I mean, it’s always a little “scary” to solo travel around places you’ve never been to, and it’s worse if you believe in stereotypes that say it’s even dangerous for women. It’s not!
However, it’s true, my dear girl friend, that we have to take some things into account before carrying out practises like hitchhiking for women. Stay with me and you will feel much more confident to do an around the world by your own after reading these 12 useful tips:
1. Don’t hitchhike alone at night
A great tip is always to get up as early as you can and make an average of the time it will take you to get to your next stop, so you can arrive there in the daytime. Do not take silly risks if not necessary. If eventually, you have to do it at night, wear a reflective vest and stand in an enlightened place, like a gas station or an inhabited village.
2. Dress discreetly
Even if you’re traveling through a hot place, a short skirt or dress may not be the best option. Wearing comfortable and “more formal” clothes will make you feel much safer, especially if it’s your first time. Of course you can rock whatever style you like, but it’s also important to project a clean image; this way drivers will be more willing to stop.
3. Always stay connected
No matter where you’re heading, you can always get a SIM card and keep someone informed about where you’re going and what your plans are. With mobile phones nowadays, it’s really easy to have some credit and be able to call at anytime if you need it.
4. Make a good sign
It will be easier for drivers to stop if you have a clear sign of where you want to go. If your final destination is too far away, just write a middle stop so you get better chances of succeeding! You can always include a note of humor and point out where you’re coming from in a funny way. People may feel more comfortable.
5. Ask about their personal life (very politely)
Yes, keep your shyness away! This will not just be useful to get to know more about the driver, so you can feel a bit safer, but it will be great to hear the most interesting stories. Asking about their family is always a good trick if you feel the other person is flirting. Keeping up with conversation will make time fly by!
6. Talk about the people who are welcoming you in your destination
Let your road mates know that there are actual people waiting for you some kilometres away. You can even talk about the values you’ve been raised with or how awesome your family is. Just let them be aware that there are people that care about you and that know where you are.
7. Carry a pepper spray
It’s not that common that something bad happens, but… Better be safe than sorry! This kind of sprays won’t take any space on your backpack and can be very useful if the situation gets awkward.
8. Learn some words or expressions in the local language
Of course speaking English is always a plus, but if the drivers see your sign written in their own language, they will slow down for sure. Communicating “in the same level”, even if it’s with basic expressions can help you get more rides!
9. Look for a travel buddy
You might be solo traveling, but if you don’t find yourself comfortable hitchhiking alone, backpacker lodges or hostels are a great place to find someone that can take over this adventure with you, especially if you’ve never done it before.
10. Feel safe
It will depend on your personality of course, but try to trust in people, we’re all travel mates! Don’t believe in all the “scary” stories that are known to happen in the road. Most drivers are people like you and me who just want to cross as many kilometres as possible. Just put a big smile on your face and enjoy the ride.
11. Trust your intuition
Your heart will tell you when to accept a ride or not. You don’t have to get in every single car. If you feel something’s not right, come up with some excuse like “my friend's coming to pick me up, she just texted me” and wait for another car to stop. Your instinct is one of the most powerful tools you have; use it!
12. Have patience
This is really key. The average time you’ll have to wait is around 15-20 minutes, so if it takes longer for someone to stop, just try to meditate or keep your mind busy somehow. Avoiding wearing hats or glasses can be a great tip to inspire more trust to the driver. Looking right in the eyes is essential when you don’t know who is in front of you. Is this appropriate for this subject?
That’s it for my hitchhiking tips for women. I have to admit I’ve never done it and probably would be very doubtful at the beginning, but if you want my personal advice, I recommend just trusting human kindness. This sort of experiences will let you know amazing people, make new travel mates and learn how it is to live in the road. Don’t be afraid and enjoy the journey; there’s always something new to learn.
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