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A female friend of mine plans to travel trough Europe next month. She wants to hitchhike. Although she has done it several times before, she is looking for some tips to make the tour safer.

I could recommend here the following hints:

  • Always ask the driver where he goes before you say where you go

  • Dress appropriate so that you're not confused with a prostitute which are also very often standing at streets and waiting for cars

Are there any other hints?

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This is a very wide open question. It needs a list rather than "one right answer" to not go against the Stack Exchange guidelines. Do you think you can edit it to focus it somehow? –  hippietrail Sep 9 '11 at 16:50
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2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted
  • If possible, try to hitchhike with someone else - it's slightly harder as two to get a lift, but much safer.
  • Text someone with your route when you get a lift, as a back-up safety so that someone knows where you are. Include the make and model and license plate of the car.
  • I've heard people suggest carrying a knife, but to me that feels like it might end up doing more harm than good, plus it's not permitted in some countries
  • Don't put your bags in the boot, try to keep them accessible in case you need to leave in a hurry.
  • First sentence out your mouth should be 'Thanks for stopping - where are you headed?' - always find that out first before saying where you're going, gives you the opportunity to decide.
  • If getting in the back seat, check that the kid locks are not on.
  • Don't choose a car full of people, try those with single drivers.
  • If in doubt, TURN DOWN THE RIDE. Better late and safe than sorry.
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traveling in a group will reduce your chances of getting a ride, as drivers are wary of picking up hitchhikers who'll end up sitting behind them where they can more easily draw a weapon on them... –  jwenting Aug 29 '13 at 6:17
    
@jwenting indeed, much easier to get picked up as an individual, but the OP was after safety, and safety in numbers makes a huge difference :) –  Mark Mayo Aug 29 '13 at 6:33
    
true, but there's the safety of the driver as well. Best way to ensure safety is to be careful who you get into a car with, as you mention. And probably don't get into a car with people sitting behind you, just as a driver doesn't like a stranger sitting behind him. –  jwenting Aug 29 '13 at 7:11
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I've been hitchhiking all over the world for the past year and a half, currently in Europe. But we're not supposed to do broad or list questions on Stack Exchange.

So rather than list out all kinds of stuff I can think of I can make it one right answer by pointing to what might be considered the current best online resource:

The Hitchwiki page on safety.

Now if you have specific concerns I'd love to share my advice in individual questions.

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