The application of the method of characteristics for the numerical solution of hyperbolic type partial differential equations will be presented. Especial attention will be given to the numerical solution of the Vlasov equation, which is of fundamental importance in the study of the kinetic theory of plasmas, and to other equations pertinent to plasma physics. Examples will be presented with possible combination with fractional step methods in the case of several dimensions. The methods are quite general and can be applied to different equations of hyperbolic type in the field of mathematical physics. Examples for the application of the method of characteristics to fluid equations will be presented, for the numerical solution of the shallow water equations and for the numerical solution of the equations of the incompressible ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) flows in plasmas.