Every summer waves of young people travel abroad using interrail, ready for an adventure. This quick guide contains helpful tips on how to interrail and useful nuggets of information to set you on your way
- Travel on the cheap
So, I may have spent around £1000 interrailing (and scrimped throughout my third year), but I also went to six countries and ten different destinations. Compared to a city break – where you can easily spend £500 on flights and hotel – you really are getting a lot for your money.
To anyone planning to interrail I would suggest budgeting, but be aware that some cities are far more expensive than others. From my experience, Amsterdam, Venice and Paris are among the most expensive places to visit. Prague, on the other hand, is cheap as chips. Although learn from my mistake and exchange your currency before your trip!
2. Buying tickets
Think carefully about where you want to go, how long you will travel for, and the routes you will take. My friend and I took roles to make things easier, so if you are travelling as a group you could do this too. My friend took the train routes and I took the hostels. A variety of tickets are available: a global pass (around Europe, which includes many passes within it), a single country pass and a premium pass. Most interrailers I came across used the global pass, but if you buy tickets at the correct time there are always discounts flying around.
3. Where to stay
Hostels are fabulous places to stay. We had some that were as cheap as €16 a night. As someone who had hostelled before I knew what to expect, my friend, on the other hand, did not and she still ended up loving it. Always look at hostel reviews before booking, as a good atmosphere completely changes your opinion of a place. The hostel we stayed in at Lake Bled, Slovenia (Bled Hostel) was brilliant. I met so many amazing people here which helped to make this my favourite destination. The people you meet are just as important as the places you visit; it is all a part of the interrailing experience
4. What to bring take with you
When packing, you should be aware of the necessary items needed for travelling: your passport, correct currency (remember that not all European countries use the Euro!), your interrailing ticket (of course), and a suitable sized rucksack (mine was 40l). There are some things I would recommend taking: plenty of sun cream (I got burnt so badly, the tan lasted months!), a first aid kit, and ways of documenting the trip, such as a notebook and a camera.
5. What to be aware of
There are some things that are important to remember:
- The official interrail website is www.interrail.eu – this is the only site you should buy your tickets from to ensure your travelling is problem free.
- You should be aware that the price of required train reservations is not included in your interrailing ticket. Their price varies, but we never had one exceed €30.
- Hostelworld is the perfect website to find cheap, reliable and sociable hostels.
- Do your research. Places like the Vatican City require certain ways of dressing.
Interrailing is a great way for people under 27 to travel cheaply around Europe. You are given a travel pack to help you plan your journey and it is a truly freeing experience. It was an unforgettable time for me.