Hitch hiking in New Zealand is legal and comparatively safe. Kiwi's are usually a friendly bunch and will regularly stop to pick up hitch-hikers in need. If you're on a budget and not in a hurry, hitching is a great option for travel in NZ.
New Zealand Coastline by Connie Chan www.clickthisphoto.com
Increase your chances of getting picked up by being prepared. A tidy appearance is very important, for guys make sure you've shaved recently. If you are carrying a large backpack, keep it visible; people are more likely to stop for foreign travelers as they're usually friendly and tell better stories. Finally, and most importantly, prepare a sign that says where you are going with "please" and "thank you" included; it really does pay to be polite. A sign is also good for use as an umbrella if the weather turns bad.
Stay safe when hitch hiking by using common sense. Stand a safe distance back from the road! If you're ever in someone's car and you feel unsafe, simply ask the driver to pull over. Finally if you have a phone, txt your whereabouts and the license-plate number of your ride to a friend just in-case anything goes wrong.
Hitchhiking still has an element of risk as it would do in any other developed western country and woman are advised not to hitchhike alone.
For the independent backpacker, travel on a tight budget is an every-day reality. Getting from A to B when you can't afford a bus ticket can sometimes be tough! Still, it's important not to let money hold you back, especially when travel on-the-cheap can be one of the most exciting things you'll do in New Zealand.
If you want to find someone to travel with before you start have a look at internet ridesharing.
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