Hitchhiking in Ukraine is average. It's possible to go by hitchhiking - usually cargo trucks will take you for free - but it's still worth to try stop personal cars as well. Good people are everywhere; you may be picked up in a Lada or a Lexus. More usually the former.
The usual hitchhiking gesture also used to hail taxis and marshrutkas is to face oncoming traffic and point at the road with a straight right arm held away from the body. Sometimes, for visibility, you may add a downward waving motion of the open right hand. It's a good idea to write on a piece of paper your destination's name.
UIA offers cheap flights and can be a time-saving alternative. For example the flight Odesa-Kiev One-Way is $180 US including tax and fees and takes 1.5 hours. However, be sure to book early for the cheapest fares.
The flights can be booked online via www.ukraine-international.com/, comfortably in English.
WizzAir, as of early 2009, offers flights between Kiev and Simferopol at competitive prices.
It is possible to get around in Ukraine by car, but one must be aware of certain particulars:
The signs are all in Ukrainian Cyrillic alphabet. Only a few signs every 200km or so are written in the Latin alphabet, and indicate main cities. It is recommended you have a good road map those available are mainly in Ukrainian, but Latin alphabet maps are starting to appear, because place names aren't well posted on road signs.
You are strongly advised to respect the signs, especially speed limits. Be aware that unlike in Western countries, where limits are repeated several times, in Ukraine, an obligation or a prohibition is often indicated on a single sign, which you must not miss. And even these signs are often far off the road, covered by branches, etc. The police are always there to remind you.
Speed in cities is limited to 60km/h 40mph. However people do drive fast anyway.
Speed in "nationals" single carriageway countryside roads is limited to 90km/h 55mph. The poor average quality of the roads already acts as a speed checker.
Speed on highways motorways is limited to 110-120km/h 75mph.
Be aware that corruption is widespread among Ukrainian police, and tourists are an especially profitable target. When you are stopped for speeding or other offences, officers might aggressively try and extract ridiculous sums of money from you â¬100 and up, offering "reductions" if you pay on the spot the proposed alternative being some unpleasant and more expensive way, all made up. If you're asked anything beyond that, demand a written ticket for you to pay later instead. Don't let them intimidate you. It's very useful to have an embassy phone number handy for these cases. If you mention that, they'll let you off the hook quicker than you know it. At any rate, write down the officers' badge numbers, rank, plate number of the police car, and notify the nearest embassy/consulate in detail, to help fight these corrupt practices.
Fuel is no longer a problem in Ukraine, especially for those who remember travelling to Ukraine during the early 1990s, when petrol was considered precious. Today, there are plenty service stations. There are varying types of fuel, such as diesel, unleaded 95 octane, and more rarely unleaded 98 octane; one finds also 80 and 76 octane. Note that if you choose to fill-up in a rural filling station, you will need to pay first, and in cash. Even there many stations do accept credit cards, however.
The state of the roads is a huge subject:
The main roads are OK for all cars, as long as you don't go too fast. Numerous running repairs have created a patchwork road surface, and it will seriously test your suspension - even on the major dual carriageways.
Secondary roads are passable, but beware: certain zones can be full of potholes and you must treat them with extra care, or avoid them entirely. Roads between villages are often little more than dirt tracks and not metalled.
Road works have been ongoing, but the quality of the roads is shy of Western Europe with the exception of Kiev.
Be careful when driving in towns or villages. Sometimes animals prefer to walk on the road, and they are a hazard for all drivers. You're likely to see plenty of animals hit by cars, so be prepared...
Bicycle traffic is not very common, but you will sometimes see an aged man transporting a sack of grass on an old road-bike or a cycling enthusiast in bright clothes riding a semi-professional racing bike. Those are even more likely to be met on well-maintained roads where the pavement is smooth. Also cyclists will use both lanes of the road in both directions equally ie you are just as likely to meet a cyclist coming towards you, riding on the verge, as you will travelling in your direction. And almost invariably without lights or bright clothing so be extra careful when driving at night and dawn/dusk.
Also, don't be surprised to see plenty of horse drawn carts - even on the dual carriageways.
There are two major bus companies that run buses from all of the major cities to and from Kiev: they are Avtolux (http://en.autolux.ua/Main), and Gunsel (http://www.gunsel.com.ua/...). Prices run about 100-120 hryvnia 13-15 USD for service to Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv.
The major advantage that the bus service has, is that it leaves from Boryspil and stops in Kiev, so if your destination is not Kiev, its easier then taking a bus to the Main Passenger Railway Station in Kiev.
They are standard coach buses, serve cold drinks and tea, show movies, and make a stop about every 3-4 hours.
They run every few hours.
Avtolux has a VIP bus to and from Odessa that has nice leather seats and is more less non-stop. It departs once a day, takes four hours or so both to and from Kiev and costs about 160-170 hryvnia.