Kate Baker shares the essentials on how to interrail.
Interrailing is an amazing adventure that gives you a real sense of freedom. We are lucky enough to have the whole of Europe on our doorstep and interrailing is an exciting and potentially cost effective way of exploring it.
Some of the best things we did and places we stayed were because fellow backpackers recommended them to us
I spent a month interrailing with a friend in the summer of 2013 and below are my top tips for the ultimate interrailing trip!
There are two different types of pass: global or country depending on where you want to travel. The global pass includes 30 countries, the country pass is country specific.
Within your pass you have the option to choose a selected number of travel days (five, seven, 10 or 15) or unlimited travel for up to a month. I would personally recommend either the 10 or 15 days selected travel as it is significantly cheaper and with a month being the maximum ticket length you are unlikely to spend more than 15 days travelling.
the spontaneity of interrailing is what makes it so exciting!
Once you have chosen your pass the next step is to think about your route. Some people hail planning and preparation as the key to an amazing interrailing adventure but I would argue that the spontaneity of interrailing is what makes it so exciting!
Some of the best things we did and places we stayed were because fellow backpackers recommended them to us. We often crossed paths with people doing a similar route but in a different direction who had loads of great tips.
Having said this it is definitely worth getting a map and planning your overall route including the places you most want to visit. Even in a month there is too much to fit in so you will have to be fairly specific on your stopping destinations.
if you’re on a budget make sure to think about how long you want to stay in each place
When planning your route if you’re on a budget make sure to think about how long you want to stay in each place. Italy for example is very expensive and a hostel costs on average £30 a night. Cities in Eastern Europe like Budapest are a lot cheaper; we paid £5 a night in some amazing hostels in the ruin bar district.
In terms of hostels, if you are not planning ahead there is the risk of missing out of the coolest hostels so it’s best to try and book up to a week beforehand.
Also bear in mind the transport systems in the countries you are hoping to travel to – Croatia for example do not have a rail network so the pass isn’t much use there.
Also be aware that some of the high speed trains have to be booked up in advance as they only accept a certain number of travellers with an interrail pass. We didn’t book our train from Amsterdam to Paris in advance and spent two hours waiting at the station to book our tickets only to find there were no seats left on the fast train and instead we had to get a nine hour train with seven changes!
Time of year will affect cost – so go before the schools let out for minimal costs and minimal crowds!
Get me interrailing already 🌍 pic.twitter.com/MPtSf2Xirp
— Ellie (@Elliecox_) March 1, 2017
Interrail.eu have a journey planner and an app which is useful. I wrote down the length of each train journey we would have to take before we set off which was really useful when planning on the go.
The Hostelworld app is also essential for planning on the move. Bring your student card as you will be surprised how many excursions do a student discount!
A lock for hostel lockers will come in very handy. The most important item to bring with you is a good book, as there will be a lot of waiting around.
Have you ever been interlining and have some stories to share? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @e2travel.