I love to hitchhike. It’s fast, cheap and takes you down roads you never thought you would travel, with people you never thought you would travel with. This time last year, I was hitchhiking from Crawley (south of London) to Zagreb in Croatia. The Key? Pack light and dance regularly. Here’s my hitchhiker’s guide to packing for Europe.
Ideally the fewer clothes you have on you the better. Everything should be easy to match and low maintenance. Bright colours are best so that you can be seen on the road. I wore a bright green T-shirt and denim shorts every time I was going for a lift.
2 x shorts
2 x leggings or tights
3 x vest tops/ T- shirts – long sleeves in winter
7 x knickers
2 x bras
2 x socks
1 x warm hoodie or sweatshirt
1 x sunglasses – don’t wear these when you are trying to get a lift. Potential drivers want to see your eyes
1 x bikini
1 x pac-a-mac – preferably light, warm and waterproof
An excellent pair of hike boots is a must, you can spend long days roaming cities, and trekking down roads for lifts so you must be stable at all times. Then again if you are going near the sea you’ll want your flip flops too.
1 x good fitting hike boots
1 x flip flops
Let’s put this out there. You may not be able to wash everyday, as you don’t know where you’ll end up. Personally we managed to make it to a city and a hostel or our gracious driver’s house every time, so we could wash frequently, but it depends on your hitchhiking style. I brought dry shampoo and never used it but again, if you are planning on camping along the way it might be a good idea.
This may be one of the few trips you won’t want to bring your laptop on as most days are spent travelling there is no time to mess about.
1 x Kindle 3G – NOT for reading in the car. Always talk to your driver. For google maps in cities you don’t know
1 x mp3 – for when you are at the side of the road
1 x travel adaptor
1 x phone – keep people updated on where you are and where you are going
Certain things will help you get picked up or be useful for unpredictable stops.
1 x Large roll of laminated paper and whiteboard pen – The bigger the better so you can write down potential destinations for drivers to see.
1 x small sleeping bag – for emergencies and hostels where they charge for bedding
1 x German Phrasebook – German is more popular in Europe than you think. It’s the second language in a lot of countries, it’s useful in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Northern Italy, Hungary, Poland, The Czech Republic… I could go on. It would be my language tip
Snacks – The road is long and sometimes empty, so it’s a good idea to keep a couple cereal bars on board, but not too many.
1 x Water bottle – long car journeys make you thirsty don’t risk dehydration.
Passport – and all visas you need
1 x European Road Map – Yes it’s a big book, but it can help you see where you are going when you are travelling and give you an idea of what road you need to be on in order to acquire a life somewhere.
Do I bring a tent?
This is completely up to you. Are you planning on camping? Or is it a last resort type of thing? If you are planning on saving money by camping in parks then by all means take one, however, if you are just bringing it in case you get stranded, you can probably leave it at home. You will almost always end up with somewhere to stay.
>> Check out George’s review of her backpack.