Interrailing around Europe is one of the best experiences you’ll encounter in your life! Being able to travel between a vast amount of countries and experience completely different cultures within days, what more could you ask for? But it’s not as easy as picking up a pass and heading off sadly, here’s a look at everything you should know before you head off on your travels.
You might think you’ve grabbed yourself a bargain after you’ve paid for your pass, but in some countries or with some particular times of day, a booking fee is required to get on the train. It’s commonly the long haul and evening journeys that require this extra charges, as they are basically your accommodation overnight.
Travelling from Barcelona to Rome, for example, is a long journey and the train service requires the fee so you are committed to the journey and won’t just choose to get the next train at the last minute, when it's too late for them to replace you with another traveller.
How Much Money to Take
There are a lot of variables when it comes to travelling between countries. Depending on how long you plan to stay and your budget for enjoying different priced experiences, will naturally adjust what you should spend.
As a rule, the south and east of Europe tend to be better priced overall when compared to the north and west of the continent. Researching the individual countries you plan to visit is best before you leave, get an idea of cost by looking at hostel prices along with generic products you can compare to the UK.
Pre-Paid Traveller’s Card
A modern-day traveller's cheque, a pre-paid traveller’s card is the safest way of enjoying your interrail experience. The card can be transferred funds from your current bank account at any time, but doesn’t suffer the same penalties of using your debit card in a foreign country.
This way, even if it is stolen, it’s unlikely to have money taken from it, and even if it does, your total funds are still safe in your personal bank account, as you can transfer small amount over as you please, rather than committing to a significant transfer.
Established comparison sites are the best suggestion, being able to compare prices and customer experiences will help you get a good grasp on whether you think an option for the evening is suitable.
Depending on your budget, you can opt-in for camping, couch surfing, hostels, guest houses or hotels. Naturally, the different options have different price points, but if you book early enough, you might be able to get some good accommodation at a lower than expected price.
As relaxing as you want your interrailing experience to be, it’s probably going to have some twists and turns. Delayed trains, cancelled accommodation and unexpected event problems have a small potential for arising at the worst time.
Planning some backup accommodation and alternative plans for each city will give you some peace of mind while heading out on your journey. Another area to prepare is when and where to travel.
Travelling through the evening essentially gives you one less night you have to pay for accommodation, and having a Trtl pillow handy will make sleeping on the train a whole lot better. Make sure you're travelling around to the closer countries and saving time on train journeys rather than zig-zagging back and forth, make the most of the time off the trains!