Is Craigslist Rideshare Safe?

Is Craigslist Rideshare Safe?

In the 21st century there is pretty much an app for everything for everything social. If you want new friends, partners or advice you can get it without the trouble of having to meet a “stranger”.

The same applies to hitchhiking, there is hitchhiking groups on Facebook where you can find a hitchhiking partner. Websites exist to finding rides, the most prominent (at least in the US where regular hitchhiking is illegal in some states) is Craigslist’s Rideshare. On the website anyone can post either a rideshare offered from A to B or a rideshare wanted from A to B and a little about themselves.

I have used the service three times, Boston to New York, New York to Boston and Chicago to St.Louis. Three males, one White, one Filipiono and one Black of varying ages. In cities that are difficult to hitchhike out of. Has it been safe each time?

Yes without a doubt, I have ended up grabbing a beer with two of the guys actually because they were just great people who had a long drive and were looking for company, also maybe trying to build up some good karma. Would it be safe for a girl though?

Probably safer than regular hitchhiking because you could in theory request the persons Facebook first through the Craigslist emails and their car’s registration plate so at least you know who’s car your getting in to. I know girls who have used rideshare to get places but never hitchhiked normally.

With Craigslist’s Rideshare are you expected to pay though? is another thing I wondered. I personally have not paid for gas on any of the three rides. Usually if its a Ride Offered gig you are responding to where the persons asks for money towards gas you can negotiate a deal whereby its still much cheaper than getting a bus or just say straight out, hey I’ve got no money and explain why. Say your a broke student or a tourist without many bags and you will still probably get offered a seat.

The important thing here is to demonstrate what a regular human you are. In your rideshare wanted add or in the response to an offered rideshare put in the extra effort to make this person want to sit with you for hours in a confined space. Post a nice photo (very important), your age, name, story (why you are going from A to B) and some stuff you like (music etc.), volunteer work you have done. A link to something else like Facebook, your Couchsurfing a/c or Youtube channel etc. will boost your chances too. I usually offered to send a scan of my ID too if they wanted (one guy requested it).

Then you exchange numbers and organize a place to meet in town at a certain time.

Simple as that and probably more safe than regular hitchhiking or in some cases I bet even riding the bus.

 

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Scoring a Craigslist Labor Gig

Scoring a Craigslist Labor Gig

I try to live a life of minimal expense on the road. Never paying for transport or accommodation and sometimes not even my food, yet we still need cash to support ourselves now and then. Unless you want to beg on the street that is, but most of us don’t and if you are willing to work in a country where you speak the native language then you can find cash on the road.

I’m in the US right now, a country which fits the cash on the road criteria;

  • Speak the same language
  • Living costs and wages are high
  • The people are generally lazy

So I hit up craigslist to find some cash-in-hand while in Chicago. If you check out the gigs section you will find lots of once of cash in hand jobs.

I generally search the laboring ones but there’s also catering, driving, “stand around nude if your a hot girl” gigs etc. if that’s more up your street.

Be wary of scams, a real advert will seem genuine and list the general area of town plus the hourly wage, not something like “Make Cash $$$ 5 Easy Steps”

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In this example the advert “Tired of not find jobs” second from bottom is clearly a scam (no info, no address) but the rest look genuine.

Whatever job you find to be suitable, in a good location and at a good time with good rates then be sure to shoot a reply.

The employer probably has lots of enquirers so make yours stand out and write a descriptive lengthy reply.

So tell him/her about yourself, your height and build, list experience and attach a photo of you working. Be punctual.

Let him/her know you can be at the address on time and that you are drink/drug free and have never stood in front of a judge.

The employer will never really care if you have a working visa or not since these jobs are usually cash in hand at the end of the day, just have a working mobile phone with a local sim-card.

I made $250 in one and a half days work for helping to empty truck loads of furniture, it was easy money and your lunch is usually bought too.

I worked the amount of hours described over the phone and was given cash straight away after, that was that.

Bribing Border Police in Romania

Bribing Border Police in Romania

Ever forget to buy a Romanian Vignette? We didn’t forget to buy it, we just didn’t bother because we are a special kind of idiots.

A Vignette Tax is a compulsory road tax which is needed in many European Countries such as Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. You need to buy one if you drive through each of these countries. Usually they are bought at any of the petrol stations near the border and can be bought to cover you for one week, a month, a year etc.

We never bought one this time in Romania, only remembering the vignette just a few days before driving to Bulgaria. We decided to chance it and see what happens since we had already been driving around Romania for a week without any police-officer noticing a lack of a Vignette displayed on the car’s windscreen.

We approached the Romania/Bulgaria Border near Ruse in Connor’s Peugeot 206, there was little traffic so we drove straight up to the first checkpoint.

The police-officer lady asked us for the car’s documents, that’s the log book or some form of proof that Connor owned the car. She also wanted to see proof he had Insurance, his regular UK insurance covered all countries of the EU so a printed sheet with the details sufficed.

Next she wanted the vignette… shit. So we played dumb.

“What? Who? We don’t speak Romanian”

We were ordered to pull over to the side and summoned into a little office by another police officer, this time male.

“You have no Vignette”

“What? we were unaware?”

“You need Vignette, No Vignette then pay”

He wrote out €260, and pointed at the numbers.

We kept on looking surprised and saying stuff like, “what we were never told” and “we are students, haven’t got so much money” etc. Every lame excuse under the sun not to pay. This went on for about 10 minutes, until the guy was getting seriously annoyed. Myself and Connor were prepared to stand around all day though, so then our officer left to get his boss in a huff.

A woman in her forties returned, pencil skirt and shirt. All business like and she wrote out €260 on a piece of paper just like the guy did.

“What no, we are students” and so on we began talking nonsense again (we weren’t students but were fairly broke).

She then wrote down €50 on a piece of paper.

“For you, but normally this (pointing at paper saying €260)”

Connor then produced US $50 from his wallet, she didn’t look too amused but took the money from his hand.

She then warned us that the police in Bulgaria would not be so nice and told us to leave.

Another day hustling in Eastern Europe, but it could have all been avoided by just buying the stupid €10 Vignette in the beginning.

I hope this story however demonstrates the fact that you can bargain in Eastern Europe over anything (including fines). I have no doubt that $50 went into her pocket and we were marked down as having the Vignette to begin with. Everyone wins and cash is king.

My advice would be to buy the Vignette anyway.

 

15 Tips to Save Money Backpacking Europe

15 Tips to Save Money Backpacking Europe

1) Travel in Eastern Europe

The prices of everyday backpacking necessities in Europe such as pasta, beer, buses and hostels will vary greatly depending on your area. Needless to say if your a broke bagpacker then head East (especially if you smoke) to save money backpacking Europe.

As a general rule Scandinavia and Iceland are the most expensive (around €25 for a bed in a hostel dorm). You will probably feel short here too.

Then comes Western Europe or the countries which use the Euro currency, the UK and Switzerland (around €15 for a bed in a hostel dorm).

Then there’s Central Europe, the EU countries without the Euro like Hungary, Poland and Croatia (around €10 for a bed in a hostel dorm).

Eastern Europe comes a big sickle and hammer Soviet first, cheapest but definitely not least interesting. All of the Eastern countries that are outside of the EU such as Ukraine, Albania and Serbia. (Around €5 for a bed in a hostel dorm).

Turkey doesn’t geographically apply to the rules because of it’s stupidly high alcohol taxes and the fact it’s more developed then Eastern Europe. So to avoid any confusion let’s just leave Istanbul in the Asia category.

2) CouchSurfing

Getting accommodation without paying for it will certainly help keep your travels prolonged. Couchsurfing isn’t always straight forward but it certainly can work wonders and isn’t just limited to writing requests on Couchsurfing.org.

You can try posting on back-packer FB pages to find hosts or meet people at Couchsurfing meetings. Be positive and outgoing and you should be able to find a host in every city that has over a million people.

Girls will have no problem finding a host.

Guys won’t be successful just sending requests to hot girls unfortunately.

couchsurfingKeep in mind that Couchsirfing isn’t just about free accommodation but rather getting to know locals. Your host will want you to be a good guest who shows an interest in the countries culture, if your just here to party then stick with the hostels.

3) Pasta Diet

Time to pack in the three course meals and drunken kebabs. Pasta cooked in the hostel kitchen will suffice to keep you alive, add tuna on a Sunday for extra nourishment.

4) Responsible Pre-Drinking

Budweiser or Guinness? No, how about two bottles of the cheapest yet strong wine to wash down that pasta with then head out.

Pre-drinking

5) Shop Around with your Cash

The exchange shops furthest from tourist attractions and train stations will offer better exchange rates.

6) Bring a Student Card

Student discounts creep up in cities with high student populations like Budapest regularly.

7) Forget Taxis

Just work out the cities local public transport, ask people at the metro or tram stations. Most young folk in Europe have enough English to help.

Better still just walk

8) Free Maps

Maps can usually be got free at your Hostel, or use screenshots from Google Maps.

9) Free Walking Tours

Every city has them, and a small tips is all that’s expected in return for a tour. Ask at your hostel.

9) Book Hostels Online in Advance

You will probably get a better deal if you book online using websites like Hostelworld.

At least use the search function to find the cheapest hostel’s location and rates.

10) Work Exchange

Websites such as Workaway, Woofing and HelpX offer backpackers the opportunity to find places to do a few hour’s work (usually five) a day in exchange for free food and a bed. Jobs can vary from farming and labouring to language help and cooking. Signing up costs around €30 though yearly.

Asking in hostels too (especially Central and Eastern Europe) might land you a free bed in exchange for some cleaning work.

11) Hitchhiking in Europe

Of course I would suggest that you hitchhike, but it’s by far to best way to reduce travel costs. I have went thousands of km without paying a penny. I don’t car to know what these journeys would of cost in train tickets.

Hitchhiking in Europe often lands you some free food too or drink with generous drivers.

hitchhike sarajevo

12) Bring a Tent

Works best when hitchhiking since the chances of being out in the open countryside are higher. A tent and sleeping bag gives you the freedom to sleep anywhere for free.

camping in turkey
Bring a pot too and some water.

13) Cheap Airlines

Keep an eye on Skyscanner, airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air often have ridiculously cheap flights, I’ve flown Dublin to Glasgow for €9 in the past.

14) Tips?

Don’t bother…. Unless the foods exceptional that is, or you fancy the waitress/waiter.

15) Don’t use your phone

Keep Mammy posted through Skype, Email, FB or with a drunken message in a bottle cast into the Danube (all free).

Don’t feel the need to text her all your terrible selfies.

piatra climbing
Even if your on top of a mountain in your beautiful Celtic top.

Have your own secrets to save money backpacking Europe, then be sure to let us know by leaving a comment.