Hitchhiking 101

HITCHHIKING 101

Alright, so since I did a Train Hopping 101 page, I figured I would post a page with useful hitchhiking information. I know this can be found elsewhere, but again I am combining multiple sources of links which I have found helpful for my travels on the road and compiling it into one page for your viewing pleasure. Seriously though, the main points I will cover in this thread deal more with gear for the road and brief reviews on WHAT GEAR TO BUY and WHAT GEAR TO AVOID…of course if you are dumpster diving at an REI or ground score some free gear and you need it, then take it. However, if you found some side jobs, day labor, temporary work and you have some extra bills lying around that you can spend then I will point you in the right direction of what I use for my hitchhiking lifestyle when I am traveling on the road most of the year. After four years of on/off travel hitchhiking, tramping, and recently train hopping, I will guide you through what gear to avoid so you do not waste your hard earned cash.

I will gradually be updating this over the next few months/weeks as I have the spare time to do so.  For all intensive purposes I will direct you to Wild Will’s Guide as much of the information in regards to hitchhiking has already been covered here and I am not going to rewrite it, when there already exists a great guide on the web.  However, to briefly sum up where to hitchhike I normally hitch from Truck Stops like the Travel Pilot or Flying J’s, on-ramps by the highways I want, off on the shoulder as long as there are not jersey barriers, or I just strap a sign to my pack and start walking down the road and hope for the best.  It really depends on my mood, if it’s a country setting, etc.  For cities, I walk to the outskirts of the city to hitchhike…there is no point in wasting your effort trying to hitch outta a big city when that’s where all the bums have flocked, to every on-ramp and corner…people just lump you all together and won’t give you a ride.

THE MIND OF A HITCHHIKER

So let’s get into the mind of a hitchhiker. Everyone on the road hitchhikes differently and has a similar, but different mindset in the ways they try to score a ride. It all depends on your principals, what you are seeking and what you are out there for, but the way my mind works is I want to keep traveling, moving around, and traveling for travel’s sake, so to speak. I hitchhike for adventure, to see new places, meet new people, and experience life around me, which is my mindset. A lot of times I combine different methods of hitchhiking to get a ride, but often times I leave it up to the randomness of the world around me and fate, meaning I like to walk, so if someone wants to pick me up then they will, if not, I will keep walking. This is not always the case, but that is my mindset, and I will go into more detail about the different methods of hitchhiking later on in the post. The most important aspect of hitchhiking is to remain determined, strong and smart. Not everyone will help you out with kick downs, rides, and the weather will not always shine down rays of warm sunshine. Stay focused. If a spot is not working out, keep trying, but do not sacrifice your well being to get a ride in the pouring rain, and if you can walk to find a better pull-off or busier gas station, then put in the miles, hiking is as much a part of hitching as anything else. If you do not want to walk, then stick to the bus. Hitchhiking is for the broke, free, and budget traveler and with it requires strength, determination and a certain mental capacity for being alone.

HITCHHIKING SAFETY

Often times, you will be safe hitchhiking, despite much negative stigma towards hitchhiking in America nowadays; it is safer than one might think. Why is this you ask? My conclusion is because generally the people who are picking you up were ex-hitchhikers in the 60’s and 70’s when it was more popular, and most people do not have an alternative vendetta like stealing from people who all ready have little to nothing on them, but dirty clothes, and stinky camping gear. But, please note, this is coming from my personal hitchhiking experience as a young, lower middle class to poor, white, male in his late twenties. As much as I hate to say this, gender, sexual identity and race all come into play, but that is just the cruel world we live in, so take that information as you choose to and just use your gut feeling. If something feels off about the person who is giving you a lift, there is nothing to say you cannot decline a ride. Never get in a vehicle that feels like it may endanger your life and well-being, there will always be another ride down the road.

When I am hitchhiking my main concern with safety is not whether I stepped into the vehicle of a serial killer, or thief, but what type of driver I am dealing with and whether the car was stolen or not. Why does this concern me? Well, if the person is driving erratically, not only does this put my life in danger, but it makes me wonder why they picked me up in the first place? More often than not you will be fine, but car accidents should be your main concern as you stack on the miles. I personally have been in one accident on a motorcycle in Malaysia. I was fine, but the driver was too busy waving and showboating to other people around him that he rear ended another van. I was lucky. But this is the harsh truth.
You also need to make sure the person who is driving is not under the influence of intoxicating drugs or alcohol, as this also increases the danger of you getting injured or hurt. So talk a bit to the person before you get in the vehicle. Are they slurring their speech? Are there eyes red? Are they gritting their teeth and speed talking? Do they give you the crazy vibe? All of these are probable signs to decline a ride. It is not worth your life in a car accident. Your gear can always get replaced.

HOW TO HITCHHIKE?

You will always feel safest getting a ride at a gas station like a Love’s or Flying J because you will be able to talk to a person before getting into their vehicle.

Cedar City, UT
Vegas Bound…

The next safest option for hitching a ride is using a sign, thumb or walking with or without a sign. The majority of people have a split few seconds of reaction time to decide whether or not they are going to pick you up. They are not scanning the streets and roads for lone hitchhikers whom they are looking to mutilate and steal their gear. It is just not practical, nor is there enough planning behind it. Most of my rides have been from ex-hitchhikers just passing on the favor.

What to know when thumbing, flying a sign, or walking down the road, trying to hitch a ride?

  • Always talk to the driver before getting in the vehicle.
  • Always tell them exactly where you are going and make sure you know exactly where they are going and if they need to make any stops.
  • Try to avoid putting any gear in the trunk or out of reach from your body so the person does not drive off with your stuff and leave you stranded.
  • Try to take a picture of the license plate, or remember the license plate number before getting in the car in case something happens to you or your gear.
  • Keep your wallet, ID, Phone, knife, and any valuable items in your pockets, jacket and on your body in case the person steals your bag.
  • Interstates are easier and quicker to hitch rides on and they also send you further distances. However, highways and back roads are more scenic and enjoyable.
  • If you choose to hitchhike at night, just be careful, you might not be able to get a clear view of the license plate or the person’s face before getting in the vehicle. People will pick you up, it is just less frequent than the daytime.
  • Try to avoid hitching into cities after sundown. It will be harder to find a place to set up camp and it is not nearly as safe as camping on the outskirts of town in the woods.
  • Do not hitch rides under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is a sure way to get your gear stolen or end up stranded in the middle of nowhere.

HITCHHIKING AND THE WEATHER?

RAIN AND SNOW

Hitchhiking is very dependent on the weather, your gear and what you want to put up with. Use common sense and increase your odds of hitchhiking along with your comfort. If it’s snowing, raining, sleeting, and freezing outside, ask yourself, “Do I really want to stand here relying on someone to pick me up while I can’t feel my toes, I’m soaking wet, or getting impaled by ice falling from the sky?” I know it sounds stupid, but seriously, if you are wet or it is snowing, sleeting, etc. People do not want to get their cars dirty; they will not pick you up most of the time. However, you might get that kind soul once in a blue moon, but it’s more practical, safer and comfortable to just house up under a bridge for the day, under your tarp in the woods, in your tent or find other shelter, even if that means home bumming it in the McDonalds for the day refilling a 99 cent soda.

THE COLD

Normally, I avoid the cold altogether when it comes to hitchhiking. It’s too unpredictable. It’s why most traveler’s follow the weather pattern of staying in the south during the winter and going to the north in the summer. It’s more practical and better on your body.

If for whatever reason you are stuck somewhere where it is freezing and you have no other way to get out, then by all means, make sure you try to stay indoors as much as you can during the really cold parts of the day, even if you get kicked out. Hit up a mission to bum an emergency blanket or two or extra camping gear, blankets, etc. For the long cold nights. Make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

THE HEAT 

On the other hand, hitchhiking in the desert or extremely hot places also depends on a properly packed backpack. Make sure you have a thin shirt, and a hat, drink water constantly and always make sure you have at least 2 liters of water on you at all times when leaving a populated area for one that is more rural. Most places like Arizona it is illegal for a business to deny you water, but if they do, just use a water key and take it from their spigot outside.

HITCHHIKING GEAR

GEAR TO AVOID FOR HITCHHIKING

  • REI

Avoid anything from REI…yes, I said it, avoid anything from REI. Though their gear may look fancy and is expensive, it’s only designed for the yuppie day hiker or someone who plans to go out for the weekend in ideal camping conditions and dip into a 3-day hike, etc. How do I know this? Well, I used to swear by them. I used to only buy gear from REI. Hell, I was a fan of ASOLO for the longest time until this past season my $270 pair of ASOLO boots only lasted me 9 months. Now, you would think 9 months is a lot, however, considering 3.5 months I never wore shoes and another two months I worked in Hawaii on the beach, that really is not a great time length for boots. Let’s dig deeper into why REI sucks? They try to sell you camping gear you do not need. Their rain covers, are water resistant, not even waterproof lol…I mean seriously. If I get stuck in the rain you’re telling me after 5 minutes I have to scamper off to a bridge so my gear stays dry. Nope, I think I’ll stick with a 50 cent trashbag inside my 5.11 tactical pack.

I also used a REI Minimalist bivy sack for a year…yep it only lasted a year until it no longer became waterproof and the mosquito net could not be completely covered so in a storm I got soaked regardless of the waterproofing. Needless to say, that was my fault. I relied on reviews on Amazon and did not fully do my research, but now I know. What else sucks from REI…oh yeah, camping pads. The ones that you blow up with air, pop after a few uses of rugged camping. The ones that are foam pads offer better support than the self-inflated or blow-up pads, however, once waterlogged they smell and add a ridiculous amount of weight to your load. So it’s like a double-edged sword, instead stick to cardboard.

Now, camping stoves, paracord, and smaller items you can buy at REI if you want…that does not really change much across the board, but steer clear of backpacks, jackets, pants, sleeping bags, bivy sacks, etc.  It’s just not worth your money.

  • AVOID ANY SOLAR PANELS AND BROWN DOG GADGETS

Other gear you can steer clear of and not waste your money on is many of the solar panels sold on the market.  Do not buy anything from BROWN DOG GADGETS…the quality of their solar panels and battery packs is shit…you get what you pay for and despite this company being a huge hit on Kickstarter, they suck.  I purchased both a 5W solar panel for my dumb phone and a 10,000 mAH battery bank and both of them broke within a few months of use.  They cannot handle any kind of rugged camping and they are poorly made.  Solar panels in general are not made to handle the harsh conditions of hitchhiking. I have owned three panels thus far and will never waste my hard earned money on one of them again. Even my Anker panel stopped working after a few uses. It just can’t handle the rough terrain of the road, neither can any other brands.

Anker 21W Solar Panel
This is the Anker 21W Solar Panel…looking forward to testing this out on the road.

I highly recommend anything that ANKER makes.  I bought a battery bank from them when I did my bicycle tour from DE to CO back in 2013 and I have had this 13,000 mAH charger for 4 years.  It works perfectly still.  It has been through rain storms, snow storms, banged on trains, fallen off shit and still works perfectly.  I just bought a 21W Solar Panel from Anker, which I just received in the mail.

I’ve bought a few other solar panels in the past and I will tell you to steer clear of them and do not waste your money.  Also, if you plan on buying a solar panel to charge your smartphone, do not buy anything with less than 10W, or it will never charge past the first few percent without trying to turn on the device and reset itself because of insufficient power (iPhones).

Today I tested out the Anker 21W Solar Panel.  In 1.5 hours in direct and indirect sunlight it charged my phone a total of 61% while my phone was running.  I will run more tests tomorrow, but so far I think this is the best candidate out there for best solar panel.  I saw that after owning many others in the past without having any luck.

DAY TWO:  I tested it in direct sunlight while my phone was off and after 1 hour and 50 minutes the battery was completely charged.  This thing is a beast.

A FEW MONTHS OF TRAVEL:  I would stick to Walmart outlets.  Nothing thus far when it comes to solar energy has been able to withstand the hardships of the road.  This may or may not be broken.  It may be my USB cables, I am not sure, but until I am able to test it out I would hold off on purchasing one.

The only CON so far is why in the fuck did they choose to use velcro?  Velcro sucks and will not hold up after constant use, and the pouch is too small and not worth putting anything in it.

RECOMMENDED HITCHHIKING GEAR

ARMY NAVY SURPLUS STORES

But, if I don’t buy camping gear from REI because you claim all their gear sucks, then where the hell do I score camping gear? Who competes with REI, you’re telling me one of the only companies out there sucks? Any store that sells tactical gear or an Army Navy Surplus store, they are money. They will sell you gear that is not only way cheaper than REI, it’s more durable, versatile, and more color-specific to the type of travel you are doing anyway.  Now in doing so you will sacrifice weight, but that is why the gear is more durable and will last longer.  Equinox tarps made from Cuben Fiber are super-light, but any amount of constant UV light deteriorates this product rather quickly, the same goes for other light-weight products.  I have yet to find any light weight backpack or gear that is just as durable as gear that’s half the price at the Army Navy Surplus store.  If weight concerns you then stick to the high-end shit they sell you at REI and waste your money.  Not only will you spend more money, but it will be more frequently had you shopped somewhere else.

GOODWILL, THRIFT STORES, CRAIGSLIST, EBAY AND YARD SALES

Check out Goodwill for some killer deals on jackets, pants, and warm clothing for winter hitching and riding. Everything is usually fairly cheap. Thrift stores are also great places to check out along with eBay (if you have an address, use work or a mission) and/or yard sales as people usually get rid of pretty new stuff for cheap, mainly because they own too much shit to begin with.

MY TRAVEL GEAR FOR HITCHHIKING

5.11 Tactical Backpack 43 Liters
All the clothes that fit in my little nap sack for traveling through the seasons by train or hitchhiking. Obviously some of these I wear so not everything is in my pack, but you get the idea what I travel with, the only piece not pictured here is my jacket.
  • BACKPACK

    • 5.11 TACTICAL BACKPACK (43 LITERS/ BLACK)[foogallery id=”77005″]

      OVERVIEW:

      • Full-featured 72 hour backpack
      • Ideal for recreational use or as an operational bug out bag
      • Dual-zippered front and main compartments with molded grip pulls
      • Multiple integrated organization pockets
      • Admin organization pocket to store maps, pens, and documents
      • Fleece-lined sun glass pocket
      • Internal hydration compartment with hangers and toggles
      • Cinching waist strap and dual compression straps
      • Adjustable dual density closed-cell foam shoulder straps

      SPECIFICATIONS:

      • Built from high strength, water-repellent 1050D nylon (MultiCam®: 1000D nylon)
      • 23” H x 13.5” L x 8.5” D main compartment
      • 15.5” x 11.5” x 2” front pocket
      • 16.5” x 6” x 1.75” left and right side pockets
      • 21” x 13.5” hydration pocket
      • 3342 cubic inch / 55 liter total capacity
      • Contour yoke system with grab and go handle
      • Rugged, self-healing YKK® zipper hardware
      • Integrated drainage grommet
      • Imported

      What to know about this backpack?  It is NOT WATERPROOF, but it does not matter.  Put any important gear inside zip-loc bags or trash bags and the material will dry relatively quickly in the sun.

  • SLEEPING GEAR

    • Tarp or USMC Bivy Sack
    • 0 or 20 Degree Sleeping Bag, any Coleman or cheap bag at Walmart will do, or if you get lucky you can buy one on eBay for cheap. I got a Kelty 0 Degree Cosmic Down bag for ~100 USD because of a defect in the zipper
    • 0 DEGREE KELTY COSMIC DRI-DOWN SLEEPING BAG & ACU DIGITAL BIVY

      [foogallery id=”77039″]

      OVERVIEW:

      • 100 percent water/wind proof outer layer. Designed to enclose patrol and intermediate cold weather sleeping bag for the complete modular sleep system.
      • Nonflammable, machine washable.
      • 2 way nylon zipper that allows for top or bottom ventilation (the zippers are non locking
      • sliders which self repairs if jammed or snagged). Can be used alone for warmer temperatures.

      SPECIFICATIONS:

      • 1.5 lbs.
      • Waterproof
      • 80″ x 30″
  • CLOTHES

    • Under Armour Long Sleeve
    • Long Johns or similar Thermals
    • Carhartt Bib or equivalent – Goretex works too, just expensive as hell
    • Base Layer of some kind
    • (2) pair smart-wool socks
    • Waterproof Timberland Boots (This is the most important accessory to your travels…take care of your feet.  Jungle rot, and staph infection are no joke)
    • Dark Long Pants
    • Waterproof Gloves
    • Hat and/or Gator to cover your neck
  • ELECTRONICS

    Electronics for Hitchhiking
    Electronics and battery banks for Hitchhiking, (1) 13,000 mAH Anker Battery Bank, (1) 3,500 mAH Anker Battery Stick, 9 Lumen LED Flashlight, GoPro Hero 4
    • External Battery Pack to charge electronics ~ 20,000 MaH (optional)
    • Cheap flashlight from Walmart
    • Phone that connects to WiFi – doesn’t necessarily need service
    • USB Cables and Adapters
  • ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS

    • Railroad Atlas either in electronic or paper copy form
    • Road Atlas either in electronic or paper copy form
    • Crew Change (not necessary by any means, but helpful) either in electronic or paper copy form
  •  OTHER DOCUMENTS 

    • Passport if leaving the USA
    • Some form of ID so you don’t get bothered by police
  •  MEDICAL SUPPLIES
    • Bacterin
    • Tweezers
    • Band-aids
    • Flint and steel
    • Lighter
    • Nail clippers
    • Razor
    • Baby wipes
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
  • OTHER SUPPLIES

    • Water Key
    • Garbage Bags
    • Two empty water bottles (1 or 1.5 Liters)

WHERE TO SLEEP?

  • BANDOS

    • Abandoned buildings are a good place to squat for the night or for an indefinite period depending on the location.  Be careful of asbestos and mold, but aside from that it is better than sleeping out in the elements.  I normally only stay in places one or two nights before moving onward, but maybe you travel differently.
  • BUILDOS 

    • Buildings under construction make a great place to sleep for the night.  Just make sure you are up before construction starts in the morning and walk out of there unseen.  Some sites have cameras installed, which can be troublesome if you make it a habit of staying there multiple nights.  However, if you leave no trace and do not steal anything from the site than you should be able to squeeze a few nights of sleep out if not more.
  • ON-RAMPS

    • Many times, I find a nice cozy spot by the on-ramp to sleep if I am hitchhiking since I can wake up in the morning and am ready to get out of there.  Sometimes this is more practical than others are, like if boscage borders the highway or shoulder or if I am near an overpass with a nice place for me to sleep under a bridge.
  • THE WOODS

    • Often times I try to get a few miles outside of a city just enough to sleep in the woods away from all the other homeless people, just for peace of mind.  Not that they are going to harm me in the night, as most homeless people are night, after all I have traveled homeless for 5 years on and off, I don’t see myself as a threat.  However, it just makes it easier for me to sleep at night without waking up constantly and having to maintain certain vigilance as I would in a city.
  • UNDER A BRIDGE

    • I reserve this for special occasions.  Typically if I am in the middle of nowhere where I know no one will bother me than I will sleep under a bridge to stay out of the rain.  How can I tell?  If you do not see bum trash under a bridge or tags, chances are that no one else has been there because it is too far out of the city.
  • BY THE TRACKS

    • If I am in a city and there is no real way for me to get out before dark, often times I will find a cozy spot by the train tracks to sleep.  It will be noisy from trains, but as long as you are not sleeping in a jungle or at a catch out spot, you should be safe since most people will not trespass to sleep, at least not near the railroads.  It is too damn noisy.
  • IN THE CITY

    • When I am in a city, it gets tricky.  I normally avoid the city altogether since it’s hard to hitch out of a city without getting to the outskirts of town or a big gas station or truck stop and there are just too many bums around.  So if I am stuck in a city, often times I will try to get on the outskirts or try to find inconspicuous places to sleep, like rooftops, inside a tractor trailer, in ditches, cardboard dumpsters, vacant fields, cylinder concrete pipes, shrubbery, under bridges, etc.  Anywhere with some cover, so people cannot see me at first glance.

FOOD?

  • GROCERY STORES

    • Food can be very reasonably cheap if you choose to make it that way.  You just have to sacrifice comfort.  DO NOT EAT out at high-end chains, or dine-in restaurants.  Limit the amount of fast food you eat, since it is expensive, not filling and definitely not a nutritious supplement to your diet.  Instead, buy a cheap cooler at Wal-Mart and stock it with essential camping food.  Look for food that is on sale and try to use coupons.  Typically, Wal-Mart is the cheapest option, but sometimes other grocery stores beat it on certain goods so get familiar with prices and you will come to remember what is a deal and what is not.
  1. Rice
  2. Canned Vegetables, Chilli Beans and Baked Beans
  3. Sardines, Tuna Fish, Anchovies, Herring Fillet and Crackers
  4. Salad & or Salad Dressing
  5. Ground Beef, Lunch Meats, Bread and Cheese
  6. Potatoes
  7. Yogurt
  8. Ice, Water, and maybe some Beer
  9. Spam

If you are traveling longer than a few days and you are running low on funds

  • CHURCHES/MISSIONS/ SOUP KITCHENS/FOOD BANKS

    • Depending on if this bothers you or not you can always check out a mission or soup kitchen in the area along with your food banks.  I have only used these options when I really needed to, and you should to, but they are there for a reason.  If not most the time the food goes to waste as its comprised of leftover items that are past the sale date, or items that are damaged (like a ding in a can) and cannot be sold in the grocery store.
  • EBT (FOOD STAMPS)

    • Depending on your circumstances for traveling you may qualify for EBT.  I do not use government funding, as it is a personal choice.  Maybe it is my pride or the fact that there are other people out there who need it, but this is another option to get food if you are living out of your car.
  • DUMPSTER DIVING

    • This is one of my personal favorites, but it is not always reliable and you really have to be stuck somewhere for a while to figure out when trash is thrown out at a grocery store each night to make it worthwhile.  It is not for most people, but I have never had any issues.  You can forage some good fruits, vegetables and other goods that are perfectly fine to consume, just use common sense.
    • Often times you can talk to the homeless population to hook you up with information on good spots to dumpster dive for food.

HYGIENE

HOW DO I STAY CLEAN ON THE ROAD?

  • There is nothing cool about being dirty and crusty. I will be the first to agree I do not shower every day unless I have the opportunity to and I am staying indoors because of a job opportunity or couch surfing.  Otherwise, I try to stay clean a few times a week when the opportunity presents itself.
  • BABY WIPES

    • I try to keep these on me at all times. Sometimes I snag them from the front of Wal-mart if strapped for cash.  Other times I will buy them because I need to stay clean; I try to wipe down my HANDS, face, neck, FEET and groin area, your feet and hands being the most important.
    • WHY KEEP YOUR FEET CLEAN?
      • You do not want jungle rot, blisters, athletes foot or other weird infections and skin problems on your feet because you will be walking a lot and need them to get you places.
      • Staph infection and jungle rot are no joke. People lose limbs if this stuff goes untreated so take a fucking shower once or twice a week.  Even if it is only with baby wipes.  DO IT!
    • WHY KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN?
      • You eat with them. So all those germs from train grease, dirt, grime, sweat and god knows what else are going into your mouth.  I am not trying to sound like a germophobe, but wash them when you get a chance at a public restroom.  You do not have to go crazy or anything.  But keeping your hands clean and nails trimmed will help you from getting sick and being sick on the road sucks.
    • PUBLIC RESTROOMS

      • They can be your friend – seek out single bathrooms that you can lock from the inside, so you can take a Vegas Shower. Be sure to clean up after yourself and make the place spotless afterwards so the fast food restaurant or business does not lock the bathrooms to the Public making it harder for homeless to stay clean.
    • CREEK, PONDS, RIVERS, STREAMS, LAKES, AND OCEANS

      • Depending on where you are at and the water quality of the area you are in, this can be easy or hard to take a bath in nature. Normally, I strip down to my boxers and dive in so I if seen it does not draw complete attention to me since I am not naked.  The last thing I want is to end up in jail for bathing.
      • If you end up near the coast, the ocean may seem like a great place to bathe. I’m not saying there aren’t advantages to jumping in the ocean for a quick swim, but your best bet is to utilize the beach showers by the ocean. I would also avoid the ocean if you have open wounds as it will open them to more bacteria and despite the saline from the water, depending on your immune system you may just be opening yourself up to further complications. Stick to the beach showers.
      • A GOOD WAY TO JUDGE WATER QUALITY IS THE FOLLOWING:
        • Is there a lot of plant life by the banks that looks healthy and thriving?
        • Does the water look clear and do you see active life around like fish swimming, toads, etc?
        • Are signs posted advising you not to swim because of deadly chemicals in the water or not to fish because of abnormalities in the wildlife like in the Chattanooga River in Tennessee due to heavy pollution?
        • Is there a funky odor or does it smell fresh like nature?
      • Most of those tips are common sense, but there is no benefit to bathing in sewage, chemicals and polluted waste. You will end up sick or with some kind of disease.
    • SPIGOTS

      • Often times this is where a water key comes in handy. I will use the water in my bottles to wash my hair, face, feet, neck, balls, and hands and then refill them by the spigot at an industrial building or apartment complex, really anywhere with a spigot.  You can get a water key at Home Depot or any other hardware store.
    • CAMPGROUNDS

      • Sometimes I have taken showers at campgrounds during the daytime since to the normal human I look like any ordinary backpacker since I do my best at trying not to look homeless. Then I will use the camp showers, wash up, maybe wash my clothes and hit the road.
    • LAUNDRY

      • I try to hit up a Laundromat occasionally.
      • I make sure to always have at least one fresh pair of clothes on me to change into.
      • Using some of the methods above to bathe, I will also wash my clothes in many of these areas and then just let them sundry while I read a book.
    • MISSIONS

      • As a last resort, some missions let you check in and just use a shower without having to stay there overnight. Often times they WILL NOT watch your gear for you and make you keep it outside for fear of spreading BEDBUGS.  So if this is the case, only use this option if you have a road dog with you who can watch your stuff.

MONEY?

  • How do you make money when you are on the road, you smell, look dirty, and are low on funds?

    • Well, I always try to keep one fresh pair of slacks and a nice shirt in case I need them to look presentable.
    • I use the methods outlined above to shower and look clean and I normally peruse Craigslist for work, check out day labor gigs or apply for any and every job I can, jobs that no people want, and I take temporary employment.
  • TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT

    • NATIONAL PARK FOOD AND BEVERAGE JOBS

      • Xanterrorist
      • Delaware North Company
      • Vail
  • SEASONAL EMPLOYMENT

    • Weed trimming jobs
    • Parachute Packing jobs
    • Picking/Farming jobs
  • YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO WORK AND TAKE ANYTHING!

    • I like to take seasonal and temporary jobs for a month to three months of work and just when I start hating my life, I leave. This way I can hit the road with some cash until I find the next gig because the last thing I want to do is have to beg the public for money to live.  There is no self-sufficiency in begging.  I have no problem with people who do it, but most the time they have a problem with me because I work and because of that, I do not usually associate myself with most Dirty Kids because they lack self-respect and they feel entitled.  You are entitled to nothing in this world, but the shit on your back.
  • HUSTLIN’

    • WHAT DO I MEAN BY HUSTLIN’?

      • Sell your artwork!
      • Busk if you have an instrument
      • Do Poi
      • Sell your short stories on the corner
      • Sell a skill, any skill you have, even if it is hustlin’ cases of water at the intersection or flowers to stopped vehicles. Anything to make a buck that is not stripping you of your pride is what I consider a good hustle.
  • QUESTIONABLE WAYS OF MAKING MONEY

    • You can spange – ask people for spare change.
    • You can fly a sign with a witty remark – telling people you need money for beer to fuel your rocket ship for a space landing on the moon.
    • You can steal what you need from big businesses like Wal-Mart since they are already stealing this country blind of everything under the sun.
    • You can crack spange – which normally ends with going up to strangers in a parking lot giving them some sob story.
    • I DO NOT USE THESE METHODS. HOWEVER, MOST THE KIDS I BUMP INTO ON THE STREETS THIS IS THEIR PREFERRED METHOD OF MAKING CASH.  I HAVE NO OBJECTIONS TO THOSE WHO DO THIS, BUT I WOULD RATHER SEEK OUT WORK OR EAT OUT OF A DUMPSTER IF I NEED TO.
  • ASK FOR WORK

    • You can always just ask random people if they have any work or go to your local church and ask around if anyone has a gig available for a few days while you are strapped for cash.
  • Check out Seasonal Work 101 for more job opportunities on the road.

HITCHHIKING BY REGION

Hitchhikin’ Southeast Asia Tips

Budget Travel New Zealand

Budget Travel Maui, Hawaii

Budget Travel Oahu, Hawaii

HITCHHIKING RESOURCES

North American Road Atlas

Hitch the World

Hitchhikers Handbook

HitchWiki

Squat The Planet

HITCHHIKING SHORT STORIES

This is a diary of short stories from my hitchhiking adventures in Southeast Asia and the United States of America dating back to 2013.

2017 – Walla-Walla-Bing-Bong, Cassidy and Holiday

2017 – Back on the Road Again

2017 – Dirty Face in Pecos

2017 – Skeevy Kevin and Umpqua Hot Springs

2017 – Oh My God Hot Springs

2017 – Santa and Old Blue

2017 – Travel Oahu on a Cheap Budget

2017 – Runners in Snakeskin Botas

2017 – Bippin’ it in Texas with the Misfit 4

2017 – 8 Thumbs and a Dog Goin’ East

2017 – Kicked in a Face by a Moose

2017 – It’s Not Fuckin’ Rocket Science

2017 – Head Wounds and Buffoons

2017 – Drivin’ a Hitch with Mr. Serial Butt Secks

2016 – Johnny Jitters and the Yellow Tarp that Could…

2016 – Travel Maui on a Cheap Budget

2016 – The Road to Hana Nearly Killed Me

2016 – Hitchhiking Kauai…Garden Island Style

2016 – Soppin’ Boots and Wrinkled Thumbs

2016 – Kalalau Trail Hawaii’s Most Dangerous Hike

2016 – Snorkeling on Acid

2016 – Stairway to Heaven Hawaii – Haiku Stairs

2016 – Swoopin’ on Oahu

2016 – Houseless in Hawaii

2016 – Thumbs and the Sand

2016 – Hitchhiking Sausalito and the Driftin’ Dream 

2016 – Hitchhiking San Francisco and Gay Graham

2015 – Hitchhiking Singapore Where Gum is Illegal…

2015 – Hitchhiking Pagoh with Chewbacca

2015 – Hitchhiking Muar, Hooked on Gudang Garam

2015 – Hitchhiking Melaka, Another Dirty Tramp 

2015 – Hitchhiking Port Dickson, the Resort Town Butler

2016 – Goin’ Bakersfield to Catch a Train

2015 – Whirring Winds Atop Mount Raya Lattice Tower 

2015 – Chaah, Chaah, Chaah…Charmin’

2015 – A Bittersweet Taste…Kratom

2015 – The Punks of Baguio

2016 – My First Train and the Puke that Followed

2016 – Havasu Falls, Permit Not Available

2016 – Mount Humphrey and the Super Sayin’

2015 – Phoenix Arizona for the Kelly

2015 – RTA Subway System the Graffiti Within

2015 – Backpacking SEA: Bum with a Thumb 

2015 – Isabela, Philippines, Tilapia…Oi…Oi

2015 – Mt. Palali and the Blood Suckin’ Leech

2015 – Backpacking the Philippines: Straight Out Manila

2015 – Hat Yai and the Hottie

2015 – Hitchhiking Langkawi: The Eagle Island

2015 – Satun, Thailand and My Princess

2015 – Hitchhiking Southeast Asia Tips

2015 – Just a Thumb in Kuala Lumpur

2014 – Hitchhiking to California

2013 – Hitchin’ to A-Bay Partayyy!

2013 – Climbing Hells Hole

2013 – Farmington