Earth > Americas > North America > Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver
It is illegal to hitchhike Westwards of Golden, BC. Thumbers are issued a fine and drivers are issued a bigger fine. Hitchhiking is not illegal along the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Hwy99 - Vancouver to Whistler). Where it is illegal or cannot be conducted in a safe manner, signs are clearly posted that indicated that picking up hitchhikers is prohibited. (From a September 14th, 2006 letter from Kevin Falcon - BC Transportation Minister reference: #149730).
Hitchhikers frequently pass through the city of Vancouver when going to or from Vancouver Island. The ferry to and from Victoria docks at Tswassen, southwest of the city, and the ferry to and from Nanaimo docks at Horseshoe Bay, northwest of the city. When arriving in the city en-route to the island, it's easy to take a local bus to one of the ferries if you're not able to get a ride straight there. But arriving on the mainland and heading farther east by thumb can be a bit more difficult. If possible, you should try to find a ride from someone while on the ferry boat. Talk with people and/or carry a sign. If you're heading towards Nelson, the Okanagan valley, or the Rockies, try to find a ride with someone going at least as far as Hope.
To leave the city heading east, the best option is to take the Sky-Train to Surrey and then get on a local bus that will take you to Langley - along the main highway 1. From there you can get a ride further east towards Hope.
If you are on your way into Vancouver, try your very best not to get dropped off in Langley, because it is pretty difficult to get anywhere from there - it has little public transit, is very spread out, and people there are generally unwilling to pick up hitchhikers. It is worth it to turn down rides going to Langley and wait for a lift that will get you into the city itself or at least to Surrey, from where you can get a bus to your destination.
(If you do end up in Langley ask the people about the transit, there is a central bus station at Carvolth Exchange- which is on the highway between Langley and Fort Langley - maybe even ask your driver to drop you off there, as you will find a bus that will take you to Surrey and from Surrey you can take the Sky-train.)
East to Hope and beyond
Most populated cities it may be harder to find rides, especially around the Greater Vancouver Area & inward toward the west coast. In order to hitchhike out of Vancouver first take the Skytrain to Gateway Station in Surrey. From a bus stop across the street, a bus will take you fairly close to a certain highway on-ramp on the Trans Canada. Bus drivers will be able to give more specific information.
Another way to hitch east would be to take the Millenium line sky-train to Lougheed Town Centre station, where you take the express bus 555 to Carvolth. It really is an express bus, and thus faster than the ones starting in Surrey. Carvolth is a bus stop right on highway one, between Langley Centre and Fort Langley. At the moment, the on-ramp right next to the bus stop is being renovated, but if you walk a bit back west, you will find another one. (As well as some gas stations with accessible dumpsters.)
To go North
If you want to go North out of Vancouver towards Squamish and Whistler, catch the #257 Express heading to Horseshoe Bay (2 minute walk from the Granville Street Skytrain Station). The ride takes 25 minutes or more, and can be very full of people with luggage near ferry departure times. Try to leave yourself time as drivers with full buses must sometimes pass you by. Get off at the last stop, which is the Horseshoe Bay Ferry terminal. Catch the community shuttle C12 Brunswick and ask the bus driver to let you off near the end of his route at the good hitch hiking spot; they all know where it is. From there you face all the traffic headed north up the Sea to Sky corridor.
Border Crossing to Washington
It is strongly reccommended that you go to the border and clear customs by yourself before trying to hitch a ride, because asking drivers to take you across poses a much higher risk for them. It is not hard to get there by public transport. From the skytrain station Bridgeport, take bus number 351 to White Rock Centre (the bus route goes along the Vancouver-Blaine Hwy, so if you really hate walking, you can get off at Mathew Exchange or South Surrey Park & Ride and try to hitch a ride to the border). From White Rock, take bus C51 to Marine Dr/Stevens St. Cross the street and turn left. You will see a wooden walking bridge on your right side. Cross it, ignoring the No Trespassing sign (it existis because you are entering an Indian Reservation, but the people there are generally not at all fussed about it). Turn left when you get to the paved road, and simply keep going (when in doubt, the sea should be on your right side). The road will lead you straight to the border. From where you exit the bus to the border is about a 3km walk. After you've gone through, there is a little roundabout right next to the toll station where you can easily hitch a ride South. (The toll station man wouldn't let me hitch on that roundabout. He told me I had to be out of his sight. So I walked down highway 5 to look for a spot. the cars were going too fast and no pull over space. Blaine is not a very good place for trying to get south. if you keep walking highway 5 for like 100 meters, you'll see a Subway down on your right. And a Chevron gas station, that's where I went and asked people if they were driving south, not long till I got a ride to Everett. From there I took $2.50 public bus to downtown Seattle.)
Public Transport in Vancouver
Vancouver has three SkyTrain lines with one more set to open in 2016, and one of the biggest trolley bus networks.
The price of one ticket is $2.75 for one zone, and gets more expensive for more zones ($4.00 for two zones, $5.50 for three zones, depending on how far you are going.) On weekends and holidays, as well as any day after 6:30 pm, the ticket is $2.75 for all zones. One ticket lasts for 1hr 30min, and permits unlimited transfers within that time frame. If you tell a bus driver your ticket just expired, they may let you get on with an expired ticket.
On trolley buses, it is sometimes possible to sneak in through the back door (especially for B-line buses buses which allow multi-door boarding, such as the 99 to UBC - everyone goes in through the back door of these) but you should respect the drivers. They are often willing to give you a ride even if you don't have change with you or just explain that you're broke.
Wild camping on the beach (Spanish Banks, Locarno or Jericho Beach) or on the grass nearby is possible, although Jericho Beach Park closes at night. Wonderful view of downtown Vancouver at night. You might see some tents already pitched there! Mosquitoes (tons of them) are a possibility, but it depends on the day : Vancouver is actually known for not having a lot of mosquitoes but we got unlucky.