Often as a nomadic hobo, you will have budgeted your everyday allowance down to the cent. Too often as a nomadic hobo, you will realise that €20 flight you booked a couple of days later than you should have has turned into an €100 flight plus sneaky baggage fees, and your budget is totally fucked. Ryanair (or equivalent) one-cent flights aside, getting from A to B is SO overpriced and stressful. But it needn’t always be. You can save some dough and your sanity, meet some potentially rad or potentially scary-yet-hilarious people and see the countryside, all by using a carpooling website.
These sites allow you to find someone driving along the route you are in need of, with spare seat(s) and for a set price. Using this tool is like hitchhiking, minus the standing around waiting for someone kind enough to pick you up and a large percent of the threat of unwanted fondling and/or rape.
With contact numbers available on the page, you can verify the person’s identity before agreeing to be in an enclosed space with them. If you are super paranoid about the whole situation and believe they could be catfishing you, then I guess you could even webcam with them. But really, you should just get over yourself, live a little and take a risk.
The prices are usually fixed, so don’t try bargain with the driver; remember he/she is kind of actually doing you a favour by allowing you to get in their car. Sometimes the rides can seem a bit pricy, but keep in mind the ups of the situation: you won’t have to pay for any of the petrol, you don’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of money to make your way to an airport, you don’t have to be at an airport 500 hours before the plane even takes off and you get to see the land around you from the ground (way better viewing than in the air, srsly).
The carpooling site with the most credibility and users by far is carpooling.com. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Europe as the owners probably don’t see the point in making the service available to Americans, Australians and other paranoid nations. The site started off in Germany as mitfahrgelegenheit.de (which roughly translate to “with driving opportunity” – lol), and in its home country is extremely popular. Locals even use the site to make quick trips to neighbouring towns and close by cities. Now, the site services the whole of Europe and according to their website, the longest carpool share they made possible was from London to Turkey!
Don’t be scared off by the thought of having to spend hours with a stranger making awkward conversation though, if you don’t click then just go to sleep (or pretend to). It’s perfectly fine to ignore them, you’re both getting what you want, you get to where you are going, and they get your money. However it is recommended you at least try to be social, who knows? You could make a lifelong friend out of this guy/gal!
So go on hobo – have a squiz, meet some locals and save the planet (well, sort of) one share-ride at a time!