It's pretty rare, but is done. While cycling around, I occasionally see people trying, in the most densely populated areas as well as very rural areas. I've done it a couple of times to get out of mountain valleys during the weekends when the post-bus service was minimal or non-existent. However, doing it in an area that has good public transport seems a bit silly to me - with a half-fare card the train or bus ticket is never that expensive unless you're really hard-up for cash.
Not recomended unless you want some family to a) accept you into their car then b) proceed to tell you that you really shouldnt hitch hike unless you get picked up by wierdos ,c) tell you that your country has got it all very wrong ( good point though ) and that d) " what on earth were you thinking by putting on THAT shirt with THOSE trousers.
their child is probably better at your language that you yourself and we'll drop you here for the next cruising wierd family to pounce upon.
other than that ive hitch hiked switzerland and really enjoyed it with rather mixed success at getting where i intended to go.
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It's pretty rare, but is done. While cycling around, I occasionally see people trying, in the most densely populated areas as well as very rural areas. I've done it a couple of times to get out of mountain valleys during the weekends when the post-bus service was minimal or non-existent.
I've done it quite a few times for same sort of reason but I've always just approached people directly and asked them for a lift. It's never failed yet and I guess they can always say no.
But, to get to Luzern I just would take the train.
That's a good point up there about "why don't you just take the train?" Unless you're really hit up for cash (which is a good reason) there is little reason to hitchhike between metropolitan areas. If you check online, there are special fares offered daily at sbb.ch.
If you're flat broke, or have some kind of romantic ideals about hitchhiking, or are travelling to the lost wilderness where postbusses do not go, then here are my tips:
-if you plan on sticking your thumb out, you're going to be doing it all day and night. Head instead to a gas station, cafe, or large meeting place. Strike up a conversation (if your German is only three words then use all three of them plus some smiles) about how cool their car is, pick up their dropped keys, etc... show them that you're a relaxed normal person.
-don't be desperate. They can take you or leave you. There will always be another ride coming along. Don't ask every single car at the gas station. Save your energy and charm for "the one." You will know "the one" when it drives up.
-Fer gawd's sake take a shower, ya bum. I can smell you from here.
-If your ride is exiting the freeway before you are done travelling, have them leave you at a rest stop or a freeway gas station. If they take you into the city you will never get out again.
Personally I have never needed to hitchhike, but from a friend who is a regular hitch hiker, Tom1234's advice is exactly the technique she uses - ie go to a service station etc and approach other people who you choose and ask them for a lift. She never accepts lifts from people who spontaneously offer...
I've done this quite a few times with much success in the mountains and in all three language regions of Switzerland. Pretty much every time I end up having a nice conversation with the person who's picked me up. Being a man, I surprisingly have been picked up by women driving alone several times as well. One of the more interesting characters was a chimney sweep.
All in all, I recommend it--at least in the mountainous regions--as the people are friendly and I've never had anything even approaching a bad experience--only good.
Unfortunately I think this kind of thing is like shark attacks: statistically speaking they're insignificant, but that doesn't stop people from worrying about them.
It's true the transportation is super easy in Switzerland but like everything else it is expensive... I can get a train in Germany or Italy for a 3 hour trip for like 10-15 euro but to get to Geneva which is also takes about 3 hours its 82 chf! If I want to go all across Switzerland, I don't see myself having enough money to take a train to the places I want to go.
So being a broke student with a boyfriend who is even more broke than I, I'm feeling like hitchhiking is a pretty good idea.
Thanks for all the advice. It seems like everyone has had pretty good experiences and I don't feel that worried since the swiss seem super nice and I won't be hitching alone.
We wanted to go to Luzern & Interlaken then just sort of wherever in the Alps for lots of exploring and hiking. Since everyone says its best in the mountainous regions, it's really seeming like it'll work out. Thanks everyone!
Went to the store yesterday and saw someone standing by the entrance ramp to the autobahn with a large backpack and holding a cardboard sign saying "LAUSANNE". When I passed by again about 10 minutes later, I saw a police car stopped on the side of the road and 2 officers talking to the apparent hitchhiker. Just wondering if hitchhiking is legal in Switzerland?