The Internet has helped give a new twist to hitchhiking, making it less spur-of-the-moment and a whole lot safer. The Edmonton Journal reports on websites like PickUpPal and iCarpool, where drivers can put down their travel details for planned trips, and riders can apply to tag along, agreeing to pay a certain amount to defray the cost of gas.
One big incentive to use these sites is that they offer a chance to check out potential drivers and riders beforehand, as potential road trip companions post info about themselves on these sites.
Most of the people using this service tend to be under 30, and their destinations are often music festivals and the like. Given the economy's direction, however, it seems likely that such services might become popular with a broader group of the thrifty and eco-conscious. PickUpPal is doing what it can to encourage this thinking: prominently displayed on its welcome page is an estimate of the pounds of carbon dioxide that those using the service have kept out of the environment.
A couple related links:
Earlier, we mentioned Hitchsters.com, a site for people who want to share a taxi going to and from New York City airports, as well as Airbed & Breakfasts, a site for matching up extremely small hoteliers with potential guests.