Pay attention to the different hitchhiking rules in countries!

Hitchhiking - many associate the travel method, which was particularly widespread in hippie times, with freedom, adventure and cosmopolitanism.

But watch out! Hitchhiking is not allowed everywhere. / Hitchhiking rules in countries

Stand on the side of the road, hold up your thumb or a sign and wait for someone to stop their car and pick you up: hitchhiking is always practical and inexpensive. Nevertheless, one hears again and again about dangers and security gaps. However, many people do not even know that hitchhiking is even forbidden in some countries and sometimes take great risks with hitchhiking. To prevent this, it is worth taking a look at the various state regulations.


Hitchhiking is allowed in almost all European countries. For example, while it is quite normal and socially accepted in the Czech Republic and Poland to hitchhike, there are regulations or bans in other countries that must be observed.


There is no tramping ban in Germany, but you have to follow a few rules. So it is always important to observe the rules of the Road Traffic Act (StVO). Other road users must not be endangered or hindered. So hitchhiking on the Autobahn is a no-go. Because hitchhikers are considered pedestrians, § 25 StVO is particularly important. Therefore, the sidewalks must always be used. Only if sidewalks or hard shoulders are not available, the road may be entered. In addition, you have to walk on the left side of the road outside of built-up areas. In town, the side of the street is irrelevant.


In Austria, hitchhiking on motorways and expressways is prohibited. In addition, in Carinthia and Vorarlberg you are only allowed to hitchhike from the age of 14 and in Styria from the age of 16.


Italy is much stricter: hitchhiking with an outstretched thumb is forbidden throughout the country. For example, if you are caught on a freeway, on slip roads or at a toll station, you may have to pay a fine of more than 100 euros, both as a hitchhiker and as a car driver who is stopping. Addressing drivers directly at parking lots or petrol stations, on the other hand, is permitted.


The rules in Spain are comparable to those in Italy. Hitchhiking by sticking your thumb out is forbidden. If you do it, you will be warned or even face a fine.

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In Africa, hitchhiking often even replaces public transport. Riding on trucks or on their loading areas is very popular, especially in Sudan. Good to know: In order to be taken away in African countries, you shouldn’t stretch your thumb, but let your outstretched arm rock up and down with your palm open.


Basically, hitchhiking in Asia is allowed. But beware! In Near Eastern Israel, the traditional “thumbs-out” gesture is the sign used by prostitutes to identify themselves to potential customers. To hitchhike in Israel, you stand on the side of the road and point your index finger in the direction you want to go.

Warning: Singapore and Hong Kong are among the countries that have completely banned hitchhiking.


While some states in Australia have no issue with hitchhiking travel, others have a ban in place. Due to several incidents, Queensland, for example, responded with a general ban. You can now find ride-sharing offers on bulletin boards in backpacker hostels and youth hostels.

United States

There is no uniform regulation in the USA either. Hitchhiking is legal in 44 of the 50 US states. However, the hitchhikers are not allowed to stand on the road to intercept a ride. On the other hand, if you stay on the hard shoulder, sidewalk or driveway, there are no problems.

Hitchhiking is illegal in the following US states: New York, Illinois, Tennessee, New Jersey, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. In some cases, fines of up to 2500 US dollars are threatened.

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