Hitchhiking in India: Tips & Tricks
Hitchhiking in India: Tips & Tricks

Hitchhiking in India: Tips and Tricks

Hey, are you fascinated by the stories of the trending hitchhikers and wanted to experience it yourself but are confused about how?

Here you go!

I have some hitchhiking tips and tricks to make your hitchhiking experience in India hassle-free.

Wait! Hitchhiking?

Hitchhiking has been a term that made it hits in google searches in recent years. It is nothing other than travelling free of cost. But remember, the purpose of hitchhiking is not the destination but the process. It is more an understanding of people and their culture.

Even though the hitchhiking community is quite popular in western countries, it’s still uncommon in India. Though more and more people are welcoming the hitchhiking culture, it remains a new area of understanding for most people.

Why Hitchhiking?

There’s only one simple answer: it makes your dream of travelling around the world into reality.

Who has never dreamt of travelling once in their lifetime? Absolutely no one! There are many reasons why people love to travel and why it is important to travel. For some people, it is an escape from reality while for some it is a rediscovery of themselves. The art of travelling lies in getting lost in an unknown world. Whatever the reasons, travelling falls on the to-do list of many but remains a dream just because it’s expensive.

How it feels to hitchhike in India?

Hitch Hiking in India
Image by Dev during his hitchhike from Leh to Srinagar

India is a land of great diversity. The language, way of speaking, tradition, culture, customs, festivals, and most importantly foods; everything is different. It is different from north to south to east to west, state to state to even smaller divisions.

So, be aware that you are stepping out to experience these diversities. You are going to experience the freezing cold in the mountains to the scorching heat in the deserts. You are going to love being lost in the crowd to being alone in the woods. It’s going to be a grand new experience.

India is not the same across the country. It is a blend of everything. And that’s why Santhosh George Kulangara said travelling around India is like travelling around the world.

Is it safe to hitchhike in India?

Safety becomes the prime concern in any journey; be it a leisure trip, an adventurous trip or a solo trip. Let alone be hitchhiking which is exciting as well as uncertain. But if you wanna hitchhike, you must let go of all the uncertainties.

A lot of crimes are being reported across the country every day and of course, there are some risks involved. However, it’s not that dangerous. Open your eyes, sharpen your ears, look confident, act wisely and take out the best of your survival skills. That’s all you need. The people in the dark search for prey, not for an opponent.

And trust me, there are people who are kind and loving. Who knows if one day you will be enjoying a delicious meal with some random stranger!

The Ultimate Pack of Tips and Tricks

Now, why to wait?

HitchHiking in India: Tips & Tricks
Image by Ketut Subiyanto

Here are the tips and tricks to kickstart your hitchhiking dream in India. Start your hitchhiking adventures in India with these tips and tricks.

Choosing the Right Location

It begins with choosing the right location to hitchhike. Try to choose a spot where vehicles usually take a halt. It gives you the chance to get noticed by the drivers. You can position yourself near a speed breaker or directly approach them at the petrol and service stations. But I don’t recommend you stand near the signal lights and parking lots. Do consider it only if you are hitchhiking in small towns.

Time too plays a role

You can’t wait for a ride at midnight. Got it? If possible, try avoiding hitchhiking at night. Always try to make yourself in a comfortable place before night falls.

Getting the free ride

Wave your hand with the palm facing downwards. In India, waving your hands is considered the common gesture for asking for a free ride rather than a US thumbs up. Also, don’t forget to carry your bright smile and a sign board.

Follow your instinct

Always follow your instinct while you are out there on your new expedition. Feel free to reject an offer if you sense a bad vibe. Just because they offered something doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

Appearance matters a lot

Always look neat and clean. No one would like to take a stingy stranger with them. So pay attention to your hygiene. Don’t hesitate to take a bath at gas stations. You can also try wearing odour-locking clothes

Ensure your safety

Your safety comes first. So take the necessary steps to ensure your safety. Avoid taking expensive items with you. Don’t simply disclose your personal and financial details. Don’t pull over the vehicle in an isolated area. Make sure to update your location with some close friends or relatives and always carry pepper spray. Your gender could never promise your safety.

Make it light

Sometimes you have to wait for hours and walk distances. So, make sure your backpack is light and you only took the essential items. Don’t regret it after overstuffing.

Must Have

Add an offline map, valid ID cards, food supplements (some oats or aval makes it), and a hat to the top of your checklist followed by a raincoat, a lighter and a pair of scissors. Don’t think it’s weird. You will thank me later!

Knock and the door will be opened to you

Do you know that temples, churches, and gurudwaras provide you with shelter and food? Just ask around if they could help you. You can also look for like-minded people on Couchsurfing, rent vacant apartments on Airbnb, or volunteer in hostels, homestays, or farms for free food and accommodation. Another alternative is to carry with you a tent and sleeping bag.

We are humans

Image by Vanessa Garcia

We are humans. You will never understand how kind the people around you are unless you try. Speak with them and be one among them. Offer them what you can in return for their kindness. Spending some time with them and listening to their stories will do. And this is the essence of hitchhiking.

Dare to take the first step and let the spirit of excitement run within you. Pack your bags and enrich yourself with the most beautiful sights and the ever-best experiences.

Keep Exploring!!!

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About Saramma Mammen

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