Is it Safe to Hitchhike in Samoa?
Hitchhiking is a fun and popular way to travel a country. Getting around somewhere for free and meeting interesting locals? Why not?! Samoa is one of the rare places in the world where you don’t hear horror stories of hitchhiking. Although Samoa is one of the safest places to hitchhike, there is still a small but potentially serious risk. We go over the hitchhiking culture in Samoa, as well as a few pros, cons and safety tips in this complete guide to hitchhiking in Samoa!
Do People Hitchhike in Samoa?
Hitchhiking is not unheard of in Samoa, but it’s usually used as a last resort considering there are inexpensive buses and reasonably priced taxis available. With that in mind, Savai’i tends to be the island where most hitchhiking occurs, due to the slightly less frequent bus schedule and availability of taxis.
While locals will certainly understand the universal sign of sticking your thumb out on the side of the road and many are more than happy to pick hitchhikers up, the main problem with hitchhiking in Samoa is that rides won’t generally be very long, perhaps from one village to the next. As a result, it could take you a good while to travel longer distances.
The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking in Samoa
Like all ways of getting around, there are pros and cons of hitchhiking in Samoa.
The Pros of Hitchhiking
- It’s free (or you can offer to contribute a small amount for gas, usually the same as the bus fares is fair although offers of payment will normally be refused)
- It could be faster or just as fast as getting the bus, due to local buses’ erratic schedules
- It might be your only option if you miss the last bus and don’t have the phone number of a taxi
- You will likely meet some interesting people
- It’s more eco-friendly than using a vehicle all to yourself
- It’s an adventure!
The Cons of Hitchhiking
- It is usually time-consuming trying to get a lift
- You might have to take several lifts to get to your destination, therefore taking more time
- There is an element of risk
- Someone else is in charge – so you can’t spontaneously stop for photos, for example
- You have far less flexibility than having your own rental car
- Getting a taxi is more reliable while taking a bus is safer and very inexpensive, so why not use those?
Hitchhiking Safety in Samoa
There’s no sugar-coating it: when you’re hitchhiking anywhere in the world, you’re taking a risk as you don’t know who you could end up in a vehicle with. Although there have been no public cases of hitchhikers having negative experiences in Samoa, if you are going to do it, be sure to be savvy by following the following tips…
7 Safety Tips for Hitchhiking in Samoa
- Never hitchhike alone
- Don’t hitchhike at night – taxis operate 24/7
- Engage in conversation before getting in the car, allowing time for your instinct to determine whether you should wait for the next car or not
- Don’t accept a lift if you get bad vibes from the driver
- If you start to feel uncomfortable, come up with an excuse to be dropped off immediately. Saying that you’re going to be sick is a good one
- Take a picture of the vehicle registration before you get in (ask first and only get in if they accept) and message it to a trusted contact. Even if you have no network to send the picture, it’s more to show the driver how cautious you’re being
- Have a “Plan B” – if you are unsuccessful at hitchhiking, have an alternative transport; check out The Complete Guide to Public Transportation in Samoa for your options.
More About Getting Around Samoa
That’s all we have to say about hitchhiking in Samoa. If you’re wondering about some more reliable but cheap ways of getting around, check out our other transport guides:
- Taking the Bus in Samoa: Bus Fares, Routes & More
- Taxis in Samoa: Taxi Fares, How to Use & More
- The Cheapest Car Rentals in Samoa
Finally, compare all your travel options in our Samoa Transport Guide: 10 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa.