Be careful. To an intrepid traveler, hitchhiking can be great for “connecting with locals and foreign cultures.” But keep your eyes open to the dangers. It’s a good idea for beginning hitchhikers to travel in pairs “for a little more security.” Women should be particularly careful and “know when to say no.”
Know the culture. In Europe, as in North America, the way to signal for a ride is usually a thumb out. In Latin America, “flip up your wrist” in a stopping motion; in India, the signal is a “little hand-wave-down” gesture. In some areas, it’s also customary to pay the driver the equivalent of bus fare.
Size up the ride. If someone pulls over, “chat with them” first. Look at the condition of the car—“Are there beer cans strewn about? What does it smell like?”—to find out more about the personalities of those inside. They will most likely be “doing the same thing” to you.
Source: The New York Times