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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hitchhiking Tips For Female Travellers

Hitchhiking to A.S is not something really new or impossible but yet she’s still quite apprehensive doing it. Single travellers especially female has to definitely exercise cautions before doing this. A.S agrees this is done only by cheapskates but yet she has to also add that it’s fulfilling, adventurous and opens up into another dimension in traveling.

Personally for A.S, as she travels, she likes to stay off tour buses or tour groups or tourists to get as much interaction as possible with the locals. Therefore, she does not stay in hotels but hostels where she meets and mingles around with fellow travellers like her. Besides hostels, she also do couchsurfing at locals’ place. She’ll share more about couchsurfing in her next post.  As for transportation, she is trying to do more hitchhiking. She has been assured that it is safe as long as cautions are exercise especially for a solo female traveller like her.

So, she did an extensive read up and has had some tips stick to her mind now. Let her re-tell what she has learnt in her own words.

  • First, walk to the edge of town where vehicles passing by are going into highways in the direction of where you’re going.

  • Choose a location beside the road where cars can see you and slow down (i.e intersections, petrol stations or drive-thru fast food outlets) and that it is legal and safe for them to stop beside the road.

  • Write clearly with a marker pen where you’re heading on a cardboard. Also include ‘Or Midway’ as one might only do half where you’re going and willing to give you a ride for that distance.

  • Smile and give eye contact to drivers passing by to show that you’re friendly and mean no harm to them.

  • Also, it’d be good that you wear clean light coloured clothes to assure them that they're giving a ride to clean, odourless travellers.

  • When someone stops for you, don't immediately hop into the car. Ask where they're going first. This buys you time to judge the person and register in your head the plate number, type of car as well as other passengers (if any) before you agree to the ride.

  • For solo female travellers, don’t take a ride with groups of men. Also, it’s reasonable that you take the front seat when you’re alone with the driver. You don’t want to be trapped behind with a child safety lock when you try to escape a wrongly chosen ride.

  • Also, keep your money, valuables and important documents close to you, split among pockets or belt hidden from the driver. Do not keep them all in bulk and never in your luggage bag/backpack which you might have to keep in the car boot. You may lose your luggage bag/backpack but not your money and documents if the driver made you leave midway or you escaped midway for safety reasons.

  • Have a map with you at all times to be sure that you’re heading where the driver said to bring you.

  • Once in the car, call someone or take out your phone to show that you’re informing a friend or relative or people you’re staying with conversation like, “I just got a ride to Matamata in a car. It’s a nice blue, Japanese made car  which is about 10 years old but it sure is tidy and the driver is so nice to give me a ride. He’s a Kiwi”

  • Make small talk along the ride to lighten the tension as well as to get to know the person you’re getting a ride with. This a good opportunity to learn more about the local people and culture of the place where you’re traveling. He/She might  even provide tips or recommendations on local insights of things you must not miss out.

  • Many sites which A.S read suggested that hitchhiking couples or 2 females hitchhiking together  has higher chances of getting a ride compared to individuals as drivers are less suspicious and feel safer for themselves giving a ride to them.

  • On the other hand, it’s always safer to take rides from couples or families if not lone drivers. Most importantly, always trust your instinct!!! Don't accept the ride if you do not feel safe or make up excuses to be dropped off earlier if you do not feel safe.

A.S’s had her own read from this blogs/pages below which you could find additional tips:-

So, last week, after gathering these tips, A.S went out and tried it out herself. She had a ride from a friend on a motorbike to Morrinsville from Hamilton. After walking around Hamilton, she walked to the edge of town in the direction of Matamata and took out her signboard.  It was drizzling then alternating with sunlight over and over again. This is NZ, she has learnt after spending 2 months here. Fortunately, it did not take her long before a truck stopped. The Maorian guy appeared not interested to talk which she found out later he had a sore throat. It was good too as A.S could instead,  enjoy the musics  as she looked out the window into the green pastures filled with grazing cattles.

One of the small talk A.S had with her driver went as follows:-

“What are typical Maorian food?”
“Meat, pork, beef, sheep.”
“I see. That’s for protein. What about carbo or starch? Do you normally take potatoes, bread, rice or noodle?”
“Nope, it’s normally beef, pork… We love meat”

What a valuable insight one only get by talking to locals, don't you agree?

Safely arrived. Thank you so much, Mr Maori!


Nava Krishnan said...

great tips but still I will not do it on my own, I don't have the guts though.

Unknown said...

You're a lot braver than I! I'd never hitchhike alone and if one of my daughter's ever does so, in any country, I'll kill her ! It shouldn't be so, of course, but I'm not a risk- taker, and this is a risky enterprise for a woman alone. Stay safe:)

Call me A.S for AkiraSabine said...

Hi Nava,

To tell you the truth, I don't have the guts either. ;P I personally think if you don't feel safe doing it, don't do it. I've only been doing it for short distances and only when I'm confident of where I'm going and how to get there with a map in hand. Look confident, follow those tips, and always, aLWAys, ALWAYS trust your instinct. Gather info about the driver. Make him talk about what he does for a living, what he likes about his job, what're his job scopes, his pastime activities, etc.

Hi Irish Nomad,

Thanks for dropping in. Yes, I think I'm quite brave too. Maybe, I was being brave, but not always brave. ;P I've a friend who did it before and I've read about ladies doing it, so I thought to give it a try. Having said that, it's much, much safer hitchhiking in 2, definitely.

LOL! Yeap, that's totally understandable. I don't think my mom would buy this idea either or me approve of my younger cousin sis or niece doing it. No way, unless they've well travelled on their own and read and remember those tips mentioned.

Yes, it's risky and anyone who attempts it definitely needs to take precaution. Likewise, to drivers, we may pose danger to them. They don't know who they're picking up.

Thanks again, Irish Nomad. I will take care! :))

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