Hitchhiking and Corona

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The Covid 2019 pandemic and the public reaction to it that as of April 2021 are ongoing and don't show any concrete signs of ever ending have affected many parts of public and private life. It could be expected that they would also render hitchhiking a much more difficult and precarious way of travelling, however this is not necessarily the case. In this article we gather some information about hitchhiking in the times of Corona.

Apart from the fact that there are currently numerous rules in place to keep people from travelling, it is fairly difficult to get any reliable information about how the pandemic has affected hitchhiking itself. Only anecdotal evidence is available, and that can be quite contradictory.

Legal Problems

Do you have any information about any laws that have been passed that specifically impact hitchhiking? Post them here.

Possible issues are the obligation to wear masks in public space which exists in multiple areas, and conditions that are imposed on crossing borders. However the extent to which these regulations are enforced vary, eg. in Spain and France there is little control and negotiation is often possible. When crossing borders, hitchhiking can work to your advantage if you catch a ride in a car that has the right license plates.

It's safe to say that rules are changing constantly and every country has their own rules. You may have to show a negative corona test and/or vaccination status at borders. You may be forced to quarantine for any number of days. Wearing a face mask may be compulsory inside and even outside. It's probably good to have some idea of the current rules when going from one country to another.

Respect and Safety

Of course it is everybody's own choice if they feel comfortable hitchhiking or travelling at all in the context of a global pandemic, even if the severity of this pandemic is debated by some people. When hitchhiking in this context, in can be respectful to ask the driver who stops for you if they would prefer you wearing a mask, sitting in the back, driving with the windows open -- the great thing about hitchhiking is that it is possible to personally negotiate the level of comfort and safety needed by everybody involved.

Considering the amount of people you come in contact with during a typical hitchhiking trip, hitchhiking can actually be a safer way of travelling than taking a train or especially a bus. It's possible to focus this fact even more by avoiding short rides and aiming for less, but longer rides.

Experiences

Zenit has been hitchhiking on a weekly basis nearly all through 2020 and 2021. To him, it does not seem that hitchhiking has become more difficult at all, in fact he has even been picked up by some people who suffer from social isolation and needed somebody to talk.

Warlo Has hitchiked sparsely thru the pandemic and noticed no significant difference, particularly in Germany where rides are quick and plenty as usual. Also he is very surprised how up until this writing, no driver (and passengers if any) were interested in his offers to wear a mask, sit in the back, etc.

Platschi hitchhiked in Uruguay during the peak of the pandemic and found it very easy. Short waiting times, 1 out of 3 drivers were wearing masks, nobody asked but out of politeness he wore masks inside the vehicles. Hitchhiked without mask outside but put it on as soon as a vehicle stopped. Absolutely no problem.

Rebew hitchhiked from Berlin to Denizli after the vaccines were mostly rolled out, in July 2021. Masks are optional and most drivers do not care. However, if you thumbed with the mask anywhere on your body, it significantly reduced the chance of getting picked up. In Western countries you would sometimes get asked for your vaccination, but mostly because the drivers were scared of infecting you, not the other way around.

4Lus hitchhiked through the western balkans (Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina in August and September 2021. For the most part, there are no notable limitations. Drivers don't care for the most part, the pandemic often was a topic of conversation, a lot of people are very sceptical about the vaccination so it is likely that your drivers will be unvaccinated. When crossing borders, you will be asked to provide either a negative test or a certificate of vaccination.

Countries

Europe

updated 23.5.21


EU Agreed on a common certificate that should allow free movement within EU-States starting 1st of June. Everyone that has been vaccinated, recovered or has a negative test should be able to move freely within most of Europe(link).


EU and Schengen-States highly restrict entry from non member countries. Within the EU travel to some extent is still possible. You can find info about most entry rules and local measures here:

https://reopen.europa.eu/en

Germany

There will be no more free testing starting from the 11th of October, 2021.

Citizens are able to get free tests (result should be available within 15-30 mins). You get a certificate via email that you can use for border crossing, going into some venues, etc. The procedures vary a lot from place to place, sometimes you have to register online for an appointment with a German address (so it's better bring an ID without an address, like passport, if you don't have a German address). There are a lot of centres, so if one refuses to test you for free, simply try another one. Just ask for "kostenloser Corona-Test" or "free citizen test". Better make sure it is in English as well if you want to use it for entering another country.

Germany requires vaccinations or negative tests for most venues and restaurants. Registration is usually done with either the CovPass app (scanning your EU-GreenPass QR Code) or the Luca app, which anonymously collects contact information but doesn't check for testing or vaccination.

Updated 04.09.2021

Check the Corona-Einreiseverordnung for the latest information.

Upon entering from any foreign country, travellers need to provide either a negative test, proof of recovery or vaccination record. Germany differentiates between high-risk and virus variant regions as follows:

  • If entering from a high-risk region, you need to quarantine for ten days. This quarantine can be ended by providing either a vaccination record or proof of recovery before entering.
  • If entering from a virus variant region, you need to quarantine for fourteen days. This quarantine is mandatory even if vaccinated.

You need to register online before entering, otherwise you can be sent into quarantine until you've provided the necessary documents.

Germany is a federal republic, so every federal state can have its own rules and even cities can decide on their own rules. As of Sept. 2021, most of the rules are out of effect for you if you're vaccinated.

Sweden

updated 30.4.21

negative test required for:

  • every foreign national aged >= 18

accepted test:

Antigen, TMA, PCR and LAMP; max 48h old; language: Swedish, English, Norwegian, Danish or French

quarantine:

  • recommended for 7 days, NOT MANDATORY

contact rules:

  • "The police has the right to cancel or dissolve an event that has more than eight attendees."

accomodation:

  • no restrictions

curfew:

  • no


misc info:

  • Entry via Denmark (bridge or ferry) should be ok(transit). Probably better find a direct ride from Germany to Sweden. It should be rather easy from Puttgarden (ferry) as the ferry runs pretty much non stop every 30min and is one of the main routes from Germany to Sweden. The ferry goes to Denmark so make sure the car goes further to Sweden afterwards!

Official information

https://visitsweden.com/about-sweden/information-for-travellers-corona-virus/

France

updated 10.6.21

entry requirement:

  • vaccinated
  • recovered
  • tested (PCR or antigen; max 72h; sworn statement about contacts and symptoms; free testing in Germany!)

curfew (23.00-06.00): will be lifted by 30.6.

gatherings/contact: max 6 people

Official information

coronavirus-covid-19-the-situation-in-france

coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france

Spain

Land borders between Spain and Portugal are supposed to be closed until some point in May 2021. Coming in from France, you need a PCR test in most all cases.

Netherlands

As of some point in May the Netherlands will be forcing people to quarantine for 10 days. This is on top of the requirement of showing a negative test.

Belgium

Quarantine unless you're staying less than 48 hours.

Switzerland

updated May 2021

Switzerland requires testing if a) you arrive by plane, or b) you have spent time in one of the risk countries in the ten days before arriving. In the latter case, you also need to quarantine for ten days. Switzerland does not ban anybody from entering. You are required to fill in a form prior to arrival, but only if you're coming from further than from a border area. It might not be required to fill in the form if you're not travelling by public transport, but this is a bit unclear. More info on the official website.

South America

Uruguay

Update: August 6, 2021

All borders by land to Argentina and Brazil are closed, inbound airline traffic exists. There's a Buquebus ferry to Buenos Aires twice per week, with infrequent schedule and short-notice changes which tend to be not announced. Entry to the country is only permitted for Uruguayan citizens, residents or for travellers with special permits which must be applied for beforehand (family reunion, business).