Rod and Thumb

Hitchhiking and Self-Guided Fly Fishing Abroad


A couple young Chilenos hitching a ride to a rodeo

Hitchhiking may not be as popular as it once was, but it is still a great way to travel in foreign countries. Better yet, it is possible to successfully fish self-guided and use hitchhiking as the main mode of transportation from one river or lake to the next. Especially when you are in remote regions where there are no buses. Hitchhiking can allow a fly fisherman on a tight budget to move about a country for free! More importantly, hitchhiking can provide a fisherman with great opportunities to meet locals, and if you are lucky enough, a fellow fly fisherman may stop and give you a lift. If you do not speak the local language, you will have ample time to practice your language skills.

There are many stigmas around the safety of hitchhiking, and without a doubt, there are risks involved. But if you take the appropriate precautions, you can minimize the potential hazards. Assume 1 out of 100 drivers who stop for you may be a safety risk.

One of the great things about hitchhiking is the huge array of people that you can meet: from families on holiday to blue collared or white collared workers. The people who pick up hitchhikers are often more interesting than the average person you will come across – they have to be pretty open minded to invite a complete stranger into their vehicle!

How do you hitchhike?

You are keen to give hitchhiking a go, but how do you do it? Let's cover the two types of hitchhiking, active and passive.

Active Hitchhiking

Active hitchhiking means that you approach a person who you do not know and ask them if you can ride with them in their vehicle. This normally takes place at gas stations and rest stops.

A ride into Paris

Passive Hitchhiking

Passive hitchhiking means that you allow drivers to see you as they pass by in their vehicle and they decide whether or not they want to give you a ride based upon your appearance.

Additional Tips

No ride? You better start walking!

Safety is an invaluable resource for all-matters related to hitchhiking. The website has a great world map with hitchhiking spots - very useful for hitching around Europe by saving you a bit of time with finding out how to get to the outskirt of a town.

Be sure to research the hitchhiking protocol for the specific country you plan on traveling in. In some places, using an extended thumb can be considered a rude gesture and in others, there may be an expectation that the driver be paid some amount of money.

You may feel a bit of worry with your first few rides, but once you gain more experience, hitchhiking can be as normal as taking a bus.