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This is a question Hitchhiking and fare dodging

Epic tales of the thumb, the open road and getting robbed by hairy-arsed truck drivers. Alternatively, travelling for free like a dreadful fare-jumping cheat. Confess.

Suggested by Social Hand Grenade

(, Thu 21 Aug 2014, 13:34)
Pages: Popular, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Guy I worked with
used to keep falling asleep on the train home after too many shandies and waking up in Hastings, needing to get a taxi home.

Next time he had a night out, he came up with a cunning plan to set the alarm on his phone for about five minutes before the train was supposed to arrive at his stop.

Woke up in Hastings again, and someone had nicked his phone...
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 12:00, 2 replies)
Foul of the filth
First time I ever went to Glastonbury, in the 80s, I realised on the Friday afternoon that I'd forgotten to go to the bank en route. 'No problem', says my friend, 'Just walk to Shepton Mallet - it's not far.'

Never been in that part of the country before but, undaunted, I set off and being confronted with a crossroads at the entry to the festival, asked a friendly policeman which way to Shepton Mallet.

He looked me up and down and then points along the road to my right, which seemed to stretch on to the horizon. 'That way', he said.

And so, being slightly stoned and completely ignoring the streaming crowd of people carrying straight along the road in front of me, I turned right and started walking into the empty distance. Away from everybody else.

About an hour later I was wondering exactly how far it was going to be to Shepton Mallet when I heard a car engine and a Volvo estate pulled up beside me. An old couple, must have been in their 70s, sat there.

'Where are you going, son?'

'Shepton Mallet.'

'Not that way, you're not. Get in - we'll give you a lift.'

And so, despite my protestation of being quite muddy (we'd arrived the night before and it was a bit rainy - 'Oh, never you mind that, it's only mud...') they drove me all the way to Shepton Mallet and dropped me off more or less outside the bank, just in time to cash a cheque, which shows you how long ago it was.

On the way they asked why I'd walked along that road and I told them the police had directed me that way.

At which point the old woman said: 'Oh, they're bastards, they are. The local police are all right, but they draft loads in from all over the country and they hate being here. You stay as far away from them as you can.'

What lovely people - I'm sure they went well out of their way to see a total stranger right. No idea who they were but I've never forgotten them.

(Sorry, it's also a bit boring but it seems to be that kind of a week...)
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 16:51, 8 replies)
Sitting in a trailer
Sitting in the back of a car with my mates, somewhere in a traffic jam near Indian Queens in Pastyland, I needed a wee. I figured that the traffic was so jammed up I'd have plenty of time to run to hedge, have a piss, and then run up the road to catch them up.

No sooner have I started, the traffic opens up and they roar off in a flurry of laughter and wanker signs.

Great.

I start to jog up the side of the road to catch them up at the next layby, where I knew they'd probably wait for me.

As I'm panting up the road, a friendly couple in a VW Beetle lean out of their window, laughing, and ask if I want a lift up to my mates. 'oh yeah, thanks!'
'No worries, jump in the trailer.'
'er...ok...?'

I wedge myself in their little trailer between camping equipment and a rusty barbecue and we whizz up the road. About 400metres later, I see my friends dutifully pulled over and I wave to the my saviours in the VW.

Unfortuntaly, at this point two things have happened. The traffic jam has eased, and the couple in the Beetle have clearly forgotten I'm there. I fly past my friends at 60mph, catching a glimpse of the equal parts astonishment and hilarity displayed on their faces.

Several miles later, they finally notice my frantic waving in their rear view mirrors and pull over and drop me off, embarrased, but also clearly trying very hard not to laugh.

10 mins later I wave down my friends to pick me up as they finally catch up. They drove past, laughing...

I started to jog down the road again.
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 22:18, 4 replies)
Pearoast from years ago
I have committed one terrible fare-dodging scam which still haunts me to this day. Apologies in advance for length, girth, etc.

As a quick aside before I start, I'm not looking for kudos for this, nor am I proud of what I did. This was a silly idea that I had when I was young and naive and thought that nothing could possibly go wrong...

Most of my friends took the decision to go straight from A-levels to university. I, however, was offered a three day a week job doing odd jobs at a local web design company. Therefore I decided to defer my university entry for a year. Said company were paying me quite handsomely, and coupled with the minimal work hours, this meant I was able to jet around all over this fair isle visiting friends at their respective universities for long weekends of partying, boozing, and partying some more.

My weapon of choice for getting to these places was National Express. Very reasonably priced, more comfortable and punctual than trains, and if I travelled on one of the right routes, I was provided with entertainment on the coach TV screens. I would book my seat a couple of days in advance via their website, print off an e-ticket, and go visiting.

On one particular trip I made the observation that upon boarding, the drivers don't really pay much attention to the e-tickets. I made an assumption on this trip that the driver was probably only checking the route number (i.e. 402), and the origin and destination of travel. So I made a mental note next time I booked a ticket to save the e-ticket HTML file to my hard drive for further investigation.

Being an experienced website designer had its uses. I realised that it was perfectly easy to tinker with the e-ticket's HTML file and edit the information contained therein. So next time I travelled I printed out a counterfeit e-ticket, tailored to my exact route and journey, to see if the driver let me on. I chickened out at the last minute and bought a genuine ticket as well, stored safely in my bag just in case the fake one was turned down. But as I expected, the fake one passed the scrutiny of the driver's inspection and I took my seat, happy in the knowledge that I now possessed the ability to travel for free on National Express.

Of course I wouldn't have done this if I had felt any guilt. But I couldn't bring myself to feel guilty about it. This was a victimless crime. These coaches I was riding on would still be running if I wasn't riding on them. The few extra pennies that they would have to pay in fuel due to my weight were more than offset by the generous £2 tip I would anonymously leave on the driver's dashboard upon alighting. Nobody was losing out!

This was until one fateful journey, when I was set to go and stay with a friend in London. "Just get the coach to Heathrow, my housemate can pick you up from there", said this friend. Two minutes of HTML editing in Notepad, and I had 'booked' myself a ticket. Can you see where this is going?

Fast forward to the coach station: I boarded and took my seat on the coach, noting that it had turned up seven minutes before its timetabled departure. I then noticed the driver conducting a head count. And then pulling away six minutes early, presumably because the number of passengers on the coach matched the number on his passenger list. Except-fuck. Fuck fuck shitting fuckity fuck. I wouldn't have been on the passenger list, having not actually made a bloody booking. If the driver had counted the right number, we were clearly missing one passenger. Glancing out of the window I saw this one passenger: a young lady, laden with luggage, frantically running towards the coach trying to get it to stop. But the driver hadn't noticed her. And I couldn't bring myself to let him know she was there, in case I was found out and reported to the police. We drove off, minus this would-be passenger.

I spent the entire journey racked with guilt, which increased tenfold when I realised that this poor young woman was probably on her way to Heathrow to catch a flight, which I probably made her miss.

That was the last time I travelled with National Express, and certainly the last time I even thought about creating counterfeited travel documents. Someone was bound to lose out at some point, but unfortunately in this case it was an innocent passenger, and not the person who deserved to lose out (me).
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 15:57, 5 replies)
Pearoast - Cocaine is one hell of a drug (or how I was a complete twat when I was younger, rather than just a bit of of one, as I am now)

many, many moons ago, after leaving London for the sunnier climate of Milton Keynes, I nipped back down the smoke to see my mate Scouse Emma one Saturday afternoon. Took massive amounts of coke, stole a bottle of champagne from a pub and exposed myself to a bunch of theatre goers (which must have been well impressive after the substances I'd taken).

The next morning, I fell out of the hostel first thing, to avoid the warden blokey, who would charge me for staying there. I dragged my sorry arse to Euston and staggered up to the ticket counter. "single to Milton Keynes please, sweetheart" I said to the bloke behind the counter. "Certainly sir" he replies "what kind of ticket do you want?". "The one that gets me home earliest, chief" says I. A ticket is produced and suspiciously powdery, rolled up motes are handed over. I say to the fella "when's the next train?". "8:15, platform 9" he says. And off I trot.

After working out where platform 9 would be (in between 8 and 10, it would seem) I showed my ticket to the dude on the gate who pointed me at a big, red, train-like creature, which I duly got on and plonked myself opposite a nice, middle aged couple.

Not long after we left Euston, a ticket inspector wandered along the carriage, doing the ticket inspector thing and inspecting tickets. He took one look at mine and then the converstaion went like this:
Ticket Bloke: "You've got the wrong ticket"
Me: "Eh? Does this train not go to Milton keynes?"
TB: "Yeah, but you've got the wrong ticket"
Me: "Eh? But I got a ticket to Milton Keyens"
TB: "Yeah, but your ticket says Silverlink only"
Me: "Eh?"
TB: "your ticket says Silverlink only"
Me: "Yeah"
TB: "And this is a Virgin train"
Me: "Right"
TB: "So you've got the wrong ticket"
Me: "Run that one by me again, slowly"
TB: "You've bought a ticket that only allows you to get Silverlink trains, this is a Virgin one"
Me: "What's Silverlink?"
TB: "A different train company"
Me: "Oh right"
TB: "so you need to buy a ticket for this train"
Me: "No I don't"
TB: *looks confused* "Yes, you do"
Me: "Why?"
TB: "because you don't have a ticket to be on this train"
Me: "Yeah, but when I bought that ticket, this is the train they told me to get onto and, since this train goes to Milton Keynes, I assumed it was the right one"
TB: "Well it's not, if you were going to New York and had a ticket to go by BA, you wouldn't get on a Virgin plane, would you?"
Me: "I would if I had been told it was going from platform 9 of Euston at 8:15 on a Sunday morning"
TB: "Well, you're still going to have to buy a ticket"
Me: "Not a chance, it's not my fault" (it was, really)
TB: "Are you refusing to buy a ticket?"
Me: "I guess I am"
At this point, I thought I was going to get arrested, but no:
TB: "in that case, sir, I am going to have to ask you to exit this service at the next stop"
I then had visions of them stopping the train in the middle of nowhere and chucking me off. I was even compiling a mental list of people to ring to see if they'd come get me from where I ended up.
Me: "Fine, where's that?"
TB: "Milton Keynes"
Me: "You're a fuckwit"

He actually sat with me to make sure I got off at MK. I gave him a cheery waves as the train pulled away.

That counts as fare-dodging, right?
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 13:16, 3 replies)
After a discussion in my local bar the night preceeding the opening day of camp bestival
2 friends and I joked about breaking into camp bestival in a home-made ghillie suit. Earlier in the day we had bought a type-writer from a charity shop, so began to construct a document explaining how we would get in. The landlord printed off a map of the grounds and we phoned a freind who was already inside with an artist pass to give us a recky on where the gates were etc. Before long, the joke had become a reality and "operation white chocolate" was born. After scouring the map, we decided the most effective chance of entry would be through the campervan field which backed onto some woods. Now all we needed was a way of getting to lulworth, when as if fate had called him, our freind turned up, a local fisherman. He said he was off for bass up by the isle of white and would be going past lulworth, leaving at about 10, he'd let us jump aboard, Excellent. Shit had now got real, so we downed our pints and headed home to begin work on the ghillie suits before it was too late.

I woke up at the arse crack of dawn, finished making my attire and packed the completed ghillie suit into a suitable suitcase and jumped on the bus down to the local pub to meet my freinds.
Upon arrival, it turned out I was the only one who had actually bothered to make a suit. Gibbs was dressed as Hunter S Thompson, complete with the charity shop typewriter, and Clarky hadn't bothered at all. We typed the final itinery, complete with estimated times. We planned to land at lulworth, storm the beach, then walk a couple of miles up to the festival grounds, where we would determine our position, and begin the assault.
With a crate of premium lager, and already half cut on mojitos we walked the harbour and boarded the small fishing vessel.
Our freind Tom guided us up to lulworth bay, but as we begun to approach told us he couldn't get in too close because of the rocks, we would have to jump aboard. So in we jumped, Hunter S Thompson, a bush, and an old guy with a large camera, luckily it was only waist deep.

We stormed the beach as anticipated and were met by the tutting of a crowd of disgruntled tourists.
This was all thirsty work, and we'd sunk the majority of the beer on the boat ride over, so we went to the pub, who were as accommodating as they were baffled considering we were three wet and drunken idiots. After a couple more drinks we began the walk.
After getting about 50 metres up the hill, we decided walking wasn't doing us any good, so decided we'd attempt a hitchhike.
Perhaps it was the majesty of Gibb's thumb, but as if by magic the first car to drive by pulled over and told us to get in the back. He was a london geezer on holiday with his 10 year old daughter, who was in the front seat.
He told his daughter she was never to pick up 3 strangers in fancy dress, half-wet, and drunk when she was older, then drove us up to the festival.

At this point the map had been lost, and we'd abandoned any thought that things were going to go smoothly, so we jumped into the forset and walked in a random direction whilst cracking open the last of the tinnies. About 40 minutes later, we found the perimeter fence, and found that somehow we'd ended up exactly where intended. we sat and watched the gaurd at the opening to the entrance of the camper field and decided I should go first as I had the camoflague. Off I went on all fours, shuffling a few metres at a time, and stopping when he turned round, when I noticed he had walked to the further side of the entrance, it was my chance, I sprinted through the gate, slipped between a couple of campervans and immediately discarded the ghillie suit. When I looked back toward the entrance my two freinds had been rumbled.

I made found our mole on the inside and explained the situation, asked to borrow his mobile telecommunication device and made contact with the rest of the team.
Turned out, they told the security they were meeting somebody who had the tickets but had got lost, so security drove them to the main gate where in the confusion they slipped away. Unaware that they were inside the festival, they drunkenly stumbled to the heras fence and broke out of the festival.
They were now walking the fence looking for another way in when they stumbled into a group of chavs, who had wristbands but wanted to break in anyway. They found a gap in the fence and rushed it, the security caught the hoodlums, leaving my freinds to slip in unnoticed.
Once inside the festival we begun to have fun, but hadnt counted on the split camping and stage area, they had security on the entrance to the camping who were checking wristbands. All the music was finished and the arena was being cleared out.

So we were sleeping rough in a hedge on the edge of lulworth castle. The first night was ok, but after aquiring some MDMA on the second day, and dancing our tits off to house of pain and blondie (she had a keytarist!)all night, the second sleep was hell, we were caught by security and had were chased for ages before diving into a hedge. The gaurd walked right up to it and we could see his feet turning as he was looking for us, finally he lift, but we didnt want to risk moving out of the bush unitl the morning.
I was coming down hard, had no water, or booze,was shivering and was stuck in a hedge. I didnt think things would get much worse, but I was wrong. Turns out I was underneath a nest of somekind, I found out when a bird shat on my face, grim.

The following afternoon we decided we couldnt last another night in the cold hedge, some freinds of ours were leaving and agreed to give us a lift home, so after an adventurous weekend, we set off home, but not after stopping off at the local to tell our tale.
(, Thu 21 Aug 2014, 16:12, 7 replies)
Spiders. Spiders in wing mirrors. They hitch and don't pay a damn penny.
A bloke I used to lift share with to work in Falmouth used to have his own pet spider. Not a tarantula in a glass case, the one that lived inside his wing mirror. Tirelessly spinning a web anew every day, he would prank it by flicking a ball of cig ash out into the web and laugh as the spider darted out to attach the 'fly', only to skulk off later when he found that it wasn't a nice juicy fly.

The next year when I had my own ride I acquired a hitch hiking spider of my own. Only this one wouldn't skulk behind the mirror, it sat square on the centre of the web. Even when I was driving along at 60 and the web was oscillating madly in the wind. I can only assume it was some sort of extreme sports spider that it was screaming 'I'VE NEVER FELT SO ALIVE!' at the top of its tiny spider voice.
(, Wed 27 Aug 2014, 18:56, 6 replies)
Travelling round Europe
Long time reader, first time poster, be kind please!

I went travelling round Europe for two and a half months in the summer of 2012. I left London with 40p in my back pocket and jumped the train to Dover, stood at the side of the road with a sign saying "France" and got a lift onto the ferry. I faredodged my way round most of Europe, racking up a lot of fines on the way that were basically unenforceable, as they won't bother sending angry letters to England. I spent some time staying at a hippy gathering in Slovakia, where I saw a shooting star and made a wish for a few quid to help me along my way.

Fast forward about a week, and I'm trying to fare dodge my way across Spain, to a friend's place in Portugal. Conductors in Spain are among the most militant in Europe and will quite happily stop the train at the next station to throw you off, whether or not it's scheduled to stop there. It took me two days to get from Barcelona to Zaragoza. I boarded a train to Madrid, where I was accosted by a conductor. I stood there pleading with him for a good five minutes, telling him how my interrail ticket had been "stolen" and how I'd not eaten for days and needed to get to Madrid to collect some money from my "travel insurance". The conductor said he'd allow me to stay on until the next reasonable sized town, where he promptly kicked me off.

I made my way to the local bus station to see if I can jump a bus out of there but being a Sunday afternoon in a small Spanish town it was deserted. I walk over to the information counter where I see a small payphone not unlike one you'd find in a pub, held down by nothing more than a piece of wire. I look around and see no people or CCTV, so I cut the wire with my trusty Swiss army knife and squeeze the payphone into my bag. I walk round the corner to a building site where I smash open the payphone with a scaffolding bar, thinking there might be enough to get myself something to eat before trying my luck on the next train. I count the coins inside and find 130 euros.

I managed to buy a train ticket to Madrid, a nice sit down meal, a coach ticket to Lisbon with enough food and booze for the journey, a train ticket to my mates place in Portugal, and I had enough left over for a piss up in the local bar and a fat block of hash.
(, Tue 26 Aug 2014, 0:04, 44 replies)
Forgot about this one.
Pumping up the tyres at Gordano services, was approached by a Neanderthal foreheaded bloke in an ATS work boilersuit and a Bristolian accent so thick you could cut it with a tree branch who wanted a lift a couple of junctions of the M5 as he'd locked himself out of his van and just wanted to get back to the depot to get a spare key.

The story seemed to check out (indeed an ATS van was parked on the petrol pump forecourt) so I nipped into the kiosk to bag the nadir of my travelling life, the Ginsters Ploughman's Roll, and let him into the car.

He wasn't talkative but that was fine with me, just a couple of junctions, no worries, sow a bit of good karma etc. when he started creeping me out, firstly by turning and staring at me as I drove, and then picking up the Ploughman's Roll I'd just bought and turning it over, looking at the wrapping, and then reading out loud from the wrapping.."A...delicious....blend...of...sausage..and...juicy...pickle...and...traditional...cheddar....cheese....with...subtle....herbs...and..spices..." et cetera, until he had read it all, and then just sat with it in his hand looking at me again in eerie silence, unti lI cracked and said "Help yourself if you want, I wasn't that hungry anyway".

Before I even finished the sentence he's torn open the wrapping and started noisily pushing it into his face, crumbs flying everywhere as they do. Then he chucked the wrapper on the floor and said "Got anything to drink?" to which I had to admit, no, I didn't. "Well that's no good, is it?" he growled.

Oh shit. This is not good, how long till the junction he's getting off....if he is?

The next few miles went very slowly because of the traffic but thankfully in silence. Then I pulled off at the appropriate junction and stopped in a layby, asking 'This do you'?

He got out with an exasperated huff and without a word of thanks and slammed the door behind him. I may have fucked off with greater than the normal amount of speed in case he demanded to be dropped off at the door.

Not picked up anyone since.
(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 16:36, 12 replies)
Never used to hitchhike....
... then I learned to paraglide. At first, that meant turning up at a hill, flying back and forth for a while, landing by the car, packing up and going home. Eventually, though, I got some good at it...

So now it means I turn up at a hill, fly back and forth for a while, then get a decent bit of thermal lift and end up at five or six thousand feet up, rubbing my head on the clouds. Round about then I point downwind and look for the next cloud that's working, glide off and hope I find some more lift. This can end up with me landing some considerable distance from my car - 48km is my record so far. If I've landed near a bus stop or train station it's all fine, but otherwise it's stand by the road with the thumb out and a sign saying "GLIDER PILOT - JUST LANDED - LIFT PLEASE?", which works surprisingly quickly in most cases. Most people who stop are by definition wonderful, brilliant, etc. and it's churlish to complain about anyone who's prepared to let you get in their car, but...

Got a lift once from a clearly slightly confused man out for the day with his elderly mother, who sat in the passenger seat repeating the last word of anything he said in a thin, reedy voice. E.g.
Me: "Thanks so much for the lift."
Him: "That's OK, we're just out for a drive."
Her: "... drive."
Him: "It's lovely up here on the moors."
Her: "... moors."

And so on.

They didn't take me very far, just three or four miles, and I was grateful. I was also a bit frustrated, as even with a paraglider rucksack on my back I'm reasonably certain that if I'd been in a real hurry I could have walked - not run - faster than he was driving the car. It was a very remote, little used road, but we were overtaken by four vehicles, two of which felt the need to sound their horn as they went by. I was quite glad to get out, really.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 14:52, Reply)
Picked up a hitchhiker and almost became a queer basher.
Years ago I had time to kill and was driving around when I saw someone on the corner hitchhiking. I made a quick decision that since he was dressed in a white sport jacket he was civilized and wouldn't kill me. I have no idea how that thought process worked. So I picked him up.

He was a young guy from the American south and very drunk. He said he was gay, I said I wasn't. He said he sometimes dates for money. I then realized he might have been working, not hitchhiking. I asked if he wanted to go back to that corner, he thought I was saying I didn't want to give a gay guy a ride, it was awkward but we carried on with the ride.

He kept trying to tell me his grandmother's recipe for lasagna but never did finish it, he kept going off on tangents about things like keeping the milk cold in a creek because they had no refrigeration when he was a kid. Periodically he'd tell me I was nice and kind, would lean and put his head on my shoulder and pat me on the leg. I found it endearing and decided that as long as he kept his hand on the outside of the leg I'd be ok with it.

Eventually we got near where he said he was going. He said to drop him off in an empty, wooded area and he'd walk the rest of the way to sober up. I did so and drove away thinking how amusing life is. I still had time to kill, so decided to stop for donuts. I reached for my wallet. Gone. Frantically felt everywhere, no wallet. I kept hearing my father's voice in my head saying "never pick up hitchhikers." It was so obvious now, he'd been blocking my view with his head on my shoulder and patting my leg so I wouldn't feel the wallet go. He had me drop him off in the middle of nowhere so I'd never find him again.

It had only been a few minutes, so I debated doubling back and beating him up to get my wallet back. I decided that he'd have taken off immediately, that would be pointless.

Next I made up a story. I didn't think it would sound right to say that a gay hooker had pickpocketed me after I picked him up on a random corner. So I invented a story where I had gotten donuts, read the paper, put the paper on the tray, threw out my garbage and didn't realize that the wallet was in there. I drove home to use my alibi immediately. I went to the phone to tell my side of the story to friends. The wallet was next to the phone.

If I'd followed the impulse to hunt him down and throttle him, he'd have chalked the experience up to yet another psychopathic queer basher.
(, Wed 27 Aug 2014, 17:38, 12 replies)
Cumquats guide to Hitchhiking
I've hitched in a lot of different countries in this world. When you hitch you have an awful lot of time standing on the sides of roads to contemplate the nature and psychology of it. I thought Id share my opinions, for what they're worth. It's a good and cheap way to see the world.
Generally, the more lonely the road, or hostile the environment, the more lifts you get. Many people are motivated by pity to pick you up. Busy on-ramps to motorways, they think "ah, somebody else will pick him up". Standing on an empty road in Norway with snow falling, or out on the nullabor in blazing 40 degree heat with a single car every 3 hours if you're lucky, you'd need a hard heart to drive past and leave me to die.
Country Guide: the Scandanavian countries are great, mostly for the reasons above. I had a few long rides in rural iceland where they didn't say a single word the whole trip, I said my destination and the rest was silence. They're a weird people. Ireland is very good , maybe the easiest country, as is France outside Paris. Australia, Canada and the States are decent. England is hard in the south and midlands, but good for rides in the north. Germany is hard, make sure you have a book to read, the selfish pricks. Spain is alright, but the former communist countries are hard to hitch in. Brazil is good, all other latin american countries apart from mexico are more difficult. In mexico, they often want you to pay. Didn't do much hitching in India, as the train and bus is dirt cheap, but I got a couple of rides. Southeast asia is difficult, though sometimes they pick you up for the novelty value. China it was illegal, and I sensed I wouldn't have much luck anyway.

The best advice to get rides is be a woman. If you can't manage that, then go for the clean cut backpacker look. people are interested if they think you're a foreign backpacker, but won't pick you up if they're the least bit afraid of you. you don't want to blend in with the locals when you're hitching. If a local is hitching it probably means he's a homeless vagrant. Embrace your inner gringo, even if means cracking out the pastel t-shirt and shorts.
An obvious piece of advice is you need a good line of sight up the road. There is a certain amount of time drivers need between seeing you, recognizing you as a hitcher, wrestling with guilt and inner demons, then deciding to pull over. You need to make sure they have time to go through each stage before they've passed you. More visual time = more time to feel guilty.
One thing I had a lot of success with, and I wish I'd thought of it in my earlier years of hitching, is carry an acoustic guitar in a case. This advice is gold, trust me. You get a lot more rides, even if like me you can only play the opening bars to Stairway to Heaven. By the time they find this out, you're already in their car. People like to pick you up if they think you're a musician, and it's the first question they ask.
Lastly, the majority of people who pick you up, apart from lorry drivers, are going to be bored middleaged men in shitty sedans. They've gone to the trouble of giving you a lift. You should at least show some conversational interest in their small pathetic lives. It's the decent thing to do.

TLDR: The germans are selfish cunts
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 3:55, 4 replies)
Traveling under false pretenses
As a diminutive 16 or 17 year old before I suddenly shot up in size, I purchased a child ticket for a return journey from Oxenholme(Kendal) to Aberdeen. On the return journey was informed of train time from Aberdeen, and the connection from Edinburgh to Oxenholme. Upon arriving at Edinburgh I found the train to Oxenholme did not exist, panicked and asked a rail employee what to do. I was promptly pointed in the direction of the station managers office. I was informed that as I was a minor they had an obligation to get me to my destination. Phone calls were made and I was put on a train going through Lancaster station, which they kept open specially to allow my safe passage, and a taxi was waiting (paid for by the rail company) to take me right to the door of my humble abode in Kendal. Thank the great Prophet Zarquon I looked half my age!
(, Sat 23 Aug 2014, 16:51, 1 reply)
The worst car in the world
I used to hitch to and from Uni. One memorable time I was picked up by a hippie-looking guy in a Morris Traveller - one of those with the wooden frame at the back. As we trundled along, I noticed that the driver had the seat belt wrapped around his arm, rather than in the more traditional position.

The belt was also wrapped around the door-frame. He was apparently using it to hold the door closed. But no, looking closer it became apparent that the entire driver's side of the car was no longer connected to the rest of the vehicle, except at the front wing; rear of that, the the wood had rotted away, and the entire side was flapping gently in the breeze. Yes, he was using the belt to stop the side of the car from falling off.

Amazingly, we arrived safely, and with a cheery smile he rattled off. A few weeks later I came across the car again: it had completely collapsed, all four wheels splayed out, and the body collapsed into a pile of rust. I wish I'd seen it happen - but from outside.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 17:04, 1 reply)
Coolest hitch EVA
When I was a kid I used to volunteer at the Bluebell Railway - I was into steam engines, as many boys are. Me and a mate would hop off the bus as it went under the line, then scramble up the bank, wait for an engine to puff around the corner, and stick out our thumbs. Since they knew us, they'd stop and we'd hop on to the train.

There's nothing quite as satisfying as the jealous stares from all the trainspotters and their dads as we casually hitched a lift on a steam-train...
(, Thu 28 Aug 2014, 13:57, 6 replies)
I was hitching in the bleak conemara in Ireland when a rather pretty woman in a porsche gave me a ride
now as a very experienced hitchhiker I can tell you this pretty much never happens, the pretty woman/sportscar combination.
Anyway after telling me where she was going we'd maybe driven a mile when I pointed out that she'd missed the turn-off. She braked and started reversing back to the intersection when Bang! she backed straight into a telephone pole, doing a fair bit of damage (to the car. the pole was ok)
We got out and she burst into tears moaning "It's my boyfriends car and I'm not even supposed to be driving it". I didn't know what to say.
And that's pretty much where I left her, by her fucked porsche, thumbing down another car while she sobbed. My dreams of flying across the Irish countryside listening to Kraftwerk and doing lines of coke off her naked thighs in tatters.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 0:28, 4 replies)
the post below reminds me
i used to have a holiday job as a letting agent. most of the properties were in manchester, but we had a couple of blocks in liverpool. this particular day i'd been sent over to do something at the liverpool blocks and was happily on my way back to manchester. i had been allowed to take the boss' super-posh jag* as the others were out on viewings; i had a lovely pipe opening drive on the motorway ahead of me in the sunshiiiiiine; all was well in the world of swipe. but on the way out of the block, you had to jump out of the car to open the barrier, so i did.

then drove back to manchester. bliss. only when i arrived back at the office did i hear a plaintive miaow from the back, and turn around to see that a fucking scouse cat had crept in whilst i had the door open...

my boss was furious that the journey had taken me 2 hours longer than it should have done. when i explained i'd had to take the cat back, he wanted to know why i hadn't just dumped it at the side of the road. as if anyone would do that!

* the next time i got to take the jag, i had a mother and kid that i was taking to look at a house. we got in, and the little girl piped up, "ooh it's like daddy's car." to which the mother actually replied, "no dear, daddy's is a custom made aston martin. these are just mass produced." needless to say, they didn't like the house very much...
(, Tue 26 Aug 2014, 9:58, 52 replies)
Shitty cat.
Hitching from Rottingdean to Brighton - about 23 years ago.

Rottingdean isn't FAR far from Brighton, but far enough you don't really want to walk it - it'll take you well over an hour.
So, living there with a few mates - a brother and sister - we too skint to take the bus, even, so we decided to hitch along to Brighton and spend what few pennies we had on booze and fags.
It turns out that walking to the roundabout (the best place for cars to stop), we picked up a "hitcher" of our own, a young feral cat who walked along beside us. The girl we were with can't resist the cats charms, and picks it up, only to discover it's been rolling in shit. So we left the cat in a field, walked to the roundabout, and got picked up after about 10 minutes.
Got to Brighton, had a few cheap drinks.

Yeah.

Thought nothing else of it.

Until, about 15 years later - me and the same mate were walking back after visiting his parents.
"Shall we hitch back" he says, "for a laugh, see if we still can?"
I agree, and we stick out thumbs out on the same roundabout - and eventually a car slows down and picks us up, so we smile and get in...

The first thing the guy driving says after we get in the car is: "I don't normally stop for hitchhikers. The last lot I picked up - probably about 15 years or so ago were a bunch of hippies - smelled of shit and wouldn’t stop talking about this fucking cat…"

We didn't tell him.
(, Tue 26 Aug 2014, 9:50, 33 replies)
Hitching from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire to Aylesbury , Ducks.
Usual technique, out the gates, cross the road to the lay-by on the southbound and wait. This one time a black Daimler came out the camp gates from which I'd just emerged and stopped. "Whar yew going airman?", demanded a face just south of a cap resplendent in scrambled egg. "Aylesbury sir" says me. "Right" says sir. "Climb in the front with my driver."
The AOC bomber command was on his way back to HQ in High Wycombe and i slid off his magic carpet at the end of our street.
At that time, in uniform, you would hardly ever be passed. Cold War and patriotism what what!
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 21:55, 12 replies)
Back when I was working summers at my dad's steel processing factory
I had to make a run with a transit full of pallets to drop them off someone outside Bristol. Stopping at the services at Michaelwood there were a hippy-looking couple (dreads and paisley), early 20s, thumbing a lift. Following the reasoning that they were probably strapped for cash and looked harmless enough, I pulled over- "Where you going to?"
"We're going to Glastonbury but anywhere further down the M5 you can take us, that would be great".

Oh, so it was Glasto weekend was it? Being a young metalhead Monsters Of Rock was somewhere on my calendar radar but I didn't have a clue about Glasto. Looking at the map I thought- well, it's only about another 30 miles down to the junction they'd need to get off so I can make the extra loop and still deliver the pallets on time.

At this point I should also add that my knowledge about recreational drugs was limited to what I could glean from the Fabulous Furry Freek Brothers comics- and my participation almost nonexistent.

So it was with some incomprehension I witnessed the girl sat in the middle of the 3-seats in the driver cab produce extra long rolling papers, rolling tobacco and a plum-sized chunk of brown/green cannabis resin. Then burn chunks off the edge of the resin and proceed to make a production line of spliffs, presumably to sell at the festival.

I did make some excuse about not wanting to drive while stoned so I opened the drivers' window a bit to let clean air into the slightly fuggy cab while she stacked up the joints and put the gear away in a tasseled bag.

Conversation carried on in a nonchalant kind of way while I wondered how I would explain this to any motorway cops if they happened to stop me, and then we got to the junction where they were getting off, s oI pulled into a layby on the roundabout and let them off.

Amid many thanks and the girl leaning over to give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, I prepared to pull back onto the road, she appeared again at my window with a bright smile on her face. I wound down the window to ask if she'd forgotten anything and she said "For your trouble!" and handed me one of the spliffs.

WOW. THANKS. BYE NOW.

Shit, I am packing contraband now. And when would I smoke it when I couldn't get found out? Where?

In the end I took it home and hid it inside my clock radio and promptly forgot about it until about 6 months later when paranoia kicked in and the only way I thought I could get rid of it without smelling of smoke was to eat it.

Not much happened, my hearing went a bit echoey for an hour or so. Glad it was free, I would have been right narked if I'd have paid for it. Weak ass spliff.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 19:11, 3 replies)
when we were about 14, my friend smithy got on the wrong train in manchester and found himself steaming off to london
the conductor said there was nothing they could do, and he would have to pay the full fare for a return. when he emptied his pockets and clearly had nothing other than his young person's railcard, they made the train do an unscheduled stop to boot him off it. it sounds uncaring, but probably better than taking him all the way to london.

when we were about 17, he tried to get to london without a ticket. seeing the conductor coming towards him, he casually headed for the toilet, and spent the rest of the journey hiding in there. needless to say, they were waiting for him when the door opened, and there wasn't even a whiff of vomit to support his "travel sickness" claim.

and a few months after that, we'd all been out in town, and were sharing taxis home. smithy refused on the basis that it was too expensive, and toddled off to get the nightbus by himself. he woke up a bit later, fast asleep on the floor at the back of the top deck of the 192, which had just gone back to the depot for the night. yep, he'd been all the way home, past it, to the end of the line, and all the way back. he had to bang on the bus door to be let out.

and then had to pay for a taxi all by himself.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 10:04, 18 replies)
Albert Marshmallow saved a fortune on airfares to Miami by making the whole holiday up in the first place.

(, Thu 21 Aug 2014, 16:00, 8 replies)
Travelling for free
not really a "funny" story but a rather nice one instead.

In 2008 I went to New York with my (at that time) girlfriend.

On the last day we visited a kind of all American Diner (I have no idea where about in New York this was). As we were eating our lunch there was a bloke stood near the door of the restaurant, a rather intimidating fella with the slicked back black hair and white shirt pressed to within an inch of its life. An exceptionally smartly dressed and loud bloke, also this was probably the only real true New Yorker i had seen while we had been there.

As we finished our main meal and ordered another drink and dessert (or pudding if you prefer) he approached our table and asked us where we were from, what hotel we were staying in, when were we flying home etc etc. As we had all our documents with us for the flight i was able to give him lots of details. He nodded and explained that he was the owner of the fine dining establishment we were in. He left us to dessert and disappeared.

When the bill (or check) came he brought it to us, told us that the meal was on house and that he had arranged for a car to pick us up from our hotel, he also told us that he had been in touch with the airport (this bit i am not so sure about) and that our flights were all scheduled to land and to take off at the right time.

We returned to the hotel, a little confused and also arguing over whether we arrange a taxi now from the hotel to the airport or actually wait to see if this car arrives that he had arranged.

When the time came lets say 7pm we were in the lobby of the hotel all packed and ready to go when a very large black limo pulled up in front of the hotel, the doorman came to speak to reception, who in turn pointed to us as we were informed our car had arrived.

Free booze in the back of the limo, magazines to take with us on the flight in little travel bags on the back seat, snacks, you name it...COULD I FUCK RELAX..this was the most stressful trip to an airport i have ever had. All the way to JFK i just kept thinking that we were going to get stabbed and raped for our passports and identities etc. Didn't have a drink in case it was drugged, did not eat any of the food I did however take the magazines. Needless to say it was all harmless and the guy just genuinely helped us out.

Yeah it may not be as funny as the other rib cracking, asthma attack inducing shite some of you lot post but AT LEAST ITS FUCKING TRUE!!!!!!11!
(, Thu 21 Aug 2014, 15:13, 1 reply)
Hitcher In Lincolnshire
Many moons ago in my trucking days I had to make a delivery to Boston (Lincs) then on to Horncastle
I was about 5 miles outside Boston when I spotted a guy stood by the side of the road looking forlornly at a very broken down car (hey I was a knight of the road doing my duty) .
Pulled over he asked me if I could take him to the nearest town, Horncastle or nowt he said OK, it was pissing it down we had just pulled away and were making polite conversation and about halfway to my destination in the middle of nowhere, when he pulled out a wodge of bible tracts and started proclaiming that if I didn't stop my sinful ways I would go to hell (not a bad judge of character).
He banged on for about 5 mins at which point I pulled over stopped the truck went round opened the passenger door and invited him to step out and experience a Lincolnshire winter first hand then drove off.
Never stopped for a hitcher since "fuckin weirdos"
(, Thu 28 Aug 2014, 15:26, 4 replies)
MAN DOOR HAND HOOK CAR DOOR

(, Thu 28 Aug 2014, 12:31, 2 replies)
I used to live near Paddington station, and had to travel to Heathrow on occasions
The Heathrow express was a quarter of the time compared to the tube, but was expensive. My solution to fare dodging was to sit in the toilet the whole trip and read the paper, ignoring the occasional desperate hammering. They could hold on 10 minutes to take a shit, couldn't they? This brilliant technique was moderately successful, though sometimes when the train pulled up I'd open the door to three of the conductors waiting and be forced to buy a ticket. "Sorry, I've been shitting through the eye of needle. It's been coming out like fizzy gravy", I'd say, or similar Viz-like descriptions, and they wouldn't discuss it further.
(, Thu 28 Aug 2014, 3:11, 3 replies)
Petty theft
Now there are far too many tall hitching tales on here and not enough petty fare-dodging.

I did do quite a bit of hitch-hiking in Scotland and the Netherlands, nothing overly scary or exciting. Friendly chats mostly.

To illustrate the lack of anecdotes here are the highlights: I recall an English bloke who picked me up at Nijmegen and introduced himself as Squirrel, the road warrior. Nothing more to the story.
Also in the Netherlands a black Golf with tinted glass, banging techno and leopard print interior driven by a platina-blond Russian girl in black latex. I was convinced she was some Russian maffia dominatrix, but the envisioned massive drugs and two-day orgy never materialised. Just a stream of menthol cigarettes were offered.
Finally a driver with 3 frozen rolls of kebab in the back, which he was delivering to a kebab shop his family had. I say frozen but this was a car without airco in a heatwave of 30+ Celsius.

Anyway: fare-dodging. This was in the days when I was not on a lot of money, although I could have afforded the fare for my commute. But as it happens I was also immature and found the high cost of living in London quite unfair.

So I would get on the tube in the morning and touch in with my oyster card, get off at Harrow Wealdstone, there are no gates at that end. I'd walk out without touching out and 9 hours later I would enter Harrow Wealdstone again without touching in. I would then touch out back at the original local station. The oyster card system wasn't as clever then and I was charged me 80p fare for entering the station and leaving again without travel. Regardless of the timespan. Later they put a maximum time on it and charged you the penalty fare after a couple of hours.

The beauty was that there was no actual offence until I left the station and was out of reach. While on the train I was travelling with a perfectly valid oyster card. Sometimes there was a group of inspectors at Harrow Wealdstone: I would touch out and nothing was amiss. On my way back I wouldn't touch in again and change trains to the overground Silverlink connections, their stations did not have gates back then.

TL:DR spoiled expat cries about London tube fares then puts far too much thought into petty crime.
(, Wed 27 Aug 2014, 22:35, 9 replies)
I hitched a ride on a bus once
I didn't have my fare so I started walking home from Paignton to Totnes (about 7 miles) when I was about 17. The bus I usually caught pulled over and the driver invited me on board, saying to all the passengers "don't tell anyone, OK?" to which they all grinned conspiratorially, despite having presumably paid full price. I was quite pleased.
Also, hich-hiking and fare-dodging in one post!
(, Wed 27 Aug 2014, 22:05, 3 replies)
My brother and a friend went hitchhiking to Mont Blanc to enjoy the skiing. On the journey there they
discovered that Mont Blanc and neighbouring mountains had become covered in Saharan sand and the skiing was pretty much cancelled. End of holiday and the slog back to Blighty began. First car to stop was a brand new Mercedes limousine complete with chauffeur and the rear windows came down. There was a couple in the back and they asked where my brother and friend were going. After some dialogue the ruined skiing trip was mentioned and the couple asked the pair if they would like to spend time working at the chateau. They agreed.

The chateau was spectacular and my brother and friend were accommodated in the "servants" building. Meals were with the hosts in the main building. For five days the pair carried out small tasks around the place and that is pretty much the end of the story. Apart from the hosts paid for their flights back to the UK.

No fucking or anything untoward took place. Well done rich frogs.
(, Tue 26 Aug 2014, 18:37, 18 replies)
The vanishing hitch hiker
Another true* story of hitch hiking. Years ago, in a time long before mobile phones, when I had only just started full time work, I was driving on a lonely country road late one rainy night when I was startled to see a young woman walking along the side of the road, with no coat or umbrella. I immediately pulled over, leaned across the front seat to open the passenger door, and asked her if she wanted a lift.

Without a word, she got inside. It was obvious that she was cold and soaked to the skin. Luckily I had a jumper on the back seat so I reached back, grabbed it and offered it to the girl, who was shivering. She whispered thank you and draped the warm jumper over her shoulders, then told me in a quiet, trembling voice that she had to get home that night to see her parents.

As we talked, in the faint light from the dashboard I noticed that her face and hands were scratched and bleeding. When she caught me looking at her injuries she explained that her car had slid off the road and into a ditch. She had stood there for what had seemed like hours, hoping for help; then she decided to walk the rest of the way to her parents' home. I told her that it was no problem to take her right to her parents' front door. Despite of her bedraggled appearance, I could see that she was very beautiful, probably about my own age. She pointed into the darkness in front of us and said that the house was only a few miles ahead.

As I was getting up my courage to ask her for her name, she pointed to a house down a short, dark lane. She asked me to stop, and quickly got out of the car. I protested that I would be happy to drive her the rest of the way, but she was already running away into the night, so with a heavy heart I carried on my journey. As I drove on, I realised she was wearing my jumper. That would be my excuse to drive back to her home and formally make her acquaintance.

The next day after work I drove to this mystery girl's house and knocked on the door. In the light of day the house appeared small and cold, almost huddling down into the bushes around it. I was surprised when an elderly woman opened the door, but I explained how I had given a girl a lift to the house the night before. The woman stared at me, then invited me to come in. As stepped into the hallway I noticed a framed portrait of a girl, the beautiful young girl from the previous night, and I asked the woman if her granddaughter was home.

Following my gaze to the portrait, the woman began to weep. Her darling daughter, she said, was still trying to come home. I listened incredulously as the woman told me that her daughter had been killed in an car accident more than 40 years before. She had been walking home late at night when a car had knocked her down and driven off without stopping. Her lifeless body was found the next day by the side of the road.

I listened to the story, feeling very uncomfortable, and soon made my excuses. As I left the old woman I decided that she must be crazy. The hitchhiker I had picked up that night was no more than 19 years old and very much alive.

Driving home I passed a small country church with a tiny cemetery, and something blowing in the wind caught my eye. I entered the graveyard to investigate, and there was my jumper, draped over a tombstone that marked the final resting place of a young woman who had died 40 years ago.

*for certain low values of 'true'
(, Tue 26 Aug 2014, 13:38, 12 replies)

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