelling now.

I think that my favourite places to hitchhike are, in particular order: Nicaragua, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Turkey.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all hitchhikers bring?

I used to carry a European road atlas. Why European, because I have been here practically since 2010. Mixed nuts to ear while on the road. Phone with music to share with the driver and lots of stories.

How do you bring things with you?

The first “backpacking” trip I did when I was younger, I had no idea about anything. I had a 90+10 backpack! When I started to travel, I had a 60+10. When I went to South America, it was 75+10 which came in handy because I had all my winter clothes insides. Then I moved on to a 50+10. After that never went over that size.

I use Quechua. I roll my trousers, t-shirt and shirt, underwear and socks go inside a ziplock bag.

I have enough things/space inside the backpack.

What are your top tips for other hitchhikers?

Just do it!

The longer you are going to travel, the less things you need.

As a hitchhiker, you might and will walk a lot to get to the perfect spot to start thumbing, it’s not nice or comfortable to walk a lot with a heavy backpack.

Not respect the queue, I mean, you are already in the spot and they just start thumbing. You have to follow the unwritten etiquette.

Courage. Just take the first step and from the on, it’s all downhill.

Visit Ron’s website

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