Do you want to spend the last night of the year in the special and unusual way, but you don’t know how? Do you want to learn how you can go to the best New Year’s Eve ever, while not having much in your pocket? Then read carefully.
Yeah. How to do it? Some people think, that New Year’s Eve is supposed to be the time of big parties, elegant dinners, expensive champanges. “Can you acctually NOT spend a fortune to have a great New Year’s Eve Party?” you can hear the question from over a bottle of the cheap champage at the midnight. Yes, you can. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be another party on the market square in your home town, which anyway can also be nice! (Btw, is this only Polish thing to do parties like this in every town?)
2010 was a year of changes for me. I met wonderful people, hungry of life and adventures. We were at one of the Autumn parties, when someone asked “What about New Year’s Eve?”. No one had any plans yet, suddenly one of the proposals appeared – Barcelona! But how? Of course by hitch-hiking! And so we went.
About the trip itself I will make a post soon, but today some of the most important things about the pratical parts of organizing it (especially for those who never used hitch-hiking before).
Is this actually for you? (“uhmm..?” you’re thinking scratching your head). If you’ve never hitch-hiked before you can feel a little bit lost. Unsure of how it all looks. But if you already have an idea of doing it – that’s great! Everyone started one day, so it needs to be a first time for you, as well. Despite the fact, that I recommend this kind of travelling a lot, if you are starting, you need to remember about few things. Especially when it comes to hitch-hiking in winter.
Hitch-hiking often means long waiting.
Hitch-hiking is unpredictable. You can’t really decide, that you’re going to arrive at this and this time, because you don’t know how long it is going to take. Sometimes you can get stuck at the road and wait, wait, wait and wait. And sometimes you can catch something very fast, and exactly to the point. Unpredictability, a bit of adrenalin and the risk in travelling that way – is the best part of it. That’s true, but you need to have the patience, too.
It’s cold in winter.
I know, surprising. Before you leave your country (depends where you live, but if it’s Central, North or East Europe, then it will be quite cold) you need to expect low temperatures. And low temperatures + long waiting are not the nicest things in the world. Therefore, it’s good to plan some stops on the way (at least those at the beginning of the journey) close to the petrol stations, shops, restaurants or places, where you can go inside for a while and make yourself warm. You can also consider choosing the route for your trip with bigger number of that kind of places – i.e. highways, where you usually travel from one petrol station to another.
If you don’t like talking to people, you are introvert locked up inside yourself and you don’t like people interested in your personal life – think about it once again. This way of travelling, you want it or not, gives you great opportunity of meeting people. You’re gonna meet a lot of them. The drivers will be curious who you are, where you go, why, what for, how, with who, where you are from, how old you are, do you like pancakes? You will also hear this sentence quite often “How can you hitch-hike? Nowadays nobody takes hitch-hikers any more…” from another and another person, who gave you a lift. You’re going to meet people of interesting personalities, you will hear stories of their lives and you will get involved in the discussions about the topics, that you’ve never dreamed before about.
2. THE HAPPY KNOW NO HOURS?
Have I mentioned, that hitch-hiking is unpredictable? Yes, it is. But it has some time constrains anyway. Or rather – you have them. Unless, you plan to go for your New Year’s Eve party together with a trip around the world and nothing limits you – then I’m jealous. However, if you only have the Christmas break, couple of days, one or two weeks, and then you need to come back home/to work/school/wife/kids, then you need to think how much time you can spend on the journey itself, and how much for the actual New Year’s Eve time.
3. AND WHERE TO GO…
When you know how much time you have, then you can decide where you can go (and come back) during that time. If you have only 3 days, then probably going to the other part of Europe is not the best idea, and it would be better to travel somewhere closer. But if you have one or two weeks, then you can go somewhere further. Remember, that reaching opposite sides of Europe by hitch-hiking can take from 2 until 4 or even 5 days one way. Depending what route you choose and if you are lucky enough or not. Therefore, keep it in mind and plan it accordingly, unless you are happy to spend New Year’s Eve party somewhere in the road in the middle of nowhere (which also can be a great adventure;)).
4. WITH JOHN, KATIE OR BEN?
If you want to travel alone – that’s fine. However, the last day of the year is a party time, and the more the merrier. Especially for the beginning of hitch-hiking trips it’s good to have a partner – someone, who will support you in any need, be there when the waiting is getting too long, to get mad together on not stopping cars, smiling to the drivers, share crazy happiness when you finally catch a car and reach the destination and to meet new people together.
Travel partners can be found among your friends, but if you don’t have those at a hand now – internet always helps. There are many websites, where people look for someone keen to travel with them – groups on Facebook and forums.
It’s also important, that you get along with your travel partner, because you don’t want to have only fights during the trip. For short travels, like this, it shouldn’t be the biggest problem, but it’s always nice when you understand each other and have a good time. It’s good to meet in advance before going for a trip and talk about the details.
5. VENICE TODAY, BEIJING TOMORROW !
Plan the route, more or less places to stay and “planned” times of arrival/stay.
Did I say, that you can’t plan anything in hitch-hiking? Well, acctually, you can. A bit. But it’s highly probable that nothing will work from those plans. However, I usually prefer have some things planned, especially when I go somewhere for a short time, I want to see and do many things and I don’t have time for changing them on the go. Of course, you can also do everything spontaneously, which has its charm, as well. On our New Year’s Eve trip to Barcelona, we did’t have anything planned. However, we weren’t in rush, so we were travelling around as we wanted to, going from one place to another. For example – just because we had a place to sleep in the north France, so we crossed it back and forth to get there 🙂
If you want to have a great party in the New Year’s Eve itself, it’s good to check before what these days look like in the place that you go to. It also depends if you want to go to the party, spend the night on the beach or to do something else. When we were going to Barcelona, we didn’t know much about the way that Spanish people celebrate New Year. As it appeared, it was totally different from what we thought. There were no fireworks at midnight, only few people on the market square – not driking, but eating grapes. Fortunately, we had a lot of Sangria and we made our own party together with another 150 Polish people, who arrived with us to Barcelona for that purpose.
When it comes to the places to stay – you can try with couchsurfing or hostels. During the way, you can decide to not to stop for a night, just travel all day and night, sleeping in the cars or waiting on the petrol stations. Just remember, it’s a special night in the year, so finding the couch could not be that easy as usuall. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible (we found one for tens of people on the roof in Barcelona for one night ;)), so it’s worth trying!
Just pack your stuff and hit the road, Jack ;)!
And after you are back – let me know how it was 🙂
Questions, comments? Give me a word below the post, I don’t bite (ok, only sometimes ;)).
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