Ten Tips for Hitchhiking in Argentina

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An Argentine trucker. photo: Ryan Rambo
Hitchhiking is legal throughout Argentina and is making a comeback among young backpackers. In more remote areas some locals hitchhike everyday, as it is the only mode of ‘public’ transport available.

Be ready for anything as hitchhiking can be testing and occasionally fun and exciting.

Here are ten quick tips to make your hitchhiking adventure more enjoyable and safe

 

1. Camping Equipment: A camp stove, tent and sleeping bag allow you to move and sleep anywhere. Always carry matches, a flashlight, a pen and other emergency supplies such as a first-aid kit.

2. Food, Water and other necessities: Argentina is vast. Be sure to carry enough food and water on you for a couple days, just in case you get stranded somewhere without amenities.

3. Nutrition: It can be difficult to stay healthy on the road. Noodles or rice mixed with tuna make for good dinners—as long as you have a stove. Bread, cheese and salami, fruits and nuts make for good lunches. All can be purchased at any supermarket.

4. Service stations and truckers: Gas stations are the backbone of the hitchhiking world in Argentina. Truckers tend to stop at these stations, usually located on the outskirts of cities. Don’t be afraid to ask them where they are going and if you can join them. This is the best way to get rides.

5. A dedo: Using your thumb can be effective but having a sign makes you more noticeable. Don’t be afraid to be creative and humorous. Try to appear clean and friendly. White or bright clothing is ideal. Keep in mind that you are quickly judged based on your looks. The more you look like a serial killer, the lower your chance of getting a ride.


6. Patience: Have lots and lots of patience. It is the only skill required to hitchhike. It could take all day or it could take thirty seconds — you never know.

7. Safety: Realize that hitchhiking can be dangerous. Use common sense and be safe. Don’t stand close to the road’s shoulder and make sure there is a safe place for the car to pull over. Hitchhiking can be dangerous for women traveling alone.

8. Travel light: The more baggage you have the less likely you are to get a ride.

9. Speak Spanish: Communication is important. Many people who pick up hitchhikers like to talk. Sometimes it is the reason they pick you up. You can hitchhike without Spanish, but it can be a bit more difficult and awkward. Forget your ego and make the effort.

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10. Have fun: There are hard moments on the road, but don’t forget why you are traveling in the first place.

Hitchhiking in Argentina: Gear, Patience, Safety

 

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