Trains are now trendy. Exploring Europe with an Interrailing pass is one the best ways to spend your summer holidays. With one rail pass, you can travel around up to 30 European countries and visit over 40,000 destinations. How will you plan your summer?
Plan your Interrailing route
It’s as easy as researching on their website for the best pass for you, which includes length of trip, chosen countries, and budget restraints. There’s even a discount for under 25s! Of course, the Interrail pass may not be for you – you might prefer to book your transport separately – but here is a checklist for planning any trip by train.
Before you start to book anything it’s important to carefully plan your route. Firstly, find out where everyone in your group wants to go. Sometimes, you have to make compromises. Europe is a big place and everyone has their own budget and time constraints. The most efficient way to interrail is to focus on one area of Europe: do you want to do a more traditional route through Western Europe, or do you want to travel cheap in Eastern Europe? If you have time, of course go and explore everything. But that’s not always possible, and you don’t want to waste precious time sitting on a train for hours.
Research each destination
Again, time is sometimes the biggest obstacle when planning any big trip. The best way to use your time wisely is to research ahead of time what you want to do in each location, how far away it is, and how must it will cost. All these considerations will give you an idea of how long to spend in each place. Prague is tiny, and all the attractions are concentrated in the city centre, whilst Budapest is bigger and more spread out. There are a lot of things to do in Rome and Madrid, but there are also good transport links to other towns around the area. Vienna is a lot more expensive, whilst the Croatian towns of Split and Hvar are quite a distance by train from the rest of Europe. Paris and Amsterdam, meanwhile, make for good start or end destinations as gateways to Europe for British travellers.
Book accommodation ahead of time
Once you’ve decided a route and bought your InterRail pass, it’s time to book your accommodation. Firstly, make sure you book with trusted websites such as Airbnb, Bookings.com, or Hostel World. Only choose places with good reviews, clear photos, and detailed descriptions. Understandably, most of us want to travel on a budget, but staying safe should always trump saving money. Consider whether you would rather pay more and stay near the city centre, which means paying less or nothing for transport, or whether you don’t mind sitting on a bus or a train if it means cheaper accommodation further out. With a bit of creative thinking and a whole lot of research, there are plenty of options to suit every traveller’s expectations: just make sure you won’t be disappointed when you arrive.
Download useful apps
Here are some useful apps that’ll get you out of even the trickiest of situations:
- Google Translate: Ou est l’hôtel? Google Translate will give you on-the-go answers to unknown words. And can even play the word out loud for pronunciation. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, apps like Duolingo will help you learn a foreign language. Or perhaps ask a language tutor on MyTutor, who will go through some useful words and phrases with you before the holiday.
- Citymapper: It can be scary getting lost in a new city, but downloading Citymapper onto your phone will help prepare you for that possibility. Citymapper is more detailed than Google Maps. With real-time departures and disruption alerts (particularly useful when travelling by train!) and is available in around 30 worldwide destinations.
- Splittr: If you’re travelling in a group, one of the most annoying things can be splitting the bill. With Splittr, you can make the fiddly physical frustrations incredibly easy in digital format by entering who paid what, and then the app does the splitting for you.
Finally, the last and most important step to planning is to get excited. You’re about to go on a trip of a lifetime!
Written by Florianne H.