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HITCH HIKING
 
Advice about hitch hiking, where you should do it and when. We welcome your contributions. Please check the city guides for specific information for hitching to and from particular locations. Please e-mail us at: france@backpackglobe.com


Hitch hiking gets a lot of bad press. This creates paranoia both amongst travellers who become scared of getting lifts, and of drivers who are too frightened to pick you up. But hitch hiking can be a great way to get to know locals and discover places you would not otherwise visit.

- WHERE TO HITCH
- SIGNS
- SAFETY
- USEFUL LINKS

WHERE TO HITCH
In most rural areas French people will stop for hitch hikers. Big cities like Paris are not good to hitch from. It is better to buy a bus or train ticket to a nearby small town and try hitching from there. If you are determined to hitch then try the entrance ramp on the motorway circling the city, in Paris this is the Peripherique. Other options in Paris include the portes on the Péripherique you can try Porte d'Orléans or Porte d'Italie for Lyon, Porte de Bagnolet for Lilles, Brussels and Amsterdam, Porte d'Auteuil for Le Havre and Porte de Bercy for Reims, Metz and Nancy.

But the best way to hitch from Paris is to contact Allostop Provoya which is a ride sharing service located at 8, rue Rochambeau, 75009 Paris (métro: Cadet), Tel. 01 53204242

Other ride sharing agencies:
21, rue Patou, Lille
tel: 20 42 08 88
28, rue du Calvaire
tel: 40 89 04 85
8, rue Rochambean, Paris
tel: (1) 42 46 00 66 or (1) 53 20 42 42
6, cours des Alliés, Rennes
tel: 99 30 98 87
9, Place du Capitole
tel: 61 23 25 29

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SIGNS
This is a cause for debate amongst hitchers. Some say drivers won't stop if they don't know where you want to go. Others say it is safer not to use a sign so you can ask the driver where they are going before you accept a lift. A compromise is to use the name of the road you are travelling on. In Italy try and use the Italian name for the place eg. Firenze (Florence), Venezia (Venice), Milano (Milan).
Tips for getting a ride:
Most people that give you lifts will be people that have hitched themselves, or couriers or truck drivers who want company. To improve your chances of getting a lift:
- look neat and respectable.
- Face the oncoming traffic and smile.
- Choose a spot with plenty of room for the driver to safely stop and where the traffic is not too fast. This way it is safer for cars to stop and the driver has a chance to size you up.
- Stand confidently with your thumb out over the road.
- When a car stops ask where the driver is going to - you can still decline the lift if you don't like the look of them.
- Do not smoke in someone else's car.
- Travel light.
- Take an international drivers licence as the driver may wish to share the driving.

Note if it rains you've usually got less chance of people stopping (visibility decreases and they might not want water in their car). It might be better to make your way to a cafe or autostop and wait out the rain or stick it out and try to use the sympathy factor.


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SAFETY
Despite the bad press the most hazardous thing about hitching is the chance of being involved in a car accident or being hit by a car if you are standing too close to the side of the road. Here are some more tips for safety:
- As a single female you will travel quickly but you may attract undue attention. Travelling with a guy helps as people may perceive you as a couple.
- Turn down the lift if you do not feel comfortable.
- Keep your luggage with you. Do not put it in the trunk.

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USEFUL LINKS
Try the hitching forum on the BugEurope website
http://bugride.com

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