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I have never done it before and I have a general question about hitchhiking.

Let's say I want to go from Paris to Berlin. It's around 1000 Km. Now, I really doubt that there are many cars going directly from Paris to Berlin, but they might be going to the cities which are on the way (more or less at least), such as: Liege, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Dortmund, Hanover, Magdeburg, Leipzig etc.

If someone is going to one of those cities, what are the chances that he is gonna stop for me if I'm holding "Berlin" , and offer a ride to the city he is going to?

Or, it would increase the chances of me getting to Berlin, if first I'm holding some big city which is on the way from Paris to Berlin?

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    Did you think about combining your sign with the route? Like "A4"? – Gayot Fow Jun 26 '16 at 12:51
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    You might consider a ride-sharing arrangement. You would be expected to pay a bit, but it would be much more reliable. The German word is Mitfahrzentrale. – o.m. Jun 26 '16 at 16:44
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'What are the chances': Impossible to say. Probably, if he's going in the general direction and is ok with picking up hikers, the chance of him stopping is good.

'Would it increase my chances if...': Probably.

What really increases your chances is to not hold a sign and wait for people to stop, but to make sure you hike from gas station to gas station and ask drivers for a ride in the direction you're going to. And, if you are able to start at a gas station on the outskirts of town, you're off to a good start.

It's been a while since I hitchhiked, but the above is what always worked best for me. The few times I was unlucky enough to be dropped off at an on- or offramp, getting a new ride always proved difficult. Being able to talk to a driver not only allows them to size you up a bit (and you the driver), it also makes it more difficult for them to say 'no'.

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    I tip I learned (but never used) was to look for the area code that Germany has on the license plates. B for Berlin, see more here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration_plates_of_Germany – Willeke Jun 26 '16 at 14:17
  • When hitchhiking in Germany, that's useful to know. But, someone with a plate from, say, Berlin, could be going to or coming from anywhere. – MastaBaba Jun 26 '16 at 15:27
  • If you are on a 'one side of the road only' petrol station, you can guess that most people will be headed that direction. If the station serves both sides, you have 50% chance, which is better than you have without the help, I am told. (I do not hitch hike.) – Willeke Jun 26 '16 at 15:31
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    I've had hitchhikers approach me on a gas station on A100 outside of Berlin. I think they also saw my number plate, which had H for Hannover, and asked because of that. – simbabque Jul 6 '16 at 14:27
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I usually don't use a signs in my hands, but rather than that I just thumb up and most of the times it works. In this case when you are not holding a sign you are giving a chance to all cars to stop regardless the destination they are going to. In my opinion it is always better to move on than to stay in one place and wait for the car that is going as far as possible.

Good luck with hitch-hiking! :)

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I'd have a Berlin sign. Even if someone is going to a small city/town, he most likely knows it's in Berlin's direction and can take you for a short ride. Then it can happen to the next driver and so on. Also if you get very lucky someone will take you directly from Paris to Berlin. There are many possibilities of what can happen. You might have 1 driver or you might have 5 drivers on your way to Berlin.

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