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Top Tips for InterRailing This Summer

If you’re looking for an adventure this summer, why not buy one ticket that will allow you to travel freely on Europe’s trains for up to a month? InterRailing is fun and spontaneous; read our top tips for some cost-cutting pointers and ideas!

1. Plan your route

Where do you want to go? Pick the countries and cities you would like to see: perhaps places you have never visited before? Some of the most popular choices are Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Split, Vienna and Venice. Once you have your destinations, plan a logical route. It is important to take into consideration the costs of flights to and from your starting and ending destinations as this can help cut down on unnecessary expenses.

2. Research your destinations

It is helpful to have a rough idea of what you would like to see and do. This can be achieved through some internet research. Use the powers of Google to find tourism sights or travel blogs. It is also a great idea to speak to friends that have InterRailed before. They will be able to shed some light on the most interesting things to do, fun places to go out and what is not worth your time. It can also be useful to research what is available to do for free as these activities can often be the most enjoyable!

3. Find your hostels

Hostels are cheap and a great place to meet people, and they often offer different combinations of rooms and dorms to suit all travelers and groups. You can book your hostels online in advance. This method can help save on time and money as it means you can compare prices, locations and reviews from previous guests. If you would prefer to take a more relaxed approach, you can book your hostels as you go or simply find one when you turn up. Whatever you do, when you go out, write down the name of your hostel and the street it is on!

4. Sleeping on the train

Overnight trains are a great way to save time. Most will have seats you can sleep on for free, but if you want to travel more comfortably, you can opt for a Couchette or Sleeper. Couchettes are basic bunks with a rug and a pillow costing around an extra €10-20. Sleepers have proper beds and a washbasin but cost around €30-60. If your pass only allows you a limited number of days to travel, don’t panic! There is an ‘after 19.00’ rule which dictates that direct overnight trains leaving after 19:00 count as running the following day, so this only uses up one day of your pass. 

5. Train times and reservations

The best way to find train times is to use the German Railways online timetable as it covers the whole of Europe. If you wish to make reservations and pay supplements for couchettes or sleepers, you can do this at any station ticket office as you travel around. In most of western Europe, train reservation systems are linked, so it is possible to make reservations for trains departing from different stations than the one you are currently in. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to make some online reservations for your outward journey in advance before you leave. 

6. Money

In general, western Europe is more expensive that eastern Europe. Wherever you go, it can be helpful to talk to friends that have InterRailed before about a realistic budget for your trip. The Euro makes InterRailing simple when it comes to money. However, if you are visiting one or two countries with a different currency, it is better to exchange this before you leave home. In addition, it is advisable to take some cash and a debit card. However, if you are looking for free cashpoint withdrawals and to “lock in” a rate in advance, you can apply for a Cash Passport Currency Card. This is a convenient prepaid currency card that is chip and PIN protected.  

7. Do something different 

Have a look online and see if there are any music festivals or bands touring in the cities you are visiting. This can make for an exciting addition to your trip! Europe is also full of top theme parks and water parks, offering you a fun fueled break from all the sightseeing!

8. Handy hints

•   Make sure you have a comfy backpack and pack light

•   Carry your passport with you

•   Always keep valuables close by

•   If traveling in summer, still prepare for less favourable weather

•   Night trains can be cold- a onesie might come in handy

•   Download a translator app to your phone

InterRailing offers us the opportunity to travel from bustling cities to sandy beaches and tiny towns in an affordable way. Take advantage of our long summers and InterRail before you graduate!

University of Edinburgh
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