If you follow my blog (which you should) you’ll know I’ve decided I’m going Interrailing! As I also said in my previous post I’m going to be sharing my process of planning my trip with you. When I was looking for a bit of guidance on planning my trip, I found it really difficult to find anything that was very detailed or inspiring so I thought I’d create a beginners guide to Interrailing. Travel writing is something I’m really interested in pursuing, so this is excellent practice.
Step 1- Are you going alone or in a group?
Travelling alone, especially if it’s your first time like mine, or if you’re young. When I first began planning this, I insisted I would travel alone, however, neither of them was very keen on the idea of me traipsing around Europe on my own for two weeks. But if you’re older or a more seasoned traveller, going alone is a good option.
Getting a group together can be difficult. Especially when your friends are at University and can barely scrape together the money for a Nandos when they come home. But if you and your mates can scrape the pennies together and make it work then it’ll be a fantastic group holiday.
I’ll be going with my close friend Hayley, we both share a passion for travelling and as we have both been on a gap year we’re lucky enough to have the money to make this trip happen.
The benefits of each of these of these options depend on your individual preference.
Step 2- Set your budget
It’s best to go into the planning process with an idea of your budget, especially if your a
student. This will also help you figure out how many countries you can visit, the type of pass you need, accommodation, flights and numerous other factors. It’s best to have an idea in your head of the maximum you can spend and don’t forget spending money and hidden extras i.e. City Tax, transport, card charges.
Step 3- Where do you want to go?
The next step is to make a shortlist on where you want to go. If you’re going in a group then sit down and discuss the main places you want to travel to, obviously if you’re going alone it’s all up to you.
Shortlist a the cities you want to see in terms of priority, then think about the time frame you have and your budget. It’s impossible to visit every country in Europe in two weeks so prioritise your top ones and then think about their geographical location. For example getting from Madrid to Amsterdam could take you up to 23 hours which takes a good chunk out of your travelling time.
Also, remember some cities in Europe are more expensive than others. Eastern Europe, i.e Croatia is a lot cheaper than Venice or Monaco. Again consult your budget and timeframe and then think of a route that suits you.
Step 4 – Plan your route
There are a number of factors to think about when you’re planning your route that you must take into consideration.
- Travelling times.
- A logical route.
- Where is best to start and finish your journey.
This is unique to you and your preferences. It’s difficult for me to advise you on your route without knowing all about you and your situation (But feel free to leave me a comment or drop me an email and I’ll try and give you some advice.)
We changed our route a few times before we finalised it, always think your route through before you book anything and never go with the first thing that comes to mind.
Our route is as follows:
- We fly to Berlin on 25th July from Birmingham and are staying there for two nights.
- Then we travel to Prague for three nights (including my birthday!)
- Next is Vienna, two nights.
- Venice, two nights.
- Zagreb, Croatia, two nights.
- Budapest, three nights.
- Then we fly from Budapest to Luton on the 8th of August.
Like I said earlier, your route is dependant on your own preferences, budget and other factors. For us, it made sense to fly back to Luton airport from Budapest and ended up cheaper and quicker, as flying back to Birmingham would’ve given us a 12-hour layover in Brussels Airport, which wasn’t ideal.
By all means, use my route as a guide for planning yours, I’d love to hear how you get on!
Step 5- Decide what pass you need
Interrail offer a number of different passes (click here to see the passes available on their website.) If you’re planning to travel around one or two countries a single country pass may be better for you. You can view the terms of this pass on the website.
If you’re planning to travel around one or two countries a single country pass may be better for you. You can view the terms of this pass on the website.However, if like us you’re travelling through a few different countries then a Global pass will be more suitable.
The next decision is the timescale. The passes are explained on the Interrail website, it’s quite hard to explain and took me a while to fully understand. I’ll try and explain it using our trip as an example:
We’re going travelling for two weeks and are travelling to 6 different countries, five of which will be via train. This means that for us the best pass would be the 5 days of travelling within 15 days. This gives us 5 days to travel which is exactly what we needed.
There are plenty of different options to suit different travelling preferences, so similar to the other points in this guide it’s difficult for me to advise without knowing your full situation, but please use my example as a guide for yourself.
I really hope you enjoyed the first post in my new series of Interrail advice posts! If you did be sure to like, comment and reblog this post and also follow me for the next post which will be up soon! If you’re planning a trip please comment down below I’d love to hear about your plans!