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Travelling and hitch-hiking Print
A combination of youth hostels and rail passes works well for couples with more than a survival budget, especially when sex is involved. It's more appropriate when planning to visit many places over a short period. For between 26 and 8 euros you get a clean bed, shower and safety. You are likely to pay the top price in modern hostels, located in trendy towns. It also includes breakfast and you can sleep in a double room, provided you had booked a month in advance or travel off-season. They allow you to use their lockers for a few days longer than your stay.

Hitching, my favourite means of travelling is not the most approved in France. Many times I swore after a Peugot or a Mercedes past by my extended thumb. Of course, a good practice is to try everyone, but do not expect a lift from old grannies, mums with kids, Swiss people and Mercedes drivers. Lorries are slow but perfect for long distances especially, on the Paris-Marseille axis. Posh cars stop less often than scruffy ones. Little tricks that will help: neat looks, a female assistant, prescription glasses, a rope sticking out of a rucksack in climbing areas. A board with a destination name on it in often helps as well.

Where to hitch? Approaching drivers at petrol stations gives you at least 10 times higher probability of success than on the road. Asking in French at least trying is a key success factor. Finally, someone will say "yes" to you and a clear "no" expression will appear on their face. Ignore it and entertain them in return for their kind gesture. Most will be grateful for an opportunity to practice their poor English. "Peages", the toll barriers on motorways are your second best option. First try just in front of a gate where they pay by a card for it to open. Here they stop for long enough for you to ask and jump in a car. You might be sent by a traffic person several yards ahead to continue on the side of the road or on a nearby car-park, which works less well. It is completely forbidden to hitch on an international "peage". I have never had luck there. The least effective is hitching on the road. Your chances are better on junctions where cars slow down before pulling in.


  • A combination of Youth Hostels and a rail pass may be the best choice for couples
  • You can enjoy a simple bivvy even in big towns and it will cost you nothing
  • Ask at petrol stations and "peage" to get a lift