Monday, March 11, 2013


Welcome to the second part of this series of two articles on the art of hitchhiking. (You can read part one here) Many times people who have never tried to hitchhike ask: What type of vehicles give you lifst? So here a small illustrated catalog of the possible diversity of vehicles that may  stop for you....

BEFORE PROCEEDING: what follows are tips. To learn more about the philosophy behind nomadic philosophy and lifestyle, I recommend our books 

Cars: Do not be dismayed at the make or model. There are good people in all walks of life ...

                                             From this old Citroen in Laprida, Argentina

                                         to this Mercedes in Ireland.

              Do not tell me you can even hitch and ambulance? Yes I say ... (Photo in Paraguay)

Pick-ups. Nothing cuter than the wind in the back of a "flat". When you get notice that is not oiled, first pull the backpack and then climb. Use the back cabin, if they get close the door the wind is going to make an interesting hairstyle. In many countries (Europe, Brazil) is theoretically forbidden to travel in the boxes.

Trucks. Below you will find all that they need to know to travel by truck.

             You never know if you will be traveling surrounded by soft drinks .... (Coffee Axis, Colombia)

                                            .... or by students. (Jujuy, Argentina)

Does  the possible universe of vehicles end there? Not at all.

                                                 por la inmensa hospitalidad de sus habitantes...

Motorcycles. If you are alone a motorcycle can be the ideal means of leaving the center to the outskirts of a city.

                                                                     Tractors are also a chance

                                           Mennonite carragies in Nueva Esperanza, Argentina.

                             The goal is an excuse, what matters is moving.

               First Day of My World Tour. Ireland, May 2005, crossing to Scotland.

Boats. When we run short of the routes, and open seas or rivers, not to be afraid to metamorphosis. It is more common than we imagine traveling in sailboats board in exchange for work in more or less established routes, the Canaries to the Caribbean and back. There is a good map on the matter. Personally, I just did it from Ireland to Scotland, and from Ushuaia to Antarctica.

Trains: I got a ridet with a locomotive maneuvering in Pinamar - Guido stretch.

Aircrafts: Difficult but not impossible. Obviously I do not mean the airlines, but rather  military airfields. Many friends have done, ourselves we have not tried yet. Lau tried his luck with this rocket in Kourou Space Center in French Guiana, but had no luck .... :-)


                                              Ruta 3, rumbo a la Patagonia...

If you think that everything you find on the shelf of a business and probably arrived in a truck is easy to imagine the number of trucks turning the world, on all routes, even tiny and small to be on the map, and of course on the main roads. To stop them and turn them into our Pegasus is good to know a few details:

· The number one reason for which one truck is going to take to have conversation and not get bored on long trips. So be ready for talks and prime mate!
· Truck drivers travel long distances, and one of the main enemies they face is falling asleep at the wheel. So, never fall asleep as a passenger unless they are two travelers and take turns to talk!
· Make sure there is room for the truck to stop. Stop hit a truck is not the same as stopping a car, and therefore need more track to do so.
· The service stations are an ideal place to truckers ask if we can take.
· Many truckers will the excuse that they can not take them because the insurance does not permit. In case of accident, the insurance company will not cover if verified that there was a crew member not associated with the company, ie you. However, a large number of truck drivers to ignore the fine print and take equally.
· On Sundays there are fewer trucks on the road.
· The ban: in Argentina, the trucks can not move the first and last days of long weekends after 6 pm.
· Trucks carrying hazardous cargo fuel and rarely stop.
· The truckers often stop at night to sleep in the truck in service stations. If you have been offered to continue traveling with him the next day, one option is to camp near the truck. Some American style trucks have two beds, and in that case there is no need to camp if the guy has good vibes.
· Over time they will be learning the psychology of the truck, his life is an eternal blues behind the wheel, going days without seeing his wife and children. Many love this life, and will tell all the material things that have managed to buy with their salaries. But there is a big gap behind.

                                      Camionero cusqueño y su familia (2008)

Advantages of traveling by truck: I love traveling by truck. They make great distances, are comfortable, with panoramic better than a bus, and forever place to pack and up to stretch your legs, depending on the model.

Cons: When you get to the cities, they never go to the center, but you leave in suburban areas. Which is good actually if you intend to continue hitching to a further destination.  If you're pointing to a big city, a car is more likely to be able to leave them in downtown areas where housing or are living Couchsurfing members.

                                             Un camionero beduino con su hijo, Siria.

MYTH 3: "The backpackers only travel by truck." While it is most frequently in the less developed countries, this is not a general rule. Even in Bolivia have traveled in cars quite expensive, just a matter of not having finger complex and make whatever comes. To test the above, permit, deploy the Excel (took annotated +2,000 each finger from sections made ​​in 1998):

In Argentina (traveling alone) sections on trucks were 17% of the total, and traveling as a couple only 7%. (A couple more confidence inspires middle class riding in a car)

To demonstrate that no chance, but trends, nothing better than the case of Europe. In 2001, I made the first trip, and there only 8/196 vehicles were trucks, just 4%. I returned in 2005, I traveled over yet, and cha chan ..... 11 out of every 273 vehicles were boarded trucks. Exactly, 4%. The rest were almost all cars or vans, in Europe there is virtually trucks.

In Bolivia and Peru, the percentage may be closer to 30-40%.


Ask at the service stations in the suppliers, truckers and drivers is a complementary resource to reach out on the road. It's good to greet the "shorebirds" or employees of the station and tell where we are going. If traveling as a couple, when will consult together, a couple inspires more confidence. If the station does not have much movement servico, you can do finger while on the road and when a car comes closer to load naphtha. If the station is on the opposite side, will do little. Apart from the possibilities to grab trip, are good places to camp if we made ​​at night on tour.

It is ideal to have a good road map when traveling. First, because it is essential to visualize the crossings, roads, towns and travel alternatives. Often drivers will tell you that go to sites that do not know. And this ignorance takes away power of decision. It is also ideal to have on hand when we come to ask for service stations. In Argentina, I recommend the Firestone Route Atlas, which is available at newsstands.

In a few gas stations, especially in Patagonia, backpackers are not well regarded. Do not let this stop them.

As I approached the driver's window... what do I say?

First, you are not begging! When asked a driver if they can be not simply ask: Hey, I can take? They're not begging anyone anything. The thing is more subliminal. Along with the question, are taking a picture of the person you are, that has to do with the language they use, etc.. If it's a big trip, for example, are going to Peru, to Bolivia, it is ideal to start explaining.

"Hello, I'm making a trip to finger from Buenos Aires to Peru (example), today I would like to get to Mendoza. Not if you go to Mendoza or somewhere in between and want some company for the trip ... "(That speech usually falls well) is an example, each ...


                                       Travelling European highways...

On motorways is it illegal to hitchhike? Any activity of a pedestrian within the highway is not permitted (or biking, skateboarding or riding carts)

However, all use the highways hitchhikers, (how nice mouthful, is not it?) They travel faster (although there is less the landscape, which is always higher on domestic routes. "Finger can make entries of highways, tolls, crossings, exit ramps and service stations along it. with all these scores, it is perfectly possible to travel on highways around the world.

Highway or domestic routes? Many times we look at the map and find that there are several ways to reach the same destination. For example, if you want to go to Buenos Aires to Cordoba, you can go on the motorway (Buenos Aires - Rosario - Cba) or "inside" Complete. On the highway you travel faster (more miles per day) because vehicles travel longer distances and road conditions are optimal. But on normal roads safely landscapes will be higher, as more people cross, that will give us the opportunity to learn more about the area through which we travel.

What if I want to hitchhike on the highway? In general, you can hitchhike on motorways same if a shoulder or safety rail, but it is advisable to monitor any patrol he walk circling (In European countries, if you are on the highway, the police will ask you you retire, usually without consequences)

If the car leaves the highway and gets into a city or town, you have to ask to be left right where bends, and NEVER in the village (to avoid having to walk back to the highway) There you can do finger to cars coming off the same people to the highway. Preferably, you should ask the driver to stop at the last gas station or crossing before you get off the highway.

Never let your driver decide for you where you get off. Many times, with the intention to help you take unfavorable locations, because what motorists think logically, not backpackers.

ERROR No.1. A common mistake is to leave you transport terminals, or carry you "later" but leave you on the straight. In Latin America and Asia, many drivers insist on leave in bus terminals. Although I have raised on the road, they can not conceive the idea that hitchhiking follow.

MITO NRO. 4. “A dos kilómetros hay una planta de cereales donde entran y salen camiones todo el tiempo. ¡Te dejo ahí si querés!” Respuesta recomendada: Minga. El mochilero no es un mendigo de camiones. En esas plantas reducimos nuestro universo posible de vehículos a los de unos pocos camiones, el resto de los vehículos pasarán demasiado rápido para detenerse y perderemos dos horas hasta que uno de esos camiones tenga ganas de llevarnos.


If we have no alternative accommodation provided for in this city (Couchsurfing) and is not in our ability to pay for a hotel, it's best to ask the driver to drop you at the last town before the town.Eye! The line between the last towns before the first big city and suburbs of the city is very thin. Better still advancing a few miles and stay in a quiet village where your tent and wandering between cement finish ...

There is nothing better than to befriend the driver and make it invite us to his house once in destination. There is an art, which begins when we boarded the vehicle. Will you suggest and let you know to the above we do not have to stop off there. Ask them if there is a good place to camp not far from downtown often raise eyebrows and make them realize that they need help :-)


                                     En una de las rutas de La Pampa usadas por el Rally Dakar...

Take it easy, maybe what you think is a negative scenario for hitchhiking is the cover of an interesting chapter in our journey. The roads are dirt or gravel roads, in my opinion, the best sources of travel adventures. It may be true that we take half an hour standing next to that old sign that read just the miles, watching all the cars on the main road without anyone Ramón Santamarina bend or Iruya or touched us. But the good thing on these roads is that, as the saying goes backpacking 'first stops passing. "This is because people are more trusting of people"

Tip: prick up their ears. In wilderness areas, vehicles are heard before seen. It is also easy to confuse a combine one who works in a field with a truck engine


 Hitch-hiking is safer than you think, more backpackers suffer thefts and assaults in bus stations, train, inns and other "touristic instances". When you hitchhike you are normally invisible to the agents of the underworld that await travelers at tourist traps. 

From 1998 to date I have not experienced a single assault. I had only two thefts of luggage (France 2005, Venezuela 2011) not allocable to my drivers.

· If a vehicle brakes and do not like the faces they see, not climb. There are bound to climb. Say you go to the opposite side, pretending to have been wrong in the sense of the route, then you have an excuse not to ride ...
· No need to travel at night.
· If a car that drives, in between of you is separated to meet again for any reason (seal the entrance to a country, ejmplo, exchange currency, greet a friend) THEY LOWER your luggage.
· Always have hand him the bag with documents, money, cameras and laptops. The large backpack with clothes yes put it in the trunk / box truck / van. If there is an unforeseen, will get the most valuable.

I hope these tips have been helpful. It is, humbly, everything I learned so far. I promise to update it as I get time with new tips and ideas.

If I was useful, or believe that other travelers can help friends, share it on your social networks. You have to pass the baton.

Now, hit the road and practice, THE WORLD IS WAITING!


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