1. Find a friend to go with you. Two is the perfect number because it’s safer and people are more likely to pick you up.
2. Choose your destination, or at least general direction. Be open to being (literally) left at a crossroads and choosing a random new town, but make sure you are able to tell people what direction you are heading in.
3. Pack your bag—don’t bring too much stuff—and start walking toward the interstate/highway. Pay attention to road signs and make sure you are standing on the correct side of the road.
4. Choose a spot where cars have to slow down and/or have enough room to pull over.
5. Stick your thumb out, smile, and make eye contact with drivers as they pass. Look friendly but not over-eager.
6. Wait five to ten minutes and more than likely someone will have stopped to offer you a ride.
- Leave in the morning or early afternoon, depending on how far you plan on traveling, so that you don’t you don’t get stuck on the side of the autoroute at night.
- Don’t dress like a bum, but don’t dress so nicely that people question why you’re bothering to hitchhike.
- You might not find people who are going all the way to where you want to go, but if they are willing to take you part of the way, do the journey in bits. It’s more fun that way, anyways, because you can meet lots of interesting people.
- Hitchhiking is legal in France, so there’s no need to worry about police passing. It is generally considered safer than in the States, for example, but always be careful. If someone pulls over who seems sketchy, don’t feel obligated to take the ride; just make up an excuse.