Hitchhiking in Canada
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Hitchhiking is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, and drivers are more hesitant to pick up unknown passengers. But these worries do not deter all, and Canada happens to be one of the better countries in the world in which to travel via walking and catching lifts. Although not desirable due to its danger (you don’t know who is driving, their competence as a driver, their sobriety level or where they may or may not take you).
The first thing to remember is that Canada is a genuinely massive country. Without stopping to sight-see, it takes about ten days to drive from one end to the other. It is thus a better idea to hitchhike through specific provinces and regions, rather than haphazardly through the country as a whole. In general, New Brunswick has been found to be the easiest province to get a lift.
If you want to travel large distances, hitchhike on the national and provincial highways. The Trans-Canada Highway runs through all ten provinces and has links to the three Northern Territories.
Canadians are quite willing to pick up hitchhikers, especially in the western provinces. The best way to travel between urban areas is to hitch a ride from the edge of a city. Tourist attractions are quite popular with the locals, so hitching to one of these is possible. However, an easier way to travel to more rural tourist spots like Whistler or Banff is to advertise on websites that connect hitchhikers with drivers, or to check backpacker's hostel notice boards.
The Northern territories are sparsely populated, with 75% of the population living in the southern provinces. So if you want to visit these regions with their fascinating animal and plant life, you may need to get creative. One way that usually works is to hang around local airports to catch lifts with people coming or going.
Once again, it’s not advisable to hitchhike, but if you have to, keep your awareness and never get into a vehicle that you suspect might be unsafe.