Monday, June 24, 2013

Hitchhiking and Why You Should Do It!

Legally of course, I am not endorsing breaking the law! For all of those who need a quick refresher, Wikipedia defines hitchhiking as "a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other road vehicle." Referring to my previous article about cultural differences (see article under this one) hitchhiking is legal in Austria whereas it is completely banned in Ontario (it is permissible in some parts of Canada). Actually, in most first and second world countries hitchhiking is legal. When a round trip from Graz to Vienna (2.5 hour trip one way) can cost 15 Euros when booking a bus well in advance to 80 Euros by train without a Vorteilscard (costing another 20 Euro which reduces ticket price by about 50%), hitchhiking looks like an attractive option. It is also a great way to meet interesting people!

Though there are wonderful websites that give great advice on how to prepare to hitchhike and where to stand, I will keep my recommendations limited to my experiences:

1) Have a cardboard sign- People need to know where you are going. Also, as bizarre as this may sound, a cardboard sign brings a level of legitimacy. If drivers know where you are going, they may be able to help you in other ways like telling you where it may be easier to get a lift, or if they can drive you part way. Be sure to have clearly written letters!

2) Do not hold a strict schedule- Weather and moods can vary by day and region. If you need to be somewhere at a particular time, be sure to leave well in advance if possible.

3) Be happy and playful!- You need to catch a driver's attention when on the side of the road. Jumping around an dancing is usually the easiest way. People feed off of each other's positive energy. Give them a reason to pick you up!

Happy Hunting!

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