How interrailing changed my outlook on travel

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By Sophia Choudhury, Fourth Year, French and Spanish

The Croft Magazine // Looking back at post-exam travels... for many the first time they've set out without parents or teachers.

Emerging from A Level exams and finishing school, my friends and I embarked on our three-week interrailing trip through Europe. It would take us from Belgium to Croatia, through all the classic cities on the way. We’d spent months planning out the route and the accommodation, so all that was left to do was to pack everything and get going. For me, this trip was the first time I’d travelled abroad without adult supervision, so excitement was mixed in with some apprehension. Luckily, though, this would not be the trip where my bag was stolen from a train or the trip where I lost my passport. It actually ran quite smoothly. The pre-departure forethought was intrinsic to our enjoyment of the trip, and from it I’ve learnt there’s no such thing as over-planning. In hindsight, we could’ve spent longer still considering the exact locations of our apartments and hostels to minimise travel time within the cities.

"The pre-departure forethought was intrinsic to our enjoyment of the trip. Once there, I learnt to hold onto curiosity as if your life depends on it."

But the way we managed to decide the length of time in each city, pick what to do when there, and assess outfit choices to accommodate city exploration (an electronic festival in a former mine, and sunbathing on beaches) went exceptionally well. We also managed to capitalise on the many hours spent on trains, using the time to plan our adventures in the upcoming cities. The second thing I learnt is to hold onto curiosity as if your life depends on it. While the first experiences of travelling without parents or teachers can involve nights out, we wouldn’t have returned with so many stories and experiences if we didn’t make the most of the daytimes too. Many of the museums and galleries had student discounts, allowing us to explore the histories and cultures of the countries on our budget, trying the local cuisine at lunchtimes.

Featured Image: Epigram / Sophia Choudhury

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