- present participle of hitchhike
Hitchhiking (also known as lifting, thumbing,
hitching, autostop or thumbing up a ride) is a means of transportation
gained by asking people (usually strangers) for a ride in their
a distance that may either be short or long. The latter may require
many rides from different people.
In most countries, hitchhiking is not illegal.
However, many countries have laws that restrict hitchhiking at
certain locations. In the United
, for example, some local governments have laws to outlaw
Signaling methodThe hitchhiker's method of signaling to
drivers differs around the world. In the U.S., one would point his
thumb up, while in some places in South America one displays to an
oncoming car the back of her hand with the index finger pointing
up. In Poland, the hand is held flat, and waved. In India, the hand
is waved with the palm facing downwards (or the U.S way). In Israel
the hitchhiking signal is similar, often pointing downwards.
A hitchhiker may also hold a sign displaying
their destination and/or the languages spoken. A more recent method
is to go to websites and arrange lifts beforehand, without
soliciting directly from the road. This way of transport is a
modern way of ridesharing
Often nothing more than communication and
entertainment of the driver is given or performed in exchange for
the lift, but in some places, such as parts of central
, hitchhikers in cargo truck
s, especially foreigners, are
expected to pay for the ride, usually some portion of the usual bus
fare for the trip.
There are many reasons for hitchhiking, including
necessity due to lack of transportation, little or no money for
, public transit unavailable, infrequent or unreliable
public transit, or he/she can’t drive himself for various reasons.
Hitching, for some, may be the only way to get where they need to
go. For many, hitchhiking is recreation. There are also locales
which are relatively safe enough for anyone to hitchhike. For some,
hitching is a way to meet interesting people, companionship, or to
challenge oneself. Some, mostly the very active ones, who thumb for
the love of it belong to clubs.
A definition of hitchhiking put forward by
, ex-world overland traveller, 'inventor' of
"hitchhiking with a bike", and member of the Trans Africa Walk for
Peace Expedition 1979; "the hitchhiker is there so you can do your
good deed for the day".
Sport and leisureFor many, hitchhiking is a great
adventure and challenge. Each year hundreds of students take part
in a sponsored hitch to Morocco or Prague in aid of Link Community
Development. In 2007, 782 people hitched the 1,600 miles to Morocco
and raised almost £340,000 to improve the quality of education in
There were fifty hitchhikers supported by several
MEPs called Eurizons that did the Tour for Global Responsibility.
They traveled over 2500 km. In Eastern Europe, especially Lithuania
and Russia hitchhiking is an adventure sport. There are clubs,
hitchhiking schools, and competitions. From 1992 to 1993, Russian
hitchhiker Alexey Vorov made a first trip around the world,
hitchhiking by cars, planes and boats. In January 2007 197 students
hitchhiked from Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland to Paris, France
in Race to Paris
event co-ordinated by the University of St. Andrews Charities
Campaign. The winners made the journey in just 19 hours and 16
minutes. The event returns as Race to Amsterdam
2008. In October 2007, Pete Stephens and Tim Keevil (two students
from Bristol) completed a hitch hike to Singapore from London,
taking seven weeks and crossing over 6600 miles. Raising over £3000
for Students Partnership Worldwide and Epilepsy Action.
(ESN) international student group from the
in Amsterdam went on two hitch-hiking trips during
the 2007-2008 school year, one being to Paris and the other to
Berlin. About 25 groups of usually two students each successfully
made both trips. Only one group managed not to arrive in Berlin,
being stranded in Amersfoort
A hitchhiker is also a type of letterbox, which
is part of an outdoor hobby known as letterboxing
. In this
hobby, the hitchhiker (a stamp and a logbook) are discovered in a
letterbox by a letterboxer, and are removed, to be placed in
another letterbox elsewhere.
Hitchhiking in popular culture
The writer Jack Kerouac
immortalized hitchhiking in his book On the
. The road has a fascination to Americans; countless
writers have written of the road and/or hitchhiking, such as
, whose book The
Grapes of Wrath
opens with a hitched ride. Kurt
's perpetual protagonist, Kilgore
hitchhikes halfway across the country in Breakfast
. Roald Dahl
wrote a short story called The Hitchhiker, in which he uses the
idea that you can hear fascinating stories when giving people a
lift to introduce one of his trade-mark eccentric characters.
Another lesser known author, a lifetime hitchhiker named Irv Thomas
incorporates hitchhiking into his writing perspective and lifestyle
in Innocence Abroad: Adventuring Through Europe at 64 on $100 Per
Week, as well as recounting his hitchhiking travels in a memoir,
Derelict Days...Sixty Years on the Roadside Path to Enlightenment.
postulated on interstellar hitchhiking in his cult
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, while fellow science
fiction author Robert
described interdimensional hitchhiking in his book
Job: A Comedy of Justice
. The protagonist of Tom Robbins
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
, Sissy Hankshaw, becomes legendary
as a hitchhiker in part because of her unusually large thumbs.
British comedian Tony Hawks
writes about hitchhiking around Ireland with a refrigerator as the
result of a drunken bet in Round Ireland With a Fridge. An in-depth
analysis on the practice of hitchhiking in Poland
published, aptly called Autostop Polski ("Polish
Kerouac hitchhiked in America and wrote many books about his
Freespirit hitchhiked around the world with her friend Chopin
for 5 years and authored the travel narrative, Led by Destiny.
Holdt, Danish author and filmmaker of American
Pictures, has hitchhiked over 200,000 kilometers.
Cassady, friend of Jack Kerouac known pseudonymously as Dean
Moriarty in On the
Road. Also driver of the bus, Further, with the Merry
Pranksters in the mid 1960s. Lifetime hitchhiker and freight
- Devon Smith was listed in
Guinness Book of World Records for most cumulative miles
hitchhiked (1973 to 1985), over 468,300 km. He also held
the record for hitchhiking all 48 continuous U.S. states in 33 days
- Stephan Schlei, from Ratingen in Germany. Hitchhiked more than
1.000.000km. The Guinness Book of Records, before they removed all
hitchhiking records, used to say that he is the World's No.1
Cook a true hitchhiking murderer.
Hitcher a green cockney man who was featured in
McCandless, subject of the book, Into the
Wild, hitchhiked throughout the western region of North America
in the early 1990s.
Shanin, founder of
Moscow School of Hitchhiking has hitchhiked over one million
Vorov, founder and president of
Saint Petersburg Autostop League (PASL) has hitchhiked over one
- Elijah Wald,
lifetime hitchhiker and author of
Riding with Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey, among other
Foley hitchhiked to Madison Square Garden in 1986, to see a now
infamous cage match between wrestlers Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco.
Neumegen, ex world overland traveller, 'inventor' of
"hitchhiking with a bike". Trans-Africa Walk for Peace Expedition
member 1979. Purpose of the hitchhiker; "the hitchhiker is there so
you can do your good deed for the day". Definition of the overland
traveler; "the traveler goes around the corner to see who there is
to meet around the next corner..."
- Famous Canadian hitchhikers
Hubler, 29, is a French hitchhiker who spends $10 a day while
on the move. He began his life as a nomad at the valise re ski
station in the Alps on January 1,
with just a backpack. He hitchhiked to the ‘end of the world’,
Joshuah's in Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. The
trip that was supposed to take 2 years ended in 2008 and summarized
in Ludovic Hubler's travel blog.
Prins, 48, is a Dutch hitchhiker who spent one year in the
Guinness Book of Records (1991 UK edition) as
the person who hitched the greatest distance in 24 hours, 2,318.4
km (1,440.6 miles). He's also one of a select band of hitchhikers
who have recorded all of their rides.
Bennett, famous New Zealand
and author, hitchhiked around the world for 10 years. As a result,
he has taken an oath to never drive past a hitchhiker, however he
makes an exception for "people with beards, be they men or woman".
Prefect, a fictional space-hitchhiking travel writer in
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
(character), a hitchhiking lunatic killer played by actor Edwin
Neal in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974.
- Nwanna, Dr. Gladson I. (2004). Americans Traveling Abroad: What
You Should Know Before You Go, Frontier Publishers, Inc., ISBN
hitchhiking in Arabic: رحلات الأتوستوب
hitchhiking in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa):
hitchhiking in Bulgarian: Автостоп
hitchhiking in Czech: Autostop
hitchhiking in Danish: Blaffer
hitchhiking in German: Trampen
hitchhiking in Estonian: Pöidlaküüt
hitchhiking in Spanish: Autoestop
hitchhiking in Esperanto: Petveturado
hitchhiking in French: Auto-stop
hitchhiking in Italian: Autostop
hitchhiking in Hebrew: טרמפ
hitchhiking in Lithuanian: Autostopas
hitchhiking in Hungarian: Autóstop
hitchhiking in Dutch: Liften
hitchhiking in Japanese: ヒッチハイク
hitchhiking in Norwegian: Haiking
hitchhiking in Polish: Autostop
hitchhiking in Portuguese: Boleia
hitchhiking in Russian: Автостоп
hitchhiking in Simple English: Hitchhiking
hitchhiking in Slovak: Autostop
hitchhiking in Slovenian: Avtostop
hitchhiking in Finnish: Liftaaminen
hitchhiking in Swedish: Liftning
hitchhiking in Tajik: Автостоп (нақлиёт)
hitchhiking in Ukrainian: Автостоп
hitchhiking in Yiddish: היטש