Step 1 – Check your travelling times and make your train reservations
The Interrail website has a really good feature that allows you to input in your travel itinerary on the site and it shows you the available routes and trains that you can catch. You can also make your reservations for overnight trains via this website. Once your itinerary is confirmed you can download it as a PDF which is really handy to print to take with you and remind you of what trains you need to catch, you never know when you might not have WIFI.
Step 2- Check out the best hostels/hotels and make reservations
Once you know where you’re going for definite, you need to start looking for somewhere to stay. Depending on your budget, use TripAdvisor to look at reviews of the best hotels, hostels, apartments etc. What I looked for is somewhere in a central location, WIFI, clean rooms, not too expensive, close to public transport and with good reviews.
I also tried to look for places that have a bit of character. For instance, the hostel we’re staying at in Budapest (The Instant Groove Party Hostel) is located above a nightclub and the area is filled with many other underground clubs. It’s going to be my friend Hayley’s birthday while we’re in Budapest so staying in a club will be handy for us to roll into bed after a night out. So find something that suits your personality and what you want to do while your away.
Step 3- Plan what you want to see do in each place
The next step is plan what you want to do. You’ve probably already got an idea of this in your mind, hence why you chose the places you have to visit. What I’ve done is wrote out lists of all the things I want to see and do in each place. I’ve also searched “Free things to do in…” on Google and come up with a few more activities to do while we’re there. Especially with being on a tighter budget or if you’re a student, free things to do are great.
Step 4 – Look for freebies
If like me you’re on a tighter budget, then freebies can be very much appreciated on your trip. For instance hotels or hostels that include breakfast with the room can be really good. Especially if it’s a buffet breakfast so you can stuff yourself before you go out and save some money on eating out for breakfast and lunch. Equally, if you can buy a card such as the Budapest card, used for public transport you can get discount entry to a lot of the attractions in Budapest, saving you some money. Again do your research on your city and find out what works best for you.