Bla Bla Car is the bomb, it’s car/ride sharing- basically legit hitchhiking and it’s very popular in Western Europe. BlaBlaCar I’ve linked the UK address so you don’t have to deal with it another language, or do if you’re up for the challenge.
How it works is say for example someone is driving from Paris to Bordeaux they can post it on the website saying I have 3 seats available leaving at this time on this day and its 30Euro a seat (The price in the example is pound as I’m on the UK website). Once you book your seat the money is held by Bla Bla car until the journey is complete, they text you a code you can give the driver or if you don’t have a working mobile you can say you completed the ride and offer feedback on the website. It also searches for drivers leaving from nearby the location you specify. I’ve hidden full rides as they are no good to me, you can also filter the drivers by how much experience they’ve had with Bla Bla Car.
Let’s put the filter on for Ambassadors only (this is clearly a very popular route-you may not be able to be so picky with other destinations). Then if you want you can select the car comfort. I’ll just leave it as all types. Dan and I normally book all the seats available as we have the surfboards and a bit of luggage and enjoy the space!
Lets go with Pierre C, since there are 2 of us travelling, he has a rating of 4.6, no smoking which is a surprise in Europe! The driver shows the route they plan to take, if it’s a long journey they show the places they will stop at, and can pick up/drop off passengers. Also shows the size of the luggage allowed, the driver has a profile so you can see reviews of them left by other passengers, their type of car and you can also contact them (like we have to do to see if they are happy with surfboards on the roof or inside!) then bam all sorted.
They also show the route the plan to take, maybe you only want to go as far as Tours you can always ask him if he could drop you here for half the price.
He has offered 42 rides and has really good feedback if you click onto his profile, you can read the feedback (or use google translate to read it haha). Just judging by that I’d feel pretty safe about getting in the car. (The very disappointing review was from a woman who the trip was cancelled but she was still charged-a fault on the websites account). The circle with bla bla in it shows if they are chatty or play music etc. It’s super easy to create an account but it definitely pays to have a mobile number so you can keep in contact with the driver once you’re all booked and ready to go.
You get picked up and dropped off wherever it is you need to go, interesting chats with the local people (hoping they can speak english!) and it’s much faster and more comfortable than a bus, quite often the cheapest option too, but most of all it’s very convenient. The best part is that they drop you exactly where you need to be, buses, aside from taking much longer, take you to the bus station and then if it’s not central it’s generally a mission finding your accommodation-add luggage to the mix and it can be a pretty tiring ordeal over time.
The website isn’t too popular in Eastern Europe yet from what we found but in Western Europe it most certainly is 😀 We used it 3 times after discovering it, France to Portugal, then internally in Portugal. A big thanks to Edwin for showing us the site! The downside is that most drivers unless they have a trip planned in advance post their seats only a few days before the trip…perfect for travellers with no plans, commitments or flights to catch but perhaps not so good for those on a quick holiday. UNLESS you can book a bus at any time, wait to see if a ride pops up and if not jump on the bus. Pretty awesome idea, the driver gets company, probably fuel and tolls covered (SO SO SO many tolls in Europe!). We had one driver who took us from Lisbon to Ericeira for 2 Euro!!! What a guy!
Of course there is a risk involved, but it’s a lot less risk than actual hitchhiking, especially since you can see reviews of the driver and how many trips they’ve completed, if they are male/female if that eases your mind. I’m sure there will be horror stories that pop up eventually but there are horror stories with everything and anything these days! It gets the go ahead from us. I’m sure/really hope it will take off all around the world.