How to travel on a budget (transportation: part 1 – hitch-hiking)

Good people sign, Hitch-hiking in Portugal

Would you believe us if we told you that it’s possible to travel comfortably in a Western European country for as much as 14€ a day? Or that you could spend between 10 and 12€ a day to travel in the Caucasus? Or that we travelled in Turkey for a month not spending a penny (kuruş, technically) on transport or accommodation. And visited Southeast Asia for less than 12€ a day (including flights), having three hot meals every day.

Travelling on a budget is an art whose arcane secrets I’d like to reveal to you. So sit comfortably and learn.

Of course, the amount of money you spend on travelling depends on many factors, including your way of travelling, what you want to do and see during your trip and the geographic location of your destination. However, there are some general tips and tricks we could teach you to enable you to choose wisely and travel on a shoestring wherever you are.

You should be aware that the vast majority of your travel budget gets easily consumed by transport and accommodation. But don’t worry, there are ways to avoid astronomical expenses.

This is first part of our series How to travel on a budget – transportation: part 1 devoted to hitch-hiking. Visit: How to travel on a budget – transportation: part 2 – carpooling and How to travel on a budget – transportation part 3 – flying

Hitch-hiking

There are more benefits of hitch-hiking than just the fact that you can travel thousands of kilometres for free. Many a time a free ride was just the beginning of a wonderful day spent in the company of hospitable locals who invited us to their houses to feed and accommodate us for free. Many a time hitch-hiking let us discover places none of the guidebooks mentioned and let us meet people we would never have met in other circumstances. And what we most appreciate about hitch-hiking is the freedom it gives you. You don’t have to queue up to buy any tickets, you can get up at any time you want and do it for as long as you want. No commitment, you are the captain of your ship. And finally, hitch-hiking lets you see and discover things from a completely different, much closer perspective.

Useful links:
  • Why hitch-hike – get to know other reasons why we think hitch-hiking superior to all the other ways of travelling.
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  • Basic rules of the thumb – some handy advice to help you get started
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  • Crossing borders while hitch-hiking – crossing borders need not be a stressful experience. Here are some handy instructions to help you on your way
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  • When things go wrong – prevention is key and spotting trouble before it starts is the best way to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience
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  • Country guides – find the country in which you want to hitch-hike
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  • hitchwiki.org – find a perfect spot for hitch-hiking anywhere in the world; you can also add your own locations

As hitch-hiking is an unofficial means of transport, it is important to get the first-hand perspectives, tips and accounts of people who’ve been doing it for years. Therefore if you want to start hitch-hiking, we recommend reading about it on blogs, run by people who know the business well.

Blogs worth reading:
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  • roadharma.com (in English) – run by Arty Om, the blog is an account of his travels (Armenia, Siberia, China, Kazakhstan, Southeast Asia, Russia, Ukraine and Moldova) and his life on the road. Very intriguing character with a witty style and riveting stories.
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  • ewelinalucy.blogspot.com.es (in English) – run by a brave independent female hitch-hiker, who’s travelled across Europe and Northern Africa. What she cherishes the most “is the opportunity to get to know people she might have otherwise never met; to talk with locals that live along the roads she hitchhikes; to discover places that have not yet  became attractions spoiled by hordes of tourists, to practise all four foreign languages she speaks”.
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  • agirlandherthumb.wordpress.com (in English) –  run by Jo Magpie who has been vagabonding about in the world for the past three years. She has always wanted to go to Iran, but somehow the winds have blown her in circles and loop-the-loops around Europe and Turkey. Jo travels mostly by thumb, often alone and without a destination. She is allergic to aeroplanes and meat, but not other people who use them..
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  • hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com (in English) – run by Tim Shey who has been hitchhiking the United States for 16 years. He’s got BA in English Literature and has had two books on hitchhiking published. In his posts hitchhiking is intermingled with religion as he is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
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  • autostopem-przez-zycie.pl (in Polish) – An interesting hitch-hiking blog run by Przemek Skokowski, who’s hitch-hiked across Europe, Caucasus and the Middle East. Very gripping posts from the road.

How to travel on a budget (transportation: part 1 - hitch-hiking)

If you also run a hitch-hiking blog, let us know. We’d love to get in touch with other hitch-hiking fellows. If we like your work, you will get a link on our list!

written by: Ania

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5 comments

  • Reblogged this on Javmode.

  • hello Ania and Jon, thanks for adding my blog here, I’m trying to write my first Ankara posts but the city is so great that I barely ever have time for anything else than Turkish classes/dance classes/spending time with kids/international parties etc. By the way, hitchhiking in Sardinia was ok, better than my expectations but still many people were quite malevolent upon finding out I’m not local. However, it’s not too much experience to be worth writing about, but some Turkish travel tales are in the picture for the future.

  • And guess what! I had the chance to meet Jo in Armenia, actually!:) And closed to the Iranian border we were hosted my a family in the city of Meghri :) And both me and her are promoted here! What a small world :)))

    • That is amazing! The world is so small indeed! When I hear stories like that it makes me think that blogging about hitch-hiking makes much more sense than we initially may have thought. Great! :)