United States of America

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The United States of America as a country is divided up into 50 states; for the convenience of the common hitchhiker these states are discussed in detail along with their capitals at the following pages.

Hitching, like everything else in America, varies greatly depending on what type of area and what part of the country you are passing through. In general you can get rides fairly easily if you hitchhike the right way; in fact oftentimes you can find more than just rides, such as offers for free meals, invitations to homes and parties, etc.

In most states you can´t hitch from the interstates (motorways) themselves, but you can always stand on the onramp (entry ramp) like in Europe. In a select few areas (such as certain towns or municipal areas) hitching is illegal everywhere, however de facto it is still allowed. The police in a region may interpret laws related to hitchhiking differently, at times forcing a hitchhiker to choose an alternate route by walking or other transportation. In most cases, though, hitchhiking is legal or tolerated as long as you are not on the interstate itself, where it is rightly considered a safety issue. There are also many limited-access highways (i.e. with on ramps and off ramps) that are not part of the interstate system; these typically prohibit hitchhiking as well (other than at the on ramp).

In the West Coast it's generally easier to hitchhike. In Oregon it's even legal to hitchhike right on the interstates.

Long vs. short distance

If you're going for speed over a long distance (3+ hours), then the best bet is to stay on the interstates (designated by "I-##) instead of local highways. Try to stick to onramps that have truckstops, rest stops, or any other reason for drivers to stop there (restaurants, gas stations, etc.) You can also look for rides at the truck stops themselves, but be discreet about it as some are rather unfriendly to hitchers and will rudely ask you to leave if not call the police on you.

If you are only going a few hundred kilometers, you can often make better time on state or local roads. There are many more places to wait at, and there is much more potential traffic. Most of the traffic on the Interstate system won't be able to notice you while on the on-ramp. Even if you are going long distances, if you aren't concerned about making good time then getting off the interstates can be a very rewarding experience. Local highways and smaller roads will grant you a better picture of what local life is like in that area, and typically offer a greater variety of drivers.


Oftentimes, particularly close to major cities, the police will ask you for photo ID, but as long as you have one with you (such as a passport) there shouldn't be a problem. Most of the time they will be friendly when you come up clean, sometimes even driving you to a better spot.

In some states, like New Jersey and New York State, on the East Coast and Nevada and Arizona in the West, hitchhiking is illegal - though in most it's not. Even if it's not actually illegal, the police can ticket you for loitering or vagrancy.

People picking up hitchhikers

A lot of people in the United States are profoundly religious. If you're not, try to deal with it in a positive way.

More often you will be picked up by really cool people! Most of the time Guaka was dropped off exactly at his point of destination.


On the back of receipts at all Burger King restaurants in the U.S., there is a toll-free phone number and a blank coupon. Call the number and you will be connected to an automated customer satisfaction poll. At the end of the poll, you will be given a code to enter into the blank spot on the coupon on the back of your receipt. The coupon is good for a free chicken sandwich or small whopper with purchase of a drink or fries. At some Burger King's, your meal is free if they don't give you a receipt (there's no way you can lose!).

States of the United States