The Truth About Ride Shares
Getting rides from strangers can be daunting, especially in a foreign country where you may or may not speak the language, but bus fares, train rides and flights can sometimes be so ghastly expensive that you may need to start seeking alternate forms of transportation. Although you are responsible for your own safety while traveling, I have compiled a list of ways to get you a ride share easily, quickly and safely.
1. Check Hostel Bulletin Boards:
Most of the hostels I have stayed at have a community bulletin board where you can find out about events. Some that I have stayed at have a sheet where people can sign up if they either need a ride somewhere or have extra space in their vehicle. If a hostel offers this, it is usually my first option because I am able to meet the people who are giving me a ride and hang out with them at the hostel before hand.
There are a few different websites that you can use when seeking travel/ride companions. Finding people online is a great option if the hostel doesn't have a ride share option. Your best bet is to find a ride via couchsurfing.com or FaceBook. I have gotten some ride shares off of craigslist before but be careful because it can be sketchy so just use caution. In the UK you can go to websites like liftshare.com which is the largest car sharing community.
3. Uber pool:
Uber is an app you can download on your phone and have a car pick you up and drop you off where you need. Theres a "pool" option which means you'll be sharing the cost of another rider along your route. If I have time I always select the pool option to save money
4. Staying Safe:
I have never had a negative ride share experience although I do take some necessary precautions to feel reassured and have peace of mind while traveling with strangers. If you meet online, ALWAYS check out the person's FaceBook, Couch Surfing profile or other social media to make sure that they are real, seem trustworthy and have good ratings/reviews. If you contact someone and they have negative reviews on Couch Surfing, I avoid catching a ride with them. Before I get in the car with someone, I always trust my intuition and get a feel for their vibe. Have a conversation before you step in their vehicle and always meet in a public place. If you feel creeped out or unsure, you are not obligated to anything. You can always walk away and say no thanks.