I would like to share with you my experiences with hitchhiking. As you know, every country has its customs, unwritten rules, approach to hitchhikers. Here you can learn how to hitch-hike in Poland and Slovakia.
Hitch-hiking in Poland is quite popular. In 1957 it was legalised and formalised: hitch-hikers were buying special booklets with coupons. The coupons were given to drivers who took hitch-hikers. Drivers with the highest amount of coupons could exchange them for a prize, the rest took part in a lottery. The system officially discontinued in 1995 but the traditions of hitch-hiking have survived until today.
In Poland you stop the car simply shaking your hand with the index finger pointed at the road or by sticking the thumb of the outstretched hand upward with the hand closed. Both metods are accepted. You can also write your destination on the sheet of paper and show to the drivers. It may help but is not necessary.
If you want to get out of the big town or city make sure you are standing on an exit road. If you are not sure that you chose the right place, ask someone. People may know where is the best spot for hitch-hiking.
What about hitch-hiking on a countryside between small villages? Paradoxically, it may be easier. Public transport doesn't run frequently there so people are used to hitch-hike between the villages or give somebody a lift to the nearest town.
Hitch-hiking in Poland is for free, no tips required.
How to get to Zakopane? - read here.
More about hitch-hiking in Poland on Hitch-hiker's Handbook.
Hitch-hiking in Slovakia is not so easy. The first thing is that Slovakian drivers rarely stop. Sometimes you can wait for a car e.g. 2 hours in one place. Many cars pass you but nobody stops. You can stuck mainly on B roads, but the main ones are considered to be unfriendly for hitch-hikers too. The second thing is that Slovaks often drive only for short distances. It means that your journey will be divided into many pieces.
Hitch-hiking Slovakia is for those who have much time and patience.
Close to some touristic spots you may expect that hitch-hiking will go easier because visitors from other countries stop more often. Many tourists from Poland, where hitch-hiking is popular, visit Slovakia during holidays and weekends. Coming home they can give you a ride on a longer distance. You can also count on foreign trucks driving through Slovakia.
Finding accommodation close to touristic sites is not difficult in Slovakia. There are many possibilities and types of lodging – hotels, guest-houses, farm stay, cheap private quarters and other. The problem may appear when you suddenly end up in a small not popular among travelers village. Better ask the driver if the place you want to go is good to sleep there.
What is important - hitch-hiking in Slovakia is for free.