Fancy a proper adventure? One where you can just pick a point on the map and travel at your own pace? Then interrailing is for you! It’s an easy thing to forget about when flights are getting cheaper and cheaper as years go by, but if you truly want to get to know a country, explore unknown regions and make a fair few friends along the way, then nothing beats an proper interrailing treck. I’ve put together a handy list of tips and tricks for you, so if you’ve been considering it, then read on!

Discovering as many European travel destinations as possible for very little money…Sounds amazing. I’m sure many of you have been tempted to just simply grab your rucksack, get on the train and start your own little adventure – wouldn’t that be just great? If you’re the kind of traveller who’s happy to pack lightly and discover Europe’s most beautiful cities, then these interrailing tips will be right up your street. Depending on what you want to do, the interrailing ticket gives you the opportunity to visit one or even several of the 30 participating European countries. Here are my top interrailing tips for your amazing adventure through Europe.

Interrailing Tips – Travel through Europe by train

What even is interrailing?| Things to bear in mind on the interrail routes| Practical interrailing tips from someone who’s done it

What even is interrailing?

Interrailing doesn’t just give you the opportunity to travel cheaply and flexibly through Europe – it also enables you to see as much of the continent as possible. Generally, there are two types of interrailing tickets to choose from. You can choose between the Global Pass and the One Country Pass. With the global pass, you can travel to all the 30 participating European countries from €206 per person. The prices vary depending on age, travel duration and use of the ticket. The latter means that you have the choice of using the train for 5-10 or 10-22 days in the month, or alternatively for 15, 22 or 31 consecutive days.

Alternatively, you can get the one country pass from €43 per person. With this ticket, you can visit the best cities in a single country within the space of a month. Here, the prices vary depending on destination, age and use of the ticket. Again, you have the choice of using the train for 3, 4, 6 or 8 days of the month. Providing you’re under the age of 26, you can travel around Macedonia from €43 per person, Italy from €90 and Spain from €135. For adults over the age of 26, the prices for the global pass as well as the one country pass are obviously higher. That’s why this adventurous form of travelling is particularly popular with young people. All the important information regarding ticket prices and other options can be found on the official Interrail website.

Heads up: the Interrail ticket is not valid in your own country of residence! This is so that it’s not misused by commuters as the idea behind the ticket is to discover more of Europe. Below is a handy map of major cities across Europe with their travel times!

interrail
Image: Interrail

Things to bear in mind on the interrail routes

You should have a rough idea of your routes and a budget for the trip before you book your interrail tickets. If you just want to get to know one country properly, then the one country pass is obviously perfect. For example, you could start in northern Italy and head to the south, stopping off at fascinating cities such as Venice, Milan, Bologna and Rome. With the interrail ticket, you can also get to places like Palermo and Catania in Sicily. The ticket enables you to get free or reduced ferry rides from the Italian mainland to Sicily and Sardinia.

Some of you may want to go on a round trip through Europe. You could start in the Netherlands, for example, and travel through Belgium to France and finish in Switzerland. Depending on what you want to do, the time you have and your budget, you could then head into neighbouring Italy, on to Austria and maybe even then Hungary. As you can see, you’ve got a lot of choice with the interrail ticket and you can plan your itinerary exactly as you wish. You just have to make sure the places you want to go to belong to the 30 participating interrailing destinations. As far as reservations are concerned, you usually need one for high-speed trains and overnight trains. If you’d rather avoid doing this, then just use the cheaper but slower trains and do without the quick connections.

Have you already got a certain destination or even several interrail routes in mind? What would you like to discover?

Practical tips from someone who’s done it

The interrail ticket is booked, the routes are planned – but what about accommodation and what should I take with me? These are just a few of the questions most people who are in the middle of planning their adventure typically have. And who better to answer them than someone who has experienced interrailing for themselves? First, we’re going to talk about luggage. What are the must-haves on such a trip, and what are you best off leaving at home? Philip, a 24-year-old student from Dublin, planned his own interrailing route just last year and in doing so fulfilled one of his biggest dreams. He travelled through Europe for almost a month by train. Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna and Zagreb were just some of the striking cities that he visited during his trip. I’ve put together some of his best interrailing tips for you.

What to pack

Philip is certain: “Some things just make the rucksack unnecessarily heavy, which means the whole trip becomes exhausting. If you can, just pack the essentials. Comfortable clothing, waterproofs, important documents along with copies of them, smartphone..”. Another important thing for him was a big enough rucksack with neatly arranged compartments, along with a map of Europe or the country you are travelling in. Obviously, don’t forget a first-aid kit and a phrase book, especially if you’re going to a country where there’s a language barrier – it’ll definitely help you out in a pinch.

Backpacker in Spain

More tips

“Aside from packing, you should definitely write down the train connections. It’s quite easy to get into a muddle in some places. Greece is a good example of this, due to them using a different alphabet.” Should you get a bit stuck when looking for certain sights or maybe for some last minute accommodation, then you’re best off just asking the locals. After all, they’re the ones who know their city best! In terms of accommodation: If you’re looking for a cheap place to spend the night, then Philip would definitely recommend resorting to hostels. A cheap and cheerful hostel is always going to be more comfortable than a night on the train. If you’re aiming to see as many cities as possible, then you should definitely think about making reservations. Alternatively, you can try looking to find a cool place to stay on Airbnb.

If you need any more information on interrailing, then simply check out the official interrail website. There, among other things, you’ll find additional advantages of the pass, examples of interrailing routes as well as useful tips to help you plan. Maybe you’ve got a bit of experience interrailing yourself and can give us a few insider tips? If so, I’d love to hear them!

If you like what you've seen on this page so far, why not check out our shiny new podcast. Holidayguru's Gurucast is our newest way to inspire and interact with you beautiful people. Here you can learn about new and exciting places, pick up some great tips on how to save on your travels and also listen to interviews with some of the world's most influential personalities. Happy listening! :)