Around 4 years ago now, I was knee deep in planning for the best holiday I have ever been on. Interrailing around Europe is a great way to travel the continent on a budget, and it really kick-started my love of travelling. That being said, planning a 2 week holiday with a lot of travelling between countries can be quite stressful, especially when you are completely unfamiliar with the place you will be travelling to. So, I’ve put together my top tips for interrailing in Europe to hopefully make the whole experience a lot easier for you!
1. Decide which Interrail pass is right for you
Interrail offer three types of passes; Global, One Country and Premium. Depending on the type of trip you are planning will decide which pass you choose to purchase. We went for the global pass as this allows you to travel across the majority of countries in Europe via train and ferry. There is also a discount on this pass for travellers under the age of 27! We chose the 5 days within 15 days option, which basically means you can have 5 ‘travel days’ within your holiday. You can take as many trains as you like on the travel days, but you cannot go over the 5 days or you will have to pay for your train.
2. Plan your route, including your trains
Some of you may prefer to take a more relaxed approach to your trip, but my friend and I are both planners and we couldn’t cope with the added stress of not knowing where we were going next! One of my absolute top tips for interrailing would be to plan our a route in advance, even if it’s more of a rough guide. We planned out our route a few months in advance, including looking up the train times from one city to another. It’s worth mentioning that some journeys will require you to make a seat reservation, which will cost extra. The route we took was:
Birmingham > Budapest > Vienna > Prague > Berlin > Amsterdam > Birmingham
We also booked our flights to and from home about 5 months in advance to try and get them as cheap as possible.
3. Research your accommodation and book in advance
My friend and I stayed in hostels for most of our trip (except Berlin where we cancelled our hostel super last minute due to recent bad reviews and ended up in a great hotel!) as we wanted to keep the budget low and the experience authentic. We did decide to book in advance as this gave us a base to plan our activities around, and we had the security that we definitely had somewhere to sleep once we arrived in the city! We used Booking.com and Trip Advisor for most of our research and booking. I’ve included links below to some of the places we stayed at, but as it was a while ago, I can’t remember the names of all of them!
4. Pack light!
After all, you will be carrying your life on your back for the next few weeks! We bought 35L backpacks for a 16 day trip and this was perfect. Another one of my top tips for interrailing is to try to keep your packing to a minimum by sharing as much as possible and buying a lot of stuff whilst on the road. One tip I will share is invest in a microfibre towel. They’re super light, can be packed really small and dry much faster than a normal towel! We also packed things like a torch, travel size toothbrushes and small day bags so we could take things like our money and cameras out with us in the day without having to take our huge bags with us.
5. Walking tours are your new best friend
Walking tours are a great way to see some of the main attractions all in one day, making them essential for travellers on the go. Quite often, the tours themselves are free, but you will be asked to donate a contribution at the end of the tour. This is a great way to see the highlights of the city and stay in budget too!
Now all that is left to do is book your trip, put on your trusty interrail wristband and begin your adventure! I hope that these tips help you in planning what I promise will be the best holiday you ever have!
Where we stayed:
Have you been interrailing around Europe, or perhaps another part of the world? Let me know any of your tips for interrailing in the comments, or check out my other travel posts here.