There are numerous ways to travel. You can opt for a plane, choose a car, ride a train or a bus. Yet, many people don’t realize or are too afraid to try yet another mode of transportation – hitchhiking. It’s an interesting, cheap and sustainable travel option, which is quickly gaining in popularity. But, what exactly is hitchhiking, and how does it work? Learn all about that by reading our guide!

What is hitchhiking?

Hitchhiking means traveling by getting rides from passing drivers. It is usually done for free, so it’s a great option if you wonder how to travel on a budget. Yet, when opting for hitchhiking, you must reckon that it might take you more time to get to your destination. After all, not every passing driver will stop and be willing to take you.

Another problem with hitchhiking is that you might need several rides to get where you want. Finding a driver that is heading directly towards your target city and will give you a ride is often impossible. Moreover, while it is a wonderful option for solo travelers, it might not be suitable for groups of 3 and more.

Is hitchhiking legal?

Since hitchhiking involves a ride with a stranger, where both the driver and the passenger don’t know each other, it might pose some danger. Therefore, in some states, it is actually forbidden. Where is hitchhiking legal? Take a look at our list:

Legal: Illegal in some areas: Illegal:
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Texas

Is hitchhiking dangerous?

The answer to whether hitchhiking is dangerous, or not, is not simple. Statistically, you are more likely to die from a falling accident than from hitchhiking, and there is less than 0.1% chance of being harassed. Yet, since you are driving with strangers, it is still a bit more risky than traditional modes of travel.


What are the pros and cons of hitchhiking?

Since our hitchhiking guide already covered the most important questions about this activity, we now have to proceed to do the pros and cons of hitchhiking. What are the benefits of it, and what are its downsides?

Pros: Cons:
  • It’s free.
  • It’s sustainable.
  • It can get you to places where no other transport is available.
  • You meet new, local people.
  • You are not restricted by transport schedules.
  • You might discover the beauty of different towns on your way, which you wouldn’t stop at otherwise.
  • It usually takes more time than standard travel.
  • You can come across intoxicated/drugged drivers.
  • You have to sit with strangers.
  • You might not find a ride.
  • If it’s a long trip, you cannot plan accommodation beforehand.

How to plan a hitchhiking trip?

While it is impossible to create a detailed hour-by-hour plan of a hitchhiking trip, you can still make some preparations. For example, you might download YouMap, a social mapping app, and look at maps made by other hitchhikers to find the best spots where you can catch a ride.

You should also pack properly – you never know what weather conditions you will find on your stops, and when you will arrive at your hotel. Make sure to have both some warm clothes and a decent supply of food with you.

The takeaway

We hope that our hitchhiking guide provided you with all the necessary information. After all, now you know where hitchhiking is legal and that it is safe. We encourage you to try this method out – it will be great for a slow travel vacation!

Do you want to try out hitchhiking, but you have no idea where to go? Check out the most beautiful mountains in the USA and prepare for a true hitchHIKING experience!