A Beginner’s Guide to Ride Sharing

in Ecotourism, Green Travel, Travel Advice

Most of us have car pooled to the office, or hitched a ride with friends after a big night out. However when we vacation, most of us tend to travel solo or with our nearest and dearest. But why not embrace carpooling practices when you’re abroad? Ride sharing is a great way to cut costs, minimize your carbon footprint, and make some new friends.

Ride sharing is a relatively new concept, but backpackers have been doing it for years. The message boards of hostels around the world are full of signs advertising for willing travel companions.

In Europe and North America, ride sharing has well and truly joined the digital age. Websites like Eurostop and Hitchhikers in Europe help match up travelers needing transport with drivers looking to fill their vehicles. In North America there’s the similar eRideShare and Ridester. If you’re traveling outside these continents, Digihitch is worth a look. This forum helps travelers and drivers from all over the world connect with one another. Other drivers advertise in the Services: Travel/Vacation section of Craigslist. As ride sharing is a growing practice, new sites are popping up all the time. Search the internet and you’re sure to find one serving your intended destination.

Drivers typically ask their guests to share in the cost of petrol and tolls. If drivers are traveling in their own vehicle, they may also add a small wear and tear fee. And of course there are some generous souls simply happy to share in your company, without asking anything in return.

As with any travel experience which sees strangers meeting, safety is the greatest concern. Modern ride sharing practices are much safer than the old methods of standing by the road with your thumb in the air, but it’s still important to rely on your own instincts. Make sure you chat with your driver, and the rest of your travel group if you can, either online or in person. Ensure they have the same attitude to traveling, and that they don’t set off any red flags. Also make sure to travel light, and with just a little cash on your person, to minimize the risk of theft.

car near waterIf you’re feeling uneasy about your ride sharing arrangements, it’s best to dig a little deeper into your pocket and splurge on public transport or your own hire car. While ride sharing can be a wonderful budget-friendly experience with the right companions, you can’t put a value on your own peace of mind.

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