Hitch hiking across borders

Marie Damman
Marie Damman

Hitch hiking can be a really practical solution for backpackers. You get to know some locals, and most of the time, you get free ride. When you are lucky, you can get to the other side to the country with the same ride, for free. Last trip I made it to Fagaras, Romania, to Timisoara, with a German driver. We didn’t pay anything.

This is also something about hitch hiking in Romania: speak German or be with someone who speaks German. There are a lot of people who speak it. Not so many speak English neither do they speak French.

In this case then, hitch hiking is the best way to travel along in Romania. In some case though, it can be dangerous. I tried this with some German friends.

Our plan was to travel to Belgrade, Serbia, from Timisoara, Romania. We had to wait a bit longer than usual and then we had a first car. The young driver of one of the cars we had then asked his dad to pick us up on the way. The dad asked for money and after negotiation, we didn’t want to pay anything.  We left the car and waited for the next one.

More and more people came to us, asking for money in exchange to drop us. Some of the drivers asked for Euros. One of our friends checked the prices online for buses first, so we knew we couldn’t exceed this. We said no to everyone. They kept coming to us until the next car stopped for us.

That guy didn’t ask for anything, but he didn’t stopped where he was supposed. He kept driving to the next village and then to the Serbian border. There, the driver told us he could cross the border. We didn’t want to risk giving him our ID. We crossed by foot. On the line, the driver passed us and asked us again. Once we crossed, he came back again to us. We started walking. On the way, the driver picked up a girl, left her somewhere, and then came to us. We don’t know what happened to that girl, where she could have been dropped off when you know how the Serbian – Romanian border looks like: countryside, flat, and only one road.  The next village was 20 km away.

We were really scared of that driver. We started to walk to the next village. My feet hurt. We got picked up by two young Romanians; really nice and we spent the weekends with them. They also drove us to Timisoara on the way back.

Here is what we have to remember about this: never give money when you go hitch hiking and mostly, never give euros, and be aware of where you should be dropped off, never agree to have something more. It is always risky to cross border by hitch hiking, especially the one I tried. The authorities still try to fight against corruption.

Hitch Hiking can be fun, when you know how to do it, and when you have a good, self-confident partner to travel with.


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