Tips/Advice for First Time Hitchhiker & What are the Risks Involved?

I have never ever hitchhiked before but am planning to do my first (solo) trip in about 2 weeks through Slovenia and Croatia. I told my parents about this and my mum, in particular, was extremely uncomfortable about the idea and begged me to reconsider. My boyfriend also feels the same way.

Hitchhiking is something I really want to try but their nervousness is making me feel less confident as well. Obviously, I am aware of the risks but I believe in the goodness of people. My boyfriend and my mum think I am being naïve.

Does anyone have any tips for a first-timer? And is there anything I can say to my family/boyfriend to reassure them?

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Travel 22 Answers 1974 views 7

Answers ( 22 )

    4

    Out of 10 rides, there’s one person you wouldn’t want to be friends with. Out of 100 rides, there is one person that you don’t like at all. Out of 1000 rides, there is one person that makes you feel uncomfortable but you’ll still be safe. Out of 10000 rides, there’s one person that might be able to harm you if you’re not careful. Obviously, the numbers are made up but you get the point, right? People are good and in some way like dogs: they are more scared than you are. Fear is natural but you can just turn it into respect and nobody has to worry 🙂

      0

      How can you come to such a statistic? The question is by a girl, it’s totally different to hitchhike as a girl and even more different when you are alone.

        0

        I get your point and I agree but also I am convinced, and I had my experiences, that people remain the same no matter what gender you are. As a girl traveling solo, you definitely have to be more careful but my “statistic” (which is, I mentioned before, made up) still remains the same.

          0

          Yeah, the stats for women being raped is ‘only’ 1 in 4 – not sure what it is for men. It’s not even that high – Zimbabwe where I come from is way worse, if one wouldn’t do it in their own country, don’t think others are safer, just because you can’t read the local news in English.

            0

            To be honest I don’t believe that statistic but I don’t see a point in a heated discussion. I accept your opinion.

    1

    As someone who had a rather unpleasant experience hitchhiking that could have gone much worse, all I have to say is that it is safe until you happen to get in the car with the wrong guy. if you want to play it safe don’t get into cars with men. if not, you might be fine and you might not and there is no way to know. Good luck and stay safe!

      0

      If I would not accept a ride from men, I would still be stuck in the middle of nowhere, as most of the people who offer me ride are men. You just need to really, really trust yourself: if something does not feel right, don’t go with them. I know that bad thing can happen, and I am sorry for you, but I don’t think we should tell to other women to not accept a ride from men.

        0

        I didn’t tell her not to. I told her if she wants to play it really safe then she shouldn’t get into cars with men since statistically, they are much more dangerous. you can trust your gut to a point, but sometimes your gut is wrong. or sometimes you’ve been standing in the rain for hours and ignore your gut cause you’re so miserable. but obviously, she should do whatever she wants!

          0

          I actually got mugged by a woman with 14 knives to the neck situation. Anyhow, older more frail men, couples, and very obese men are safer 🙂 basically someone you can outrun or overpower or where a female is present.

    1

    It’s, in the end, is a personal decision, how much you want to risk as a solo girl traveler. Some decide they will accept rides only from women or couples. Bad guys are very few but even in generally safe countries like Slovenia and Croatia we have a couple of horror stories. Mostly it’s a matter of psychology and it’s more important to appear confident and keep talking, rather than relying on sprays, knives, and jumping-out-of-the-moving-car techniques.

    6

    Make sure you have a data connection whenever possible and send a picture of the license plate of the car that gave you a ride to your mum and boyfriend. Though this does little to nothing in the way of providing actual safety it might give them peace of mind.

    If any car driver does not like you sharing a picture of the back of his or her car in private to your family it is probably not wise to take a ride anyway. In reality, it all boils down to common sense. Note that you will put yourself in a more than a normally risky situation that is to say shit happens all the time everywhere but statistically more likely to happen to hitchers then to travelers that fly or ride coaches.

    Accept this to be fact and from that perspective speak with your partner and parents again. I never had any real issues and think going clubbing now days might be just as dangerous if not more so.

    Best answer
      0

      Some sick person with a stolen car doesn’t care if take license plate. Taking pictures of driving license is way better. If somebody has a problem with taking the photo of their ID don’t get in. It’s also a risk to the driver, to take an unknown person to your car.

      Share pictures of IDs so mutual safety is better.

    0

    Most people die at home. Want to be safe, don’t be at home. But then crossing a street is a risk also. I have picked up a few hikers in Poland, Czech and Slovakia. Would you come to the same car with me?

    True is that a lot of people are worried. I’ve been asked for a picture of my ID. No problem with that. Roaming data was just changed in Europe. Guy allows you to take pictures of ID, should be safe. But then again he might not just give a sh*t. You will never know.

    As a car driver, one can be worried who you let in your car. Maybe they will try to harm you. Share ID pics so both know if something happens police will catch up sooner or later.

    0

    Could always get a GPS tracker watch with SOS for peace of mind.

      0

      Yes, I suggested that my boyfriend and I get “find a friend” app so he knows where I am.

        2

        So the police can find you later on? I clicked my SOS button because guy threatens me with a knife, now I’m safe? No idea who it is even.

        Sending ID might be the most assuring way. Something happens at least is known who did it. Small chance to find someone with fake ID… ????

        Most of the people are just normal law obeying citizens. Try to calculate the possible risks will drive you insane. Just walk out and put your thumb up.

        Somebody (psycho) wants to harm you they will do it no matter what. Your GPS location will not help, no license plate or ID. If there are 100k people picked up daily globally and you hear 10 bad stories. How big is the risk ?

        Happy travels ????

    0

    My rule when hitchhiking, Go with your gut. If someone stops within 5 meters of you don’t get in that car, they want something from you most of the time.
    I also recommend using Alpify Safe365 app, so they can keep track of your location.

    0

    Believe in your self. Whatever you believe will happen. So stay positive. 1 in a million are bad and if you keep fearing bad you will attract them, but if you are positive… Even they will be nice to you. Don’t accept drinks or come to my home offers usually, look of being very sure if where you are going and someone is expecting you there on time, and listen to your first instinct when you get a ride… Slovenia and Croatia are pretty easy to travel and hitchhike with.

    1

    I am a solo female hitchhiker since 2010 and never regret it even though I was in weird, scary situations that made me feel uncomfortable and insecure but for me, it was always worth all the risk as its an amazing way of learning.

    The positive vibes that you can spread and that you receive while hitchhiking are a plus. So far what I learned on the road: Trust your feelings! If you don’t feel right don’t get into the car. Try not to be in a rush, you might take decisions that you wouldn’t have taken if you would have had time and no pressure.

    You should have a language in common as it’s always easier to explain where you want to go but it can also be very funny if not. Try not to be in a car with more than one men. Try to plan that you always reach your destination before dark.

    I hitchhiked through Croatia and everything was fine. But of course it’s up to you and you should feel comfortable with doing it. My first hike was with friends so I had the chance to learn from them. Maybe you can find somebody for that. To me, it means freedom that I never would like to give up because there are bad people in the world.

      0

      Thank you, I am hoping to find someone on the road to hitch with at some point and by the time I get halfway down Croatia I am hoping that a friend will join me, but it is that first ride that I am most nervous about.

    1

    When I didn’t feel 100 % comfortable by getting in a car with someone, I ask them if they would mind that I take a pic of the license plate and send it to family or a friend. If they say yes, they know you are a careful person and they can be traced.

    If they don’t allow it, don’t get in the car. Until now everyone I asked this, they had no problem and completely understood. They even thought it was a great idea for me to stay safe!

      0

      Thank you for the suggestion! My boyfriend has already said he wants me to do this and I think it is a good idea as well.

    0

    Tell your parents: its naive to be afraid of something you never experienced by yourself. Go ahead, don’t listen to the people who are anyway always afraid of something happening to you. Go live a life.

    B/w hitchhiking in Croatia is cool, coastline mostly, tourists driving long distance. Inside country mostly locals, and beautiful nature. I had some bad experience in Slovenia, but it’s not connected to the country. Slovenia is touristicly used to drive through. Locals are a bit grumpy about that.

    2

    I would advise against it, even as a man I had some weird experiences (drunk drivers, silent weirdos or the like) and when I was young, many girls complained about some freaks who had either kinky suggestions or just showed them their “equipment”, but nothing major as far as I know (keep in mind though that most of the s*xually related assaults are not even reported, therefore saying “nothing major” can be misleading).

    That said, today’s world offers many different protections, which you can use to simmer down potential risks. Apart from personal protection tools, such as pepper sprays (maces) or something alike that can help against wild dogs or so as well, I would suggest to use a mobile phone with tracking/anti theft software, such as Cerberus, which can help finding you in case of any trouble, or go the extra mile and buy some personal tracking device that can be hidden, since phones can be stolen or misplaced.

    Also, before entering someone’s car, take a picture of the license plate and the person inside and send it to someone who you trust and who can, in case of an emergency, call the authorities and hope for the best. I believe it would be even good practice to inform the driver that you did so, just to be safe.

    You may find these suggestions weird or unnecessary, but I think it’s better than just blindly trusting the people.

    In any case, have a safe journey!

      0

      Thank you for your words of caution but I refuse to let myself be afraid of something I have not yet tried 🙂

        1

        Bad things can happen of course, but hearing all the good stories inspires people not be so afraid. We can not go around and always be afraid of something that might happen.

        I have been hitchhiking since in Europe since 2013. Not always on the road, but mostly. And most of the time I do it alone. Have I had only positive experience? No, I have had also car driver who falled a sleep, a truck driver who did not understood that I feel uncomfortable if he keeps touching my hair (as I had some dreadlocks then, and he found them be so interesting), I also had a car driver who wanted to offer me money for s*x.

        And some other drivers who also asked a similar thing. It is not always a fairytale, its true. But that does not mean we should stop or avoid hitchhiking.

        I do not blame or judge anyone who does not feel like hitchhiking, or think that this is not for them. But only being stuck in bad stories, especially if it’s not yours, is making us way too disconnected from the world.

    0

    I very much encourage you to try it, it is a lot of fun!! 🙂

    I have been hitchhiking a lot the last couple of months and met lots of fun, friendly open people, everyone was really interested in conversations, helpful and happy to meet. As a solo female, you have the privilege to get rides WAY faster and easier. Enjoy, your family will get used to it.

    1

    True story: I had the same problem one day with a friend. She even made me undress and wear ugly clothes in order not to be attractive. She was sweet and very worried. But I was super safe: When I hitchhiked I was picked by a police car as well as an ambulance car until my final destination and it was a great experience.

    0

    Start small, in your neighborhood and after think about an entire 2weeks trip.
    Hitchhiking is great, but its tough also, sometimes. So if you never did it before, why you don’t try to do it around your house a little bit, make some experience (for yourself also) and get also your parents and your boyfriend used to it (you should make him try too, before judging).

      0

      I live in the UK and according to hitchwiki, the UK is not such a good place for hitchhikers due to the fear mentality of a lot of drivers here. But I will try to do it anyway! Thank you for your suggestion

    0

    I don’t think there’s anything you can say to a parent to convince them hitchhiking is safe. It isn’t. Life isn’t safe. you can either stay home and keep yourself safe or go out and enjoy your life, your choice 🙂

    0

    I’m also a solo female traveler, I’ve never had a problem with that and I’ve been doing for years! The truth is that I’ve never tried in those countries, but in many others, I’ve always met awesome and incredibly nice people!! Don’t be afraid of being a woman, there is no reason- you’re not alone! ????????????

    0

    It is safe to hitchhike in Slovenia. In reality, only foreigners hitchhike here nowadays, others use prevoz.org (sort of Uber for private cars) for a cheap and directly agreed transfer with the driver from point A to point B. As for Croatia, I do not know much about the safety, but you may still see people hitchhiking at the seaside, especially in summer.

      0

      Prevoz.org is not at all like Uber. It’s what Uber should have been. 🙂

      Basically, the website is only a platform to publish rides. There is no company standing between you and the other person. It’s cheaper and faster than using public transport. I stopped hitchhiking after it took off.

      If you ever can’t catch a ride in Slovenia, Prevoz.org is your best bet. In the summer, rides to Croatia are also very common.

        1

        We agree on this. Read again: “Sort of” and “directly agreed with the driver”.

          0

          Even saying sort-of-like is misleading. Uber is a for-profit company that grossly exploits the drivers while charging quite more than just the travel expenses. I just don’t want any foreigners to get the wrong impression about Prevozi. It’s nothing like Uber.

            0

            It would be misleading without: “directly agreed with the driver”.

    1

    Dear, it should be fine. I only hitchhiked in Austria, Germany and France, oh and New Zealand. Don’t hitchhike at night, get a proper map, before you get in the car, you ask where the person is driving, and talk about where you want to get out. if you’re extra careful, remember the license plate and text a friend.

    Also only hitchhike if you feel good. If you’re tired or grumpy you might get shy and not want to ask people to take you…. so have enough money to take the train/ bus instead.
    oh and also plenty of time. Don’t hitchhike in a rush. keep your backpack mostly on your lap or where you can access it easily.

    Nothing ever happened to me, except for a french guy trying to hit on me (I was with a friend) and after a hard NO,  he stopped.

    Oh, and in New Zealand, someone just drove to a petrol station and asked for some small money from us to pay for gas, which was annoying. That’s all there was.

    A friend of mine used to hitchhike long distance from Germany to the Czech Republic every week, cause his ex-girlfriend lived there, he said, go to the most expensive cars, businessmen, need to drive long, drive fast, and need someone to talk to them that they don’t fall asleep… 🙂

    As a woman its easier to get a ride. If you don’t feel comfortable and the guy doesn’t tell you where he’s going, say you wait for someone else.

    I found it especially entertaining that nearly everyone I hitchhiked within Germany, told me that hitchhiking is super dangerous and that I shouldn’t do it. It really depends on how much you trust your instincts if anything feels weird don’t go in the car.

    0

    I’ve hitchhiked solo in 20 countries of Europe covering 6000+ kilometers, from Scandinavia to the Balkans. I have mainly had only positive experiences.

    Out of all the rides I have taken (100+ ??) I have had maybe 3-4 uncomfortable experiences, but not fearful, and 2 unpleasant experiences. Both unpleasant experiences were my own fault/if I had listened to my gut.

    One time I was hitchhiking at night and ended up in the middle of nowhere, luckily I was bought back to the main town and it was a scary experience but this could have been avoided if I had started earlier or not gone off the highway.

    The second time a guy solicited me for a ride on foot and I should’ve trusted my instincts which were warning me before I got into the car. he tried to caress my thigh but when I pushed him away he pulled over so I got out).

    Be aware, assertive and trust your gut.

    1

    People usually do not understand you. But you have to trust on your owness. There is a world language and you will find it if you trust your heart. You have to believe in this, so people who love you will know about you are talking about. You will love the experience. Flow with your trip and never the lines of what you can expect. Good luck on your way.

    0

    Find a travel buddy (y) this will probably temper the angry demons in your parents and bf’s head. But actually, it’s good for you too! Hitchhiking could be hard sometimes on your good spirit especially if you’re alone. Going together you can cheer each other up in that kind of situations.

    Further, tell your parents when you will contact them again, this way they shouldn’t worry too much if they haven’t heard from you for some period. Lastly, if people question me about the safety of hitchhiking I ask them if they ever used Uber/blablacar or if they would do it…

    The thing is, if you step into a Uber driver’s car, it’s a total stranger for you as well (same goes for conventional taxi drivers and bus drivers). So from the perspective of danger, it’s not that different: you give somebody you don’t know the trust that he/she will bring you from point A to point B. In case you feel uncomfortable, you get out. This last thing never happened to me, but it should be your golden standard for hitchhiking!

    Follow the sun and happy hitchhiking!

      0

      Thank you, I said something very similar to my boyfriend, it is a good idea 🙂

        0

        Über drivers are licensed and can easily be traced. No way would I get in a car with a stranger!

          1

          Maybe by now, I don’t know, I never used Uber, I hitchhike/walk/cycle. But if you consider the driver ‘totally safe’ because he/she has a little paper that says so, you’re quite naive if you’d ask me… The real point was this:

          “So from the perspective of da anger it’s not that different: you give somebody you don’t know the trust that he/she will bring you from point A to point B.” And that still holds, with or without a piece of paper called a license.

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