Part Two: The Ride
So a car finally pulls over. Now what? First, you hoof it as fast as you can to the car before they change their mind. Usually the driver will ask you where you are going before you hop in, though sometimes they just tell you to get in. Try to keep your bag close at hand, though sometimes it’s unavoidable to put it in the trunk or bed of the pickup.
Most everyone who picks up hitchhikers is very friendly, and it can be read on their face. However, some people just give you a Bad Vibe, and I don’t recommend getting in with a Bad Vibe person. In my entire life, out of thousands and thousands of rides, I’ve only had one Bad Vibe person. But it happens, and when it does, you’ll know it.
Once you get in, be as polite as possible. Ask their name, give them yours, and shake hands or perform whatever is the customary greeting in the area you are travelling. Tell them where you are going, why, the whole story. Most people pick up hitchhikers for the company, so make some small talk. If they don`t seem like the talkative type, then you can always read your book or stare blankly out the window and enjoy the scenery.
Note: sometimes it gets old telling the same story eight million times per day. If you want to invent a little we understand. For example, I once was a pimp in Vegas. For all that trucker in Peru knows.
Try not to disagree too much with your driver. I know people who have been thrown out of a car simply because they don’t like the Yankees. It’s okay to express your own opinion, but seriously, pick your battles.
Always ask before you do anything, be it rolling down the window or lighting a cigarette.
If you are tired, the driver usually doesn´t mind if you catch a few winks. But it´s nice to ask first.
Once your ride is over, try and negotiate a good place to be dropped off. Downtown areas are usually not good, unless that’s where you need to go. Get the driver to drop you off near the end of the city in the direction you are headed. This saves a lot of walking. Sometimes, where you are dropped off can be the most dangerous part about hitchhiking. If you’re wandering around in the bad part of town with a big pack, no matter how dirty, you will attract attention. This is why it’s important you negociate a good place to be dropped off. If you must get off in a downtown area, try and negociate to be left in the nice area of town, and figure out where the local police station is.