Janes Guide To Interrailing
Are you thinking about going Interrailing this Summer? It’s a fantastic experience, an unforgettable adventure and above all else, it’s pretty easy to do on a tight budget! So why not let our guide of hints and tips, from a writer who has been, help you to begin organising your own trip!
First things first, sort your tickets! You’ll have to decide which pass to get, as there are multiple to choose from. The Global Pass is the more popular choice as it offers you a flexible multi-country ticket, but if you only wanted to travel around just one country then get the Interrail One Country Pass, both are available at Myinterrail.
Typically most people, alike myself, visit more than one country with the Global Pass. If you choose this, there are different options for how many days you wish to travel on the trains, over how many days your trip is. The prices differ depending on how many days out of your trip you wish to spend on trains.
Once the tickets are sorted you can start thinking about your route! It might be handy to buy a Lonely Planet guide at this point, available from Amazon for a mere £12, this guide will turn into your bible as you navigate your way through European cities to find the best spots to eat, drink and party!
The route you decide to take is entirely up to you, when I went we had a rough idea of the countries and places we wanted to visit, but nothing completely set in stone. We started off in Berlin and ended up in Amsterdam, although we had to get to Holland from Hvaar in Croatia, so that was not the greatest planning! It also meant we had to get a dreaded night train. One tip for night trains (if you plan on using them) is to BOOK AHEAD. You do not want to be sat upright in a chair all night next to a lady who has brought a parrot in a cage along for the ride!
For the majority of my trip we booked our hostels a few days in advance, as we were not entirely sure which country we wanted to head to next. But it is always a good idea to book the hostel for the first country you visit, so you know you are guaranteed a bed when you get there! Again, the Lonely Planet guide is great for this as it gives a list of hostels in most countries, but also sites such as: Hostelworld and Famous Hostels are very useful for finding cheap hostels with good reviews from other Interrailers!
WHAT TO PACK
I would advise to pack light, so you have space if you want to bring back souvenirs! Limit clothing to a few of everything, dresses, tops, skirts, shorts etc. Include all of the necessary toiletries, but remember most of that stuff you can buy when you are out there. Oh and as painful as it sounds, avoid taking straighteners, embrace messy hair! You’ll definitely appreciate having less to carry.
Here are a few more essentials that could come in very handy:
FLIP FLOPS ~ they might seem obvious, but a few of my friends forgot theirs!
LOTS OF BIKINIS ~ as these can always double up as bras.
ONE HOODY ~ for cold evenings/for use as a pillow on a train journey.
BOTTLE OF TRAVEL WASH ~ to clean underwear and the odd top.
THIN BEACH TOWEL ~ that can also double up as your washing towel.
COMPACT MIRROR ~ an absolute lifesaver in some of the hostels without mirrors!
HAND HYGIENE GEL ~ it became my best friend on the trip.
DOCUMENT FOLDER ~ for passport/travelling details.
COMBINATION PADLOCK ~ for the lockers in hostels.
FIRST AID KIT ~ stocked up with: paracetamol, plasters, a small pair of scissors, antiseptic wipes, blister plasters, ear plugs.
WHERE TO GO
I shall leave you with a few places I visited that may tickle your interest…
Berlin was one of my favourite places on the trip, I wish we could have spent a few more days here exploring and appreciating the amazing nightlife. There are lots of activities to do in the daytime, some of which are free such as the Holocaust Memorial and walking tours, both are highly recommendable.
N.B. If you’re into fruity beer, get yourself a Berliner Weisse with a flavoured syrup!
Prague, Czech Republic
If you love beautiful architecture and intimate little cobbled lanes, you’ll love Prague. There is a lot to do, from snapping the famous astronomical clock, to heading on a boat trip down the Vltava River.
N.B. Perhaps avoid the Prague aquarium…
From one beautiful city to the next, Krakow did not disappoint. Wander around Old Town on a guided tour, have a laugh at the graffiti, and if flavoured vodka is your thing head to the Wodka bar.
N.B. If you get the chance, take a bus or a train from Krakow to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (about 1 hour and a half away).
In recent years Budapest has adopted the role of the region’s party town, and boy does it live up to it’s reputation! We had a few fantastic nights out there, head to Szimpla to see some funky converted car tables, drink some tasty cocktails and maybe wake up with a spoon in your bed like I did! In the day, head to the famous Gellért Baths, a great place to chill out and possibly nurse a hangover!
N.B. Take a day trip to Lake Balaton, you won’t regret it!
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Hands down, Lake Bled was my favourite place on the entire trip. Situated in the Julian Alps, northwestern Solvenia, it boasts effortless beauty with its emerald green lake and stunning rocky cliff backdrops. In the day, sunbathe, swim, cycle around the lake and at night head out on the Bled pub crawl and who knows you might end your night dancing on a table in Pub Bled!
N.B. Get yourself a cheap t-shirt for the pub crawl, it’ll be loved by all.
Towards the end of our trip we thought we’d blow the rest of our budget and head to Hvar! Whilst it was great fun, it was the most expensive place we visited, so bear that in mind if you intend to go. There is a lot to do on the island, from sunbathing, to spotting the funniest boat name, to hiring your own boat and heading out to smaller islands off Hvar.
N.B. Grab yourself some tacky friends forever bracelets, a perfect way to end the trip!
Do you plan on going interrailing? Let us know! @tweetjanes