Travelling is the best way to explore the world, meet new people, learn about various cultures, religions, places and things. It is an act of self-discovery and the best way to get in touch with your inner self. Travelling allows you to see the world from a new perspective and learn how people across cultures live, work and go about their daily lives.
The best way to explore any country and learn about a new culture is by hitchhiking. Hitchhiking gives you the same thrill that an adventure sport has to offer.
When hitchhiking, every moment feels like an adventure. Hitchhiking will open your mind to new experiences, build your confidence, teach you patience and introduce you to amazing people.
Many travel enthusiasts are waiting for the Pandemic situation (COVID-19) to settle down and take the next flight to their long-awaited destination. With the increasing number of people getting vaccinated, the tourism industry is slowly crawling back to normalcy.
Considering this, it is definitely a positive sign for wanderlusts who are eager to break free from the shackles of their day to day chores and are eagerly waiting to hit the road. For hitchhiking enthusiasts who can’t wait to explore the world, here are 15 Amazing Hitchhiking Friendly Countries You Must Travel to at least once in your lifetime.
So, let us explore these amazing countries.
Due to the current Pandemic(COVID-19) situation, travel guidelines are constantly changing around the world. We recommend you to plan your journey considering the restrictions and guidelines imposed by the country you are going to travel. Please follow all the COVID-19 travel safety protocols given by WHO.
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Our Criteria for Selecting Hitchhiking friendly countries
Safety- Safety should be your top-most priority while choosing your destination for hitchhiking. You might come across places where travelling is dirt cheap but these places come with their own set of risks. So it was a no brainer that safety had to be the first thing while choosing the best countries to hitchhike.
Suggested Read: 11 Safety Tips for an Amazing Hitchhiking Journey
Affordability- Hitchhiking is a way of travelling cheap by asking strangers for a ride by putting out your thumb (in the right way of course). Although hitchhiking is a cheap way to travel around places, there are still some countries where you might end up paying the driver for their ‘generosity’. Then, there are other things too, like food, water or essentials that you need to buy from stores.
Average time to get a ride- Believe me, in my three years of experience hitchhiking with my friend, the thing that frustrated us the most was waiting for hours to hitch a ride.
Getting a ride can be difficult sometimes. You need to be positive and patient (I mean like really patient!) for a car to stop and ask you for a ride, but there are times when you get the next ride within seconds.
Considering our own experience of hitchhiking through Europe and talking to people(hitchhikers) we came across, we have chosen countries that average around 15-20min to get a ride.
People- More than the beautiful landscapes, meeting people of that country is what makes our journey more memorable. Hitchhiking is not just about exploring the natural beauty of a country but also about learning the way people go about their lives. It is a way to discuss our cultural differences and values that we share and probably form a long-lasting friendship with some of them.
Here are 15 Amazing Hitchhiking Friendly Countries You Must Visit
Nauru, I am sure more than half of you folks out there have never heard of this place before and if you haven’t then let me tell you it is the ‘least visited country in the world’, so yeah, it’s not your fault.
Nauru is a tiny island in Micronesia located towards the southeast of Australia. To give you an overview of how small the island is, it is 5*4 kilometres in length and breadth. Forget worrying about getting a ride, you can walk the whole perimeter of the island in a day.
How to get from one district/state to another in Nauru? Well, walk for 10min, and there you are in another district.
Tiny as it may be, Nauru is amongst the most beautiful and Hitchhiking friendly country you will come across. Nauru has a small but beautiful lagoon and features a coral reef with white-sand beaches with palms, including Anibare Bay on the east coast. To top all of this, the people of Nauru are some of the friendliest folks you will across. Almost everyone will stop for you to give a ride, as people rarely come across tourists.
Another Micronesian island country, Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands spread in the region of the Western Pacific Ocean. Palau islands are rich with coral reefs, forests and wildlife, beaches, volcanic islands and amazing people.
The best place to start hitchhiking in Palau is on the island of Koror, which is also the commercial centre of the country. If you are looking to enjoy the lush green mountains and sandy beaches then the larger capital island Babeldoab is a must-visit place. Getting a ride in Palau is easy as every second car will offer you a ride.
Apart from enjoying the wildlife and lush green splendour, Palau also offers the best diving experience in the world. Its rich underwater ecosystem is a paradise for Scuba divers. The mindblowing thing about Scuba diving in Palau is that you can get up close with non-poisonous Jellyfish, unique only to Palau.
This small Balkan country is the perfect hitching destination for anyone on a budget. Albania’s reputation as a Hitchhiking friendly country has soared in recent years. Following the government’s financial trust in the Police force, safety levels have risen in most areas of the country.
Hitchhiking in Albania is surprisingly good. The people are warm and welcoming and have a fair understanding of what Hitchhiking is. The average time to get a ride in Albania is around 5-10min. The maximum we had to wait while we were hitchhiking in Albania was 15min, that’s it. The driver will see the sign on your cardboard and will either drive away or give you a ride.
If you are looking for a place to stay, then many locals offer the option of Couchsurfing. Another good option is apartments arranged for tourists which are safe and clean to spend your night. Staying here can be super cheap if you are skilled at bargaining with people.
Food is surprisingly cheap and delicious. Food markets are easily accessible and spread throughout the country. Chances are you might end up having free delicious lunch offered by some generous hosts.
Despite all the negative things you might have heard about Cuba on US news, Castro’s homeland is one of the best places for hitchhikers. As the use of private vehicles is limited, hitchhiking is highly encouraged in Cuba.
The best way to catch a ride in Cuba is to stand at punto Amarillo (Yellow points) where government workers give you a ride for .25 Cuban pesos (5 Cents).
Getting a free ride is rare in Cuba due to poor economic conditions. If you can speak Spanish (without stuttering after every word) you might increase your chances of getting a free ride. That said, getting from one place to another is still convenient and cheaper than in most countries.
Food can be expensive in certain areas and you would be better off eating meat rather than vegetables, which are considered to be ‘high-risk’ food in Cuba.
Azerbaijan, also known as the ‘Land of Fire’ situated on the Caspian Sea, has a lot to offer to the tourists. From the scenic Caucasus mountains to rich cultural heritage sites, from hundreds of mud volcanos to Caspian sea beaches, Azerbaijan has everything to satisfy the wanderlust in you.
Although hitchhiking is relatively new to Azerbaijan, what makes it so special to hitch in this beautiful country is the very hospitable people. The generosity and hospitality of the people of Azerbaijan are more shocking than its natural splendour. Getting a ride is easy if you know or speak some Russian or Turkish and for those who don’t, just behave as if you are lost and some locals will help you out.
As you go more into the remote areas of Azerbaijan, getting a ride can be difficult, but there are these minibuses (known as marshrutkas) that run throughout the country and they are super cheap.
Camping isn’t hard either, you can easily find a place to put up your tent or locals who are willing to host hitchhikers. The Azeris are very kind when it comes to hosting tourists and make sure you experience the best hospitality in their country.
This southeastern Transylvanian country is one of the hidden gems of Europe. No matter where you go in Romania, every part of the country mesmerises you with its scenic beauty, Gothic castles, beautiful roads, warm people and not to forget the famous Dracula castle.
Hitchhiking is well-known throughout the country, even the government has made it legal, asking the drivers not to charge money from Hitchhikers. So, it comes as no surprise that hitchhiking in Romania is shockingly easy. To top that, Romania is also widely known to have the most beautiful roads in the world.
Getting a ride in Romania is as easy as taking a taxi in a city. The average time to get a ride is around 5min. Most people in Romania are very friendly towards hitchhikers and always go out of their way to help you out.
New Zealand, the land of Kiwis, is among the safest and easiest country for hitchhiking. Hitching is legal in New Zealand, and the friendly people of the country make sure you take away some of the fondest travel memories with you which makes New Zealand one of the safest countries for an amazing solo hitchhiking experience.
Finding a ride in New Zealand is super-easy, almost everyone stops to offer you a ride or help you out in some way. The locals as friendly and welcoming as they are, always go the extra mile to help you out. Hitchhikers getting invited by locals for a party or a dinner is a pretty common thing here and the people are more than willing to host you for a night or two.
This small Jewish country is packed with many surprises when it comes to tourism. Despite the countries, ongoing war from decades against its neighbours, the technological prowess and the friendly people have made Israel one of the safest countries to hitchhike.
Hitchhiking in Israel is very common. Unlike other countries, hitchhiking in Israel is often done by pointing to the ground with the pointing finger away from the body. Hitchhiking in Israel is called ‘tremping‘, and you can find many ‘trempiyadas‘ across every intersection or bus stop.
Finding a place to camp in Israel isn’t hard either, hitching is more common in rural areas where you can ask permission of the locals to put up a tent or couch surf. There are many hotels and motels with varying prices where you can rent a room for a night but ask the locals before going for one.
This small beautiful island country of Ireland is a Hitchhiking paradise. With its lush green mountains, green paddy fields, old castles and the friendliest bunch of people that you would ever encounter, Ireland makes for a great backpacking trip.
Hitchhiking is the fastest and easiest way to travel across Ireland and experience the beautiful countryside. As public transportation is rare in rural areas, hitchhiking is a common mode of commuting from one place to another. Getting a ride in Ireland is just a matter of a few minutes, and the most we had to wait when we were hitchhiking was 20min while returning from the remote village of Wicklow.
Just like hitchhiking, camping in Ireland is super-easy and one of the memorable experience I have ever had. It’s easier and convenient to camp outside than stay in hotels as they are quite expensive. All you have to do is ask locals to allow you to put up a tent and they are more willing to help you out.
Hitchhiking is a fast and fun way to explore Germany. Thanks to the Autobahn system you can now hitch longer distances in a short time. Many German people use the Autobahn to travel long distances to get to their work from one state to another.
Hitching a ride is generally easy, you need to pick a spot at entry points to Autobahn (blue signboards) where it is convenient for the driver to spot you easily. Germans are a suspicious bunch of people, but once they know that you are hitching most of them will offer you help.
Hitchhiking on the Autobahn is illegal, but you are allowed to put out your thumb on on-ramps, service stations and roads leading to rural areas.
When it comes to hitchhiking, Netherlands is a place where you can manage even if you know little English. Hitchhiking in the Netherlands is legal throughout the country except on the motorways. It is legal to hitchhike on roads on which you are allowed to walk.
Dutch people can come as rude sometimes, this is mainly because they are very straightforward and don’t like to beat around the bush much. The best way to hitch a ride is to approach them directly at gas stations. There are also legal hitching spots known as ‘liftershaltes‘ where you can get a ride if you ready to wait a bit longer.
The average time to get a ride is between 15-20 min, sometimes it may take up to 35min if you are hitching near cities. Another way to travel cheap is to use the chipkaart service, which costs less than a one-way ticket and can be utilised to travel elsewhere.
Thailand with its calm beaches and serene landscapes mesmerises every wanderlust who visits the country. From ancient monasteries, diverse wildlife, scenic landscapes, peaceful beaches to kind people, Thailand is a heaven for every kind of wanderlust.
So, it comes as no surprise that it also features as one of the safest and friendliest countries to hitchhike in the world. Hitchhiking in Thailand is fun and exciting, you get to explore some of the most beautiful landscapes, tasty cuisine, rich culture and the warmth of the people of Thailand.
Hitching a ride is fairly easy and you can easily hitch a ride on the highways within a few minutes. The best way to explore Thailand as a hitchhiker is to stay in the ancient temples and monasteries, where you get to learn about the authentic Thai culture.
Georgia is one of the hidden gems of Europe. Georgia is home to some of the ancient churches, wineries, mesmerising landscapes and one of the kindest people on the planet, which is why it is also amongst one of the best countries to hitchhike in the world.
Hitchhiking in Georgia is super-easy and fun. The average time to hitch a ride is around 10 min and almost everyone will stop to offer you a ride. Chances are you might be invited by one of your drivers for a wonderful treat of the best Georgian wine and food.
Camping in Georgia isn’t hard either, it’s very common for the locals to offer shelter to hitchhikers in Georgia. If you looking to put up a tent, then public parks, open spaces or churches are the best places to go to.
The Chocolate capital of the world and the land of waffles is also one of the safest and easiest countries to hitchhike. Hitchhiking has gained some popularity in recent years due to encouragement from the government.
As Belgium is primarily divided into three language-speaking regions, you are going to have a great time if you know some Dutch, German or French.
Hitching a ride is easy and the most you have to wait to hitch a ride is about 15min. Many people are happy to pull their cars over to either offer you a ride or help you in some way.
Hitchhiking or walking on highways is illegal but you can easily hitch a ride at gas stations, on-ramps or bus stations.
Turkey has always been a popular destination among every kind of travel enthusiasts. So, it’s no surprise that Turkey ranks higher on every hitchhiker’s list of ‘Countries to visit at least once in your lifetime’.
Turkey is one of the safest and super-friendly countries for hitchhikers as hitchhiking has gained popularity in recent years. The average waiting time to hitch a ride rarely exceeds 15 min even on roads with reasonable traffic.
The best thing about Turkey is its people. Turkish people are very kind and polite towards tourists and you might even get invited by the locals for tea or dinner.
Camping is fairly easy and you can easily set up your tent in public parks, construction sites or take permission from the people to camp in their backyard. Most locals are kind enough to offer you a place to stay without expecting anything in return.
Considering the welcoming attitude towards tourists, Turkey is definitely one of the best places to travel to for people on a tight budget.
Hitchhiking is a fun way to explore these places for people on a tight budget and the countries listed above make it an exhilarating experience to do so. If you are new to hitchhiking I would recommend to begin with Ireland or New Zealand . Both these countries are safe, super-friendly about giving rides to strangers and you won’t get lost in translation as English is their primary language.
So, which country on this list are you going to explore first? Please let us know in the comment section and if you have already been to these countries, please share your experiences. We would love to hear from you.