Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hitchhiking in winter

Hello my dear friends. Have you ever hitchhiked in winter? It´s cold out there, however look at the bright side of it:

  • Less strenuos!
Think about it. There will be less hours daylight!! No getting up at 6am means shorter hitching days.

  • No carrying heavy waterbottles, because you just feel less thirsty

  • No standing in the hot burning sun and getting sunburnt or blind

Ok , ok I admit, I am not keen on standing next to the road in minus 30 degrees. Then it might be better to wait for warmer weather, go south or take the train/bus. But up to minus 10 degrees is completely bearable.

You need to take precautions though...

  • Wear warm and thick clothes
Get thick ski trousers. No kidding. They will hold you warm. If they do have zippers on the sides, even better. That will function as cooling system when you are sitting in the car/inside. The good thing about it: you need to carry LESS luggage.
For the upper body part, you should wear 2-3 layers under your warm jacket. Wool with a long sleeve underneath it will keep you really warm. Additionally, woll is easy to take care of. It doesen´t need washing so often, as it doesen´t start to stink so quickly like the synthetics.

  • Good shoes
Another thing that is really important: Warm feet. Nothing bothers me more than standing there with cold feet! Cold feet drives me crazy. Therefore it is essential that you wear warm shoes AND socks.. I mean really warm shoes. My feet are always cold. Really.. most of the time. You should see my slippers.. and even in those i sometimes feel cold.
Recently, I got myself these winter boots by Lowa . The lady in the shop claimed that they were warm enough until minus 30.. "Yeah right" I thought.. But they work and I am even sweating in them, even though only weariung a thin pair of tights! I spent an awful amount of money on them, but i am happy. Better to spend on something worthwile than being uncomfortable and unhappy
Then of course, use warm hat, gloves and scarf.

(I am not getting any money from Lowa to advertise here. It could just as well be another brand that provides high quality that you trust in)

  • Get informed about the hours of daylight
Seriously, you should not only know about
- WHERE you are going and how,
but you should also know exactly
- when the sun rises and when it will set (why dumbass? daylight!!!) and what the expected weather conditions are. It will make it easier for you and let you get into less trouble.
-> For planning your trip, use Hitchwiki and google maps. Also, ask the locals BEFOREHAND if you need advice. Like that you will know what to expect. Hitchhiking life is not that easy and free as it might seem, are you realising it now?

  • Don´t cover too many kilometers per day
I always try not get too far in one day. I like to plan and be on the safe side. I organise a place to stay for the night before I hit the road. Others of you might love the adventure thing but since I don´t carry my tent, I try not to hitch more than 8 hours (LOL like a day job, 8 hours..) per day in summer. Why? It is really tyiring to stand by the road for 1 hour and then talk so much to the drivers. And you are going to explain your "story" to all of them again, and again, and again.. I know, now I don´t make it sound so interesting for you. The really interesting bit of hitchhiking is that one.

  • A headlight might save your life
In case it will take you longer than predicted to get from A to B, and you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, at night.. the headlight - or any other kind of light - might save your life. There will most likely be NO bus stop/pavement. People won`t be able to you at night, even if you wear white clothes (that might even be a reason for NOT picking you up). What I am trying to say: better get one if you can. It doesen´t weigh much. Yes, yes, now you are thinking
"I already have so much luggage" You shouldnt. Here is an advice about packing lightly.

So, that is all I can think of special things that apply to winter-hitchhiking. Do you have more to add? Then please send me a message or comment!

Happy hitchhiking:

-Where to sleep along the road? Couchsurfing
-I travelled Europe with 5 EUR a day
- Travel with little money
- Dealing with troubles along the way

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